I'm not exactly sure how I first started this series. I think it was one of those Tara recommendations. I remember liking the world, but not so fond o...moreI'm not exactly sure how I first started this series. I think it was one of those Tara recommendations. I remember liking the world, but not so fond of the age difference between Cady and Lon. I probably wouldn't have picked up Summoning the Night on my own, BUT not only did Kelly give me a copy of Summoning the Night for my birthday last year, but she's also QUOTED in it. (And that is pretty cool.) And I'm glad that she gave me the extra motivation to continue with this series, because everything I remember loving about Kindling the Moon comes back strong in Summoning the Night. (As usual, Kelly is right and listening to her has proved to work well for me.)
Even though it's been over a year since reading the first book, it was easy to slide back into Cady's world. Jenn Bennett provides just enough information to ease us back into the story without rehashing every little detail. I am still very intrigued by Cady's world, and by the uniqueness of the magical system and creatures. It's easy to tell that there's much more to learn about this world, and I definitely want to know more. Summoning the Night revealed some implications for Earthbound demons that are interesting. (Vague enough for you?) And the divide between earth and the Æthyr seems smaller than ever.
And perhaps best of all, this series boasts some fantastic characters. I have been completely enchanted by Jupe who is irrepressible in his enthusiasm for life. Jupe makes me want to have a 13 year old in my life. (Though actually having a thirteen year old in my life would probably be less fun than I think it would. Minor detail. I'll just settle for Jupe.) Cady's life is going through some drastic changes now that she's dating Lon, and I like the potential for all the crazy that entails. And Lon just plain sexy.
Kelly: I am just… blown away by the awesome here. From the world building (OMG! So wonderfully imagined!) to the characters (Alina! Mal!) to the shadowy goings on (who can you trust?)… I am smitten.
Amanda: I picked this book up on a Saturday afternoon and had trouble putting it down until I finished, for all the reasons you mentioned. It’s hard to even pick where to start because there is so much awesome to choose from. But let’s start with the world. The world is really very complex. It took me quite a while to situate myself in the world, but a part of me liked not knowing everything, and learning about the Grisha along with Alina. And, as someone who loves a little historical fiction, the nod to Tsarist Russia just made the world that much more intriguing.
Kelly: For me, the world felt oddly brittle. Like, the way of life that Alina and the others knew was about to fall apart. The Darkling talks about this. He tells Alina that the Grisha aren’t going to fit into the new world. The thing that got me was that she never really fit into the world anyway. I liked that she was seen as the salvation of their nation and yet she’s been an outsider all her life.
Amanda: Yes, brittle. Fragile, almost. It was a carefully constructed world that only needed one thing (person?) to send it crumbling down. Underneath the surface–beyond the narrative that we’re given–I felt other players shifting and trying to gain power. In most monarchies, everyone is vying for power, and back-stabbing is the norm. There was that here. And yet, there was also much, much more. Alina is a typical YA heroine in many aspects (hello, only one possessing the power to save the nation and being caught between two men), but she was also so uniquely written that those things don’t even matter. Heck, I even enjoyed the love triangle as much as I hated it.
Kelly: Talking about back-stabbing… whoa. Alina seems to feel the bite of betrayal often. Some of it isn’t traditional betrayal (such as when she and Mal find themselves growing apart after years of being the only one the other had) but every one stings. There came a point at the end where I was staring at the book all wide-eyed and crazed, thinking “No. Just… how can this be happening?” This book made me feel everything that was happening to Alina. Her exhaustion, her frustration, her anger, her loneliness, her fear that she wasn’t good enough to do the things that everyone believed she could do. It was exhilarating.
Amanda: Oh. My. Word. I loved Mal (especially at the end of the book). Funny how much we come to love him when we actually don’t see much of him. But, I think we will find out more about him in the next book. (Seriously, is it out yet? I want it now.) And Alina goes through so much growth in this book. She has to discover who she is, what she is capable of, and what her limitations are. And, perhaps most important, Alina has to decide who her enemies are. Because you’re right–she does seem to feel betrayal often. She is a pawn in the game, and this–whether Alina realizes it or not–is what she struggles with throughout the book.
