Not bad for something so short. Some background was given for both characters and the warring shapeshifter clans, and I enjoyed the writing for the mo...moreNot bad for something so short. Some background was given for both characters and the warring shapeshifter clans, and I enjoyed the writing for the most part, however the whole fated-to-be-mated theme was ridiculously overdone. It just left me cringing every time they declared their need for one another when they'd literally just met.(less)
Well, this was different. In a good way, of course. Most books that use mythology tend to stick with the Greek and Roman pantheon, instead this focuse...moreWell, this was different. In a good way, of course. Most books that use mythology tend to stick with the Greek and Roman pantheon, instead this focuses on the Egyptian one. Let me just say that I love Ancient Egypt and it's mythology. I've been to Egypt, visited exhibits and so on so this was something I was eager to read.
Sins of the Heart follows Dagan Krayle, the eldest son of Seth, the Egyptian god of chaos. All of his 4 sons are Darksoul reapers -they reap the souls of evildoers and feed them to their father who consumes their energy, preventing them from having any sort of afterlife and any chance at reincarnation, effectively destroying them completely.
Dagan meets a 19 year old Roxy on a reap of a kidnapper and murderer. She's been kidnapped and is trying to escape. Dagan admires her courage and is tempted to release her though it goes against the rules when she sees him take the heart and soul he came for. He spots her necklace which is of the Daughters of Aset -the enemies of his father. He knows she isn't one of them yet but advises her to stay away from the unless she wants to become his enemy, and though she doesn't want that she feels she has no choice and joins them anyway.
Eleven years later, one of Dagan's brother's has been killed. Seth is furious, he wants vengeance and his son's body so that he can resurrect him and find out who murdered him. Everything points to the Daughters of Aset and in Dagan's investigation he finds a necklace of a dead woman which matches Roxy's and prays she's not dead. He goes searching for her hoping she's leading the normal life he wished for her on the day he broke the rules and let her go free.
There was a lot of world building in the first 200 pages or so which I appreciate but the romance did suffer a bit because of this. There was a brief scene between the Dae and Roxy where they met and then were reunited after those 200 pages so the romance had less time to blossom even though both Dae and Roxy were yearning for each other in the 11 years they were parted.
The plot was solid and interesting though at times a little complicated with 6 or more POVs but I understand why all of these were necessary. The mystery behind which god is backing the destruction of Seth and his kin is a difficult one to guess at with so many different factors involved.
This is a complex book which though confusing at times, I enjoyed. I will definitely be continuing the series very soon so I don't have time to forget anything. 3.5 stars.(less)
Ever feel like you're missing something? I was constantly reminded that I'm not a Twi-Hard by the never-ending references to the Saga, especially Brea...moreEver feel like you're missing something? I was constantly reminded that I'm not a Twi-Hard by the never-ending references to the Saga, especially Breaking Dawn (I think). How can the author refer to things (view spoiler)[imprinting -something to do with cementing a relationship? (hide spoiler)] and not explain them enough for me, someone who only made it half way through New Moon, to understand what the heck you're talking about.
I got the feeling that the editors went over this with a fine tooth comb so as not to have any lawyers screaming and suing. Referencing Meyer herself will probably stop them from shouting "Plagiarism!". It's all very well tipping your hat to a favourite book (Twilight and Blood and Chocolate) and movies (The Princess Bride) but you shouldn't really base your book on another where you're constantly referring to it -we usually save that sort of thing for non-fiction, essays and reviews.
Despite similarities to "that damn series" this was a fast and easy read due to the engrossing writing. I can't be too positive about all of the characters though. I don't like Pietr, he's Edward in Jacob's werewolf body, ugh. The whole pulling away to keep you safe thing -gimme a break. The change in Derek's character was interesting but I'm finding it hard to reconcile his character in the two books because they're so different even though they're supposed to be. (view spoiler)[Was there any indication of what he is and what he was doing in the first book? Because I don't remember there being any. (hide spoiler)] It kinda threw me but it made for good reading.
The characters I like are: Max -I loved his undiscovered depths. Everyone assumes he's a man-whore but he's an adorable hero-in-the-making, Amy -the physical abuse by her boyfriend and the effect it had on her was very well done, Cat -her straightforwardness and her bravery, and Sophia -she's become really helpful and I'm guessing she'll be needed in the final instalment.
As for Jess, I got annoyed with her for not putting things together faster even though her memories/actions/emotions were being manipulated. The clues were so obvious. Hello? Derek, derek, derek. Blood, blood, blood. Simple.
