There is something about this book that I really love and it's incredibly hard to articulate. It has an innocence about it, not only in the story butThere is something about this book that I really love and it's incredibly hard to articulate. It has an innocence about it, not only in the story but in the prose style. Perhaps nostalgia is a better word? It pulls at exactly the same strings in my psyche as Pierce's Alanna books. It has similar flaws, too. (At this point in my writing career, I can recognize that a series I'm incredibly passionate about - like Song of the Lioness - has flaws from an author perspective.) For example, Lane uses a lot of modifiers, both in language tags and in description. (Honestly, I'm not sure if I find modifier use annoying because I have been taught to do so, or if they are actually annoying.) I know, I use them myself, but never doubt me, I always know that I'm doing it. And wonder at myself. And now here I am, entirely hypocritically, wondering at someone else.
This is why I believe most authors make pretty abysmal book critics.
I had a harder time reading this book a second time and forgiving it for small sins. However, I still really enjoyed the story. I like all of the tropes that are being used, from a tomboy trying to become a lady, to a young girl disguising herself as a boy, to high court and magic, to themes of young love, friendship, and isolation that always go hand-in-hand with boarding schools (whether that be a castle in Tortall, or a Herald Collegium, or a school for bards in Pern...).
I like Lane's magical system, although when I first read the book I thought it was going to be more on the warrior end of the Sword and Sorceress spectrum. I do wish the main character were a little less sparkly special. That said, I believe that she is prevented from becoming a Mary Sue, because she is intrinsically quite flawed. She can't keep her mouth shut, plus she is too bold and too aggressive for the nobility and for politics. This makes the romantic connections she forms with the princes in the book ultimately untenable by nature of her own personality. I do wonder where the writer is going with her romantic arcs as a result....more
The second book in the series takes Beka away from Chorus and her friends and puts her on a case in a strange city giving her a new love interest. ThiThe second book in the series takes Beka away from Chorus and her friends and puts her on a case in a strange city giving her a new love interest. This book didn't hold me as much as the first (or third) but it's still worth the slog to know what happens to her there. I suggest it also because of the presence of one of the first instances I know, in YA fantasy, of a transgender woman. There is a beautiful little scene where Okha Soyan explains what this means to a confused but sympathetic Beka. ...more
The final Beka book is probably my favorite. Oddly it begins with Beka mourning the loss of her Dog lover. And goes on to become a true classic quest.The final Beka book is probably my favorite. Oddly it begins with Beka mourning the loss of her Dog lover. And goes on to become a true classic quest. There is Beka (shall we call her the ranger?), a mage, a paladin, and a rogue. I didn't realize this until this most recent reread. Pierce has fun with the tropes and delves once more into the horrors of the common folk in medieval times (basically). It's nice to see a fantasy that doesn't glorify nobility to the expense of all reality. For those of you who, like me, yearn for a happy ever after, don't you worry. Beka gets that too. But then if you've read the Alanna books you already know that, for we have all met her marvelous long after progeny.
(And yes, before you ask, George Cooper is my ideal man. So there.)...more
This book contains one of my favorite tropes: a girl who disguises herself as a boy. In this particular novel's take on the trope the main character,This book contains one of my favorite tropes: a girl who disguises herself as a boy. In this particular novel's take on the trope the main character, Alexa, is forced to undertake subterfuge, because of her government's violence towards women. In other respects, this novel is a classic monarchical drama of transference of power. At the beginning of the novel I found it difficult to like Alexa, she seems to have little personality of her own. However, as the story progressed I liked her more.
The main character's gender is discovered and or known by several male characters, most of whom then fall in love with her. This gives it a certain Mary Sue vibe, compounded by the fact that the heroine is overly special in her skills and abilities and thus vital to the fate of the country. In this regard, I found the story somewhat predictable. The romances, and there is a classic love triangle, were equally predictable. By the end, while I was very much enjoying the story and had grown to identify with Alexa more, I never did get behind the romances. That aspect of the story felt overly angst ridden (although I do think teen readers would enjoy it). I also think that Twilight has a lot to answer for.
This is the start of a series, and it certainly has the feel of needing to read all of the books. As there are only three I might go for it (anymore and I couldn't take the angst). I refuse to get into another Terah Edun Sworn situation....more
In brief? A good premise of Bollywood meets steampunk with a great title, that drags and suffered for lack of developmental editing.
Classified as a sIn brief? A good premise of Bollywood meets steampunk with a great title, that drags and suffered for lack of developmental editing.
