Poetic, lyrical, magical, sensual- this book was a delight to read, and I found myself compelled to read some of the more descriptive passages to othe...morePoetic, lyrical, magical, sensual- this book was a delight to read, and I found myself compelled to read some of the more descriptive passages to others while I was engaged in the story. I so wish I could buy a ticket to Le Cirque des Reves!
I would recommend it to anyone who does not mind a bit of magic in their lives, and who is looking for a delectable and deep story to fall into. Content is appropriate for older teens (there may have been some cursing, though very mild, and kissing). (less)
The daughter of Lilith and Lucifer, Daphne has lived a sheltered, boring life in Pandemonium. But when her beloved brother goes missing on Earth, and...moreThe daughter of Lilith and Lucifer, Daphne has lived a sheltered, boring life in Pandemonium. But when her beloved brother goes missing on Earth, and is feared to be the victim of an avenging angel, Daphne seems to be the only one who can make the journey to go find him. And so begins a unique adventure where our pre-disposed notions of what is evil/good, beautiful/terrifying are challenged by Yovanoff's creative and poetic writing.
I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to fans of paranormal romance, but who may be looking for something with a bit more substance and seriousness. (less)
Her Higness, Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza, Princess of Orovalle (Elisa for short) is a very special young lady. But it is not her royal blood that makes he...moreHer Higness, Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza, Princess of Orovalle (Elisa for short) is a very special young lady. But it is not her royal blood that makes her so, since she is only the second born princess of her kingdowm and not the heir to the throne. It is not her stunning beauty, because she is actually rather large and plain and has trouble fitting into any kind of fashionable style. No, what makes Elisa special has everything to do with her belly-button, or rather, the Godstone that was magically inserted there on her naming day when she was a baby. This Godstone is given to the "bearer" only once every four generations and from that moment it is placed, the bearer knows that at some point in their life they will be called upon to perform a great service in the name of god. But Elise doesn't know what her service may be, or if she ever will, and on the day this book begins she is 16 years old and being married to a man she has never met before- a king from a neighboring kingdom.
Shy, nervous, and full of low self-esteem, Elisa simply hopes her future husband will be kind. But when he turns out to be startling handsome and gentle, she thinks perhaps she could learn to love him. Even when he asks her to keep their marraige a secret when they return to his kingdom, she agrees with the hope that he can possibly, maybe, learn to love her too. However, his kingdom is on the brink of war with an army of over-whelming numbers and brutal savagery and before she even has time to assess the court intrigue and atmoshpere, she is kidnapped one night and taken into the desert by brigands, who hope to use her Godstone to save their little corner of the kingdom from the invading army.
And so begins and epic adventure in which Elisa must discover her talents, both magical and natural and find a way to fulfill her destiny.
With this debut novel, Rae Carson has proven her skill at character development and world builder to such a degree that I am anxiously awaiting whatever her next novel might be. Whether or not it will be a sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns is up to her, but for now, I was wholly satisfied with this novel from beginning to end. I would recommend this novel to fans of Graceling, Tamora Pierce and anyone who appreciates a good fantasy tale. There was no content to be worried about for younger readers, just a few chaste kisses. (less)
You know when you are at the end of a book and tears are streaming down your cheeks and blurring your vision but you don't even want to spare the mome...moreYou know when you are at the end of a book and tears are streaming down your cheeks and blurring your vision but you don't even want to spare the moment it would take to wipe them from your eyes because you just have to finish RIGHT NOW? Yeah, "The Scorpio Races" was like that.(less)
For teen readers that love their fantasy mythology intermixed with "real life" but are looking for something beyond the Greek mythos, this book is hig...moreFor teen readers that love their fantasy mythology intermixed with "real life" but are looking for something beyond the Greek mythos, this book is highly recommended. At first, the book starts out seeming like every other teen paranormal thriller/romance we have read in the last three years, as we meet Ellie Spencer, a boarding school student in New Zealand. Absent parents, best "guy" friend, romantic rival (or not), scary series of murders taking place outside the school grounds, mysterious boy slinking in the shadows of the school- all of these seem familiar and I was tempted to start lumping this into the same category as so many others. But then, it gets interesting. Instead of ghosts, vampires, demons or angels, readers are introduced to characters out of Maori legend, and they bring their own unique flavor of creepy and suspense to the story. (less)
This book was such a treat, it made me miss the fantasy genre as a whole. But I know that not all books are equal, and therefore, not many fantasy boo...moreThis book was such a treat, it made me miss the fantasy genre as a whole. But I know that not all books are equal, and therefore, not many fantasy books are going to be this good.
