This is really cute, and made me do this embarrassing grin and clap thing that I probably last did over David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy or Rainbow RoweThis is really cute, and made me do this embarrassing grin and clap thing that I probably last did over David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy or Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl or Attachments. The email exchange and the way they finally meet, the way they talk to each other and fall for each other via email. The friend stuff, too; that rings true to being seventeen and everything’s a holy freaking huge deal, and everyone’s pairing up and figuring things out and misunderstanding each other.
Mostly, though, I saw myself in Simon in the earlier parts of the book. The threat of being outed at school, the people making little sly comments about it. I mean, I even had that stupid standing-on-stage moment where people started shouting homophobic stupid shit at me. I had the awesome teacher, too, though not so much the friends backing me up. And straight people thinking that being gay isn’t a big deal anymore because they’re okay with it and they’ve never seen anything happen, and being so stupidly surprised when it turns out that hey, actually, people still really freaking suck when it comes to this sort of thing.
So for all that this was silly and cute and full of pop-culture references, it hit a slightly more serious note for me. Even though the silliness and general good will came out on top. Because I’ve been there, ‘do this for me or I’ll tell people you’re gay’. I used to have people saying they’d tell my parents, teachers, sister, anyone they thought they could hit home with. This really did get hold of some of those awkward feelings, the way being outed takes something away from you, the way people can hold it over you. I don’t know if I like that, combined with the happy-silly-fun ending, but I appreciated that it was there. I’m not sure I’ve read anything before that did get what that aspect of it was like.
And in a way, I’m glad it does have that happy-silly-fun ending with the supportive family and friends and a cool boyfriend. Because real life is just too awful, sometimes.
Cities and Thrones is a solid follow-up to The Buried Life, expanding the world and giving us a glimpse of the politics at work both in the other citiCities and Thrones is a solid follow-up to The Buried Life, expanding the world and giving us a glimpse of the politics at work both in the other cities and the things that motivate the key players of Recoletta. We get a few more glimpses into the Library, and how exactly the underground society of Recoletta came about. If you hadn’t worked it out already, well, this book also gives us more hints about the link between the state of society in Recoletta and the modern day. Some things are not unfamiliar or unusual concepts to us…
Malone continues to be an interesting character, loyal to her city and not bending to politicking. Oh, she’ll take part in an effort to bring the city stability, but ultimately she acts for the good of Recoletta, not to further anyone’s agenda. Not even her own, really: again and again she puts herself at risk. Meanwhile, Jane continues to be a pawn unsure of who exactly is moving her, fighting for autonomy and finding that she only succeeds in getting herself in deeper, and deeper again. I’m not sure about the thing between her and Roman, but I’m reassured by the ambivalence there; it’s certainly not a straightforward romance or an easy relationship.
The last chapter of the book raises the stakes again; I’m curious to see where this is going. I read this book in one go, quite literally in one sitting, and it’s definitely a worthy sequel.
Aaah! This book ups the stakes a lot in terms of emotional involvement and the political backstory. Celaena may have become the King’s Champion, but hAaah! This book ups the stakes a lot in terms of emotional involvement and the political backstory. Celaena may have become the King’s Champion, but her troubles aren’t nearly over yet. I drew parallels to Graceling when I did my first review (or in my review of Graceling), and they remain: the reluctant/ethical assassin, trying to find ways to take power back from the corrupt king who commands her.
The whole Chaol or Dorian stuff… I’m not really into that. The will-she-won’t-she doesn’t do much for me, and the whole anger and jealousy thing in this book… eh. I don’t want to see Chaol and Dorian’s friendship broken over this, so I’m really not enthralled with the opposition and discomfort between the two.
The end of the book is a game-changer, telling us who Celaena really is and what she is. The hints have been there all along, of course, little bits and pieces that we could piece together to figure it out ahead of time. So, not so much a surprise to me. There’s more background into other stuff, too: witches, the source of the magic loss in the world, Elena’s presence.
The writing is maturing here. I read that Throne of Glass was written when Maas was sixteen, and it still shows. Crown of Midnight is steadier, more mature, and more emotional too. I’m excited for the third book now, rather than just curious. Hope the library gets it in soon, or my sister takes pity and lends me her copy.
