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)
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)
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)
I see Beautiful Creatures as Adult Literary Fiction meets Young Adult with a heavy dose of Paranormal Romance.
The story is told from a male perspectiv...moreI see Beautiful Creatures as Adult Literary Fiction meets Young Adult with a heavy dose of Paranormal Romance.
The story is told from a male perspective (unusual for this genre) in first person by Ethan Lawson Wate who is stuck in a small southern town in the middle of nowhere, where no one moves in and no one moves out. You’re born there, live there and die there. Ethan wants to be different, he wants to get out and see the world, he’s tired of the small-town attitudes of his school friends and neighbours. He’s been having nightmares about holding onto an unknown girl he’s in love while she dangles in the air until he drops her, nightmares in which he wakes up soaked from the rain in his dream, and is haunted by a mysterious song called Sixteen Moons.
Everything in the town is the same until Lena Duchannes moves in with her reclusive uncle, Macon Ravenwood the town’s bogeyman. Everyone tars her with the same brush automatically believing she’s as “crazy” as her uncle, everyone but Ethan. He recognises her from the nightmares and sees something different in her. She’s a symbol of everything he wants: she’s travelled, she’s well-educated, well-read and she doesn’t think like the rest of the town, and when Ethan becomes her friend the town turns on them both. Ethan adores her until she reveals she’s a Caster, a magic-user who will be Claimed either by the Dark (evil) or the Light (good) on her 16th birthday but she belives she will go Dark. They form an unusually strong bond especially since he's only a Mortal and together they try to find out more about the Claiming to see if they can stop it but both Macon and Ethan’s housekeeper (or second mother), Amma stand in their way.
This is very slow-building, so slow in fact that it took me over two weeks to finish. Only bull-headed determination got me to the end. A lot of background on the town and its characters was given but there were parts that just didn’t interest me, like detail on the all-important war and the repetition of certain facts that got tiresome after a while as did Lena's behaviour, constantly pushing Ethan away "for his own good" when it was clear he wasn't going anywhere and all she was doing was hurting them both. I had to skim a few times.
Macon Ravenwood was my favourite character, I wanted to read more about him and his life. I also wanted more on Genevieve and her life after the visions, how much did she change after she made the failed bargain? How Dark did she become? I wondered if there was something special about Boo Radley the wolf-dog other than being Macon’s eyes, was his relationship with Macon symbiotic? It seemed like it. I think something more could have been made of Ethan’s father, I don’t know what exactly but there wasn’t enough interaction with Ethan especially after the suicide incident.
Ethan struck me as very feminine and extremely mature until quite late in the book when he found it difficult to say the words "girlfriend" and "I love you". I waited for his thoughts to turn sexual, like every hormonal teenager but it didn't happen. His unusual bond with Lena wasn’t really explained, even though there was a comparison to Ethan Carter Wate (Ethan’s great, great uncle) and Genevieve’s relationship, it wasn’t clear on what made Ethan able to feel and communicate (via mind-speak) with Lena so easily. There was a suggestion he was a Caster and then doors were opening of their own accord for him which was later explained away as his mother’s spirit helping him. Lena’s father is practically glossed over, we only know that he was murdered by her mother. I didn’t fully understand the extent to which Mrs Lincoln was possessed by Serafine, she said she wasn’t always possessing her so I was curious to know how much of Mrs Lincoln’s behaviour was due to Serafine and how much was her own nasty personality.
The ending was lack-lustre, rushed, not well-thought out, hodge-podge. Lena gets rid of the enemies quickly and easily, a flash of lightning was all it took. Lena isn’t claimed and doesn’t claim herself, she doesn’t make a choice instead a wishy-washy explanation was given – suddenly there is no moon and Lena, being a powerful Natural temporarily got rid of the moon so she wouldn’t have to choose (when did she have the time to do that?) until of course there is another verse of the song but instead of Sixteen Moons it’s Seventeen Moons. I’m guessing this means her choice has been put off until her 17th birthday. Ugh. I’m not sure if this is right because Ethan notices Lena’s eyes have changed colour, one has remained green and the other is now gold like those of Dark Casters. Shouldn't both of her eyes be gold like Genevieve's?
One thing that wasn’t addressed was the fact that Ethan and Lena could never be together physically, it was stated and then after the drama of the climax it wasn’t discussed by Lena and Ethan. I would think they’d be thinking about that as well as Macon. I can’t see them staying together, especially since Lena hasn’t admitted to killing the Dark Casters or even bringing Ethan back to life – which is another thing I’m not clear on. Is he truly alive? Why was his life traded for Macon’s specifically. I just don’t understand.
I know this review is quite negative but I do believe the small-town mentality was well-drawn. As a child I lived in a small English village in the country, my mother was the only black person and I was mixed race. We both felt like outsiders and the rumour-mill got so bad, led by the stay-at-home mums, that my mother sent me away while she packed our things and moved us out, back to the city. She didn't want me to be affected by their behaviour. Lena and Ethan were pretty strong not to crumble under that collective pressure.
I really wanted this story to finish in this book. I made an extraordinary effort to finish it due to the hype, some great lines and a few intriguing scenes, I deserved to be rewarded with a good ending. This book isn’t as concise as it could have been or as clear, I believe a concerted effort was made to make the town and the many characters realistic but the ending wasn’t right. The need for a sequel seemed to outweigh the need to end the book properly.(less)
A unique book showcasing multicultural London as the main character featuring much of her history, geography, associated Britishisms, pop. culture ref...moreA unique book showcasing multicultural London as the main character featuring much of her history, geography, associated Britishisms, pop. culture references and slang. I'm surprised non-Brits (or even non-Londoners) didn't give this a lower rating for all that they didn't understand because I'm a Brit and there were a couple I didn't get. A basic map and a glossary would've been helpful, I think.
