Although The Boyfriend List didn't blow me away, I'm pretty sure my teenage self would've eaten this up. It's a convincing story of the trials and tri...moreAlthough The Boyfriend List didn't blow me away, I'm pretty sure my teenage self would've eaten this up. It's a convincing story of the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl involving girl-girl friendships, the first forays into romance and boys, and the blossoming of her sexuality -and trying to understand all of this as well as coming to understand oneself.
Ruby Oliver A nice girl whose teenage voice and the situations she finds herself in feel authentic. She's honest but has a hard time seeing the truth of things. She's a terrible judge of character with an inability to express how she feels to the people who've wronged her so she comes off as a doormat with a bad reputation. Instead she internalizes her frustrations, turning her anger inwards resulting in several panic attacks in the 10 days of hell she experiences.
The Parental Units Ruby's dad -Mr. Positive and the calm, rational one. Advocates forgiveness and understanding. Ruby's mother -Mrs. Negative and the attention-seeking, loud and irrational one. Advocates expressing anger, jumping to conclusions and making judgements.
Together they're combustible, in an irritating I-hope-you-get-divorced kind of way. Arguments are the soundtrack to Ruby's home life. She has to put up with them interfering in every facet of her life, over-analysing her behaviour and each giving her conflicting advice. The reason for their unnecessarily overwrought reactions seems to be the mother's need to exaggerate with her father responding by trying to calm things down. These two alone are enough to send Ruby running to a therapist.
The Therapist Mostly unobtrusive though her therapy-talk became annoying really fast. I hated the leading questions and nudges for Ruby to come to conclusions on her own, even knowing they were necessary, because quite frankly Ruby wasn't so good at it. I pretty much wanted to take her to one side and point out where she was going wrong. But I'm impatient like that. It's an agonisingly slow process, getting to know oneself.
The "Friends" Paraphrasing Noel's words: Who needs enemies when you have Ruby's friends. Users and abusers, the lot of them. Respect and loyalty disappeared as soon as it was inconvenient. In a crisis you find out who your real friends are. In Ruby's case, she was surprised to find an acquaintance she previously assumed to be a whore that she used as transportation to and from school, actually saw Ruby as her one and only friend, and therefore valued her more than the rumours of Ruby's supposed wrongdoings. Outcasts she'd once thought creepy and weird turned out to be good people who came to her rescue in different ways. This opened her eyes to people, possibilities and opportunities beyond her small high school, helping her take that crucial first step away from her old clique-lifestyle.
The Asshole Jackson is the reason for this whole mess. His selfishness, immaturity and treatment of girls, is appalling. Girls aren't tissues to be used and disposed of in preference for a fresh one. The lies this guy tells, and his cowardly behaviour, is disrespectful and so shameful it's practically criminal. He deserves a taste of his own medicine. However, he and Kim appear to be a match made in heaven. They're both as bad each other. I really hope Ruby gets over him quickly, he's too toxic to moon over.
The Guys You Want To Know Even though Ruby's sworn off the male species for now, when she's ready there are interesting, mature, and above all, good guys for her to hang out with and get to know:
1) Noel - supportive and unafraid of non-conforming, he's the same age as Ruby and goes to the same school.
2) Gideon - older, an unlikely love interest who freely shares his wisdom with Ruby, inspiring her.
3) Angelo - considerate and polite but goes to a different school.
All three show a maturity, kindness and understanding worth exploring further. Noel especially, is good friend / love interest material. He intrigues me.
a) What's with all the footnotes? They're extremely important to read but they disrupted the reading flow and I gradually stopped referring to them.
b) There were times I was a little bored of the angst and the chick-litty-ness of it all. It's not my genre, I admit. Friends' high-rated reviews spurred me on to read this, ones who also share my propensity to avoid chick-lit.
c) I'm not sure why the word "shattered" was used so much, and in sometimes strange contexts, at least strange to me.
d) I turned the last page thinking there would be more to it and actually thought, "Is that it?" Perhaps I just needed a better closing paragraph.
Despite these I'm a little curious what Ruby will do next in her various relationships.
The Love Triangle Heroine: 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien. She's young, fairly inexperienced in the politics of love. Physically and mentally bouncing back from her time as a slave in the salt mines surprisingly quickly with rapidly diminishing bitterness (view spoiler)[(another reason to be bitter: I'm pretty sure the King is responsible for her parents' deaths because they're fae) (hide spoiler)] as she keeps her feelings for both men on the down low until she can't deny how close she's become to the Prince from their actions. She doesn't appear to pick up on Chaol's gestures of understanding and affection, believing he's yet to trust her not to kill someone or escape at any moment, so she doesn't play the men off against each other.
Suitor #1: 19-year-old Prince Dorian. Seducer of all women and professes he will only ever marry for love. Spoilt but not cruel, he hates his father for his unending crimes against humanity in the name of conquering the entire world. Surrounded by the weak and brainless women of court he's eager to escape he almost forces himself to become besotted by Celaena's strong-willed, feisty and intelligent nature, so very different from what he's used to. His interest is part defiance of his father and his best friend Chaol, Captain Westfall of the Royal Guard, after they warn him away from her. Celaena herself seems dazzled by his handsomeness and wishes to have a little fun by indulging his attentions. In the blink of an eye we have insta-love. Oh, the fawning they did over each other, argh. For him, this would be a great match. Celaena has the power to transform him from a boy to a man, a man fit to be king. But I don't think Celaena would get much from such a union.
Suitor #2: 22-year-old Chaol, Captain Westfall of the Royal Guard, and Celaena's trainer. The more natural of the two pairings when you think of the considerable amout of time they've spent together training. Skilled and strong, Chaol secretly grows to like her, against his will, more and more, without letting his feelings be known to anyone. Both he and Dorian experience jealously over her, while Celaena remains practically oblivious of Chaol's interest. It's a deep, slow burn from afar. Celaena was interested in Chaol to begin with but his brusque responses, with only a hint of playfulness, gave her the impression he didn't like her despite him blowing hot and cold throughout the rest of the book. Perhaps he was too subtle. While Dorian stumbles about a bit (odd for a womanizer), Chaol is the brooding, cautious and trusty rock you can always count on.
The Winner: Inconclusive. Celaena drops the Prince like a hot potato once she's finally named Champion in a way that presented her as a cold-hearted, manipulative bitch. I actually felt sorry for the guy despite finding him to be too spoilt, immature and weak to be a worthy partner. Chaol appears to be happy Celaena is on the market again as the book closes but all I could think was, "Run away! Before she breaks your heart too."
An Inconsistent Heroine As the book opens, Celaena is smart, strong-willed, fiesty and bloodthirsty. She used her quick wit and smart-mouth to embarrass and infuriate. Basically, she was badass. Trouble is, that didn't last.
Most of the trials, training and associated fighting were offstage while Celaena turned into a vain Barbie doll going to a ball and seducing the prince. I don't begrudge her femininity or the chance to be pretty again after the ugliness she'd suffered but this is not what I signed up for. It was too much.
Then she turns her hand to investigating the mysterious deaths, sleuthing, unsuccessfully I might add.
Finally, the last hurdle, the duel takes place. And it's action, action, action. (Honestly, I was so fed up by now I didn't pay much attention.) Followed by, "You're dumped!" with no thought to the Prince's feelings. For all her agonzing over the fate of slaves and the harsh treatment she'd received I thought she'd know what "tact" was. She came off as the bad guy, the assassin without a heart, exactly what they'd all thought of her in the beginning. It made me wonder if she really is playing a game of politics, calculating every move.