Kelly: Yes. Her growth is phenomenal. I think that the moment she embraced her ability was the moment that she really spread her wings. The trust issue… yeah. *I* didn’t know who to trust as I was reading this. She’s given information at one point that causes her to make a pivotal decision and I kept waffling on whether the person giving it to her was telling her the truth or whether her inexperience with the ways of the Grisha was being used against her. It was masterfully done. There are so many twists and turns in this story that part of me still isn’t convinced she knows everything she needs to know.
Amanda: Considering two more books are in the works, I feel pretty safe saying that we definitely do not have the full story. In some sense, there are too many players and too much going on for Alina to know everything she *needs* to know. She gets filtered bits of information that she’s pieced together to somehow make a stand. But her story is far, far from being over. And I like this. I like it a lot.
Kelly: How long do we have to wait for book 2? I don’t know how long I’ll be able to last without knowing more!
Amanda: If we don’t get book 2 tomorrow, then the wait is too long. That’s about the only wait that is bearable for me. (Sadly, Goodreads only has the year 2013 listed. I’m hoping for early 2013.)
My original interest in this book really only came about because Marissa Meyer was at a signing with Leigh Bardugo (whose book I wanted). I knew ot...more4.5
My original interest in this book really only came about because Marissa Meyer was at a signing with Leigh Bardugo (whose book I wanted). I knew others had loved Cinder, but I wasn't really sure it would be my thing. (Cyborgs? Ehhh. Fairy tale retelling? Meh.) Wrong. WRONG! Oh, was I ever WRONG. Cinder hit all the right spots for me, and had me staying up until 1am in the morning to finish the book during a reading slump.
If, like me, you turn your nose up a little at cyborgs, stop. Sometimes I can be kind of an ass about my reading preferences. The conversation in my head goes something like, "Cyborgs? Pooh. No. Fairy tale retelling? Pooh. No." Well, I'm an idiot. I should not have pooh-poohed this book, because it rocked me out of a reading slump and that's something that isn't easy to do. Whatever I thought I didn't like about cyborgs or fairy tale retellings was a bunch of mumbo jumbo. In fact, as I found myself talking with the boyfriend about this book, I realized it was one of those rare books that actually got a "Cool" response from him rather than a polite "yes, I'm listening to you ramble about books I don't care about" nod. Cyborgs are cool, y'all.
Unless, of course, you're a cyborg in New Beijing. Then you're not cool; you are considered a sub-standard creature. I actually enjoyed this aspect. A lot. Human society has always been plagued by the desire to oppress one group to prove the superiority of another (i.e., you can't be superior if everyone is equal). Setting up Cinder as a cyborg was a good parallel to the actual Cinderella story, and it also gave the book an added element of tension and suspense. Cinder may be a retelling, but Marissa Meyer has woven such a unique story that it only builds on the original and creates something that can stand on its own.
While there were certain aspects of the plot and book that were relatively predictable, I found that this was no real detriment to the overall story. I mean, come on. It's a retelling. The plot has to go a certain way, you know? And you have to have elements of the story that hold somewhat true to the original story. I enjoyed watching how Cinder discovered these parts that were obvious to me as a reader. I wanted to find out how it all fit together at the end. Reading this was like putting together a puzzle. We know what the puzzle should look like, but the individual pieces are new and somewhat unfamiliar to us. With each piece we add to the puzzle, our excitement builds; we want to see how our individual pieces turn into the full picture.