In the peaceful and prosperous Kingdom of Lumatere, Finnikin has a charmed life. Son of the Captain of the King's Guard, he is being lovingly raised alongside the prince and princesses of the kingdom. All seems well, until everything is destroyed in a flash. During the five days of the unspeakable, their king and his family are murdered, their kingdom invaded, and neighbor turns against neighbor as people are burned at the stake. The final horrible act comes in the form of a curse whispered from a powerful woman being burned at the stake, and this shuts the once bright land behind a veil of shadow and secrecy.
Finnikin escaped with his life, but not much else. For the past ten years, he has been traveling the lands, learning and training with the former king's advisor, Sir Topher. While on their travels, they try to keep help their kingdom's refugees and keep track of the scattered population of Lumatere, a sad census as they carefully record all the deaths (and very few births) of the few exiles who manged to escape before their homeland was shut off from them. But one day word comes to them of a special girl, gifted with arcane abilities, who whispers from her visions the secret hope ALL the exiles carry within their battered hearts- that the Crown Prince of Lumatere survived, and is ready to lead them all back to their homeland.
Once Sir Topher and Finnikin decide to find this girl and explore the possibility of her claims, an adventure is set is motion that carries them and the reader to the far corners of the land of Skuldenore, into darkness such as they never imagined, and hope that is brighter than they can manage to bear.
This is an extraordinary tale of a scattered people seeking the safety and comfort of home and family, and who are brave enough to risk everything they have for those goals. It is rare to find a book so wholly realized, a kingdom so desperate and a land and people so well-imagined and described, that the reader feels as if he/she were riding a horse alongside Finnikin and his companions. Immersive is the word that comes to mind, and addictive. I highly recommend this book to lovers of the fantasy genre, those seeking a courageous tale of adventure and magic, swords and sorcery. I think if you are interested in those ingredients, it will not matter if you are a boy or girl, and how many years you have seen. THIS is a book to be enjoyed.(less)
When Ephraim find a mysterious quarter, at first he thinks it is a quirk. The president's head is facing the wrong way, and it shows Puerto Rico as a...moreWhen Ephraim find a mysterious quarter, at first he thinks it is a quirk. The president's head is facing the wrong way, and it shows Puerto Rico as a state. But those anomalies are only the beginning. Much to his surprise, it seems that the quarter has the ability to grant wishes when he flips it into the air. If it lands on heads, his wish comes true, but if it lands on tails, his wish comes true, but with a dark twist. Can Ephraim figure out the mysteries of the coin before those twists ruin his life? Read the book to find out!