Predictable The mystery behind the deaths of the would-be champions was insanely obvious. We knew early on who's responsible, who's pulling the strings (view spoiler)[(The King, such a hypocrite, and we know how he rolls now don't we? Worse than Cain and the Duke sacrificing his entourage like that) (hide spoiler)], and I had a vague idea of the how. Not so mysterious. Perhaps because the reader gets the advantage of seeing things from multiple points of view I'm being too harsh on Celaena's ability to figure this all out (view spoiler)[ but using the Princess as a red herring failed miserably. Celaena should've known the Princess would never risk so much for short-term gain, that would be stupid, something she definitely is not. (hide spoiler)]
Conclusion I itched to DNF this, and to award 1 star, for the absurd (and painful to read about) love triangle, but I recognised the potential of the beginning and that of the world-building, as under-developed as it was. I wanted more action, politics and mystery, and much, much less romance. No romance at all would be fine. It's not a requirement for every single book.
*Thank you to Bloomsbury UK and Netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.*["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"]>(less)
Seraphina is perfect. Rachel Hartman's beautiful writing is simply astonishing with her multi-layered world-building, an expertly articulated plot, sy...moreSeraphina is perfect. Rachel Hartman's beautiful writing is simply astonishing with her multi-layered world-building, an expertly articulated plot, sympathetic characters who possess distinguishing personalities and the ability to grow and develop, and three-dimensional antagonists with meaningful agendas and a sharp sense of purpose.
I enjoyed the differences in cultural complexities between nations and species, and I laughed at a certain dragon's terror and wonder at experiencing human emotion for the first time. But in observing this I also found it heartwarming. It showed another side to his otherwise antagonistic character, acting as a vehicle for growth and completely changing my perception of him. I also felt the same way when an important dragon in Seraphina's life finally reveals all to her -that was a bittersweet moment, if ever there was one.
As for my criticisms, there was a distinct lack of a map. (I thought they were mandatory for all fantasy novels). Its absence was noticeable as it impeded my sense of the lay of the land and the locations of the nations located therein. I was also perturbed at encountering the 'Cast of Characters' and glossary at the end of the book instead of the beginning. Not very useful there, now is it?
There is a love triangle, albeit an unusual and tolerable one. We have a man engaged, facing an arranged marriage to his cousin with whom he'd been brought up, and is now falling for Seraphina. That's not your usual young adult love triangle set-up. In fact, every negative, clichéd and contrived trope you've come to associate with young adult novels happily do not exist within these pages. Hurrah! SO PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not dismiss this book on the love triangle alone, you may be pleasantly surprised. Had I known beforehand that this device had been used I would've avoided reading this great work, and I would've been all the poorer for doing so. I can only think of maybe one or two other authors who can create worlds as richly detailed and nuanced as Hartman (and in only one book too!) and I feel that anyone even slightly interested in Seraphina should take a chance and read it.
However, although my emotions were aroused quite strongly and all of my senses were titillated throughout, and there were harmonious moments when I wanted to point to a particular section and say, "Yes. This," I cannot definitively say, "I'm in love with this book." I love it, but I'm not in love with it, though it pains me to make that distinction, and is the reason for my 4.5 star rating. I feel I'm somehow defective in my reaction, but I have hope I will have more love for the sequel.
I would recommend this to those in their late teens and beyond, for those younger may find the language a challenge and may require a dictionary of some form at their side.
*Fans of Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series may recognise many similarities regarding species interaction/interbreeding, the differing approaches to emotion, emotion as a sign of disease/madness, and rehabilitation involving the excising of emotions and memories.(less)
Charismatic and funny characters with a mixed race, part Japanese protagonist, made this an engaging and joyful read. I loved the show-stoppingly beau...moreCharismatic and funny characters with a mixed race, part Japanese protagonist, made this an engaging and joyful read. I loved the show-stoppingly beautiful Angela's lazy, sleepaholic and anti-social character. Kami's self-respect, self-awareness, common sense and individuality were appreciated. Brennan was obviously determined to set her heroine apart from the clueless, unhealthy role models from other books.
The love triangle didn't bother me until the end because it was weighted in Jared's favour so there wasn't much angst. Jared's apparent but unexplained dislike of touching Kami was distinctly unusual, because what teenage boy doesn't want to touch a girl (or another boy)? This led to a distancing of the two characters which was a bit angsty.
I'm not happy with the way things ended (although it was a healthy decision Kami made) because it's not just a normal cliffhanger, it completely opened the door to unoriginal love triangle angst characteristic of many other YA novels. This does Unspoken a disservice because the rest of the book was highly enjoyable.
The mystery is a little thin on the ground but as the focus was on establishing the personalities of the characters I didn't mind so much since the culprit(s) wasn't obvious and events weren't predictable.
The mention of a political science class confused me since we don't study that in the UK (or at least that's not what we call it) and Unspoken is set here. I'm also aware there were some Britishisms others may not understand though I don't think it's prohibitive to enjoyment.
I'll most likely wait for reviews for the sequel from those I trust before I decide to invest in something I could quite easily hate.(less)
Dangerous. This book is dangerous and disappointing. I can't tell you about the fury I felt at the very beginning of this book. The propaganda, myths...moreDangerous. This book is dangerous and disappointing. I can't tell you about the fury I felt at the very beginning of this book. The propaganda, myths and downright lies regarding the science of mental illness that only serve to misinform and hurt the vulnerable, those who live with these illnesses and their family and friends which is a good percentage of the population. Most will be affected by it at some point in their lives. And at this point you should know that my family has been touched by it and I've worked with people from the UK mental health charity, Mind.
In the Nature Vs. Nurture debate, on a scale, mental illness is overwhelmingly more about nurture and environment than genetics. If a group of people, like a family, are subjected to the same stressful environment then they're more likely to develop problems than one living a stress-free life. That has been proven.
The Glimpse's Big 3: schizophrenia, depression and anxiety - Most will personally experience a period of the latter two. Life is hard, that's a fact. You can't just permanently label someone as one of the Crazies for what could be an episode lasting only a few months and then going on to suffer no further problems. It doesn't work like that. Telling someone they're crazy could lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy where they live up to their label and if one hadn't been issued in the first place that person may be otherwise perfectly healthy. The book picks up on this to some extent but it would depend on the perceptiveness of the reader to fully understand the ramifications.
Suffering a mental illness does not automatically mean you're a lost cause. A great many are functional members of society with the help of appropriate treatment and support but here the treatment is horrifying and only hinders and hurts the recipients and could put people off from seeking help themselves. The book states that 40% of the population is Active or "Crazy", a Sleeper (guaranteed to become Active) or a Carrier of the faulty genes responsible. No Pures ever become Crazy. In reality, there are no absolutes.
This is the world Ana has grown up in. To fear the Crazies outside of the walls of her Community of Pures until she's outed as a Sleeper and enters the filthy, neglected and chaotic City (London) and observes the truth for herself. It's only much, much later that she discovers the possibility the Crazy-Pure dynamic is a lie used as a form of social control which just so happens to benefit the evil profit-hungry pharmaceutical companies forcing drugs on healthy individuals and leaving them to self-destruct from the resulting side-effects. But there is far too much doubt regarding the validity of this conspiracy, and comes too little too late for disgusted, insulted and vulnerable readers who may have abandoned the book by now.
The problem is the propaganda spouted by the Pures is too eerily reminiscent of the way society judges mental illness today; with ignorance and contempt for the perceived weakness and potential danger they could pose to others and a need to ignore, dismiss and hide the sufferers away. Anything to distance themselves from the "afflicted". In effect, this book confuses the educational messages mental health charities try to instill in the public by reinforcing the negative and unhelpful perceptions of mental illness in a time of (hopefully lessening) ignorance on the subject. And that's something I can't ignore because this book is being marketed to an impressionable section of society: teenagers -tomorrow's adults. How will they treat this subject after reading The Glimpse?