Having a mixed race protagonist instantly put this book in my good graces being mixed race myself, although I was a little disappointed Peter's mother wasn't Afro-Caribbean, like mine. Thankfully, he's not mixed race in name only as his race was referred to consistently throughout without becoming unnecessarily repetitive. Another thing broadcasting loud and clear was Peter's manliness. Refreshingly, he's most definitely male with urges, sexual thoughts and erections just like the next man. No shying away from, or sanitisation of, his sexuality here.
'I was fighting the urge to fling myself down to my knees before her and put my face between her breasts and go blubby, blubby, blubby. When she offered me a seat I was so hard it was painful to sit down.'
'I dreamed that I was sharing my bed with Lesley May and Beverley Brook, both lithe and naked on either side of me, but it wasn't nearly as erotic as it should've been because I didn't dare embrace one for fear that I'd mortally offend the other.'
Peter's charmingly colourful London copper voice had me visualising Gerry from New Tricks reading this to me. Immediately Peter Grant drew me into his interesting and fun narration, increasing my excitement and anticipation for what I thought could be a 5-star awesome book.
'Martin gave the body the 'London once-over' - a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport - like base-jumping or crocodile-wrestling.'
However, with an ultra realistic background, magic seemed incongruous, inconspicuous and surreal in comparison. Ghosts and vampires appeared normal to me, it was the river spirits I couldn't get a handle on. Magic itself, I gradually accepted although to begin with it was an oddly unsubstantiated concept because Nightingale refused to elaborate, purposely keeping Peter in the dark about everything magic-related which was super frustrating. I couldn't believe in something I didn't understand. Apparently, Newton made pioneering breakthroughs in magic at the same time he did science as they're both inextricably linked, which we observe during Peter's rigorous experiments into how magic use damages all technology in its vicinity.
"Well the second, murdering gent, he puts on a cap and a red jacket and he brings out his stick and as quietly and swiftly as a snoozer in a lodging house he comes up behind the first gent and knocks his head clean off." "You're having me on," I said. "No, I'm never," said Nicholas, and crossed himself. "I swear on my own death, and that's as solemn a swear as a poor shade can give. It was a terrible sight. Off came his head and up went the blood."
A nod to Laurell K. Hamilton was made via the intriguing Anita Blake-like horror scenes, a welcome distraction from the magic. I ate them up and wanted more. Aaronovitch had to have been a fan at one stage because his crime scenes are reminiscent of the way LKH wrote hers. I did wonder if the vagina dentata was a surruptitious comment on the way her series devolved over time, though I think I'm reaching with that one since the owner of that vagina seemed to have targeted a rapist.
'Somebody was screaming and I had to check it wasn't me. It could've been me. I certainly wanted to scream, but I remembered that, right then and there, Lesley and I were the only coppers on the scene, and the public doesn't like it when the police start screaming: it contributes to an impression of things not being conducive to the public calm. I got to my feet and found that we'd attracted a crowd of onlookers. "Ladies and gentlemen," I said, "police business. I need you to stand back." The crowd stood back - being covered in blood can have that effect on people.'
Eerily, this was published only 7 months before the 2011 London riots and yet the author got the riot behaviour and media reactions down pat. Yes, the Daily Mail did have field day, the resulting reasons they came up with being basically this:
"Because who is more oppressed? Those that seek nothing but entitlements for themselves, or those that claim for everything: social security, housing benefit, disability, and pay for nothing?" [...] [redacted] must either be using stuff from [redacted]'s memory or else had been reading the Daily Mail for the last two hundred years.
Excellent social commentary, idiosyncrasies of specific groups and observations on current tensions mixed with the studious Newtonian science, history and geography would make Rivers of London a prime candidate for study in schools and universities.
'It's a myth that Londoners are oblivious to one another on the tube: we're hyper-aware of each other and are constantly revising our what-if scenarios and counter strategies. What if that suavely handsome yet ethnic young man asks me for money? Do I give or refuse? If he makes a joke do I respond, and if so will it be a shy smile or a guffaw? [...] If he opens his jacket and yells 'God is great', will I make it down the other end of the carriage in time?'
'People are conditioned by the media to think that black women are all shouting and head-shaking and girlfriending and 'oh, no you didn't', and if they;re not sassy then they're dignified and downtrodden and soldiering on and 'I don't understand why folks just can't get along'. But if you see a black woman go quiet the way Tyburn did, the eyes bright, the lips straight and the face still as a death mask, you have made an enemy for life: do not pass go, do not collect two hundred quid.' [LOL. My mother does this.]
"I just wanted to talk to someone who could speak English properly. I went on holiday to Bavaria last summer and everyone spoke English really well. I bring my kids down to the West End and everyone's foreign. I don't understand a word they're saying." [A common complaint]
Aaronovitch mentions Waterstone's book shops, his ex-employer (and mine, high-five!) but the punctuation actually dates the book as pre-2012 because it's now 'Watersones', no apostrophe. (This dumbing down, eh? Tut, tut). Speaking of dated, two women owned Nokia phones. The likelihood of that is pretty low, even now with the Lumia. Nokias were popular in the early noughties when pretty much everyone owned one, including myself. Now, it's all about smartphones: the iPhone, Samsung and HTC, and yet nobody owned one? The slang and pop. culture references also date this work. You could certainly call this book a dedication to it's era, circa early 2000s.
Perhaps I'm nitpicking and taking this book too seriously, and yet I’m about to take it to a new level.