I practically raced through my reread of this. I’m excited to read the third book, and I’ve also been spoilered a bit for some of the contents, so I sI practically raced through my reread of this. I’m excited to read the third book, and I’ve also been spoilered a bit for some of the contents, so I spent a lot of time reading very attentively, looking for the hints. It’s not an easy book to read, because you’ve come to care about all these characters and then dreadful things have happened, are happening, will happen. But it’s certainly interesting, bringing together strange alliances and showing us more of the world — this time, Eretz, the world of the angels and chimaera.
I forgot how much of a game-changer the end of this book is; honestly, in remembering Karou and Akiva’s relationship trajectory, I forgot about the political/racial plot a little. That is very much a part of this book, along with difficult stuff like choosing the lesser of evils, atoning for wrongs done, etc. It’s not just a book about a romance and the angst along the way. It’s also a powerful story about two races, both doing awful things, and how that awfulness begets more awfulness.
You’ve got to love the range of female characters available here, too, though the threat of rape is sadly conjured twice here as something to crush the female characters. Still, Liraz the asexual angel, Zuzana the tiny fierce girl whose love for her friend is her only qualification to be involved at all, Issa’s strength and love for Karou and the trust she puts in her, Ten’s unwavering support of Thiago… And there’s plenty of interesting male characters too: Mik, Hazael, Ziri, Thiago, etc.
I don’t actually know why I requested this on Netgalley, but since I did, I presume something caught my interest. It didn’t display very well on my erI don’t actually know why I requested this on Netgalley, but since I did, I presume something caught my interest. It didn’t display very well on my ereader, so I waited and grabbed the book when I saw it in the library. The format basically reminds me of House of Leaves, but it does end up making more sense. Some of the supernatural stuff is almost incidental to the plot; there is a supernatural thread in the story, but it’s not really based in the house. It’s not like Weird Fiction in that way where the setting is itself a character.
Overall, I’m not sure what to think. I’m not opposed to epistolary novels, found footage, etc, but it has to come together really well, and it didn’t always work here. Honestly, I found myself skimming some sections because there just wasn’t enough of significance to justify the inclusion of certain scenes. It might work well on the screen, to establish the format firmly, but here… it felt like a waste of space.
It is kind of mesmerising, though. I read it pretty much in one go, and I wasn’t bored while reading it — sometimes confused, a little unsatisfied, but not bored. In the end, I was curious enough to flip back through to look back at hints and see how things came together. It’s not really my thing, and nor would I know who to recommend it for, but there’s a lot of interest here for the right person.
Otter Country is really a personal account of an obsession with otters, like H is for Hawk or Crow Country. In many ways, it’s more about Darlington tOtter Country is really a personal account of an obsession with otters, like H is for Hawk or Crow Country. In many ways, it’s more about Darlington than it is about otters, though her eyes are open to the significance of otters in their own environment, to their struggles and their slow recovery over recent years. I felt a little left out, since I haven’t read Ring of Bright Water — which I know we have in the local library, as it survived our last cull, so I’ll probably give it a go when I get the chance.
There are some beautiful descriptions, etc, but sometimes I found myself rolling my eyes rather at the ideas Darlington took into her head, like that it would be a good idea to take her clothes off and jump into the burn during midge season.
I was worried that my liking for the first book, Grave Mercy, was a fluke. After all, other bloggers I know were unenthusiastic about this series, theI was worried that my liking for the first book, Grave Mercy, was a fluke. After all, other bloggers I know were unenthusiastic about this series, the romance element is not my favourite thing, etc. But I continue to really enjoy the books. This one focuses on Sybella, the girl who went to the convent escaping something clearly so horrible that it traumatised her to breaking point. And we find out exactly what that was, not all at once but piece by piece, as she comes to trust the main male character of the book and begins to reveal herself to him.
And I seriously, seriously love that the main male character is Beast from the first book, and Robin LaFevers doesn’t make some big song and dance about how he’s actually physically attractive somehow, having said he wasn’t before. He still isn’t. He just has a lust for and a love of life, a core of decency, that means that doesn’t matter — and which makes him exactly what Sybella needs.
I really enjoy the historical fantasy setting here. I don’t know how close it is to the actual history, because French history of that period is really not my thing, but I like the way it’s woven together with historical alliances and rivalries, the political motivations behind the characters’ movements. This is a more personal book than Ismae’s, really dealing with Sybella’s trauma and bringing her some peace, but it does continue the political storyline as well, and brings out other aspects of serving their dark god, Mortain. It’s an interesting, though not entirely surprising, portrayal of a god of death — a multi-faceted one which takes in mercy, justice, love.