My anger stayed with me throughout the book but it didn't stop me from acknowledging the vividly realistic future England of the year 2041, the state of global politics and the effects of our Global Depression, the Petrol Wars and the very different transport system, the housing crisis worsened by high repossession rates, the use of cash is outlawed -credit transactions only (big brother), the bankers earning their pitchforks along with their horns, having a personal online presence is mandatory e.g. blogs, the dismantling of the United Kingdom -becoming independent countries once again, the media monopolizing power of the BBC, and the downfall of the music industry and Tesco, etc. It's jam-packed with genius world-building tidbits.
Seventeen-year-old Ana's toxic relationship with her father also had a ring of truth to it. As a character, Ana had formidable strength in the face of an illogical, nay farcical, situation she finds herself in of being the only sane person regularly put under the microscope by none too sane so-called professionals (many of whom enjoy torturing their "patients" and who see everything as a sign of mental illness), unaware of the very pressure they're putting her under would crack the average person faster than you could blink. She's been forced to rein in all emotion, remain composed at all times and conditioned to respond in a calculated manner during all mental health assessments and public appearances for fear of being judged "Active".
Religious people may also get upset with this book as it labels religious belief as a form of psychosis and in this future all religion is illegal because of it's ability to destroy 'every culture that ever existed.' Although there's a hint of the paranormal in the form of Enlightenment Glimpse -the ability to see a short vision, glimpse, of the future used by the only remaining religious organisation which is viewed as a strict brainwashing cult by the Pures.
The love triangle wasn't painful and appears to be resolved in this book. Both men, Jasper and Cole, are older by up to 6 years. For once, I approve of Ana's pick. The ending leaves things open for the sequel (which should resolve everything as Merle has a two-book deal) but it doesn't leave you hanging off a cliff.
Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive due to my personal connection with mental illness. Besides, dystopian fiction takes the negative aspects of society and exaggerates them to the extreme and usually acts as some sort of lesson against behaving in a certain manner. So maybe I have nothing to worry about and have no need to be upset, but then this is just my opinion.
Some may ask me why I read this book after reading the synopsis and knowing what to expect. A synopsis doesn't tell you everything. I have a keen interest in psychology (especially in fiction) and in truth, I assumed some disease had changed human genes somehow and the result altered the nature and development of mental illness. In any case, I'm glad I overcame strong emotions to read the whole book.
WARNING: contains violence, physical and psychological abuse, some gore, and rape.
***My thanks to Faber & Faber and Netgalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.***(less)
"The Craft" meets Evernight. Despite the fast pace and entertaining story that Evernight comparison is worrying me. I don't want future books to revol...more"The Craft" meets Evernight. Despite the fast pace and entertaining story that Evernight comparison is worrying me. I don't want future books to revolve around star-crossed lovers I don't give a hoot about.
Sophie is sent to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for faeries, shapeshifters and witches, after Sophie uses her magic to perform a love spell gone awry for a friend, risking exposure which could attract various dangerous hunters of the supernatural. Raised by a human mother, her only supernatural contact is her warlock father whom she's never met bar a few phone calls. She's completely in the dark about who she is, her abilities, her father and his family history. Bombshells are dropped on her at the worst possible moments, leaving her vulnerable to manipulation and bullying. She copes admirably with the help of her headteacher, roommate Jenna (the only student vampire) and Archer, the resident mean girl's boyfriend.
Said mean girl, Elodie, is the leader of her coven of three and they need a fourth, a position Sophie can't turn down fast enough after their dark display of power and general racist, elitist and bitchy behaviour. It screams The Craft with Elodie as Nancy.
From the very beginning I knew Archer would play a big role in this book but as a love interest he wasn't someone I saw Sophie with but I was glad her crush on him wasn't merely based on looks and insta-love and instead deepened, as they became friends after being forced to spend a lot of time together chatting and trading snarky jibes as part of their playful flirting.
However, when Archer mentions that every witch's parents arranges a betrothal to a good match for their child at age 12 and we meet Cal, his Freudian slip about becoming a groundskeeper at the school to protect "you" and then quickly rushes to clarify that "you" meant all students, had me assuming him as her prospective fiance. After that I was looking for Cal-time. The small amount we get wasn't nearly enough for my liking though I did perceive him to be more mature, stable and kind of adorable. His hunky lumberjack look doesn't hurt either. I'm hoping he gets the page time he deserves in future. Archer is good friend material whereas Cal, I see him as someone more important. I hope Sophie sees that one day soon.
(view spoiler)[We left Archer with tears in his eyes as he escaped without attacking Sophie. I'm assuming he's being manipulated somehow. His family is either being held hostage or he's being forced to play on the wrong side -something like that. (hide spoiler)] And this is why I'm worried about the comparison to Evernight. I don't want Sophie endeavoring, risking her life, to save him. Neither do I want her pining and waiting for them to be together again. Sophie has thus far impressed me with her intelligence and snark, she's a practical girl trying to do the sensible thing, I don't want her to lose that because of some rebellious boy in a tricky situation.
I enjoyed the humour and fast pace. The plot was a good one. It was an easy read. My only other concern was the rushed ending. At least, it felt rushed to me. I needed more, to see it, the aftermath of the climax and the reactions of everyone around Sophie. I didn't like the showstopping last line either -a decision made in the heat of the moment without any detail about what that would entail. It's a hook to get you to read the next book, one that probably would've worked on me if not for my Evernight worries.
Favourite Quotes Sophie to her mother:
"Good luck explaining to God that you used to spank one of his heavenly beings.
'It's one thing to be different around people who you're really, well, different from. It's a whole other problem to be an outcast in a group of outcasts.'
Archer to Sophie:
"I'll get Elodie and her friends to lay off you, okay? And seriously, try to give her another chance. I swear she has hidden depths." Without thinking, I shot back, "I said spare me the gory details." For a second I'm not sure I even realized what I'd just said. And then it sank in and I damned my sarcastic mouth strain to hell. Face on fire, I glanced over at Archer. He was staring at me in shock. And then he burst out laughing.
'There was a sensible part of m somewhere that clutched its pearls and hissed that I better not give up my V-card in a cellar, but when Archer's hands slid under my shirt and onto the skin of my back, I started thinking a cellar was as good a place as any.'
First of all, I can't quite believe this comes from the same author that wrote The Immortal Rules. Kagawa has certainly made progress in developing he...moreFirst of all, I can't quite believe this comes from the same author that wrote The Immortal Rules. Kagawa has certainly made progress in developing her talent. There's no question that she comes up with great ideas but The Iron King shows she wasn't always great at executing them.
The first 50% of this book severely lacked finesse and, at times, was excruciatingly painful to read. Meghan's introduction to the fae world isn't seamless. Instead of the protagonist having that "seeing is believing" moment before we have a much needed explanation, we get it after, which, under the circumstances, wasn't the way to go. I found myself thinking, "Really, and you believe him why?" to Robbie's revelation about her brother's kidnap and switcheroo with a badly behaved changling doppleganger. To me, her brother's unusual reaction to his mother's accident wasn't enough evidence to start believing in the paranormal, and for following her, possibly delusional, best friend into the unknown to rescue the real, adorably innocent, 4-year-old Ethan. In Meghan's situation, I'd be trying to figure out a way to get Robbie to a mental hospital ASAP.
Other than this, in general, Meghan's point of view wasn't compelling -it was often jarring, angsty or just plain dull, and I soon turned to skimming, mostly slowing just for dialogue, which soon turned to skipping pages altogether. I don't think I missed much, lending to the idea that this wasn't as concise as it could've been. After the halfway point the prose became a little more readable so I slowed down but didn't stop skimming completely.
The Iron King has many influences ranging from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. I haven't read the former so I didn't get those references but I'm definitely familiar with the latter, and I really liked what she took from that work and made it her own.