What did shock me about Cinder, however, was the ending. My word, THE ENDING destroyed me. Not because of what happened, mind you, but because of where it ended. I got all flaily and needed Scarlet RIGHT AWAY. So, in short: Cinder rocked. Don't let your preconceived notions stop you from considering this book. It is more than a retelling; it is more than a story about cyborgs. And I loved it. *flails*(less)
I think what I liked most about Phantom Evil is that it is a mystery that completely straddles the line between normal and paranormal. The paranormal in this sense is otherworldly presences, or ghosts. Phantom Evil skirts the edge of what evil is and who can accomplish what. Can lingering evil spirits cause the death of a living person? Or is evil doing strictly a human thing? What I have always found chilling and eerie is that if you’re haunted by a ghost, how do you get rid of it? It’s not a tangible thing. At least with a person, you can lock them up. With ghosts and spirits, you lose the control aspect.
The mystery Heather Graham has set up here is one that seems relatively straightforward. But it’s one that with enough loose ends that once the crew (krewe?) begins pulling on these ends, everything begins to unravel. Beyond the mystery of what really happened to the senator’s wife, there is also some exploration into and mystery surrounding the house and its murderous past. The house, its past, and what happened with senator’s wife are all linked, but perhaps not in the way one might expect. I liked that.
There was also a romantic element to Phantom Evil. Though it is not a slow romance by any means, it is not an all-consuming one, either, which leaves the developing relationship between Jackson and Angela seem sweet and natural. And, of course, a six member team clearly leave room for more romantic pairings in future books. I can’t say that the romance was my favorite part about the book, but I did like the characters and look forward to seeing more.(less)
Please excuse me as I squee in my pants (to quote Missie). I don’t know that I have ever really done such an act in a review to date, but it was bound to happen eventually, and Anna and the French Kiss is definitely the kind of book that makes you swoon to embarrassing degrees. I want to crawl into Anna’s world and roll around in it (bonus points if I can roll around with St. Clair). Why have I avoided this book for so long? Oh, right. Because it’s a YA contemporary, and I just. don’t. read. those.
Let’s take a few minutes to kick me for pure idiocy.
Yes, it’s true that I can’t handle angst (Woe! Angst!) and there is definitely some of that here. But! (there’s always a but where a good book is concerned; and, let’s face it, good books always have butts in addition to buts) But more than anything, this book feels real. The characters are real and tangible and accessible. Anna had me completely charmed by page 24. It takes a very well written character to have me admitting to being in love with the book by page 24. I am not always so easily charmed, except maybe by Etienne St. Clair.
Anna and the French Kiss made me feel like I was in the book. I read faster when Anna did something stupid and her thoughts raced on. I wanted to eat the cuteness on every page. If you’ve read the book, I think you understand the sentiment. It had me laughing and smiling and smirking and swooning my fool head off, and it did so on a day that I was feeling down and glum and sad. I wanted to point out every real life moment that could be related to and held a valuable lesson, because this is why books are AWESOME.
I stopped writing this review to go look at quotes from the book to see if I could pull out one of favorite FAVORITE parts and I got distracted by the pure awesomeness that is Stephanie Perkins’s writing. My quote isn’t there, so I’ll sum it up here: there’s a part where a teacher discusses translations and what happens to words and meaning when something is translated. And I just about died at how amazing and insightful this part is, because it’s true. It’s true for the story, it’s true from a language perspective, and it’s true for life. LIFE. I want to huggle this book.(less)
Kristin Cashore said at a book signing that she hopes she will be able to revisit some of her characters (with that, I assume, comes continuing the series), and after finishing Bitterblue, I desperately hope that she will be able to, too. I do not think that Bitterblue’s story is over. Or at least, I do not want it to be over. Her story does seem to be left more open than the previous two books.
I don’t know that there is much to say here. Kristin Cashore is an amazing writer, but then, if you’re thinking about reading Bitterblue because you’ve already read Graceling and Fire, you know this. Bitterblue is a necessary read if you have read and liked the previous Graceling realm books. It is a damn good book (I can’t attest to whether it was worth the wait, however, since I didn’t pick up any of these books until all three were out; I assume it was). And if for some reason you haven’t read any of Kristin Cashore’s books, yet, do it now. Just don’t start with this one; start at the beginning.
