I really want to give this 4 stars because my brain switched off and went along for the ride, just enjoying the reading experience. However, I was awa...moreI really want to give this 4 stars because my brain switched off and went along for the ride, just enjoying the reading experience. However, I was aware of a couple of points when I felt uncomfortable with what was happening (rape-y), it's pretty much anti-feminist (think: caveman patriarchy) and may be offensive to some, there's insta-love/Stockholm Syndrome, and it wasn't the best story in the world. It's certainly not for everyone. But again, I enjoyed it. I feel slightly guilty for doing so, like I'm betraying my sisters. A guilty pleasure, it is then.(less)
F814's past is extremely well-written. The 5-star torture scenes are eerily reminiscent of Captain Jean Luc Picard's "There are four lights!" (YouTube...moreF814's past is extremely well-written. The 5-star torture scenes are eerily reminiscent of Captain Jean Luc Picard's "There are four lights!" (YouTube), though Langlais's scenes are infinitely more horrific.
I'm pleased to say Solus is kind and and considerate of F814's past and her fears. He never crossed the line and F814's behaviour and decisions were understandable and felt fairly realistic. She's unknowingly tough. Her ignorance regarding her past, her identity and her extreme fear of things like showers, is extremely sad although her innocence creates that instinctual need to care for and protect her.
The only downside is some cheesy writing and a handful of odd extraneous words which appear next to those of similar spelling, if not meaning.
There's-nothing-better-than-a-good-fight Aramus is Jayne from Firefly and Serenity, and I suspect his book will be next. And then perhaps the deceptively harmless and human-like Seth's. (less)
Wolf seduced me. I freely admit it. I love shifter romances, and although he's not strictly a shifter, Wolf does possess wolf DNA. His personality and...moreWolf seduced me. I freely admit it. I love shifter romances, and although he's not strictly a shifter, Wolf does possess wolf DNA. His personality and romance held all the yumminess required to have me falling head over heels. I didn't care that he and Scarlet technically spent mere hours in each other's company, and this is brought up many times, but they are quality hours. Wolf's behaviour spoke volumes.
My preference for Thorne over Kai is going to bite me in the arse. I'm definitely setting myself up for a fall there. Yeah, Thorne's firmly entrenched as Cinder's sidekick stuck in the friend zone, and he was slow to pick up on clues, but he's a relaxed guy (aren't all good thieves?) taking everything in his stride until the shit hits the fan. He's incredibly loyal, lively, funny and non-judgmental. Cinder's cyborgness didn't faze him, he was curious more than anything - contrasting with the general public's hatred, Cinder's stepmother leading by example.
Kai pales in comparison to Thorne, and he no longer interests me after his initial disgust upon finding out very publicly Cinder's lunar and cyborg status, and despite knowing he had no time to process the shock and ask himself whether it mattered when he took his feelings into account, his immediate reaction was off-putting. The “I don’t see that her being cyborg is relevant” comment came a bit late for me. I can't help but feel Cinder deserves better.
The humans and the lunars are the monsters here. Cyborgs, robots (I love Iko!) and the 'wolves' are the victims and act (or have the potential to act) with more humanity, dignity and grace than their creators.
Levana's left herself deeply vulnerable by genetically engineering Lunars, turning them into 'wolves'. Dispatching Wolf's unit leaves them free for Cinder to use - a dangerous thing to do. You want to deprive your enemy of resources instead of handing them over on a silver platter.
Meyer might be biting off more than she can chew by using multiple POVs because it's going to require exceptional skill to handle and choreograph the 5+ POVs in the following books (Scarlet, Cinder, Wolf, Kai, Levana in addition to new characters). However, Meyer's managed to reel me in after an almost mediocre reaction to the debut with new intense relationships sparking with chemistry, camaraderie and humorous dialogue, not forgetting the torturous emotional turmoil and distinct characters bursting with personality. Scarlet could've easily been reduced to a crappy filler book without these things because on the face of it, plot-wise, not much progression has been made, though I don't feel I've wasted my time - that's a job well done.
Damn this seductively beautiful book cover. *sigh*
Confused and worried about the yo-yo ratings given this by my friends, I was hoping my experience wo...moreDamn this seductively beautiful book cover. *sigh*
Confused and worried about the yo-yo ratings given this by my friends, I was hoping my experience would fall closer to the positive end of the scale and since I decided to participate in a read-along with THT I gave it my best effort. And a challenging read it was. I dragged myself, kicking and screaming to page 80 whereupon I began the process of DNFing when I realised the griffin, much-loved by many reviewers, had entered the picture. One last chance was given for Stormdancer to win me over. Unnecessary animal cruelty sealed its fate.