I enjoyed Kagawa's descriptions of the fey world. The use of seasons for the environments for each fae court: summer for the "good" Seelie court and winter for the "evil" Unseelies, was a nice touch. I also liked that human belief was the magical source of strength and immortality for the fae, and the effect of human technological progress where iron rules, deadly to fey, had created this third court where the corrosive iron is poisoning the fey world as it expands, soon to be encroaching on Summer and Winter territory. I've always been a fan of politics and manipulation in books and with the regular use of binding contracts by the fey, this element pleased me.
Unfortunately, the characters within this world are pretty much throwaways, I cared so little for them.
Our protagonist, Meghan isn't someone I rooted for. She's a non-character in my eyes. She's naive, loyal to her detriment, and has the potential to unnecessarily become a martyr making her ever so slightly irritating, but otherwise she lacks a personality. She not your typical fey, or half-fey. She's stubbornly human. Which reminds me, she's also a hormonal, horny teen salivating over Prince Ash's cold beauty. There'd be no tears if she accidentally "fell" off a cliff.
[Sidenote: She's had 3 fathers. One biological and 2 stepdads, one of which she believed to be her real father who disappeared out of thin air when she was very young. I wonder what happened to him. I'm guessing her biological daddy had a hand in it.]
Robbie, Meghan's Grover and sidekick is nice and supportive with hints of having a crush on her, no doubt developed from Bodyguard Syndrome -instead of just guarding her body for all those years he started admiring it. His transformation into Puck in the fae world, I didn't like. On the one hand, his comedic flair added levity but on the other, he came across as a bit of an ass. This might be down to his difficult relationship with Ash, and later, his jealousy of Meghan's interest in Ash. I had hope he'd die before he makes his crush known (because obviously he will), thereby creating the dreaded Love Triangle. His presence, in effect, ended up creating more conflict rather than offering familiar comfort for Meghan during her journey to reclaim her brother.
Prince Ash, third son of Mab (the ruler of the Unseelie court) intrigued me to begin with. His verbal threat to kill Meghan while dancing with her had me sitting up and paying attention. His unwilling attraction to Meghan leads to a Romeo & Juliet angst-filled situation (I'm fed up of those in YA) although I'm not sure what exactly he's attracted to. Perhaps he senses an opportunity for an easy lay. Oops, I forgot. It's YA. There's none of that evil sex here, but there's nothing romantic about the pairing. They've been slapped together out of necessity, and if anything, physical lust is all that's between them.
The relationship of any substance in this book was between Ash and Puck. Previously the best of friends until Puck made an unintended mistake resulting in a deadly accident Ash has been unable to forgive. Since that disastrous day he's promised to kill Puck, meeting him in a number of skirmishes in which it seems clear that Puck has always had the advantage but has no wish to harm Ash. I think they deeply love one another. If either of them ever kill the other, I believe there would be deep regret.
The Cheshire Cat Grimalkin, the sarcastic talking cat, is easily the best character in the book. He's an independent outsider, content to observe the entertaining train wreck that is Meghan, Ash and Puck, as it unfolds, only offering help when it benefits him. However, he appears aware these are the only people able to save his homeland (and himself) from extinction so in emergencies he gives much needed aid freely without a price attached. He saved their lives many times. If Grimalkin had been narrating this book it would've been a far more delightful and humorous read.
Ash's contract with Meghan, his help recovering her brother in exchange for her willingly going with him to the Unseelie court and his waiting mother's hands, was obviously going to create fodder for another book but I just so wish for more stand alones. I don't like "crack" series -series with books which aren't that great but which you become addicted due to tantalizing (or agonizing) hooks thrown out by authors (e.g. cliffhangers), and The Iron Fey has all the markings of such. I want to read the next book but I have serious doubts after also reading Winter's Passage. I imagine it would be a frustrating experience I have no desire to put myself through.
*Bought in the UK Kindle Spring Spectacular 2011.(less)
A mash-up of "Men In Black" and "Ghostbusters" with a central "McGyver" character. Intriguing premise. The sex scenes were steamy and the humour somet...moreA mash-up of "Men In Black" and "Ghostbusters" with a central "McGyver" character. Intriguing premise. The sex scenes were steamy and the humour sometimes funny but the writing, in general, needed serious tweaking.
Fugly. That word has been (possibly temporarily) removed from my personal dictionary. "Baby" and "girlfriend" as terms of endearments should be banned. My lovely Kindle can illustrate why:
fugly = 39 mentions (mostly in the second half of the book) -used by Kitty. baby = 22 mentions (as a term of endearment) - used by Martini (love interest) when referring to Kitty. girlfriend = 21 mentions (as a term of endearment) - used by the only gay character when referring to Kitty. Ugh.
Thesaurus. It's there for a reason. Be imaginative when referring to a loved one or, you know, call them by their actual name.
The first 25% was a nightmare to get through as Kitty asked a torrent of questions to establish the world-building and get to know the aliens. It was difficult to keep up, especially since Kitty would make huge "intuitive leaps" when I couldn't figure out where she got the information to make such assumptions. She was also unbelievably arrogant in the way she told the professionals they were doing everything wrong:
"Feel free to tell us what you, having less than two days of this kind of experience, would like the rest of us do. You know, those of us who have spent years, or merely our entire lives in this line of work."
Kitty doesn't know the meaning of "tact" and "diplomatic". She had a different perspective on things but she wasn't willing to be even a little polite about it. When she wasn't putting them down she was ogling and drooling over how naturally attractive all of the A-Cs are. I didn't see why she was the only one to come up with all of the brilliant ideas since most of the A-Cs had either lived on this planet for over 40 years or were born on it. You'd think a few of them would've learned what kills slugs or would've heard of Earth's history with religion.
Religion. The A-C's religion changed to reflect Judaism right after Kitty compared it to that when explaining to her parents. And perhaps I'm being oversensitive to these next two issues but Martini says they're all circumcised to appear more human -like being uncircumcised is somehow unnatural. Men are born that way, that's human/natural enough for me.
Martini, the love interest, was hugely annoying to begin with. From the get-go he's overly flirty verging on overbearing with the sexual harassment and proposes to Kitty within minutes, possibly an hour of meeting her. Some of his attraction to Kitty is later explained but Christopher's interest was hard to fathom unless it was due to brotherly rivalry, only it didn't come across that way.
I'm also unhappy with the dog-on-human violence. Duchess, the pitbull, followed Kitty's actions by attacking an unarmed and physically non-threatening male. The dog teared into the guy's groin. He made rape threats but was unable to carry them out as the women surrounding him had confiscated his guns. This upset me. If the dog saw her owner being attacked and it responded on it's own or Kitty called for help then I would've felt differently. Instead Kitty instructed the dog to attack someone who wasn't in a position to hurt anyone. This is a hot topic in the UK and pitbulls are subject to the Dangerous Dogs Act because they're so aggressive, tend to be mishandled and have been responsible for a number of, sometimes fatal, maulings.
Okay, negativity over. The sex scenes were superb. Kitty's upside-down Mission-Impossible pole-dancing move on the rope suspended in mid-air while shooting at the ground was very cool. I liked the A-C male/female dynamic when it came to mating choices. The females were super intelligent scientists interested in high IQs who thought human men like Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates were and I quote "dreamy". They considered their male A-C stock to be morons in comparison. Physical appearance didn't matter to any of the A-Cs, perhaps because they were all 100% gorgeous.
I think this book would make an exciting movie but I'm not sure I would read the sequel unless my local library acquires it.(less)
This one came highly rated by friends and after seeing it constantly mentioned I decided it must be worth a try. I can say I was completely engrossed...moreThis one came highly rated by friends and after seeing it constantly mentioned I decided it must be worth a try. I can say I was completely engrossed and entertained by Alex and Falin's relationship although I am surprised he wanted to stick around. That's my positives. It really says something when the highlights of a book can be summed up in only a couple of lines.