Classified as a sweet romance by which moniker the romance genre seems to imply clean: no nookie and no nudity. I wouldn't necessarily call this book a romance novel, however. There is a great deal of technology, spy work, politics, and other drama which make the main plot not about the two characters getting together. Although you could make a case to the contrary. (In this regard the book is hard to classify, not unlike Soulless.)
I enjoyed the world building, atmosphere, and concept. I thought the story was passable and characters were OK, however the writing dragged to the point of frustration. I feel like Third Daughter started well but lagged at about the 1/3 mark and never recovered. Frankly, it needed a good developmental edit pass. There was a great deal of redundant phrasing, repeat plot points, and circling back conversation (where characters say the same thing to each other in different ways a few pages apart) that all should have been deleted. That said, the copy edit was stellar.
"Yet, her mission wasn’t simply to verify its existence, but to discover its exact nature and capabilities." Aniri (protag) must have said some iteration of "I need to see the airship" at least six times in the space of one chapter.
Oh, and at one point Aniri literally tells the bad guy, without irony, "You won’t get away with this."...more
I don't quite know what to say about The Pirate's Booty. I finished it late one night over the holidays, and I kept waking up in the middle of the nigI don't quite know what to say about The Pirate's Booty. I finished it late one night over the holidays, and I kept waking up in the middle of the night afterwards ~ not thinking about the book, but thinking about how to write a review of the book. The story really had the emotional tenor of a 1960s pulp mystery, like J.D. McDonald's Travis McGee series. By that, I mean there is a Gary Sue element to the central character. In Pirate's Booty the protagonist is a woman, Quinn, but she is not a Mary Sue. She is flirtatious with all of the girls, romances everybody, and is generally utterly charming and dashing in a "hunky hero please sweep me off my feet" kind of way. Quinn rescues women via her sexual prowess (a hallmark of Travis McGee). There adds to the swashbuckling pirate aspect, which reminded me of something like Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers.
So let's get into some detail.
Main Character: Quinn
Quinn is an extremely appealing character, she is meant to be. She is also a lesbian in a time period when the concept doesn't even really exist. Yet every woman who she meets falls in love with her and the few who find out she is a woman stay in love with her. Also, all of her friends who find out are immediately accepting. This didn't bother me as much as it should. She is a womanizer, although she is nice about it. And I did find myself questioning whether I would be as tolerant of Quinn if she were male. I don't think I would. And since I don't want to self-examine my own judgement in this matter, I'll just leave that there and proceed with this review.
The historical research, apart from certain social issues previously mentioned, is very good. Although the author does tend to include lots of information about existing historical characters in info-dump form that is a little detrimental to pace. I personally would have preferred a few more small details about the time period, since it isn't one I'm familiar with. For example: I'd like some more about the clothing, the food, the texture, the materials on the ship, and the smell of the towns. However, this is a mere quibble, these are things that are peculiar to my interests. Westmore is clearly a historian rather than an archaeologist, for her concern is over accuracy in language, town layouts, geography, older place names, and so forth.
Some Final Thoughts
I am bothered by the way so many people so quickly fall in love with Quinn. In that regard, romance is the least effective aspect of this book. I did very much enjoy the historical accuracy, the swashbuckling pirate attitude, and the simple old-fashioned adventure. And while the romance is not effective, the friendships are come and go. In the end, I found myself thinking most about those Victorian sea ballads sung by sailors to women explaining how they will never settle on land because their love of the sea is Eternal. "Don't fall in love with me, my darling, for I will inevitably break your heart." Very melodramatic. In that regard this book is romantic, but in the original Victorian sentimental sense of the word and judged under that umbrella, I forgive it its foibles....more
I enjoyed this book very much, it has a high fantasy feel with elves and a strict class system. The mature advisory and description implies that it isI enjoyed this book very much, it has a high fantasy feel with elves and a strict class system. The mature advisory and description implies that it is erotica. Although the sex scenes are graphic, there are way fewer than I expected, and I don't know that I would classify it as such. For me, this is a good thing. There is a lot of politics and political manipulation near the end of the book.
The main character is a bit of a Mary Sue, and some of her roles are improbable as she moves up the caste system in this world. But this is a romance novel, so I forgive it some predictability.
Although this is the start of the series, it appear that the second book in the series features different main characters. Thus I feel like this book stands perfectly well alone....more
I really enjoyed Wolverine's Daughter. A fast moving classic fantasy quest style book starring a tough female warrior type. It reminded me of a much bI really enjoyed Wolverine's Daughter. A fast moving classic fantasy quest style book starring a tough female warrior type. It reminded me of a much beloved fantasy novel, Wrede's The Raven's Ring. ...more
I found Ridiculous by D L Carter a frivolous but very fun regency romance. It has more sexy-times than normal in such books, and a whole lot of pinin I found Ridiculous by D L Carter a frivolous but very fun regency romance. It has more sexy-times than normal in such books, and a whole lot of pining girl disguised as a boy (a favorite trope of mine). Also it is really quite funny. I laughed out loud at least a dozen times.