Dr. Jones was odd at the end. It was stupid for Jess to spill her guts like that to a stranger when she knew there was stranger-danger. (view spoiler)[I'm guessing Dr. Jones is pretty high up in The Company if even Wanda was shocked by her roughness. (hide spoiler)] Why not tell her sister instead? She's a smart girl who isn't asking questions, and why not? Plenty of suspicious activity going on around her and she doesn't notice? Hmm. Hopefully she and her father will finally be clued into the situation in the next book.
I'm so glad Bargains and Betrayals is coming out in August, I hate unfinished stories. Thankfully this is a trilogy which is good because I really dislike the near-cliffhangers.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Wow, I never expected such a great YA book! The story was so intricately woven with enough action to entertain even with the world-building necessary...moreWow, I never expected such a great YA book! The story was so intricately woven with enough action to entertain even with the world-building necessary for a first book.
My only real complaint was that there's so little interaction between Bryn and Chase. I was dying to know more about him and was desperate to see some "padding" in their relationship other than the basic connection they formed. The one-word sentences between them in animal-instinct-language weren't enough and to be honest became irritatingly repetitive after a while.
My feelings about Callum swang in different directions throughout the book but by the end they'd done a complete 360 degree circle. His life is tough. Navigating through the endless decisions he has to make and the resulting outcomes is an impossible task, and takes an incredible strength to cope with such a responsibility. I couldn't help but respect him but being on the receiving end of his manipulations probably doesn't feel good so I could completely identify with Bryn on that.
After such a strong start, I can only hope the sequel is as great. 4.5 stars.(less)
Wynter comes home with her ill father after five years away to find the kingdom oppressed by their once benevolent king. What is going on? Why has he...moreWynter comes home with her ill father after five years away to find the kingdom oppressed by their once benevolent king. What is going on? Why has he changed? And where is his son and heir and Wynter's childhood playmate, Alberon? That's the main focus of this book.
The distressing situation in which the King finds himself harming his children and his kingdom in order to save it is alluded to but not revealed which left me generally feeling frustrated and confused.
His overall behaviour is odd. He does the most cruel and violent things and yet manages to display anguish and regret at what he's done as well as tenderness and perhaps even love for his old friend Lorcan, Wynter's father.
The King's calculated manipulations never included Wynter except to occasionally demand she stand in for her father. I fully expected the King to pay more attention to her especially since she got away with being rude as well as defying him and considering the rumours about his son Razi as well as the threats to his life I assumed the King would force him to marry Wynter despite their brother-sister friendship.
I would've much preferred this to the strange growing feelings between Wynter and Christopher. Their changing relationship was unnatural. I understood Christopher's attraction to Wynter with his promiscuous nature and his sudden need to protect her after his torture but Wynter never thought of him in a romantic sense, even if her father assumed she did. She reacted to him, a major ally to both herself and Razi, being ripped away, forced to leave to stop him from being used against them.
Wynter's decision to abandon her father's plan and seek Alberon, although brave, seemed incredibly stupid. She doesn't have all of the facts. She hasn't seen him in years. He could try to kill her or use her to kill Razi as he's been trying to do. Which doesn't make sense, why not kill the king? The people will never accept Razi as king and he doesn't want the job so why try to kill him?
I love the cover, the font used and I felt sympathy for Wynter, her dying father, Razi and Christopher. This was very readable, my curiosity implored me to keep turning those pages hoping more would be revealed or some relief given to the characters. I've pre-ordered the next book, I just hope that more is revealed within it's pages.(less)
Dashed hopes. That's what this book was for me. With all the rave reviews I expected a 5 star read but I was left disappointed.
The first half of the...moreDashed hopes. That's what this book was for me. With all the rave reviews I expected a 5 star read but I was left disappointed.
The first half of the book was ok and seemed to be heading some place good but then Katsa and Po rushed into a sexual relationship that she wasn't ready for. For some reason she thought that being with Po was an all-or-nothing affair, she needed time to get used to her feelings for him. One second she acknowledges her attraction to him and the next they're doing the dirty - I was unprepared for this being a YA book and all. Not a good message for the kids.
Afterwards I expected Katsa to soften just a little around the edges at least with Po; more smiles, small touches, gestures, glances between them but I was left wanting. The tension between the two characters before they got together was good but afterwards...it all seemed very forced. Katsa didn't love Po, Po may have loved Katsa but she didn't love him. She felt friendship - a bond of sharing, affection but love? No. It was almost as if she was responding to Po's desire for her rather than her own wants. She was wooden for most of the book, she rarely had any emotions except anger and perhaps fear. Even her feelings for Bitterblue were muted. She cared for her and taught her how to hold a blade because she needed her to live so that leaving Po behind had been worth it. Bitterblue didn't appear to grow on her at all, Katsa cared very little for others except her cousin and Po and even then it was debatable as to how much she cared for them.