The quirky yet distinctive opener, followed by some intriguing action (Death saved a life -why, and is that allowed?) calmed any concerns that I'd made a mistake buying this one but not long after we're stalled, left waiting for the good stuff to happen.
All I wanted to do was spend time with Death or Falin. Death more-so because I needed to understand what his attachment was to Alex and why he was so close to her when standard grave witch-reaper etiquette states the occasional "hello" when crossing paths is the most that should ever pass between them. What makes Alex so special? (view spoiler)[The kiss, I thought, was him being playful, messing with her mind so I was surprised and disappointed when he announced his love for her when she was dying. He was cool and mysterious until then. I vehemently dislike love triangles and this one wasn't even close to resolved by the end. Leaving Falin hanging in the Friend Zone after what had passed between him and Alex was also awkward. If she'd explained how she felt or he'd explained his weird fae 'I'm someone else's lover' status I wouldn't have a problem with them going their separate ways or remaining friends. (hide spoiler)]
Under normal circumstances I like magic and witches and I understand the need for world building but I was picking things out that I'd read in other places. I know it's hard to be completely original but the grave witchery itself strongly reminded me of Anita Blake's zombie raising to settle legal disputes and give closure to the families of the deceased. The race against time to investigate and avoid being arrested and branded a grey/black witch was eerily reminiscent of Rachel Morgan in the the Hollows, as well as the FIB/Inderland policing. For the most part I enjoyed both of those series but here with Alex, the witchiness was over done. The amount of detail about what was happening when she was using magic, the different planes and the consequences was all too confusing and unnecessary at times that I found myself skimming.
Alex's father mentions 'The Long Game' in regards to the fae. I'm not sure if this is part of some general mythology I'm unaware of but it features as part of a long running story arc involving the vampires in the Kitty Norville series. Talking about the fae, they were tricky bastards. Some appear to be good and others, not so nice. I liked that they weren't all tarred with the same brush.
Alex herself, I didn't find endearing. First of all, she's cursed. Everyone around her goes missing: her brother Brian, her best friend and roommate Rianna, and now people she knew from the witch community. She's also not the sharpest knife in the drawer and she's a doormat. Misunderstanding clues elongated the story. It was obvious things were going to roll back to her family after the discovery of the grey book but we had to wait for her to figure out the (view spoiler)[genetic (not generic, silly girl) (hide spoiler)] connection. The doormat thing annoyed me, it's part of the reason for her money troubles, not demanding to be paid for services rendered but she also has a problem with two tiny little letters, "no". Just say it. It's that easy. If people turn their back on you, you don't jump up to help them move up the career ladder. However, the strained relationships between Alex and her father and sister were interesting to me and I wished Price had delved further into their background and past dealings. In fact, I could probably extend that to all of the characters as they were all towards the shallow end of the spectrum as opposed to fully fleshed out individuals with histories and back-stories but I'm betting that's going to be developed in the following novels.
The dog, I'm sorry but yuck, yuck, yuck. This goes to personal taste because tiny dogs like that creep me out and it's hairless -eww, eww, eww. I wanted the thing to die.
One final thing about the ending, unless I'm mistaken and please let me know if I am (view spoiler)[Alex was dying not just from a stab wound but from the soul-sucking spell. Rianna healed the stab wound but not the spell. So when Alex thinks 'we won' and all is right with her world, she's still dying. That's never resolved and yet we're led to believe it has when it hasn't. ETA: The Answer(hide spoiler)]
Yeah, so basically the last third of the book with Alex and Falin was the only good experience I can take away from this book. It's something, I guess.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I like the character development in this one. None of them are perfect, even Maya and Daniel. Sam is my favourite with no filter on her mouth, willing to say what she really thinks of you to your face and doesn't apologise for it. She's gutsy and I like it. She also happens to be gay, not sure if that's stereotyping but anyway I sympathised with her back-story. Kenjii, Maya's dog, was also a comforting presence throughout -fiercely loyal and protective, the perfect scout when it came to detecting nearby cougars.
I wasn't as frustrated with this book as I was with The Gathering however, I still cannot stand Rafe. I wanted him out of the picture entirely and at one point I was cheering because I thought I'd got my way, then groaned. I don't understand why Maya constantly forgives him. Animal magnetism isn't enough. He may be doing the best he can under the circumstances, was even willing to sacrifice his life but his methods...he just rubs me up the wrong way.
Whilst Rafe was gone we got see how well Daniel and Maya worked together, how much they trusted each other and managed to care for and lead the group. And I don't think I was imagining it this time: Daniel has a thing for Maya and I think if Maya opened her eyes she might feel the same way, if it wasn't for Rafe. Even Sam noticed and almost outed Daniel's feelings. I hate love triangles but this is one of those extremely rare once-in-a-blue-moon moments where I'm hoping there is one. The only thing wrong with Daniel is his inability to tell Maya how he really feels about her and trying not to stand in the way of her and Rafe even when he gets bad feelings about him (his superpower, and he's usually right). He wants her to be happy.
This was a quick and easy read but I'm definitely not loving this trilogy as much as the first. I don't feel as sell-my-own-mother desperate to get my hands on The Rising as I did with The Reckoning. I can wait a year for the conclusion, even knowing we'll be seeing Derek, Chloe & Co. again. The plot and these characters just aren't as compelling.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
My utter disappointment has driven me to give this a pitiful 2 stars. Some would argue it deserves more and up to about 15% in I would’ve agreed with...moreMy utter disappointment has driven me to give this a pitiful 2 stars. Some would argue it deserves more and up to about 15% in I would’ve agreed with them. In just a small amount of time an original species and history had been born with an adrenaline pumping opening scene but as soon as Jacinda, her sister and mother left the draki community it fell off a cliff.
Not only did it turn into Evernight with Jacinda inexplicably falling for her hunter but her mother and sister were unbelievably harsh. They showed little sympathy for her and at times were downright cruel. I could almost understand this from the sister’s point of view having to live as an outcast for the past few years due to her inability to shift but the mother’s? For someone who claimed to love her daughter and did this risky thing to protect her, she refused to see how much she was hurting Jacinda with her words and actions. Telling Asking her to kill her draki when Jacinda had come to love that part of her and then travelling to a place where the choice would be taken away was monsterous.
However, this wasn’t my only gripe. The romance. What romance? Jacinda, draki girl meets Will, human hunter and an instant yet powerful connection is formed. Ugh. Although the connection was later explained, and being around Will reinvigorates her draki, their constant yearning for each other was supremely annoying.
And why did Jacinda always put him before her family and their safety? She made dangerously unwise decisions, took risks she shouldn’t all because of her passion for this boy whose hunter family (who’d most likely murdered her father), if they found out about her nature, would turn around and kill her and hunt down her mother and sister. A heavy price to pay to keep her draki alive.
'Can't she understand? What good is safety if you're dead inside.'
'To keep that part of me alive, I have to be close to that which kills it.'
'A sad realization. To know the ones you love will be better off without you around.'
And then Cassian arrives on the scene, ready to drag Jacinda home, even offering to let her family stay. At first I saw him through Jacinda’s eyes, an arrogant heir pursuing her for her rare ability to breathe fire, to own her instead of loving her for who she is, but then as he spoke, I came to cheer him on.
A Blood and Chocolate ending would be the best I could hope for, which would mean picking Cassian over the human…and oh no, it’s a trilogy. We’re left wondering how she’ll fare with Cassian after a dramatic incident.
"You did this!" "Not on purpose. But I am glad I ruined your little romance with that murderer? Hell yeah. You bet."
No doubt Vanish will be full of pining for her lost human love and glowering at the intriguing Cassian despite his best efforts to help her and of course, woo her. And if we’re really lucky as the third book is being written we’ll hear this trilogy has turned into a series.