Despite really liking this book, and not wanting it to be over, I find myself with little to say, so perhaps it will be better if I simply list what I loved about this book. Shall we start? I loved: that Bitterblue had no Grace and that we were able to see this side of things; that this book tied the previous two books together and leaves open possibilities for future books; that we were reunited with Katsa and Po, even if they sometimes made me sad; that Bitterblue had an amazing head for math and ciphers even though this part of the book sometimes made my head hurt; that this was a story about finding truths and how to move on from painful experiences; that power comes in many different forms; that we shown how important it is to attempt to think from others’ perspectives, yet because of who we are, it is very difficult; that King Leck was so very evil and the resulting twists and turns (evil fascinates me, and is part of the reason why I love watching true crime shows, FYI); that romance in all these books is not traditional and that there are also same-sex couples — seriously, love knows no bounds; and finally, that Bitterblue always strives to be better, even when she feels like she’s a failure — fake it til you make it.(less)
When I finished Fire and began reflecting on the book, I began to draw parallels between it and Graceling. On the surface level, these are very different stories. In many ways, Fire is nothing like Katsa. Fire is a human monster, and though she has a power, it’s not a Grace, and it seems to more trouble than it’s worth. As much as Katsa was feared, Fire is hated as much as she is loved, and with the hatred comes people wanting to see her existence erased. It is certainly not an easy life, but like Katsa, Fire does have a few people in her circle.
Though romance plays a part in Fire (and in Graceling), I would not call it a traditional romance, and it takes a backseat to the rest of the story. I don’t know if I can quite put into words my feelings here, but there is something about the romance that makes it seem non-essential to Fire’s life. It adds to her life rather than completes it. Cashore has created some very strong female leads, and these characters can — and very often do — stand on their own two feet for what they believe in. There were plenty of times where Fire’s love interest was not even in the story. And, as a side note, there were some things in this story (romance/sex wise) that makes me wonder if YA is really the best classification for these books. New Adult might be a better designation?
What I ended up really really REALLY liking about Fire was the underlying message about who we are. We cannot control certain aspects of ourselves. Fire couldn’t change being a human monster. Katsa couldn’t turn off her Grace. Essentially, you have been dealt certain cards in life that you stuck with. But how you choose to use those cards is entirely up to you. Fire and Katsa both spend time afraid of themselves and their power. What if Fire turns into her father? What if Katsa becomes a remorseless killer? Whatever traits or characteristics you have been given in life, they do not define you. You define you. Just as anything can be twisted into something negative, so too can you twist it into something positive.
And, quite frankly, Kristin Cashore just knows how to tell a good story. There is a specific character we learned of in Graceling that plays a role in Fire, and I was definitely very interested by him. The world is very complex, but fascinating and intriguing to the point it makes you want to be there with the characters. Even if you choose not to search out a deeper meaning in Fire, it is an enjoyable book, and I now fully understand why Kristin Cashore has so many loyal fans. And count myself among them.(less)
From listening to Kristin talk about her work, I figured I would probably end up enjoying her books. So far so good. My only concern about Graceling going into it was that a few people said that they weren’t fond of Katsa. I needn’t worry. I did not have any issues with Katsa. I think her character was true to form. There’s nothing soft and huggable about Katsa. And with her Grace, that’s the way it should be.
The pacing of Graceling surprised me. I’m not really sure why. I went into this without preconceived notions (I barely even read the synopsis), but I think what threw me was how the romance progressed. For some reason, I expect the romance to proceed right along with the plot, and the getting together part happening at the very end. It didn’t happen that way here. But I still loved the romance (and Po). And I hope that we can revisit both Katsa and Po in future stories.
Kristin Cashore really has a way with telling stories. I loved the concept of Graces, of Katsa struggling with her Grace, and finding herself. Because I started this book after both Fire and Bitterblue have released, I was really intrigued and captivated by Bitterblue, knowing that she has her own story. And I wanted to skip Fire and head straight into Bitterblue after finishing Graceling (I didn’t, and I won’t, but I wanted to). I definitely want to immerse myself in this world more. I do remember Kristin saying at her signing that she wish she would have spent more time on world building in this book, so I’m hoping with Fire and Bitterblue, I get an even better sense of the world.