The insurmountable problems I experienced while reading Stormdancer:
• Ignorance. I don't enjoy feeling stupid. Too many foreign words were introduced without explanation (some of which were repetitive). Later, I learned there was a GLOSSARY IN THE BACK. Reading the e-ARC, this was a bit of a problem. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out how to find it and refer to it in a timely manner or use Google I continued reading, hoping it wouldn't matter. IT DOES MATTER. DON'T READ THE EBOOK, read a hardcopy. To my dismay I found myself calculating how much Japanese culture, media and language I have consumed (view spoiler)[(I've watched Pokémon TV series and Studio Ghibli movies. Owned a Tamagotchi. Read and enjoyed Battle Royale and watched the movie. I'm aware of things like manga, animé, shibari and hentai.) (hide spoiler)] because I understood just one word: katana. A sword. The rest...who knows what it said or meant because it went right over my head.
• Authenticity was always going to be an issue being that the author is neither Japanese, and as far as I know, didn't spend considerable time in Japan. Artistic license is allowed and I definitely noticed non-Japanese references like the mention of pandas. I can't speak to how authentic Stormdancer is, but having recently read Across the Nightingale Floor, also by a Western author, I'm wary now of authors writing books set within histories and cultures they haven't immersed themselves in and admittedly know little about.
• World-building. Wading through the info-dump, compounded by my ignorance of the language, consisting of detailed stories and myths I couldn't fathom or hope to remember, was nearly impossible to read. Real myths or part of Kristoff's fiction? Important to his story or not? I didn't know. The author certainly succeeded in convincing me I was an alien introduced to an entirely different world.
• Slow pace. Very little happens in the 90 pages I read. I liked three of the scenes: the drunken gambling, the playful puppy and the childhood memory about the heroine's unusual ability to communicate with animals via telepathy. Golden nuggets of awesome in the writing of those scenes lured me into continuing. That, and the Guildsmen reminded me of Hellboy's Karl Ruprecht Kroenen. I'm not sure if that was intended or even an accurate interpretation, its just what I imagined from the description. Anyway, not much else happens between receiving orders from the Shogun to find and retrieve a griffin and actually stumbling upon one.
• Unnecessary animal cruelty. If communicating with the creature was possible, why not give it an ultimatum -i.e. stop thrashing about which will cause us to crash our airship or we'll have to clip your wings, which is it? Such a simple step and one which would've preserved this mythical specimen, perhaps the only one of its kind left, to present to the Shogun in perfect condition. I hardly see the Shogun being able to ride the griffin into battle, as he wished to, now the poor creature's wings have been clipped.
I desperately wanted to like this book for its uniqueness amongst other young adult novels, even adult ones, in not only setting a tale in a non-traditional (i.e. non-Western) place but going back to feudal times, adding steampunk and griffins -a tall order. With such lofty aspirations Stormdancer was either going to be award-winningly brilliant where we'd all be toasting Kristoff's genius, or quietly hoping to forget this overly ambitious experiment. Sadly, I'm in the latter camp. Sorry.
***My thanks to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the e-Arc in return for an honest review.*** ________________________________
Man, this book has qualities I wish Cinder had. Not that Cinder was bad, I just found it difficult to fully understand what it meant to be cyborg just...moreMan, this book has qualities I wish Cinder had. Not that Cinder was bad, I just found it difficult to fully understand what it meant to be cyborg just from Cinder's (likely abnormal) experiences. Not so here. You see I'm fairly new to the concept so I needed it spelled out for me. I get it now. The idea of cyborgs is an intriguing one with many areas to debate and explore. The history and creation of Langlais's half man, half machines struggling to recover their human sides were interesting. I'm glad this isn't a stand alone.
Joe a.k.a. X109GI, is mentally halfway between Seth (very human) and Solus (very robotic) and has managed to recover a small part of his humanity that's until he meets his woman who teaches him jealousy and love. Chloe is a human bereft of life, safety and happiness until she meets Joe.
Chloe's reactions towards the end aroused strong emotion. I felt so sorry for her and completely understood her pain and confusion. But way to get mad! Her homicidal rage certainly rebutted any suspicions she was weak. However, if I understood this correctly there were some continuity issues (view spoiler)[regarding Chloe knowing of being abused and raped on multiple occasions before the memories were forced on her and she remembered it all (hide spoiler)]. Still, I quite I enjoyed this novella.
Solus's book is up next -Yes! (His name sounds like "soulless", does it not? How apt.) Take that, 'cyborg snob'. You will succumb to faulty programming lowly human emotion.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Revived committed suicide early on, but somehow it was saved. It was... Revived. Dun, dun, dun.
The Science. Oh dear god, the science!
"Revive" is a dru...moreRevived committed suicide early on, but somehow it was saved. It was... Revived. Dun, dun, dun.
The Science. Oh dear god, the science!
"Revive" is a drug which brings the recently dead back to life though it heals no wounds and cures no disease.
Adrenaline, anyone? Has this not been discovered in this world yet? Why yes, it has. Daisy has epi-pens on hand for a deadly allergy. So how is it any different from adrenaline? There's no answer because Revive's discovery was never explained. Nor is the state of any "Revived" individual. Are they the living dead? Still human? Able to reproduce? No idea.