And yet…and yet, I’ll probably continue reading. Despite my pessimism I’ll hope for the best now that she’s away from what I see as the negative influences in her new “human” life: Will and her family.(less)
Excitement. Sadness. Pain. Success. Failure. This book has all of these things.
Gin makes progress in both her personal and professional life. She may...moreExcitement. Sadness. Pain. Success. Failure. This book has all of these things.
Gin makes progress in both her personal and professional life. She may have retired but she's still working, the only difference is now it's pro-bono and for a good cause.
Her on-off romance with the innocent cop involves high passion and depressing lows - "gray on gold". However a new guy comes on the scene who isn't "innocent", who has taken as many steps towards her as the cop has taken back - "gray on violet".
Yes, the repetition of the eye colour is still there but there was quite a bit of repetition generally too. Also, Gin finally makes the connection between the downfall of her family and Mab Monroe -thank goodness, I was beginning to think she was a little slow.
And now that she's come into her true power as some suspected she's always had, she finally has a chance at taking out her enemy, which will make for very interesting reading. Fire vs. Ice -who will win?(less)
Well written but I think my sheer impatience with the set-up got to me. References to Samuel Lyle (Darkest Powers trilogy) and the Nasts, Cortezes and...moreWell written but I think my sheer impatience with the set-up got to me. References to Samuel Lyle (Darkest Powers trilogy) and the Nasts, Cortezes and St Clouds (Women of the Otherworld) were very welcome as I'm anxious to see characters from all the books connect but I'm seeing similarities with these other works too.
Maya reminds me of Elena (WotO) in personality and ability but the people around her made me think of Chloe's crowd. Daniel is Chloe's Maya's best friend and she wants to keep it that way so no kissy-wissy despite being attractive to every girl except her. Apparently. I'm not so sure. And Rafe is her Derek (though he may actually be Clay to her Elena), an outsider/outcast who's struggling to care for his brother sister, Annie.
I loved Maya's parents. They were good people and genuinely loved and cared for their adopted daughter. Parents are rarely seen or heard in YA these days or if they're around they're neglectful of their duties, clueless about their children and their actions. Maya has close relationships with them and I chuckled every time she (lovingly) teased her father mercilessly. Her directness was embarrassing!
My impatience came into play when everything is blatantly obvious to us readers but we're waiting for the characters to catch on or impart important information to these poor clueless kids. They don't realise that what they're joking around about is actually real and true because to them it's too far-fetched. I feel like I'm 100 steps ahead of them and my foot's itching to kick them to motivate them to catch up.
Intellectually I know this is just a slow build up, establishing Maya's world so we can understand how devastating it'll be for her and her friends when it all falls apart but just...HURRY UP! That cliffhanger, I knew it was coming but it still burns. If I had the next instalment I would be reading it right now instead of writing this so I enjoyed the book well enough.
However, I didn't particularly take to Rafe. Perhaps I was reading too much into the whole love triangle thing of the last trilogy but I was hoping Daniel would take Maya's dad's offer of the truck and marry Maya. He's far more likeable than Rafe and I got the impression he might be interested in dating Maya but as I said before, I might be reading too much into his actions.
(view spoiler)[I have many questions about what will happen next. How many of the kids were taken, if any? Did Annie make it out and will we see her again? How is everything going to explained? Who will get what explanation? It's going to be tough to come up with a cover story about the way the fire spread and the strange people with guns pretending to be rescue workers but I think it will be entertaining to see "them" try. (hide spoiler)]
On a sidenote: the tactile quality of my UK edition is very high. Smooth, soft cover, paper and page edges. Definitely not a cheap mass market paperback.
Many people seemed to like this one but unfortunately I didn't. About 50 or so pages in childhood sexual abuse is described immediately followed by wh...moreMany people seemed to like this one but unfortunately I didn't. About 50 or so pages in childhood sexual abuse is described immediately followed by what was supposed to be a hot sex scene with a demon lord who at first tries to rape Kara using mind control, she calls him on it, he stops but she sleeps with him anyway. This made me extremely uncomfortable and soured the rest of the book for me.
I skimmed until I got to the last 100 pages where, I think, the author had gained more confidence as the writing had improved. However, I didn't much like Mr. FBI after he revealed he knew about the arcane; he became overly sappy for my tastes. I can't see him and Kara being more than just friends.
Kara, too, annoyed me. She could've saved herself a lot of pain and trouble if she'd just called the demon lord before the ritual started. I kept waiting and waiting for her to do it but she was a last minute girl, living and dying on the edge.
Although the plot was good, the writing suffered from being the first book and the only thing that really interested me was the demon lord who we sadly didn't really see much of.(less)
For some reason I'm not really into this series but certain scenes throughout are worth the effort. Those scenes in this one were between Nash and Kay...moreFor some reason I'm not really into this series but certain scenes throughout are worth the effort. Those scenes in this one were between Nash and Kaylee after the big revelation. Their relationship gets complicated in a very bad way. I cheered when Tod punched Nash but if I'd have been Kaylee he would've received a good beating with my own two fists and feet. Not only was she lied to but she was betrayed in the most intimate of ways, and I despised her a little for leaving the door open for a possible reunion in the future. I could never do the same.
Tod has to be my favourite character. He gets all the best lines and does everything I'd love to do myself like knock Sophie out, something she's had coming for a long time. He's not perfect, sometimes he doesn't see things the way a normal person would but his heart's always in the right place especially when it comes to Kaylee. He's always protecting her and trying to defend her honour. It's a shame they're not interested in each other romantically, I guess he'll only ever be a big brother.
Vincent isn't afraid to tackle the tough topics but sometimes I think she explains things down to a very basic level, which you usually see in children's books instead of YA so perhaps she underestimates her audience's ability to understand her line of thinking but otherwise this was another easy read. 3.5 stars.(less)
**spoiler alert** Practically from the opening line this book had my attention. Georgina Kincaid is a self-loathing succubus. Many centuries ago she t...more**spoiler alert** Practically from the opening line this book had my attention. Georgina Kincaid is a self-loathing succubus. Many centuries ago she traded her mortality away to pay for a mistake and now in order to survive she has to corrupt the innocent and suck down their life energy during sex, shaving a few years off their lives in the process because of this she never dates anyone she likes and she’s lonely. All she wants is a loving relationship. Then her favourite author comes to town so she dresses up to meet him but that same night she accidentally meets the handsome and persistent Roman.
Georgina is a likeable character, you feel sorry for her succubus status. I certainly wouldn’t want to be one for the same reasons Georgina hates it, having to sleep with scumbags to survive because you can’t in good conscience take years off the lives of good men. There are some pluses to her immortal nature. She can shape-shift in to anything she wants including make-up and clothes to lure men to her bed, she can stay young forever and instantly correct any clothing spillages - very handy. Her history shows that she’s not infallible but you can understand why she cheated on her husband and why she keeps sacrificing herself for the people who love her.
Seth as Georgina’s favourite writer was very cute but the whole time he was on stage, all I could think was “friend”. On the other hand, had I been Georgina I would have jumped at the chance to run away with Roman, he may have been a little crazy but he was willing to give up his mission for her and they clicked on more than one level – they had more things in common. Georgina was in love with Seth’s books, what he could create whereas she struggled to create something out of nothing. She was not in love with Seth himself, she admired him. Her sacrifice for him to keep his memories intact went a bit far, she may like him but any relationship or non-relationship would be difficult to cultivate and maintain, ultimately I think she will regret her decision just as she did the first time she made a deal (which she made her a succubus).