If you’re a fan of fantasy and kick ass heroines, Graceling is a book you want to look out for. Though this is probably more of an older YA book (think like Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder), I can see it appealing to a broad range of ages.(less)
This is the end of Cas and Anna’s story, so you know that THINGS are going to HAPPEN. And they did. This is kind of one of those stories where you wonder how it could possibly end without ripping your heart out completely. And no, I won’t tell you anything about the ending (only that I think someone gets a better ending than someone else), so you’ll just have to read the book yourself. I actually kind of like that the ending both tied things up and left things open. But enough with the ending.
Cas goes through a lot more angst in this book. Whereas in the first book, Cas was fighting for his life (which is an important thing to do, I admit, and is nothing to sneeze at or make light of), in this book, he struggles with losing Anna and how to move on–or not move on, as the case may be. In that sense, going into this book expecting to get the same feelings and type of actions from the first book may lead to some disappointment. Cas’s fight here was internal. And when it wasn’t internal, it was justifying his feelings to others. Most of you know my feelings toward angst, but Cas’s never bothered me. I think his angst was justified, even when it seemed like he was stupid for continuing his quest and risking his life for a dead girl.
Girl of Nightmares expands our knowledge of Cas’s world a bit, and gives us some answers [that are often more confusing than not] about the athame and its purpose. We also meet new characters and acquaint ourselves with old ones. The new characters (or rather, one in particular) give us a particularly new insight into what Cas does as a ghost hunter and why he may not be as alone in the world as he thinks. But even then, we get a look at how Cas’s ghost hunting code of ethics (for lack of a better term) are in place for a reason.
If you read and loved Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmares is a must-read, even only for the conclusion of Cas and Anna’s story. They needed it. You need it.(less)
I went into The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer knowing that it was going to be a wild and confusing ride. I think that 1) you have to know this and 2) you have to be okay with it in order to enjoy the story. And you have to be open to possibilities. I don’t know that I’m extremely sold on what happens at the end, but I know I want to read the sequel to find out. I even want to pick this one back up and read it all over again. And maybe I will. There’s something about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer that is intoxicating.
For all my “I must know everything NOW” need that I continually flaunt in my reviews, I also like when books jerk me around in a way that tells me everything and nothing. It reminds me somewhat of Catch-22, which is one of those rare 5 star books for me. My brain seems to be rolling all over the place and I’m not really sure where to start picking up the pieces. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer pulled me in, sucked me out, and folded me upon myself. It makes sense and it does not, and I could spin myself in a tizzy trying to explain it to you, and that’s exactly why I liked it so much.
Mara has no idea what is going on or what happened to her. We learn slowly with her — kind of — but can we really trust what’s there? Side note: Michelle Hodkin signed my book with a “What will you believe?” Before I read it, I thought the statement was melodramatic, but it turns out to be aptly fitting. I liked Mara. She’s got spunk and attitude, and that’s always a plus. Noah is pretty much the guy you dreamed about dating in high school, and exactly how you dreamed dating him would be. No, seriously. It’s true. And for invoking my boy crazy memories of high school — some of the most positive memories I have of that time — I love Noah and Michelle Hodkin.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer flashes back between present day and before the accident. These flashes leave you wanting more but afraid to know the whole truth. And more than that, this book is funny in a way that I wouldn’t expect from a book that knocked my emotions all over the place. I can promise you that not everyone is going to like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. The few interactions I’ve had with people on Twitter since attempting to start writing this review has only confirmed that. But part of what makes The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer so good for me is its ability to provoke so many conflicting and rolling emotions. You react to it, even though you’re not really sure how you want to or ought to react. And it is awesome.(less)
It is fascinating the way something as simple as choosing present tense over past tense can affect a story. The use of present tense somehow made the story a little more creepy as though the future is unknown and not at all certain of a favorable outcome, and Cas’s narration seem so very real, as though we were observing over his shoulder rather than being a disconnected reader.