The boy, well man, that our main character Millicent disguises herself as is Mr. North. She wants to enter society and not be taken seriously. So she creates a kind of foolish Wilde character, only with far less fashion sense. In order to disguise her body shape she must affect very ill-fitting suits.
"There are many types of men in society. If I set out to be deliberately silly, inconsequential, and foolish, then if I should do something odd, people will say, ‘Oh, that is just that odd Mr. North. Think nothing of it.’"
Mr. North as a fribble is released from many societal requirements because of his absurdity. Like the class clown getting away with misbehavior because he makes the teacher laugh.
“Your horses are all well. Merely shaken a bit with one or two scratches. However, I fear it will be necessary to shoot your carriage to put it out of its misery.”
Mr. North can be either kind or cutting, depending on the circumstances. And Millicent, who is sympathetic to the plight of young lady wallflowers, often uses the foolishness of her alter ego to be kind.
“You have had a London season?” asked Millicent in her softest voice. The answer was the barest nod. “And it did not go well?” An even smaller shake was her answer. “Whatever is wrong with London?” demanded Millicent.
I enjoyed this read. It's very much what I think of as classic urban fantasy. By which I mean: lots of fun side characters, pithy remarks, witty banteI enjoyed this read. It's very much what I think of as classic urban fantasy. By which I mean: lots of fun side characters, pithy remarks, witty banter, scenes full of action, and a nice thread of romance.
All in all, I felt like the places where this book was particularly successful was with the Jinn as a magical creature, with the romance (thanks for not making it a triangle!), and where Nicole is playing with the light-hearted fun side of urban fantasy. I do feel that it could have been a great stand-alone book and for me might've been stronger that way. I would've liked to see the story end about six pages before it did, with the successful defeat of the enemy and Lyla achieving her humanity. We could have even had a nice sex scene at the end to finish mattress off. I understand, however, from a business perspective that urban fantasy series are industry standard....more
Kate Elliott manages to combine everything I love best in a YA novel. Jes is a killer protagonist: tough, capable, but also lost in her upbringing andKate Elliott manages to combine everything I love best in a YA novel. Jes is a killer protagonist: tough, capable, but also lost in her upbringing and faced with impossible choices that test her character and her beliefs. Her family dynamic is genius. The love and combativeness between sisters is touching and realistic. The story is tight and tidy, comprised of rings within rings twisting and matching to one another. It's rich with detail, but plot is tied back to description in a way that makes the reader grateful for having paid attention to Kate's lyrical prose.
It's the world building I truly love in this book. The setting is fantasy (although with little magic and no fantastical creatures), but there are definite overtones of Ancient Egypt under Roman rule, and perhaps a little Etruscan feel here or there, all bundled up with commentary on colonialism and race relations. The game trials themselves made me think of Sparta's agōgē, although there is a component of the Roman chariot races ~ what with the training stables and crowd's allegiances. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. It's a lot more serious than the description sounds and deals with some troubling themes of bullying but in a very sophistI really enjoyed this book. It's a lot more serious than the description sounds and deals with some troubling themes of bullying but in a very sophisticated way. Strangely, the idea of calling it a romance almost trivializes that (and I LIKE romance). It reminded me a lot of On the Fence by Kasie West but I think I liked this one better. ...more
I don't consider fairy stories particularly my Thing, such as it is, but I still very much enjoyed this one. The main characters are both extremely l I don't consider fairy stories particularly my Thing, such as it is, but I still very much enjoyed this one. The main characters are both extremely likeable, and the love story is sweet. I do adore a grumpy hero, of course I do, and there is a really good sex scene that is totally worth the wait. I liked the dichotomy of the Wood and its relationship to those living around it. As a reader, I felt (rather than was beat over the head by) the connection and love between the people who live near The Wood but also their fear of it. That sense of feeling a writer's intent is rare and I found myself savoring it. I look forward to rereading this book again and again....more
Enjoyable read. It features Alex, a physic (a little like being an empath), and various other entrants into the occult. I would call it more gaslightEnjoyable read. It features Alex, a physic (a little like being an empath), and various other entrants into the occult. I would call it more gaslight fantasy, as opposed to steampunk, in the vein of The Native Star by M. K. Hobson. I found the plot enjoyable to follow, the side characters very intriguing, and the love interest (or is it interests) appealing. For me, I would prefer a little more nookie and a little less gore, but that's know how I roll....more