I liked this book. It started off a little slow and predictable, but that was just the set up. BeforeI knew it, I was drawn into the mystery surrounding the coin- was it really magic? Where did it come from? How many wishes would it grant? And how can Ephraim correct the mistakes he made with his previous wishes? The answers to these questions were not at all what I expected. I think this book would appeal to both boys and girls who like a good mystery that has a fantasy (or would that be Science fiction) flavor. Content wise- there was some violence (with people getting murdered), some harsh langauge and kissing.(less)
Thoroughly engaging, well developed, fast paced fantasy with strong female and male characters. Should appeal to fantasy fans of both genres, and the...moreThoroughly engaging, well developed, fast paced fantasy with strong female and male characters. Should appeal to fantasy fans of both genres, and the content is clean enough for most ages, though the princess does engage in quite a bit of kissing here and there. Will definitely read the sequel. (less)
Recommended by a parent at my library, I am glad she put this book in my hand. I didn't realize at first it was a fairy tale retelling, but I think re...moreRecommended by a parent at my library, I am glad she put this book in my hand. I didn't realize at first it was a fairy tale retelling, but I think retelling is the wrong term- this is more like a reinvention. Hale brings the entire cast to full life in this medieval fantasy novel about a princess trying to find her own path, and the evil plots that force her to go in directions she never knew existed. A quick, highly engaging, entertaining read that comes to a very satisfying conclusion, I peeked ahead to see what the following novels in this series could possibly be about, and now I am excited to check those out as well.(less)
I really ejoyed this book. I have read the critics, and acknowledge that they have a greater range of knowledge than I when it comes to many things, a...moreI really ejoyed this book. I have read the critics, and acknowledge that they have a greater range of knowledge than I when it comes to many things, and I acknowledge that this is what I call total wish fulfillment fantasy, but darn it, sometimes I like to read books like this. I mean, who wouldn't want to form a telepathic bond and be able to ride a white tiger gryphon while being a badass ninja in a steampunk Japanese setting???(less)
Elisa is back, and things are not looking good for the now Queen. There is unrest within her own palace walls, as well as in her kingdom following the...moreElisa is back, and things are not looking good for the now Queen. There is unrest within her own palace walls, as well as in her kingdom following the defeat of the invading forces. But before she can address those who are plotting against her from without, she must focus on her own unrest...within. Will she learn to be the queen she is meant to be? or will she be swept away on the tide of powerful political and mystical forces that sweep over her land?
Last week I stayed up half the night finishing this book, and even though my eyes were shutting of their own accord, I still did not want to put it do...moreLast week I stayed up half the night finishing this book, and even though my eyes were shutting of their own accord, I still did not want to put it down. A sequel, this title lived up to its predecessor, and how! Taking a mysterious character from the first book, Grave Mercy, this story picks up where that narrative left off from Sybella's POV, a convent trained assassin who has been placed in the most dangerous covert operation conceivable- returning to her family home. Historical fantasy fiction, intrigue, suspense, romance, danger, and a strong, capable female character, this has to be one of my favorite books of the year so far. I can't wait for the next in the series!(less)
Confession time. I took this book on vacation specifically because it looked like trashy, brainless, romance novel but with a paranormal twist that wo...moreConfession time. I took this book on vacation specifically because it looked like trashy, brainless, romance novel but with a paranormal twist that would keep me interested, because I have never been able to read "normal" romance books (ala Nicholas Sparks). I wanted something light, fun and a bit steamy, since I was going to the tropics. On those points, this book did not disappoint. I mean, just look at that cover! I couldn't even bring myself to read this on the airplane because of it. LOL.
However, the surprise came when I found myself actually really interested in the plot and caring about the characters. Jeaniene Frost managed to take a premise that at first seems stale- lady meets Vlad Tepesh, the "real" Dracula (but don't call him that) and falls in love- and made it unique and entertaining. And there was plenty of steam.
Leila is an acrobatic circus performer, traveling the carnival cicuit with her performing partner, a dwarf named Marty, who happens to be a vampire. Because of a tragic accident involving electricity, Leila generates high amounts of the deadly energy, and must be careful who and what she touches. But there is another reason she must be careful- she also has gained the ability to see the past, present and possibly the future of people who have left strong psychic imprints on items or places. So for years she has lived apart, alone except for Marty, and isolated by her abilities.
But then she is kidnapped and forced to use her powers to track down the most powerful vampire of all time, Vlad Tepesh. Recognizing that she was just a pawn in his enemy's plan, Vlad rescues her and enlists her help to try to track down the person responsible for setting the plot in motion. And that is when the sparks really begin to fly.
I liked Leila. A lot. I thought Vlad was a little over the top at first (violent, power-hungry, bossy, etc.), but as the story progressed I could see how and why someone who has lived so long and experienced so much would behave that way. So I think the author did a pretty good job of making the characters, with their fantastical back stories, behave in a way that promoted character development and understanding. Besides the character development, the progession of the mystery was also very well planned and I felt like the book contained plenty of surprises and discoveries that kept it interesting all throughout.
So yeah, surprisingly enough, I really enjoyed it. So much so that I immediately picked up the sequel and started right in, thankful I had also packed that one for my trip and still embarassed by the cover to be seen reading it in public. :-)
PS: Definitely ADULT in nature, not one I would recommend to my teen readers.