The writing was entertaining but the amount of page time devoted to Roman and his tenacious personality made me want him to “win” though I didn’t want Carter to die. Carter, I’m guessing, will be a main character in this series and as such he would be my favourite out of all of them. A caustic hard as nails angel but soft and understanding when it counts. He lives in the grey being best friends with a demon, rather sticking with his own in a black-and-white good-and-evil sort of way, you’ve got to respect that.
It was fairly obvious who the Nephilim was fairly early on which left me rather frustrated knowing that Roman was probably going to be killed off. I was happy when he managed to escape but it’s unlikely that he will have any kind feelings left for Georgina.
After reading Vampire Academy I see now that Richelle Mead likes to create doomed romances with her heroines, its certainly a change from what I usually read but I think I like my happy endings too much. Succubus Blues is an entertainingly light read with an interesting take on demons, angels, and the succubus and everything that being one entails. (less)
Out of the first books of Richelle Mead's three series, this is the best with Vampire Academy a close second.
It's incredibly fast-paced and action-pa...moreOut of the first books of Richelle Mead's three series, this is the best with Vampire Academy a close second.
It's incredibly fast-paced and action-packed, and had me hooked from the very first words. I identified with Eugenie's situation: I'm of mixed heritage and have also had a family member kept secret from me and heard it from someone other than my family so I know how it feels. Knowing sooner and being prepared would have been nice.
The only thing I didn't like about this book was that Eugenie was willing to sacrifice her life for Kiyo's, she barely knew him. Then she had to go back to him. I can't see that lasting. Kiyo is dangerous for her, he is too constrictive - she needs to learn more about her magic in order to control it and Dorian is willing to help her with that. I'm Team Dorian, he may have an agenda but he is honest about it. He is willing to do almost anything to stay with Eugenie and keep her safe, I can't say the same for Kiyo, he will only hold her back and put her in more danger. Perhaps that's why she had the vision of herself with Dorian and (most likely) his baby.
I can't wait to get my hands on Thorn Queen, the sequel to see how things work out.(less)
I've just finished reading City of Bones. It wasn't as good as the hype. I skimmed most of it and only slowed down for Luke's explanation of events an...moreI've just finished reading City of Bones. It wasn't as good as the hype. I skimmed most of it and only slowed down for Luke's explanation of events and when Clary finds Jace with Valentine near the end. It was a plot by numbers (like painting by numbers) sort of book and the characters were puppets to the plot.
Jace started liking Clary even before getting to know her though I tried to put that down to Clary being the first female to enter his life who wasn't like a sister to him. Poor Jace can't catch a break there.
I'm guessing that Clary is going to develop abilities. The dreams she had seemed to be about the past and about the future. A prophetess like Dorothea?
I didn't see Luke being a werewolf coming though I did wonder why the werewolves wanted her. The only thing that intrigued me was the issue of incest, I may read the next book just to see how the author tackles it. (less)
**spoiler alert** This one dragged a little. By the time I finished I was tired of hearing about the Beneras family reputation, the swearing or 'blist...more**spoiler alert** This one dragged a little. By the time I finished I was tired of hearing about the Beneras family reputation, the swearing or 'blistering the air blue' as Raine likes thinking and the dearly devoted fans of Raine following or chasing her everywhere like she's the best thing since sliced bread. Ok so most of the people are chasing her because of the Saghred and the guards are following her to stop her falling into the wrong hands but still, can anyone really be that popular?
The three-way bond between Raine, Tam and Michael was very similar to the triumvirate in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series and reminded me of my review of Armed and Magical - I couldn't decide who Raine should be with so I joked that she should have both men, whoops. Be careful what you wish for. Obviously Raine was Anita with her ever increasing power, Tam was the mysterious Jean-Claude with a dark past who also has fangs being a vampire (vampire, goblin what's the difference really?) and Michael was Richard the strong and pure white knight. When I realised these similarities I was waiting for the orgie to break out so I kept a close eye on what was happening when they activated that bond!
Uncle Ryn, the Archmagus and Vegard are good characters as is Phaelon, I smile when I see his name because he is a felon but these characters have very similar personalities.
For some reason I assumed this would be a trilogy and not a series but with the ending being what it was I guess I was wrong. I am curious as to what Sarad's next move will be and everyone else's but also the bond to the Saghred, will they break it or the triumvirate bond? Guess I'll have to read the next one to find out. (less)
First off, I love the physical qualities of this book. The cover actually reflects the story inside and the art is colourfully eye-catching. The font...moreFirst off, I love the physical qualities of this book. The cover actually reflects the story inside and the art is colourfully eye-catching. The font used is quirky but then so is the main character Tammy.
The writing relaxed me, easing me in to Tammy’s life. It reminded me of the way Janet Evanovich writes her Stephanie Plum series, however the wording of some sentences confused me but that may be down to Texan slang, I’m English I don’t know much about that so some words and sentences were lost on me. Also, there were quite a few instances where the dialogue was choppy, switching topics so fast that questions went unanswered, this required me to read some lines more than once to check if I was following the conversations correctly.
You really got a sense of the small-town nature of Tammy’s personality, she was really clueless to some worldly things – she didn’t know what a red-light district was and she thought Gaelic was written as ‘Gay-lick’, something she associated with homosexuals!
It’s a fun entertaining read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. When it looked like characters were going to die, I didn’t worry I trusted the author, that’s how I relaxed I was reading this. Although the back of this book states it’s a paranormal romance, I wouldn’t class it as one. There is some sexual tension with Bryn, he was mysterious at first but I liked him less and less after he magically rapes Tammy twice, stealing her power, the second time taking advantage of her knowing that she was under the influence of something. I was glad when she apologised to her ex-husband Zach who despite being a bit of a sh*tty husband he still loved Tammy.
When Tammy was comparing Bryn and Zach, Zach came out on top; she could trust him and he would do his best not to hurt her. Bryn on the other hand didn’t really care about her feelings, he was selfish and arrogant. A major sticking point for Zach was that he thought that Edie was just a figment of Tammy’s imagination but he seemed to see her when he was dying, whether that was down to the bite or his near-death experience I don’t know but hopefully he’ll believe Edie exists now.
For Tammy, knowing Bryn may help her in gaining more magical knowledge – that’s a pro for him, and staying with Zach whose inattentive overbearing nature drove her mad – a con for him but overall she may be safer with Bryn but I think Zach would make her happier. She only seems to like Bryn for what he has, what he can offer like Jenson, the huge kitchen and magical resources. Oh and the fact that she’s forbidden to associate with him probably makes him more desirable to her. Weird that her other family members seemed to know his father.
My favourite character, Mercutio the ocelot, couldn’t even talk. I hate domestic cats but I love big cats. Mercutio was so intelligent I expected him to be a shape-shifter or something. The story about Bryn finding him floating on a raft was weird. I wonder where he came from.
Other questions like the possibility of Tammy’s father being fey were interesting. The absence of her mother and aunt was annoying considering how many questions Tammy has for them like: who is her father? Is he fey? Why are the Lyons on the list? I guess these will be answered in the sequel.
The ending was quick and convenient and I have to say I think it was too convenient. The author obviously didn’t want her characters to die or turn into werewolves so she waved a wand and healed them up real nice. I suppose I can forgive that considering the happy tone of the whole book, it would only be right for it to have a happy ending too. (less)
**spoiler alert** I feel let down by this book. The love and passion Bones and Cat had for each other was almost gone after they "broke up". The reuni...more**spoiler alert** I feel let down by this book. The love and passion Bones and Cat had for each other was almost gone after they "broke up". The reunion was off, I would think it would take a lot of reassurance from both sides to be able to accept, love and trust each other again rather than the snap of fingers it took for that to happen. I had to force myself to continue reading to the end hoping that Frost would address this but she didn't.
