Blood and Feathers reminded me very much of Supernatural, from the morality of the angels/demons through the issues of falling to the general relianceBlood and Feathers reminded me very much of Supernatural, from the morality of the angels/demons through the issues of falling to the general reliance on human firepower — Mallory, one of the main characters, uses guns regularly, rather than any kind of angelic power. As in Supernatural, sometimes it seems as though the angels may not be the best allies, and may not want the best for humanity; some of the demons seem redeemable.
Overall, it’s a fast read, and I found it quite enjoyable. If it had dragged, I might’ve questioned things more or wanted more depth in the world-building, but as it was, Alice didn’t really know what was going on and things continued to reveal themselves to her and the reader at a pretty good clip. Mallory is the kind of character obviously calculated to be interesting to the reader: racked with pain, competent, more sympathetic than some of the others, capable of empathising with Alice. I found myself imagining him as the love child of Dean Winchester and Castiel, somehow — there were bits of both character types in him. Alice herself is more of a blank slate, with vague bits of her past slowly being filled in; nothing to object to, but nothing to attach to either.
I don’t know if I’m going to pick up the next book; while this was a fun enough quick read, I’m not terribly invested in it, and some of the plot ‘twists’ were terribly obvious to me. (The entire character of Gwyn, for example. The ‘mystery’ of what happened to Alice’s mother, for another example.) We’ll see; I’d probably get it from the library, but not buy it.
I didn’t expect to like The Selection, and I’m not sure any regulars here thought I would, but surprisingly, well… I kind of read it all in one go. ItI didn’t expect to like The Selection, and I’m not sure any regulars here thought I would, but surprisingly, well… I kind of read it all in one go. It’s not a favourite or anything, but I found it very readable, and there were some points I definitely liked: the sensuality between Aspen and America, despite his rather sexist attitude of having to provide for her, for example. I didn’t like Aspen, but I liked the bond between them (if that makes sense), and I also liked that at the end of the book, America was ready to consider it and state that she would be doing herself a disservice if she just leapt into making a decision between Maxon and Aspen. Like.
Maxon is, well, too good to be true — considerate, friendly, hoping for romance, etc, etc, especially when you compare his behaviour to Aspen’s. It makes sense, though, and hopefully in later books he’s developed a bit more: I did enjoy the fact that he and America struck up a friendship, and that he relied upon her.
The other thing I liked was that, for the most part, the participants wished each other well and helped one another. There’s always a mean girl, of course, and there wouldn’t be much drama if there wasn’t a stumbling block like that. But the feeling of sisterhood that grows between the contestants is a nice touch.
I don’t know if I’ll read the other books. It may have been that I just read this at the right time, tired and wanting something easy! But I am a little curious, so I probably will. I’ve never been one for reality shows and soap operas, so it might not hold my attention if the drama builds up, but it’s fun enough from what I can see in The Selection.
I’m having a hard time putting together what I thought of this book, but perhaps it boils down to one thing: communication, damn it! Between brother aI’m having a hard time putting together what I thought of this book, but perhaps it boils down to one thing: communication, damn it! Between brother and sister, between friends, between parents and their children, between faerie princes and the people they hope will help them. And especially with people you want to kiss.
Seriously, half the issues here would be mitigated by communication; if Hazel talked to Ben, if Ben talked to Hazel. Jack’s the only one I somewhat let off the hook, because he’s part faerie and geasa/odd restrictions are part of the stock in trade. (Actually, I mostly liked the portrayal of the faerie people; cruel and wild and sometimes beguiling, with bits of traditional fairy stories all over the place, and fairytale narrative styles as well — things coming in threes, for instance. The portrayal of people, in general, the suspicions of Jack, the apathy regarding anything that doesn’t touch directly on the community — that all worked quite well.)
I can’t help but feel that I would’ve been more interested in Ben’s story, because Hazel is so necessarily divided from herself by the plot. There’s stuff happening to her, and you don’t really know what or why, because even though she’s the focus character, there are gaps and omissions. It makes sense, but I kind of wanted Ben’s story more — probably especially because he’s not straight, and he is in the end the most entangled with the faerie world.
I do enjoy Jack’s characterisation a lot; his resolution to get the best of both worlds, to be a human while he can. His caring for his brother (double), his human parents, and the call to the faerie side of him as well — his insistence on living a mortal life while he can and appreciating his human family, his human connections, because he has all the time in the world for the rest.
I think ultimately, the book didn’t stand out enough for me, but it is interesting.