*Puts feminist hat on.*
Disproportionate gender treatment isn't something I usually notice in fiction. Here, it was abundantly clear women are to be feared, lusted after or victimised and used whereas Nightingale and Peter are painted as the 'good guys' who can do no wrong but, where are the strong, positive female characters?
Let's go through some examples:
✺ Molly. Mute throughout the whole book, is a vampire and is feared at one point and a sex object in another (in the nude painting), and also happens to be a housekeeper.
✺ Lesley. Sex object. Victim(view spoiler)[as her body is possessed and used and then she's critically disfigured, then saved and will now be receiving facial reconstructive surgery (hide spoiler)]. Used regularly as a dogsbody by Peter. I say 'dogsbody' because she rarely asks for anything return and it appears Peter is her only friend and vice versa, so she's like a doormat because she never says "no, do it yourself". Where's the give and take in that relationship?
✺ Stephanopolous(sp?). Painted as the much feared butch lesbian senior cop. Stereotype much?
✺ Mama Thames (Nigerian river spirit). Sex object. Her power is to be feared.
✺ Beverley Brook (Nigerian river spirit). Sex object, used as a hostage and means of transportation and communication.
✺ Tyburn (Nigerian river spirit). Feared. Acts like a mob boss, and while Peter never calls her a bitch, that's what is implied/inferred.
✺ Peter's mum. Wife of an addict, 'nuff said.
✺ Cinema woman. She assaulted a cinema employee, and while not her fault this essentially turns her into a victim(view spoiler)[of possession (hide spoiler)].
I enjoyed the references to places I knew well like Euston station, Forbidden Planet and Waterstones; to authors like John William Polidori and Oscar Wilde (although I felt his mention white-washed over his awful criminal conviction for homosexuality by calling it a 'public nuisance' - Grr!), both of which wrote gothic horror in London settings, if I remember correctly.
Mistakes, inconsistencies and continuity errors marred my experience a little, for example:
➛ Nicholas Wallpenny became Thomas Wallpenny at one point.
➛ Dr John Polidari became Dr John Polidori which confused me at first.
➛ Peter's designated department switched to Nightingale's without explanation. Nightingale had no way of knowing Peter had had contact with the Wallpenny ghost because later it's explained this ghost never had contact with Nightingale, and Peter never named the ghost to that police officer (who thought he was crazy) at the beginning so I doubt he passed the info on. So, how and why would Peter be placed in the Folly (magic department) without any basis for it?
Small things, I suppose. It sucks to be observant sometimes. This wasn't one of those books I could allow my brain to switch off with if I wanted to enjoy the educational lessons provided. As I said before, I really enjoyed the beginning, gradually becoming slower paced and less interesting when I skimmed and skipped around a bit. There was much potential there for high ratings but, for me, it didn't quite deliver, though I can still appreciate much of the book for it's uniquely entertaining voice, ethnically diverse characters, spot on cultural observations and educational lessons - ergo 2-2½ stars.["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"]>(less)
While Fury's Kiss is gut-bustingly funny, dominated by a super kickass female character and demonstrates in-depth character growth and development, I'...moreWhile Fury's Kiss is gut-bustingly funny, dominated by a super kickass female character and demonstrates in-depth character growth and development, I've finally deciphered what bothers me about works by Karen Chance.
When I look back at all of the books I've read, even ones from years ago, I notice that I can tell you something about what went on in that particular book, even if it's general. With Chance's books I struggle to remember why I've given them all high ratings because I draw a blank when I poke my memories of them. That in itself gives me pause, instantly devaluing my ratings. Reading Fury's Kiss after the author's 3-year hiatus (I haven't read Hunt the Moon yet) has made me realise why.
From the get go it's action, action, action! Any lulls in the high octane speed are filled with funnies and perhaps angst. The adventure zips all over the place, jumping from one line of thought, or POV, to another. Questions I have about what's happening aren't always answered and I frequently find myself at a loss as to what's going on and why, and explanations given can be mind-bending and brain-breaking. Frustration bubbles and I found myself frequently putting the book down. In the end, I decided to turn the brain off and go along for the ride, but I was still left flummoxed with unanswered questions and a desire to have read more about some things and less of others.
For example, the child Vampire Dorina chose to protect from LC in the beginning, what happened to it once they made it through the portal home? What's the story behind the golden Irin child Vampire Dory cried from the past? Was there any connection between the Irin Vampire Dorina met in the past and the Irin Human Dory met in the present? As for desires, I wished for more interaction between Dory's two halves, but what I was really waiting for was (view spoiler)[their merging (hide spoiler)]. This is what I was desperate to read and I resented everything else for preventing me from doing so. Impatient, I know.
So much happened between cover to cover it's almost sensory overload. Exhausting, for 500+ pages. Focus is appreciated, so is knowing the who, where and when of the differing POVs and thoughts Dory reads via telepathy.
Again, hilariously funny, great characterization and development, but things were ignored or merely sidelined, as Sandra mentions Claire gets little page time.
Fury's Kiss while enjoyable, eliciting many a laugh, is jam-packed, stuffed to the gills, and still doesn't manage to incorporate everything. Priortization and simplification, of the plot and magic mechanics, probably would've helped my understanding, digestion of information and future memory of the book itself. Forgetting 99% of this one by the time #4 comes out is likely. But the most important things to remember are:
(view spoiler)[ ❶ Vampire Dorina and Human Dory will one day merge. ❷ Dory is now a (temporary) senator, for politcal reasons. (I sympathised when she fell on her face and fainted when her Consul announced it. LOL) ❸ Dory and LC are now a couple. ❹ Dory is Ray's master. She has more respect for him than most senators and consuls. (hide spoiler)]
Hopefully, typing those out and my status updates will jog my memory.