Katsa didn't really change over the course of the book. Yes she refused to be her uncle's tool anymore but what else? She is with Po only because he needs her and she cares about him - that is it. She is not perfect, she doesn't realise that Po would never "trap" her in what Katsa sees as a typical marriage, one where the husband is always dominating and controlling his wife. Po on the other hand, made progress in leaps and bounds, I think I would have been happier if this story had been told from his perspective. He showed plenty of emotion, his grace would have made it interesting and he had all of that family who I would have loved to have seen more of. So much happened to him in this book that he sort of made Katsa look boring in comparison.
**MAJOR SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT**
The demise of King Leck came about rather suddenly and too easily in my opinion. He was made out to be a very powerful evil man, hard to kill but he was brought down after only a couple of very short face-to-face encounters with Katsa. It was implied earlier in the book that he would try to make Katsa hunt and kill Po or someone that one of them cared about. It never happened.
The story after King Leck's defeat was strange. I felt it unlikely that Po would have survived so well on his own even though he did suffer permanent injury. I like a bit of reality in my fantasy - it has to have some believability to it.
All of this made me wonder if this book had originally been written for adults and was cut down to a shorter teenage-friendly size. If it had then I would understand why King Leck had to be defeated so quickly and why the second half of the book was so odd.
As I read the last sentences I felt sad, not because it was an unhappy ending, it wasn't (it wasn't exactly a happy one either) but because it had potential to be something more than it was.(less)
This was my first ever zombie read and I absolutely loved it. Jenni and Katie become sisters-in-arms, developing an unbreakable bond in the face of th...moreThis was my first ever zombie read and I absolutely loved it. Jenni and Katie become sisters-in-arms, developing an unbreakable bond in the face of the zombie holocaust. I was envious of their friendship. They came from very different backgrounds, their old lives lost and embark on new ones together and in Jenni’s case with a completely new personality as a crazy risk taker. Their survival was more about luck than skill, it was horrifying to see good people die so quickly and easily.
After reading this, for the first time I wished I lived in a gun-toting country. I want a gun, make that “guns”, plural, and a never-ending supply of bullets. You know, just in case.
My Favourite Bits The zombie old man outside the library clutching “Better Sex After 60″
Juan to Travis about Katie: “Ever see Chasing Amy?” “No.” “Eh, you’re fucked” “Yeah.”
Juan to Jenni: “Dropping from the harness is real loca, Loca. What if you had missed and hit the spikes?” “Um, you would miss me?” “Yeah, right.”
Mike's ominous "...the black man always gets it"
The fact that Jenni's mixed race: her mother was Mexican, dad Irish so she can speak Spanish.
**spoiler alert** Hmm, I didn’t not like it but I wasn’t in love with it either. The story was so fast paced that I never really connected with Sabrie...more**spoiler alert** Hmm, I didn’t not like it but I wasn’t in love with it either. The story was so fast paced that I never really connected with Sabriel or her father and felt very little when he finally died, maybe I would have felt differently if he had spent more time on centre stage at the beginning. Overall I needed more interaction between Sabriel, Mogget (loved his grumpy sarcasm) and Touchstone - just some chatter that wasn’t related to “the mission” to help them become better acquainted with one another, friendlier perhaps in order to strengthen their ties.
The ending was quite abrupt and felt this was a missed opportunity for character development. I wanted to see Touchstone shake off some of his guilt and embrace his future. I wanted to know how Mogget survived the seventh bell and if being consumed had changed him. And I wanted to know how Kerrigor took to becoming a black cat. All of these things could so easily have been addressed in a well-crafted extended epilogue placed after the original epilogue of course. One thing I did like at the end was the contrast in colour between the two cats; one white mostly helpful cat and one black very evil one sitting side by side - it was a nice touch.
From everything I have just written, I’ve realised that I just needed the characters to be fleshed out a bit to make me fall in love with them because to me they seemed grey and needed to be painted with more colour, more life even if the story did revolve around death. (less)
The Black Jewels Trilogy is an amazingly complex good-versus-evil dark fantasy trilogy which sends you on a highly strung rollercoaster of emotions. T...moreThe Black Jewels Trilogy is an amazingly complex good-versus-evil dark fantasy trilogy which sends you on a highly strung rollercoaster of emotions. The trilogy is made up of the three books: Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows and Queen of Darkness.