So I’ve always been vaguely aware of The Bloggess, mostly because of Beyoncé the Giant Metal Chicken, which is a whole series of thoughts that remindsSo I’ve always been vaguely aware of The Bloggess, mostly because of Beyoncé the Giant Metal Chicken, which is a whole series of thoughts that reminds me of living with my dad. Like, once upon a time I had a large spotted orange, red and pink hippo from Ikea that was kind of like a draft excluder and is maybe meant to be a cot bumper? And there was a slight question of who had custody when I was moving out of my second year flat at university, because she was the mascot for us. And somehow this led to my dad going on Ebay and buying another hippo, since Ikea no longer sold them.
So I had two hippos. Then one day I came home for the holidays and a new hippo had been added to my bed. “This is getting a bit much,” I said. “They needed adopting,” he said.
Somehow, it eventually got up to eleven of them, though now there are six in my bed at home and five piled up on a stack of inflatable hedgehogs. My sister has two, as well, and I think various friends of mine also own large orange and pink hippos. And let’s not even get started on the hedgehogs. Suffice it to say, my dad and Jenny Lawson should never meet, and if you want an inflatable hedgehog, we can probably hook you up, but don’t try Ebay because my dad single-handedly drove up the market price of both inflatable Ikea hedgehogs and large pink and orange spotted Ikea hippos.
Reading Lawson’s memoir is a little like reading this post, except I feel that she’s probably funnier than me and would maybe use more italics. It works better as a blog post, rather than an extended narrative, and other reviews’ descriptions of Lawson as a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” are quite on the nose. Just read her blog now and then; there are fewer weird notes to editors that read like fiction, and it’s all just as funny.
After The Winner’s Crime, I was a little nervous I wouldn’t like this. After all, while I rated it highly in the end,Received to review via Netgalley
After The Winner’s Crime, I was a little nervous I wouldn’t like this. After all, while I rated it highly in the end, the second book in the series relied heavily on one of my least favourite tropes: miscommunication, misunderstanding, a refusal to see. Mostly on Arin’s part, but Kestrel contributed plenty: her strategies might be good if they don’t involve Arin, but when he’s involved, she loses her cool and doesn’t know quite what to do. At least in The Winner’s Crime. In The Winner’s Kiss, well: things change. The plot moves pretty swiftly, and though there was a brief part where Arin’s ignorance was so contrived I wanted to scream (the narrative flagging up “there’s a messenger and oh, Arin forgets to see him!” just made me want to bash my head against something, I’m afraid), eventually he gets the message and things get back on track.
I read The Winner’s Kiss in one day; in many respects, it makes a very satisfying ending. Kestrel and Arin both find out more about themselves, and each other; things aren’t easy, but they find their way. When an opportunity for all-too-easy revenge rears its head, Rutkoski went for a more complex and more effective way of dealing with the aftermath of betrayal, with the aftermath of a wrecked relationship. There’s no easy resolution to what Kestrel’s father is and has done, but there’s no easy refusal to deal with those issues either.
Things I wanted more of: Sarsine. Jess, and resolution with her. Roshar and his friendship with Arin. Arin the tiger. Risha.
I find that, at the moment, I don’t want to pick this apart any further. I enjoyed it, and I think people will find it a worthy final book in the series. After the tortuous miscommunications of the middle book, this final book gave me more of the feeling I had from the first.
The Black Moth was Heyer’s first novel, and it does show, but it’s still pretty fun. She hasn’t figured out what to do with her heroines yet, and thatThe Black Moth was Heyer’s first novel, and it does show, but it’s still pretty fun. She hasn’t figured out what to do with her heroines yet, and that’s very obvious: Diana Beauleigh is rather colourless and lacking in the kind of witty repartee that really makes some of Heyer’s other heroines. Indeed, she’s more just a love interest and much less a heroine. Despite Diana and Jack seeming like the main pair, the one the plot was working toward, I was more interested in the spoilt Lavinia and her husband Richard. Of course, Lavinia is an annoying character, whiny and, well, as I said, spoilt. But the way she and Richard come to realise how fond they are of each other, and the way their relationship (and Lavinia herself) grows is a delight — especially since it doesn’t involve Lavinia changing, as such. She’s still spoilt, it’s just that she knows it, and she and Richard are fond of each other anyway.
The whole bit about Richard cheating at cards and Jack taking the disgrace is a bit bizarre to a modern reader — especially with Tracy Belmanoir’s exploits, including trying to abduct a woman, being just dismissed as foibles. I don’t know enough about the period to know if Heyer leaned a bit too hard on that plot aspect: it feels like it, but of course, times have changed.
Jack himself is fun: loyal, self-deprecating, quite capable of being kind or cutting. Adaptable. He’s a bit spoilt himself: you gotta love the part where he complains about the humiliation of having had to earn his own living! But again, things were different then.
For a first novel, The Black Moth is definitely not too bad. It has its weaknesses, and the dialogue was a particular weak point at times (it felt like Heyer tried too hard to reproduce natural ways of speaking, in some scenes, which was tough reading), but it’s fun and no wonder Heyer got off to a flying start.