It's not often I award low ratings to books with a shapeshifter as a main character but this was one of Keri Arthur's earliest works and it showed.
Ci...moreIt's not often I award low ratings to books with a shapeshifter as a main character but this was one of Keri Arthur's earliest works and it showed.
Circle of Fire had a simple mediocre plot about missing teenagers including the protagonist's nephew, with shaky writing which failed to suck me in and was occasionally painful to read with it's cheesy and clichéd lines.
The characters appeared all-knowing, a bit of a stretch even with Jon's sharp instincts and the hawk's watchful eyes and Maddie's untrained, and therefore unreliable, psychic abilities.
I never truly cared about this couple or felt anything about their "romance" which to be honest wasn't very romantic at all. Jon in particular was difficult to relate to considering his lack of background. We knew very little about him other than him working as a supernatural PI for the Damask Circle. And strangely for an Arthur book there was only one sex scene, which again wasn't the best but not the worst I've read either.
Maddie's prejudiced brother-in-law, the character I was most intrigued by, was so sceptical about her abilities it bordered on murderous hatred. His behaviour towards her didn't bode well for his relationship with his similarly talented son. The quick mention of their apparently improving father-son relationship disappointed me. That was something I wanted to "see" for myself rather than have briefly described in the epilogue. I also wished to know whether Steve treated Maddie any differently after saving his son and learning of his talents, and if she would ever tell him the truth of what happened to her deceased husband.
The colourful cover is what drew me to this book but unfortunately I didn't enjoy it. I will however try out the next instalment of the Damask Circle trilogy in the hope that the writing improves.(less)
I ordered a signed copy of this book a few days ago with the warning that I wouldn't receive it until May and then to my surprise it came through my l...moreI ordered a signed copy of this book a few days ago with the warning that I wouldn't receive it until May and then to my surprise it came through my letter box this morning!
The Introduction explains that these stories were all previously available online on the author's website except of course the new story, Bewitched.
Rebirth - This is Aaron's story (first seen in Stolen) of how he became a vampire and how he met Cassandra (also first seen in Stolen). I found this story interesting as it explains everything about being a vampire. I really like Cassandra and still hope she gets her own book but I have a feeling she won't get one until she's dying. ★★★★☆
Bewitched - This new story is about Eve (first mentioned in Stolen and had her own book, Haunted), how she was raised, kicked out of the coven, surviving on her own and meeting Kristof Nast (Savannah's father) and falling in love with him while teaching him witch-magic. I loved this story. You can't help but hate Kristof's father, I'm so glad Eve and Kristof got their happy ending in Haunted. ★★★★★
Birthright - Ah, Logan (first seen in Bitten). This is about how he came to the pack thinking he was going to meet his father and came face-to-face with Clay instead! A scary prospect. ★★★★☆
Beginnings - The best story that everyone should read if they liked Bitten. It tells the story from both Clay and Elena's points of view of how they met and fell in love, then Clay bites Elena and it all falls apart. I loved how Logan's meeting Elena made Clay seem more normal. ★★★★★
Expectations - This one is about Lucas's (first seen in Dime Store Magic) scary encounter with Eve set years before Stolen. She basically puts the fear of god in him and lets him escape with his life and a broken arm. I'm not really a Lucas fan but I do like Eve. ★★★☆☆
Ghosts - This is a quick story from Jeremy's point of view set just after Bitten. I was a bit unsure of this one because it's mostly about Jeremy's memories and his need to protect his 'children' (Clay & Elena) and his pack. ★★★☆☆
Wedding Bell Hell - This about the countdown to Lucas and Paige's wedding set after Industrial Magic, I think. We get to meet his mother, who seems quite reasonable and laid back compared to Benecio - she becomes a restraining influence on him, trying to hold him back from taking control of their son's wedding, which in the end doesn't quite work! ★★★★☆
The Case of El Chupacabra - This is told from both Sean (Kristof's son and Savannah's half brother) and Lucas's perspectives but involves quite a few characters from the series. Although not my favourite story, I did feel for Sean and his situation. It seems like all the Cabal heirs aren't allowed to be happy. ★★★☆☆
Although I read most of these stories when they were online, I've really enjoyed re-reading them, especially Beginnings, and Bewitched was a brilliant new story to add to the background of the Women of the Otherworld series.(less)
I found it hard to get my head around the world created here. The Shadowblades and Sunspears were great but some things didn't quite fit, like the ang...moreI found it hard to get my head around the world created here. The Shadowblades and Sunspears were great but some things didn't quite fit, like the angels - I couldn't see them being in that world. I was also a bit unsure of the Guardians and their place, but I think that will be rectified later.
Switching between narrators was a good way of introducing us to the two characters that are to become an item, though more effort was made to flesh out main character Max than Alexander, who seemed pretty dull and boring to me. Idolising Max and wishing he could be more like her are, in my opinion, grounds for a crush rather than a foundation for a serious relationship.
The chemistry between them wasn't quite up to par. We're repeatedly told they're instantly attracted to one another in a love-at-first-sight kind of way without much interaction between them, and based on this, Max sort of trusts him and vice versa. To be honest, I was more interested in the kiss between Max and Oz and where that could lead.
Giselle, though supposedly a tough witch and Max's superior, didn't come across as a "good torturer", and therefore, a not-so-nice person. Most of the time she was on an equal footing with Max, or she let Max take charge. I didn't see the woman who we're told tortured Max when trying to bind and rebind Max to her after Max tried to escape, despite what Giselle did to Alexander.