Also: A bus crash with no survivors would mean lots of corpses with fatal injuries. Only those who'd died by passive means, like asphyxiation, might be revivable. (Yet they tried the drug out on a child with a foreign body piercing his brain. *facepalm*) Then again, in this experiment, no other treatment can be performed in addition to Revive's administration. No CPR. This means no circulation of oxygenated blood to the brain, heart and lungs -critical organs this drug needs to work on. So how is it going to get to its target destination from the injection site? No defibrillation to restart the heart. The drug would have to be administered with 5 minutes of flat-lining to avoid risking brain damage or brain death. But it would do no good if Revive can't be transported around the body in order to do its job. Actual revival rate: MINISCULE. Viability of drug (under these conditions): NONE.
In conjunction with other resuscitation methods it would probably act like adrenaline, possibly keeping someone alive long enough for surgery. But for the sake of secrecy and the experiment the success rate of the drug would be so close to zero it wouldn't be worth using.
That CPR trick at the end is: (a) MEDICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. 12 minutes dead (timed anyway, death had to have occurred much earlier - see below) with no intervention? Nothing you can do, they're dead and gone. (b) LOGISTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. (view spoiler)[According to Wikipedia, anaphylaxis can occur 5 to 30 minutes after exposure, and hundreds of bee stings would've accelerated the process. Say it took 10 minutes until death, plus 12 after. Communication boyfriend-friend-agent-aeroplane, finding a suitable place to land, landing and finding/flagging down a car near a small town -30 mins at least. Driving 100mph for 20 miles equals another 12 minutes. (hide spoiler)] Not enough time for help to arrive and still be of any use.
Epic science fail on the science fiction front.
Realistic contemporary YA front Great. There were definitely some perfectly portrayed emotional moments concerning (view spoiler)[The Big C (hide spoiler)]. Even though I guessed correctly about what was up with Audrey it didn't take away the fact that I haven't encountered this issue in paranormal or sci-fi YA before. It was different, new.
Daisy's parental figures, there are three, were all present and/or made an appearance. No disappearing parent syndrome, although caring Mother #1 was replaced by robo-Cassie a.k.a. uncaring Mother #2, or the fem-bot as Daisy calls her. Then there's Mason who I suspected had difficulty staying objective instead of treating his "daughter" like a lab rat, as he should.
Matt, Daisy's love interest, isn't a jerk. Nor is he abusive. He does act out, but he has every reason for doing so, and he apologises for his behaviour. Overall, he's responsible and caring.
Megan is a teenage transgendered character, something I've never encountered in fiction. She's my first. There were a couple of moments I really felt she was a flamboyantly camp stereotype, most commonly attributed to gay males, but I overlooked this for her valuable insight and understanding.
The only thing I didn't get were the cultural references to music. Way before my time (I'm 25).
The Conspiracy While I anticipated parts of it I wasn't frustrated by its small element of predictability. It was satisfactory.
Readability Despite the science fails, I kept reading. And eagerly, too. That says a heck of a lot. High quality writing, a fast pace and it demonstrated an excellent understanding of difficult emotions, like guilt and grief.
Cringe-worthiness: Some. The ooey-gooey crush developing into a romance, the divulging of dangerous secrets when it wouldn't benefit a certain party, and a little Mary Sue-ness.
Anyone who's seen this movie will know what I mean. Presenting a fake family unit to the outside world, selling the perfect family to the public when in reality none of them are related or romantically involved with each other, and all of them employees of the same organisation. It's all pretend. David Duchovny is Mason, playing the role of Dad, with the same ensuing emotional development of deepening attachment to a character, but in this case, of the father-daughter variety. Fake names, documents, moving house every time the cover's blown, again, all reminiscent of the movie.
The head of the organisation in the book is nicknamed "God" for playing god by resurrecting the dead. His employees are his "Disciples", and Revived children, "Converts". It makes a surreal sort of sense.
Conclusion Usually, failing so completely on the science will earn a book 1, maybe 2 stars, and will be forever consigned to the shit-list shelf. No, 3 stars this time. Even though the romance seemed typically thin at first, it grew into something real, while the emotions of all involved were also authentic. I didn't hate the characters, a common complaint with me. Being a stand alone also helps its case. If I see other works by Patrick in my local library's catalogue, I wouldn't say no to reading them, but I wouldn't trust the science!["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)
Okay, perhaps I'm overly sensitive but this should've been novel-sized instead of a novella. Maybe then I would've enjoyed this more because 1) the in...moreOkay, perhaps I'm overly sensitive but this should've been novel-sized instead of a novella. Maybe then I would've enjoyed this more because 1) the insta-love I couldn't accept especially since 2) the female protagonist had in the past been raped on a daily basis for over a year, ten years before she tangos with the man, the first she'd come close to since then, she would fall for. Although it was approached in a considerate way I was still uncomfortable and not quite believing she would so easily trust any man after her experience chained to a bed in a brothel despite being drugged most of the time. (less)