The world that Anne Bishop creates is a matriarchal society led by queens and based on the caste system of the Blood jewels. There are queens of villages, towns, districts and provinces. The hierarchy dictates that a village queen serves the town queen, the town queen serves the district queen and the district queen serves the province queen. The Blood Jewels caste system relates to the amount of power or magic that a person or animal (Kindred) has. There are landens, those without magic and the Blood those with magic. The Blood are given jewels which represent their power level: birthright jewels and the jewels given after they make their offering to the Darkness – this is usually a darker jewel than their birthright jewel. The darker the jewel the more powerful the person / animal.
Daughter of the Blood charts the emergence of Jaenelle Angelline (‘Witch’, ‘Dreams Made Flesh’) through the viewpoints of Daemon Sadi (‘The Sadist’) and Lucivar Yaslana – half brothers and their estranged father, Saetan Daemon SaDiablo – the High Lord of Hell. Both Saetan and Daemon are the only ones to wear the Black the most powerful jewel before Jaenelle comes into the picture. There are three realms: Terrielle, Kaeleer (‘The Shadow realm’) and Hell. Saetan rules Hell and protects Kaeleer. Daemon and Lucivar are pleasure slaves in the court of Dorothea, the self- appointed high priestess of Hayll. She is not a queen and only queens are supposed to rule. She craves power so much that she corrupts the realm of Terreille by destroying all of the powerful queens and effectively destroying the harmonious relationship which is supposed to exist between the queens and their males, the most powerful of which are called Warlord Princes. The males are supposed to choose whom they serve and serve by their own will. Instead Dorothea rules by fear, the females fear being ‘broken’, losing their magic either through breaking their mental shields with magic or by rape. If broken badly enough they can be lost to the Twisted Kingdom (a place of mental insanity) or even die. The males fear being ‘shaved’ (becoming eunuchs)for Dorothea's entertainment (outside of Terreille this can be a punishment for rape).
As a seven year old child Jaenelle Angelline asks Saetan to be her mentor, to teach her craft, when he sees that her birthright jewels are the Black and that she not only holds one but many he agrees. During the next few years she goes missing and Saetan attempts to find her but there is one place where the dead cannot enter. Jaenelle has protected against him. Dorothea with the help of Hekatah, Saetan's evil ex-wife, she finds out about Saetan's new obsession and sets out to either destroy Jaenelle or lure her to their side.
In Heir to the Darkness, more than two years have passed Jaenelle is still in the abyss that is the Black, she is fearful and will not return to her body. When she finally comes out of her coma she does not remember the trauma that precipitated it. Saetan does his best to help her heal by inviting her old friends to visit her, which helps her find herself again. Meanwhile Daemon is looking for Jaenelle, unable to remember what he has done, only remembering the blood on his hands. He worries he has killed Jaenelle. He goes to break his brother Lucivar out of a prison camp but is met with hostility. Lucivar was told that Daemon raped and killed Jaenelle and says as much to Daemon who runs off and becomes lost to the Twisted Kingdom tormented by what he believes he has done.
When the Dark Council come to believe, through Dorothea's manipulations, that Saetan is harming Jaenelle they attempt to take her away from him, she fights back in the most extraordinary way which leaves the council begging. Lucivar breaks out of the salt mines and makes for his homeland battered and broken. He is found by Jaenelle and Saetan who over the course of many months help him heal. He becomes Jaenelle’s protector, even protecting her from herself. After many attacks on her friends from the Kindred lands Jaenelle is forced to make her Offering to the Darkness and comes out with the unheard of Ebony jewels, she sets up her own court and becomes Queen of Kaeleer, the most powerful Queen there has ever been in order to protect them. Eventually Jaenelle remembers what happened to her and can’t believe that she forgot Daemon. She goes into the Twisted Kingdom and leaves a trail for him to follow with the promise of the Consort’s Ring and that she will be there when he comes out.
In Queen of Darkness, people are pouring into Kaeleer from Terrielle desperately trying to escape a society where rape and torture are apart of everyday life. Jaenelle is reunited with Daemon but Dorothea and Hekatah have found a way to get the power they have always craved, Terreille will go to war with Kaeleer but will Kaeleer go to war with Terreille? No? Then who will go to war with Terreille? Witch. But will she survive? After all, 'Everything has a price'.
This book (or books) may be too macabre for some but it takes the very worst and the very best that humanity has to offer and sends the reader on a fantastic journey. There are manipulations and misunderstandings aplenty with some doing evil because they are evil and some doing evil in order to do good. Your expectations of the characters are twisted especially with Saetan Daemon SaDiablo, the High Lord of Hell and his two sons Daemon Sadi and Lucivar Yaslana being good guys, who would have guessed!
This trilogy is both terrifyingly sadistic and beautifully triumphant. And at times it can be hilariously funny. I would say this trilogy is a cross between Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel trilogies and Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician’s trilogy. This is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. (less)