I loved the gruesome scenes and the dark nature of the book in general, but the physical damage that Max and others suffered was so extensive I couldn't quite believe they were still able to walk around unaided and not hemorrhaging out on the floor. These absurdly remarkable healing abilities gave me the feeling that they were almost invincible, except against angels.
There are some rough edges to this book but I imagine the sequel will be smoother. I'd be interested in reading about Max's future role in the coming war and how her family reacts to her being alive.(less)
The flaws in Bitter Night I accepted due to being the first in the series with sequels usually surpassing the first. Crimson Wi...moreGrade: F for Epic Fail!
The flaws in Bitter Night I accepted due to being the first in the series with sequels usually surpassing the first. Crimson Wind doesn’t follow this pattern. No, it goes the other way. It may be unfair to make this judgement after only 74 pages but I don’t think so.
Characters: Max is a tough bitch, an Uber-Alpha. It’s over the top. Alexander is also supposedly Alpha but um, he’s a bit wet and dull. We didn’t need his POV, it only served to add pages where none were required. Giselle is presented as the powerful witch presiding over the group when in fact she is Beta to Max’s Alpha, which is confusing considering their history as torturer and victim. The characters are misrepresented, under-developed and unappealing though the cast is a large one so there’s little time to get to know them all individually.
Romance:Forced. Max is reluctant to be with Alexander...because he’s a stalker. He worships the ground she walks on. She doesn’t say or think this. It’s my opinion of him. We’re told they have this hot sexual tension between them when there’s no evidence of that. There’s more chemistry between her and warrior angel, Tutresiel. Their witty banter was the only element I enjoyed which covered a very tiny percentage of the book.
Plot:To find, save and bring Max’s family back to Horngate. Procrastination. By the time I gave up, Max hadn’t made it out of Horngate for this mission. She wasn’t even prepared to leave yet and I was almost 25% in. What took place in this time wasn't very interesting to me. It was just a lot of foreboding nonsense. However, I was intrigued by the fact that Max hadn't interacted with her family in 30 years which threw me. I was curious as to how Francis was going to make that work.
World-building: I was unconvinced by the world created in Bitter Night and wasn’t reassured in this one. It’s too easy to poke holes in it. There‘s a melding of mythologies that doesn’t quite work. The angels seem out of place. It’s a closed world where everything supernatural is a secret from the main population. However, Armageddon has now been unleashed on the world but we’ve yet to see the effect it has had outside of Horngate. Perhaps if I had read on this would’ve been rectified. On the whole, there are just too many questions and not enough answers.
I'm going to preface this review by saying that if I hadn't read interviews and blog posts about this and future books then I would've awarded more st...moreI'm going to preface this review by saying that if I hadn't read interviews and blog posts about this and future books then I would've awarded more stars. Perhaps I'll calm down later and see the light but for now, I'm a bull pawing the sand with my head lowered snorting in anger and frustration despite the fact that I quite enjoyed this book. It's where we go from now that troubles me.
The first half was slow with only a couple of blood-pumping action scenes. The road trip itself, although giving the characters time to bond with Trent was a bit tedious. I was beginning to believe the book had been misrepresented to me and was tempted to abandon it. And although it got better, I was kind of right. It's not what I expected at all.
This book was supposed to be about two things: Trent and Rachel becoming closer and Rachel's fight to get the shunning removed. I was in it for the former but couldn't see it happening with Trent becoming criminally dangerous with his arrogance.
I assumed, as I'm guessing many others will, that Rachel and Trent would have a fling, Trent would ruin things and they both would move on. Not so. Something more serious transpired. They learned to trust each other. Trent rightfully earned everyone's trust. He sacrificed much for Rachel and instead of imposing his will, he gave her a choice. A very important choice. Trent changed in this book partly due to a rather surprising development he'd been keeping secret which now has him tied to Rachel in a way that would have me believing Rachel and Trent will become an item in the next book, the last scene backing me up on this.
However, and this is where I get annoyed, Harrison has stated that Rachel and Trent will not become long term romantic partners. She has even been dropping hints about Rachel's future love interests (all current ones except Trent are no longer possible) in blog posts. This made me angry. I feel like I've been manipulated despite knowing all of this going in. The writing was so good regarding this that I believed they would become an item. Everything points to it becoming a done deal. I don't understand why she would do this, other than to make Trent Rachel's protector, which she now desperately needs to survive.
All of this makes me wonder what Harrison's long-term plan with this series is. I'm concerned about repetitiveness at this point. Rachel's predicament by the end of PD is a return to one she had at the beginning, just replace "black witch" with "demon". This is the 9th book. It almost read like the last. I could happily not read another and not just because I'm disgruntled. I can imagine what could come next but it probably doesn't match what Harrison has in store for us.
I've been questioning my commitment to this series. Kisten's demise led to a break away from it and since then I've missed him. Trent is/was someone I could see Rachel settling with because even though he has, as she puts it: a 'disrespect of innocent lives' and the law, they have great chemistry and now they care and perhaps even love (at least a little) one another. Trent has proven he'll do anything, and I mean anything, to protect what and whom he cares about so I'm failing to understand why...Oh, never mind. This is embarrassing. I'm an action fan, not a romance queen. I'm whining so it's time to shut up now. (less)
I was a bit shocked at the thickness of this book, I had hopes it was going to be a wildly interesting ride. Sadly I was almost as disappointed with t...moreI was a bit shocked at the thickness of this book, I had hopes it was going to be a wildly interesting ride. Sadly I was almost as disappointed with this one as I was the last.
