Goodbye, Rebel Blue is essentially about a girl finding herself through a bucket list she promised to help a friend complete. This is the kind of book...moreGoodbye, Rebel Blue is essentially about a girl finding herself through a bucket list she promised to help a friend complete. This is the kind of book I wish I'd read when I was a teenager. The narrator, Rebel, is so relatable I think I might really be friends with in real life. Her problems might seem trivial, and the story might end with a prom scene, but this is unabashedly YA, and written with so much heart.(less)
Having read all of Deb Caletti's books, I had very high hopes for The Last Forever. Wild Roses was beautiful and heart-breaking and uplifting, and rem...moreHaving read all of Deb Caletti's books, I had very high hopes for The Last Forever. Wild Roses was beautiful and heart-breaking and uplifting, and remains my favourite book from her. I was hoping The Last Forever might be something like that, but honestly it left quite a bit to be desired.
After Tess's mother dies of throat cancer, Tess's father takes her on an impromptu trip to visit her grandmother. There, he takes off, abandoning her. I like the rawness of Tess's emotions here, and the awkwardness between her and her grandmother whom she had never been close to.
Soon, we are introduced to Henry Lark, who, in Tess's eyes, is perfect in every way. He's beautiful, sweet, loves to read, and is a gentleman. Most of the time, apart from trying to save the pixiebell (the plant that is the only reminder of her mother that Tess has), Tess is busy swooning over Henry's beauty and obsessing over whether he is interested in her. I get it - young love, and all. But I was more interested in Tess's strained relationship with her flaky father. Henry also seemed to like her a little too easily. And there didn't seem to be much chemistry, something that is accounted for in the climactic scene.
Maybe my misguided hopes got in the way of really enjoying the book for what it is. I was hoping for a sweet, funny, and heart-breakingly beautiful romance like Wild Roses. This is not it.
Still, Deb Caletti's writing style remains engaging, occasionally introspective, and always true (you are reminded that the narrator is a teenager). And there are beautiful moments that stay with you even after you reach the end.(less)
Where do I start. Maybe about how this book completely WRECKED me. Clobbered me on the head and then ripped me apart.
I don't know if I like this book...moreWhere do I start. Maybe about how this book completely WRECKED me. Clobbered me on the head and then ripped me apart.
I don't know if I like this book. On a technical level, it's perfect. But I'm a sucker for happy endings - or at least, an upbeat and promising one - but this one doesn't deliver that. Instead, it has made its goblin home inside me and I can't chase it out. I can't stop thinking about the characters.
And the thing is, I can't say what the story's about without giving anything away. Just know that it's about a privileged family that tore itself inside out and there is no happy ending.
Excuse me, I need to go weep some more now. I hope you know what you've done, Lockhart. *Googles for her other books*(less)
It took me a few books, but I think it's safe to say that with Cold Spell, I'm finally, properly excited about Jackson Pearce's writing. Three chapter...moreIt took me a few books, but I think it's safe to say that with Cold Spell, I'm finally, properly excited about Jackson Pearce's writing. Three chapters in and Cold Spell already proved to be bookshelf-worthy.
Sure, there are wolves in this one too, but halfway through the story EVERYTHING starts to make sense. And since Cold Spell is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, the imagery in this one is very rich - roses and snow and icy-blue eyes and pale blonde hair.
Pearce's prose gets better with each book, too. There is tension in every scene and sentence, particularly with the mysterious new girl, Mora, who threatens to steal Kai's heart. I love the relationship between the main character, Ginny, and her childhood best friend/lover Kai. They are best friends first, lovers second - which is what makes the stakes even higher when Mora enters the picture and Kai begins to forget Ginny.
The plot, character motivations, the plethora of characters and their unique voices, the setting, the underlying tension throughout the en...moreLOVED. IT.
The plot, character motivations, the plethora of characters and their unique voices, the setting, the underlying tension throughout the entire story - they all propelled the story and set it clipping at an increasingly urgent pace.
There were some beautiful quotes in there too:
"The ones who left (tapped at the edge of her memory), and the ones who were left behind, everyone in motion like startled birds, trying to find a place to land."
"Sometimes promises are even harder to keep than secrets. Promises are easily made - we toss them like coins bound for a fountain and leave them there, under the water, waiting to be retrieved."
"Lives only begin once. Stories are much more complicated."
