Ascension of the Whyte is the first book in a series called The Afterland Chronicles and is an intriguing fantasy that will have you turning the pages...moreAscension of the Whyte is the first book in a series called The Afterland Chronicles and is an intriguing fantasy that will have you turning the pages. I'm a sucker for any book that starts with a map so I couldn't wait to see the places on the map described so I could picture them in my head.
The beginning of the book opens with Sara chatting to a friend as they leave school and ends with a sudden & horrific death. We're then transported to another dimension and the story really begins. We are introduced to a whole new way of life where, when you die, your soul ascends and becomes another person who may or may not have ascended many times before. Meet Rose, the first Whyte Ascendant for a thousand years, who with Ash, Auriel and Lee, make a very select cell who will save the world of Hydrarygrum if a prophecy written centuries before is to be believed.
I found it quite hard to believe that this was a debut novel. The writing was mostly extremely well written and each & every character had their own distinct voice. The magical system created was nothing short of amazing and quite frankly there were one or two potens (or abilities) that I would love to be real. The ability to read dozens of books in mere minutes would have come in very handy at school!
I became so immersed in the world Karen has created that I didn't even realize that it was starting to get light outside, I managed to read Ascension of the Whyte from start to finish and get to watch the sun come up! If you like your fantasy well thought out with an intriguing magic system, djinns who want to take over the world and characters who will become friends then this is the book for you. Karen has created a fascinating world which made me laugh and made me well up, I was thoroughly entranced by the writing and the characters. Also, as a word of warning, Karen isn't afraid to kill characters off so don't get too attached! I'm now desperate to read the next book in the series as things are just getting warmed up. Need another beta reader?(less)
I first read City of Bones in 2008, so it's been a long time! I thought it was about time I re-read the first book and actually got round to reading t...moreI first read City of Bones in 2008, so it's been a long time! I thought it was about time I re-read the first book and actually got round to reading the rest of the series in time to read City of Heavenly Fire when it's released at the end of the month. Sadly, I obviously didn't enjoy it as much as the first time (4 stars then) and it was a bad idea to have seen the movie recently. There are some very distinct lines from both that were in different places which threw my concentration quite a bit. I shall still continue with the next book though, I'm too intrigued to know what happens to give up.(less)
I was contacted by the authors and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing Branded, as I already had Branded on my wishlist naturally I said yes as I...moreI was contacted by the authors and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing Branded, as I already had Branded on my wishlist naturally I said yes as I loved the premise of the book and it sounded like something I would love.
Branded is the story of Lexi Hamilton and her fight to survive in a compound known as the Hole after being falsely accused of lust. In this Dystopian society when people sin they are branded with whatever color their sin is represented by, literally branded around their neck like a tattoo, in Lexi's case her brand is blue for lust but from the very beginning Lexi protests her innocence. Once in the Hole she is handed over to Cole, a young guard in the Commander's forces who comes with a sidekick, Zeus the Great Dane. Luckily for Lexi Cole isn't like the other guards who are cruel, vicious and wouldn't hesitate to take advantage of Lexi given that her sin is Lust and most others in the same situation work as prostitutes.
Sent to work in the hospital as a nursing assistant she meets Sutton, a doctor who is obviously connected to Lexi in some way given that he seems to know far too much about her. Escorted to and from the hospital by Cole and living together means they become close quite quickly, their relationship rapidly develops into something far beyond guard & sinner and in amongst all the action is the story of Lexi and Cole trying (and failing) not to act on their respective feelings.
The main theme of the book seems to be romance, with a Dystopian twist, which is fine if you like your books heavy on the romance side but I wanted to know more about their society, how it worked and more about the Seven Deadly Sins. The action in Branded is virtually non-stop, almost from the beginning of the book. Lexi is an easy target, both for other Sinners and the guards, and they spend most of their time either running or hiding. Things get interesting when the character of Bruno is introduced and she starts learning self-defence which comes in handy in the second half of the book when her training becomes far more intensive. I really wanted to like Lexi but I found it really hard, on one hand I felt awful at everything she'd gone through previous to landing in the Hole but sometimes her behavior made me want to scream! She veered between victim and heroine frequently, she thought nothing of ignoring warnings about not doing things/going places she's not meant to but fell apart when faced with the consequences.
Cole is still as much a mystery at the end of the book as he is at the start, we don't really get to know much about him beyond the fact that he's a guard, he still has some faith left in humanity and he has a great dog! I'm hoping we maybe get to hear more about Cole's life in another book as it really would flesh out things out knowing even just a little of his back-story. Hands down the best character in the book though was Cole's dog, Zeus the Great Dane and from someone who is not a huge dog fan that's saying something! Zeus brought something else to the book, a little bit of humor (I fear for any more pillows/sheets/blankets, he seems to have a thing for shredding bedlinen!) and after a while becomes fiercely protective of Lexi, a good thing as sometimes she needs all the protection she can get!
Overall I did like Branded but I was left wanting more by the end of the book, more detail, more insight into the characters and more depth. I'm glad I read it and I will definitely look out for the second book in the series which is apparently going to feature Lexi's brother Keegan more prominently. He was another character I wasn't sure if I liked or not so I'm intrigued to read more about him.(less)
I'm a big fan of F G Cottam so I was intrigued when I read about his first novel aimed at YA. He writes excellent fantastical horror and his books hav...moreI'm a big fan of F G Cottam so I was intrigued when I read about his first novel aimed at YA. He writes excellent fantastical horror and his books have kept me awake reading into the early hours on more than one occasion. However, this time I was disappointed. I still liked the basic premise of the story but it just didn't read like a YA book to me. I felt like I was reading any Cottam novel so only 3 stars this time round. (less)