Mostly, it was just too long, repetitive with some utterly useless paragraphs. I was tempted to get a red pen out and start crossing out the unnecessary parts. I especially grew tired of Kaylin repeating what she'd done or learned to everyone she encountered sometimes in greater detail than was needed.
However, there were a few things that peeked my interest which saved this from a two star rating. The blatant introduction to possible romance. So far in this series there's been none whatsoever. Kaylin's had a hard life and has showed no interest in love, sex or having her own children despite how much she loves them. We all knew Nightshade was interested in her but she's always remained reluctant. He finally makes a move and she reacts badly.
When Severn makes hints about his feelings, I'm relieved as I've been waiting for this for a while now, and when he explains his reasons for loving Kaylin and she acknowledges this it gave me hope. At the same time I grew worried that the status quo would remain in place despite their love for one another. I'm not sure Kaylin can handle it which is why Severn has said nothing for so long.
Parts of the plot were of interest to me, especially the origins of humans and the new race of people who've found their home within Tiamaris's fief. I look forward to reading about their progress and how the other races react to their presence/existence.
I am surprised Sagara hasn't done a book on the Aerians yet and that Kaylin hasn't got much closer to meeting the Dragon Emperor. I know that she desperately needs to learn self-preservation around those that can devour her but I hardly think etiquette lessons with a stuffy dragon will help matters. Besides she does pretty well with the Arkon and he's no picnic either. I really hope Cast in Ruins makes for a better read.(less)
I found it quite hard to get into this, but about halfway through it picked up a bit. The main character, Raine Benares, reminds me a little of Anita...moreI found it quite hard to get into this, but about halfway through it picked up a bit. The main character, Raine Benares, reminds me a little of Anita Blake (the creation of Laurell K Hamilton) a wise-cracking, brave, protective and independent woman. However, Raine has a tendency to wise-crack a little too much, and she finds the dangerous goblins beautiful. The description of the goblins made me instantly think of vampires, with the long canines and deadly grace. On the whole, it was slow starting and it has a few kinks in it, but it wasn't bad for a first book. I'll be reading the next one.(less)
Apart from deus ex machina (so it's 4½ ★), this was a brilliant read. Killing off a much-loved character is a brave thing to do and in this instance i...moreApart from deus ex machina (so it's 4½ ★), this was a brilliant read. Killing off a much-loved character is a brave thing to do and in this instance it was beautiful sacrifice worthy of that character, if heartbreaking and gory.
The level of grace displayed by Kate in both her physical battles and in her position as alpha, fighting for the people that depend on her and those she deeply cares for, is inspiring. And as always, Ilona and Gordon always bring the funny.(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)
So good. Much better than On the Edge. I really liked the length, it almost felt like two books in one.
I loved William and his struggles with his wol...moreSo good. Much better than On the Edge. I really liked the length, it almost felt like two books in one.
I loved William and his struggles with his wolf, the Rending and his attempts in understanding what is acceptable behaviour and what's seen as "normal". He's a tortured soul who's never been treated well or even with respect but he always does his best to respect others unless they don't deserve it.
Cerise has also had a hard time of it, with her responsibility for her family, her warrior-like disposition and bad luck with men. She was hilarious as the Hobo Queen but as Cerise, head of the family, she's a very sympathetic character.
I liked the acceptance of violence done by each other between Cerise and William. I'm smiling just thinking of the way Cerise was saying how good Lord Bill had been about keeping it all in (when he was experiencing the Rending) to Richard and he was looking at them both like they were crazy.
I also loved Kaldar. When he stepped on that mine I thought he was a goner. That magic betting trick rocks! He was funny but I liked him all the more after his conversation with Richard about Cerise taking on all that responsibility. I look forward to reading more about this charismatic swindler in his book which comes next.
The little tête-a-tête with Cerise and Rose -who's got the most screwed up family? Jack vs. Lark (I hope we get to see more of Jack & Lark -love them both, I could see them getting together in the future). Of course in the end, Cerise would win with all her other kooky family members. Although we never found out which members lived to the end, we're just told about 15 made it, not who, which I was sad about. I came to love Cerise's family -a very tight-knit but loving clan. The ending was quite rushed and finished abruptly. I wanted more.
There were a few classic PNR characteristics in this one. For instance, when William found out how rich he was when all along he believed he had no money but I just rolled my eyes and moved on because generally this is still a very unique and original story. 4.5 stars.(less)
Green Eyed Demon is a major improvement over its predecessor. I laughed, I cried, I sniggered at the dirty, filthy orgy. Yes, you read correctly.
What...moreGreen Eyed Demon is a major improvement over its predecessor. I laughed, I cried, I sniggered at the dirty, filthy orgy. Yes, you read correctly.
What made this so good other than Giguhl's rib-crackingly funny comments, was Sabina's growth. She's been through hell and is having to adapt quickly along the way. It's a rocky road. She makes mistakes. She gets knocked down but she always, always picks her wounded ass back up and lives to fight for another day.
Her fierce determination in protecting those she loves gives her pause. She loves? When did that happen? She's a kick-ass emotionless assassin. Since when did she love anyone, or have anyone to love her? She questions her identity. She was an assassin but who and what is she now? All this leaves her vulnerable and confused. She does her best to cope but the pressures of her sister's kidnapping, her homicidal grandmother and her undefined relationship with Adam, get in the way.
Speaking of Adam. The title refers to Sabina's jealousy regarding him and Giguhl. Her family. Hers. No one elses. They're there when she needs them: in battle, for advice and for a shoulder to cry on. The most useful advice comes from Giguhl (it's all that Oprah he watches) who tell her to seize the day because there may not be a tomorrow.