The ending got a little predictable, but was no less masterfully executed. It's the kind of book that you HAVE to read in one shot. I'm definitely reading Barnaby's subsequent books!(less)
SO MUCH LOVE for this! Unlike Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Night is written in first-person POV, and alternates between Karou's crazy, tiny, fierce, f...more
SO MUCH LOVE for this! Unlike Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Night is written in first-person POV, and alternates between Karou's crazy, tiny, fierce, funny, feisty best friend Zuzana and her crush: sweet, shy, talented violin-playing Mik. The prose is all kinds of prettiness and humour, and the voice is completely Laini, if you read her blog.
Swoon, swoon love!
Here's a snippet I had to reread over and over because it was just too lovely:
"The world - beset by snow flurries - becomes a living thing. Music. Close your eyes and it's a rosebush blooming in time lapse so that its shoots and blossoms flow outward in a swift choreography of growth and collapse, twine and coil, release and fade.
Close your eyes and music paints light vines and calligraphy on the darkness within you."
I just can't get enough of her pretty imagery! Actually, I can't get enough of her writing, period. Please write more, Laini!!
I'd been trying to stave off the ending for as long as I could, but I guess no story lasts forever.
DOGAM, of course,...moreSo we've finally come to the end.
I'd been trying to stave off the ending for as long as I could, but I guess no story lasts forever.
DOGAM, of course, was amazing. It was a beautiful conclusion to an epic trilogy. I remember how the first book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, got me hooked, with its gritty premise (bones! teeth! exotic places like Morocco!), vivid characters and scenes (Brimstone the ram-headed resurrectionist! Razgut the foul, bloated fallen angel! the masquerade ball where Akiva magicked a living shawl of moths for Karou! *swoon swoon dies*)
What a ride it's been.
What I loved about DOGAM:
1. THE STELIANS. HOLY SHIT, THE STELIANS. They had me the minute the Stelian queen, Scarab, bared her teeth at the prisoners and offered them the flesh fruit grown of the prisoners' comrades. So deliciously disturbing. (Not sure what that says about my mental state.)
2. The antagonists. Jael, Razgut, Morgan Toth, and Esther Van de Vloet. They are vile. Which makes their comeuppance that much more gratifying.
3. Zuzana and Mik. Let's face it: who can NOT love them? Zuzana, the feisty little marionette girl from book 1, is just as adorable in book 3, but twice deadly and awesome now. And Mik, Violin Boy, is as sweet and romantic and crazy in love with Zuze. Together, they brought some semblance of normalcy and levity to all the doom and gloom and chaos of war.
4. As always, the prose. I've lost track of the number of times I've read and re-read and re-read and taken a screenshot of a sentence or passage I loved. These are just the tip of the iceberg of gorgeous, swoon-worthy moments in the story:
When this passage made me really want to live in the Far Isles:
When I felt Liraz's guilt gnawing at me too:
When I marvelled at the stuff Laini's brain could come up with:
When I whooped with joy at Violin Boy's romantic (and impossible) proposal:
When I imagined the film version of the book (all that makeup!):
When my heart almost stopped at this moment (thanks, Laini):
WHAT is in Laini Taylor's food? No seriously, what. I need to know, so I can produce prose as insanely beautiful as hers.
And come up with plot ideas as original and daring as hers.
And be able to weave it all together as flawlessly as she does.
One thing, though.
What DOGAM could stand to lose:
I would gush over the perfection that is DOGAM, but I couldn't help but think that the story could be a little bit shorter. I mean, do we need so much description of Karou and Akiva's attraction to each other? I get it, the two of you are in love and it's earth-shattering and the cosmos align every time your eyes meet and the space between you two is electric and all that. Now get on with business already. You've got a world to rebuild.
So if I were being nitpicky, I'd give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
But who am I kidding. This is the closest to perfection YA fantasy can get. So 5 out of 5 stars! (less)
What is it about Australian writers? Melina Marchetta, Lucy Christopher, and...moreThis is me after reading Graffiti Moon:
(I'm not a redhead, by the way.)
What is it about Australian writers? Melina Marchetta, Lucy Christopher, and now Cath Crowley produce such gorgeous prose - lyrical, funny, poignant, and full of heart and wit.
Plus, it's impossible not to fall in love with the characters. They are flawed and bumbling and real and uncertain but hopeful. They are everything we can all relate to.
Lucy and Ed/Shadow convey a certain sense of whimsy without coming across as pretentious or annoying. They are funny, witty and like all young adults, they dream. They are fearful and excited about their future, and in that one night after their Year 12 exams they find a piece of the future in each other.
This the kind of book I wish I had written. (less)