For some reason I never expected Cat would be turned into a vampire, and if tried, I didn't think it would work. Well, it did sort of but I can't say that I'm pleased with the results though I did enjoy Cat exploding Gregor's head with a ball of flame. It wouldn't have been right for Bones to kill him instead of her.
I'm sad at Justine's losses those seemed pretty unfair, just as she was allowing herself to live and stamping down on her prejudice towards all things dead in the process. If anyone was to die in this I fully expected it to be Tate or Don.
This book was "bloody depressing" as Bones might say. (less)
I'm not going to spoil the story for you but there are plenty of good bits, in fact I noted down my favourite pages to do with Chloe and Derek: 125, 2...moreI'm not going to spoil the story for you but there are plenty of good bits, in fact I noted down my favourite pages to do with Chloe and Derek: 125, 225, 242, 292, 371-2 and 390. The part in the woods with the werewolves was excellent, my eyes were glued to the pages. I love how Chloe and Derek are determined to protect each other at great risk to their own lives.
This may be a young adult trilogy but it didn't always feel like it, in a good way of course. Derek calling Chloe on her mistakes and challenging her to do better, and her accepting her own faults was very grown up, most adults have trouble with this.
One of my favourite quotes from page 291-2:
"When I got mad about you leaving," he said, "it wasn't because I thought it was stupid or I don't think you'd be careful." "You were just worrying about me." An exhale, relieved that I understood. "Yeah." I turned. "Because you think I'm worth it." He put his fingers under my chin. "I absolutely think you're worth it." "But you don't think you are." His mouth opened. Shut. "That's what this is about, Derek. You won't let us worry about you because you don't think you're worth it. But I do. I absolutely do."
I've enjoyed this trilogy immensely. I love how Chloe has grown during these three books which only covers days/weeks. Even Derek has grown. I'm glad Simon finally made a sacrifice for his brother, after all the times Derek has protected and sacrificed for him.
The story still feels unfinished with a lot of threads still hanging and secrets left unaired, that sort of thing but I understand Chloe, Derek & co will make an appearance in the next trilogy which starts with The Gathering.(less)
I really didn't like Vivien at first, I thought she was a cold-hearted b*tch but she grew on me. It was the same with Gabriel, he was a cocky SOB but...moreI really didn't like Vivien at first, I thought she was a cold-hearted b*tch but she grew on me. It was the same with Gabriel, he was a cocky SOB but he started to melt towards the end and then he was mush, putty in Vivien's hands.
I could understand Vivien's rebellion and her abhorrence of violence after they had lost so many of their pack. Her actions were mostly those of a typical teenager though at the beginning she was very cocky and alpha-ish but also a extremely vulnerable at the same time. It was a bit strange how she switched between one and the other so quickly but this evened out and I began to sympathise with her. I was glad that she was sure of herself and had a sense of self-worth, and the courage to go after what she wanted rather than sitting back and taking orders.
Some would be disappointed that she stayed with Gabriel especially as he's 8 years older than her sixteen years but it seemed like the right thing. She was very mature for her age, very sexual and could obviously take care of herself. She needed people who shared her nature, Aiden was just too soft for her.
I read this in anticipation of the TV show and was surprised by how very Twilght-y it was. I gather that this was first published in 1991 so Smith was...moreI read this in anticipation of the TV show and was surprised by how very Twilght-y it was. I gather that this was first published in 1991 so Smith was there first. There were a couple of lines in this that I swear I read in Twilight but I digress.
Elena, who could double as Cordelia from Buffy, was a self absorbed evil teen queen then Stefan comes into her life and he becomes her obssession because no one turns down the high school princess. Perhaps she suffers from small-town syndrome where she wants to experience something different, exciting and exotic but rather than a boy I would recommend more holidays to France and other places rather than chasing down strangers. Anyway she chases him down and finally gets him. Nothing else matters to her once she has him, she doesn't care about anything but him even when she sees the monstrous vampire side of him, she accepts it. Even when he's suspected of murder and being associated with him threatens to ruin her reputation she's adamant and sticks by her man, that's growth I suppose.
This is a super light fast read not to be taken too seriously.(less)
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 whe...moreA 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.(less)
Let's see why I loved it: The cattiness of the teenagers was realistic Dimitri was honorable and understanding Rose's maturity in her...moreI loved this book.
Let's see why I loved it: The cattiness of the teenagers was realistic Dimitri was honorable and understanding Rose's maturity in her devotion to and caring of Lissa I had to agree with Victor that the Moroi should be fighting alongside the Guardians.
What I didn't love: Lissa - I couldn't see why Rose loved her so much The sad ending - I cried and I rarely do so, when Dimitri was carrying Rose to the clinic and telling her why they couldn't be together.
From what I've heard and read about the rest of the series, I think I'll wait until it's finished before I read any more. I need to know if it ends happily or not so I can be prepared (i.e. buying lots of tissues).(less)
Two stars or three stars? It's so difficult. My last read was Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs which was sort of similar but it was so much better. There w...moreTwo stars or three stars? It's so difficult. My last read was Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs which was sort of similar but it was so much better. There were things that really bothered me in this.
The constant use of the word 'boys'. Boys? She's 27. Every time this word was used I kept thinking of her as a cradle-robbing perv. They're called men, dear. Not boys. Men.
Considering Merit wasn't the expert on vamps that her friend was she kept coming up with things that had yet been explained to her, or us as readers. One instance which comes to mind was what a Sentinal was since it was an ancient position which had been done away with most if not all of the houses.
Plus the lightning fast transformation from grad student to sword fighter was unbelievable. The leather suit made laugh, it seemed like she was playing dress-up for Halloween or something.
There was an array of characters all with differences but there wasn't much depth to any of them, especially Ethan probably due to their avoidance of one another which seemed odd if they were that attracted to each other.
I didn't particularly understand their relationship. I understood the sexual attraction probably due to being the strongest vamps out there (wanting the strongest mates and all that) and the sire-child bond but I was confused with how they were dealing with it. If Ethan wanted Merit so much why didn't he chase after her? If he had, I bet she would have given in eventually.
Merit didn't hate Ethan, she disliked some of his personality traits. I couldn't see her killing him, no matter how many times she said it, she wanted him too much. She needs to accept this and soon before it gets old.
I was thrilled Morgan came into the picture but became unsure. His behaviour and relationship with the villain left me wary and unsettled.
Who did not see who the villain of the piece was, hmm? Or the spy? Very obvious.
I kind of hoped Merit would set up her own house or become a rogue instead of staying with Ethan. If she was that powerful wouldn't that have been an option, if not now then in the near future?
I'm not sure I like these kinds of vampires, they seem very soft to me. They only have to worry about aspen stakes and sunlight, they can even eat food. There were no dramatic or gory fights between the good guys and bad guys (or even humans), some posturing but nothing to really write home about. If Cadogan House drinks from humans why didn't we witness this? It would have been good to have seen Merit's reaction.
I know a war is coming but I really hope it arrives soon so this series gets more interesting. Fingers crossed that we'll see more of Jeff and his pack, he was one of the characters I enjoyed reading about (the other being Merit's father).
For a moment I was tempted to give this two stars but it was easy to read and it was the first book in the series so I'll cut it some slack.(less)
I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Too depressing.
It was fairly good until I got to the bit where Bella was brushing Jacob aside to go and rescue E...moreI couldn't bring myself to finish it. Too depressing.
It was fairly good until I got to the bit where Bella was brushing Jacob aside to go and rescue Edward. At this point I had to take a peek at the ending. I was appalled and couldn't continue reading it. Edward is flat and unlovable in this. Jacob was warm and full of life, I fell in love with him but evidently he was too good for Bella if she couldn't see what she had with him and dumped him for cold hard Edward.
I'm bitterly disappointed. I bought Eclipse at the same time as New Moon but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it now. I don't understand the hype anymore. I will not be watching the movie.(less)