Sabina has so much to accomplish that she's advised to make a To Do List which went:
1. Perform voodoo ritual on evil owl. 2. Find out who sold us out to the anachronistic Caste vampires. 3. Make amends with lesbian werewolf. 4. Rescue twin. 5. Murder grandmother.
Anyway, this is fast-paced with lots of action, a little romance and tons of laughs. However, I can't give it 5 stars for one major reason which is difficult to explain without spoilers but I'll give it a shot. But you have been warned.
There were two characters that were near death. One was healed with the help of 3 very powerful mages but the other, only one for an injury that I would assume given the magic rules, would be impossible to "heal". Plus, the circumstances in which they were injured meant that person should be dead. This didn't sit well with me which is why it's taken me so long to write a review. But I can also see it from the author's point of view. This character was important and needed to survive but wanted to keep the "everyone thinks they're dead" angst (which was excellent by the way. It produced a highly emotional action scene).
I've never taken to Sabina's overly optimistic and wishy-washy sister so I was pleased she "suffered". I don't wish for her to be jaded, she just needs a bit more reality in her world view to make her more likeable.
The excerpt from the next book was intriguing. 114 days without violence, huh? Sounds dull. Not for long, I bet!(less)
This is a wonderful sequel to [Book:Poison Study], which I read this from start to finish in one session. The natural progression of the story as well...moreThis is a wonderful sequel to [Book:Poison Study], which I read this from start to finish in one session. The natural progression of the story as well as great character development hold this book to the same standards as it predecessor.
Janco and Ari who appear in the first book provide the comic relief in this one, a new character Cahil provides some mystery and becomes a short-lived love interest, and new friend Dax who loves to tell Yelena of the astounding rumours about her as they crop up.
I loved Yelena's close relationship with Cahil's horse Topaz and her own incredibly loyal horse Kiki and their love of apples and peppermints.
I felt the Commander was ingenious in his/her disguise as an Ambassador visiting Sitia, with only Yelena knowing the truth of his/her identity. I also liked the way the Commander handled Yelena's order of excution - a very wise decision was made.
Valek was as ruthless as always still protecting Yelena the best he can at risk to his own life. Yelena's ability to get below Valek's tough magic-immune exterior is nice but we still do not know much about Valek's past for me to truly love him as a character.
As for Yelena herself, her Soul-Finder status was brilliantly put across. Her compassion towards the beggar boy Fisk and his friends, the way she reached the catatonic Tula when others had given up on her, her ability to forgive her brother Leif and helping him heal his soul and her extraordinary ability to comfort and heal others is what makes this book worthy of all the praise it deserves.(less)
Gifted to me for Christmas 1994 by the Sunday School I temporarily attended - according to the bookplate - af...more*Cross-posted on BookLikes and Wordpress.
Gifted to me for Christmas 1994 by the Sunday School I temporarily attended - according to the bookplate - after I'd watched the 80s film adaptation at school, I remember the ungrateful disdain I felt for the novel; feeling I'd already read the book having watched the film. How ignorant I was. Granted, I only 8 years old, but we all know that adaptions are usually inferior to the original.
Unsure if I'd ever read this in my childhood during a desperately bored moment, I decided to seize upon the opportunity when this C.S. Lewis classic was selected for The Dead Writers Society's 2014 Series Project.
Immediately I was struck by the quaint simplicity of the language used 60 years ago and the innate kindness and naïveté expressed by the children of that era. Tedium and disjointed fantasist logic, though, soon irritated like mosquito bites; every few pages something caused an eye-twitch.
But in general, take my advice, when you meet anything that's going to be human and isn't yet, or used to be human once and isn't now, or ought to be human and isn't, you keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet. - Mr. Beaver
Anyone spot the irony? That's right, Mr. Beaver isn't human. There are no humans in Narnia, that's the reason for the children's importance. He's just warned them that every creature they encounter in his world is a physical danger to them, including himself. Ugh.
Edmund's betrayal abruptly dismissed and forgiven was one of the worst irritants as his implicit pride, arrogance and greed left him open to the White Witch's charms, and although it's hinted he punishes himself, no one berates him for betraying his siblings for the archetypal stranger offering chocolate in the windowless van.
Sheldon: Hold on. Just because the nice man is offering you candy, doesn’t mean you should jump into his windowless van. What’s the occasion? Seibert: Just a little fund-raiser for the university. Sheldon: Aha! The tear-stained air mattress in the back of the van. ~ The Big Bang Theory
While it's true that shame and self-punishment can sting more than anything anyone else could say, it still grates. Edmund's apparent hurried redemption off-stage - rewarded with a battlefield knighthood - and later becoming a 'graver and quieter man' earning the name 'Edmund the Just' feels like a cop out. However, he's the only character to be generally cautious, skeptical and untrusting as we witness him pointing out the unwise act of instantly trusting the word of a stranger, which is contradictory to his earlier aforementioned behaviour evident before he eats the tainted Turkish Delight. I suppose his complexity makes him the most interesting and well-developed character of the novel.
Edmund and the White Witch in her sleigh a.k.a. her windowless van
Crowning these sons of Adam and daughters of Eve for just showing up one day, also appalls me. Hardly meritocratic, and yet the 2005 movie changes this aspect. All four children earn their crowns by bravely fighting the good fight using the weapons bestowed upon them. Due to the time period in which this was written, Lewis only allows the Sons to wage war as Father Christmas claims "...battles are ugly when women fight" when gifting the girls with a bow and arrows (for Susan) and a dagger (for Lucy). Despite this, the boys do very little in the way of violence or strategy. Again, I can put this down to the age-appropriate and historical tolerance for violence in the media during the late 1940s.