That multi-faceted treatment also comes in when talking about Sybella’s family. While at times both she and others treat simply being a member of that family as proof that they’re somehow terrible people, that clearly isn’t 100% the case, even when a character has done things they shouldn’t. There is a possibility of redemption, of a person who has done bad things also doing good things.
We do see characters recurring from the first book, but only Beast and Sybella are really dealt with in detail. We do see Ismae interacting with Sybella, though, sharing what she’s learned and how she’s changed. Those scenes are also very sweet, giving Sybella forgiveness — so that she’s not magically healed just by falling in love, but by revealing herself and then having that self be accepted, not just by Beast but by Ismae as well, by the people who matter to her.
I can’t wait to read Mortal Heart, now. When I looked at the page counts on these books I was a bit daunted, but it genuinely flies by!
I’ve been meaning to read something by Marianne de Pierres for ages. I don’t know if this was a good place to start, but I usually enjoy Angry Robot bI’ve been meaning to read something by Marianne de Pierres for ages. I don’t know if this was a good place to start, but I usually enjoy Angry Robot books; they usually have interesting ideas, and they’re quick reads. And I got this on Netgalley before I cut down my requesting habits, so I have finally, finally got round to reading it. And I enjoyed it! It keeps up a hell of a pace, there’s a bunch of interesting mysteries (some characters are mysteries in themselves, there’s a larger mystery which causes all the mayhem, and there’s an ongoing question yet to be solved, presumably awaiting further books), etc.
In some cases, it felt a little too scattered, waiting for something to pull it all together: why is Heart so involved in Virgin’s life? Why does Hamish care? How much does any given character know about what’s going on? And some things felt a little too convenient/easy. The park is easy to picture, but other areas less so: Virgin doesn’t spend nearly as much time describing anywhere but the park, which makes sense with her character, but still. The near-future setting kept throwing me: where exactly is the technology in relation to ours? Etc.
Overall, it’s fun. A bit Western-y, a bit urban fantasy, a bit near-future spec-fic. There’s a pretty diverse cast of characters, and nearly all of them have a role to play — there’s no, or at least few, throwaway characters who are just there to prop up a bit of the plot.
Gifts is a quiet story, in the way that Ursula Le Guin can do really well: those moments of silence, introspection, contemplation. It isn’t my favouriGifts is a quiet story, in the way that Ursula Le Guin can do really well: those moments of silence, introspection, contemplation. It isn’t my favourite of her books, but I love the things she explores here: the longing of parents to see their children succeed; love within families; grieving and loss; trying to choose the lesser evil… Orrec’s voluntary blindness and the way it affects the world around him, his fears and his wants, are beautiful; Canoc is a wonderful portrait of a difficult man: difficult to love, impossible to hate.
The whole feel of the book is really epitomised by Gry, for me; her quiet loyalty and determination, her love of Orrec which is undemanding and completely rock-solid. Their friendship and later the love between them is perfect.
I’m looking forward to rereading the rest of this trilogy; as I recall, the other two books feature more suspense and tension, and less of the solid quietness of this book. All of them have their own loveliness, though: it’s Le Guin, so how not?
Like the first book, this YA book set in the world of the Parasol Protectorate is a fun romp with slightly less sex talk than the Parasol ProtectorateLike the first book, this YA book set in the world of the Parasol Protectorate is a fun romp with slightly less sex talk than the Parasol Protectorate books. It still has a bit of romance, but it’s mostly banter in keeping with the age of the girls, with a touch of teenage confusion and angst as regards having feelings for anyone. They’re not books with great depth: the perfect description is a ‘romp’, as many people have said before me.
It annoys me that people complain about Sophronia being a ‘Mary Sue’, when a boy doing excellently at school in the same way wouldn’t be questioned. This is what she’s good at, with the help of her friends, and without them and some helpful coincidences, she wouldn’t be so good at what she does. Nor is she gracefully immune to everything the other girls say or think — she can be hurt by them, and do them injustices.
So yes, it’s a little piece of fluffy wish fulfilment. And it’s fun, and positive about female characters who can stand up for themselves and take care of themselves.