Susan actually uses her bow
And now I'm reminded why I shouldn't read pre-teen fiction; it's never quite realistic enough for me to enjoy. However, I do wonder if this classic would make it past editors in this condition in the present day. Instinct tells me the manuscript's syntax would be tinkered with and more contractions added for a smoother reading experience, at the very least. Its current form left me eager to abandon it to the never-to-be-read-again shelves, if it hadn't been for the DWS Series Project, I would have, although I won't be reading the rest of the series.(less)
Touch of Power may be mildly similar to Poison Study which does bring in an element of predictability but it doesn’...morePlease, 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***(less)
Yelena was convicted of murdering a General’s son and was sentenced to death. As she is walking to her death she is redirected to Valek’s (chief of se...moreYelena was convicted of murdering a General’s son and was sentenced to death. As she is walking to her death she is redirected to Valek’s (chief of security) office where she is offered a choice: the noose or becoming the food taster for the Commander. Only the next convict sent to their death after the predecessor has died can become the new food taster as it is a death sentence anyway. Yelena accepts Valek’s offer but she is not only in danger from possible poisons in the Commander’s food but her life is threatened by the grieving General whose son she killed.
When Yelena was convicted no one knew her motive for the murder so everyone believes she is a cold-blooded killer, though Valek rightly begins to suspect otherwise. In this society any unnatural death is murder and therefore the punishment is always execution.
I was intrigued by the political structure in this society. The monarchy was overthrown by the current Commander and a new military structure was put into place. It seems like a very communist society for example, every child at age 12 is assigned a job based on their skills and is entered into training and every person must wear a uniform according to their political and social standing. This is very different to most of the fantasy books I have read.
Yelena was very well written. She is a victim to begin with, she would run away at the first sign of trouble but as she is put in more and more danger she decides to find people to teach her some fighting skills. She becomes more confident and stands up to those that are bullying her.
This is a very easy to read fantasy with plenty of action and adventure as well as a slow burning romance. A brilliant start to the Study series. (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)
Although this is the first book in Kelley Armstrong's young adult series I still enjoyed it. I did find it hard to get into at the beginning but event...moreAlthough this is the first book in Kelley Armstrong's young adult series I still enjoyed it. I did find it hard to get into at the beginning but eventually I got lost in it and read it in one sitting.
The Darkest Powers series is set in the same world as the Women of the Otherworld series and it shows more towards the end. I was a little surprised that this book was similar to Stolen, the second book in the Women of the Otherworld series but it was different enough that it was still worth reading. When I got to the end I was stunned to realise that it was a cliffhanger and was desperate to read more though I understand this to be part of a trilogy so more of a part one of three, something that I'm not used to with Kelley's books. I will definitely be buying the second book. (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)
After hearing so many good things about this audiobook, I decided to download it to my iPod. I loved James Marsters in Buffy and Angel so I thought th...moreAfter hearing so many good things about this audiobook, I decided to download it to my iPod. I loved James Marsters in Buffy and Angel so I thought this was the perfect book to get me started in this format.
Well, James Marsters was brilliant he really made an effort to bring this book to life with different voices, inflections etc. However this is the only good thing I can say about it. Harry was a moron, he may have had magical skill but little common sense. If you risk your life in your job why not learn some form of martial arts? Or even get some regular exercise? He was attacked a number of times but lacked any real skill or strength to fight back effectively even with magic. He was pitiful yet he still managed to survive. I didn't really understand that. No one is that lucky. I was cheering on the bad guys hoping one of them would take him out and make him a winner of the Darwin Awards. On top of this, Harry was very pessimistic, I'm pessimistic but well, Harry was so down on himself that I wondered why he hadn't tried to slit his wrists yet. Yes, there was humour but not enough to balance all the negativity, it was depressing.
The writing was awful, if it hadn't been for Mr. Marsters I would have given up on this almost immediately. There are so many bad things I can say: sexist comments, cheesy lines and a story so dull I forgot to listen in places but there was one character that woke me up - Bob. Bob was cheeky, funny and reminded me of James Marsters' former role as Spike yet he only had a small amount of stage time.
I've heard that this is the weakest of the series and that books 3 and 4 are when it really starts to take off but if this series hadn't been so popular I wouldn't even consider the sequel though I won't be touching it for a good long while.(less)
ETA: I've cancelled my pre-order of the UK edition of this book. I'm not happy with what I've heard about it. Thank you everyone for your spoilers, fo...moreETA: I've cancelled my pre-order of the UK edition of this book. I'm not happy with what I've heard about it. Thank you everyone for your spoilers, for once I really mean that. Dark Swan will forever be known to me as a duology. I won't be reading another Mead book.
I enjoyed the wild ride of the first two in the trilogy but I could not get into the whole Fire Warper thing in this one. Other than that this was a v...moreI enjoyed the wild ride of the first two in the trilogy but I could not get into the whole Fire Warper thing in this one. Other than that this was a very interesting series. (less)
I listened to the audio of this novella today. It wasn't bad but it isn't something you have to read as part of the series. It's an Eve book set 5 yea...moreI listened to the audio of this novella today. It wasn't bad but it isn't something you have to read as part of the series. It's an Eve book set 5 years after Haunted. I would have rather had the book so I could look at the illustrations but I wasn't savvy enough to figure out this was a limited edition. I learned my lesson, I've pre-ordered the next one, Counterfeit Magic (a Paige book featuring Savannah) which Kelley has promised will be even better (and longer).(less)