For some reason, books don’t creep me out and scare me as much as TV or movies. I walked to the neighbors and back at night after starting Anna Dressed in Blood and was somehow not any more scared than usual (seriously, the woods at night are creepy). But there is a definite scary feel to Anna Dressed in Blood that has you thinking about ghosts a little differently and watching everything just a little bit closer.
I really enjoyed Cas. I got the whole teenage boy vibe from his narration, low on the emotional angst (which is always a nice break) and moderate on the swearing. And though there was swearing, I always felt that it was appropriate for Cas and whatever situation he was in. It was never overused, and for a 17 year old boy, I expect some swearing.
Anna is such a conflicting and horrifying character. She is unusual, even for Cas’s world. Both Cas and Anna seem to be inexplicably drawn toward each other. What makes Anna such a fantastic character is the dichotomy of her actions as a ghost and the tragedy of her death.
I thought the ending wrapped up pretty quickly, maybe too quickly, but not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the story. For as much as we experienced in Anna Dressed in Blood, and how much I came to know — and like — Cas, I also realized that, upon finishing, there was still a lot we don’t know. I am definitely looking forward to Girl of Nightmares, though the thought of waiting another year is not appealing.
Originally read: 10/14/2011--10/15/2011 Reread (audiobook): 8/31/2012(less)
Up until the last hundred pages or so, Some Girls Bite was a solid 3 stars. There is a lot of time spent on setting up the world and the circumstances surrounding Merit’s change and entry into the vampiric world, and, while interesting, it was relatively easy to put down. It was good, but not really good. Chloe Neill’s vampires are somewhat similar in comparison with vampires from other series, but unique enough to make them interesting to learn about. By the time everything was built up and unraveling, it got to be difficult to put Some Girls Bite down, to the point where I chose reading over eating.
I think what most captured my attention in this book is how political it is, and how much the ending of the book set up huge potential and possibilities for future books. There is no cliffhanger, but I instantly wanted to get my hands on the next book in the series. Some Girls Bite intrigued the intellectual in me, not just the urban fantasy fan.
Though Merit is not exactly my favorite character, nor is there a lot of romance (though there is definite romantic interest here), I actually really enjoyed Some Girls Bite. Like any good book, it makes me like it despite my normal preferences. Some Girls Bite definitely makes a promise of a good series and I am interested to see if the promise is kept.(less)
Reading Shatter Me was like experiencing the same tumultuous emotions that The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer stirs up, though unlike Mara, you know what is going on. The prose is so utterly fascinating that at times it crosses the line between prose and poetry. I flagged 14 different passages while I was reading and I normally never feel motivated to flag passages. Tahereh Mafi does not write, she manipulates words into fantastical imagery.
“My eyes are 2 professional pick-pockets, stealing everything to store away in my mind.”
“The sky is raining bricks right into my skull.”
“His voice hugs the letters in my name so softly I die 5 times in that second. His face is a forest of emotions.”
“Realization is a pendulum the size of the moon. It won’t stop slamming into me.”
“I’m too poor to afford the luxury of hysteria right now.”
It is vague and precise at the same time. Numbers are a reoccurring theme throughout the entire book, something that begins as a way of tracking time and continues in a subtle reminder of everything Juliette has left behind. The narration style is a tumble of words, but one that makes sense and feels like you jumped into Juliette’s brain to experience everything she is, the exact way she experiences it. It took a few chapters to really settle into the book and find your own bearing, but once you do, the book takes off and soars.
We learn so much; we learn so little. The world building feels minimal, but in one sense, it reflects the Reestablishment and their total control over everything. We get glimpses along the way, and only at the end are our glimpses blown apart and everything we know suddenly shifts, leaving me wanting to pick up the next book immediately even though it won’t be out until the fall. It is both frustrating and fascinating.
The more I think about Juliette, the more I like the way that her character changes and comes out of her shell as the story progresses. She hasn’t had much of a life, so she has been isolated and sheltered, and the way she views the world — even one that is damaged and a fraction of what it once was — is breathtaking. And Adam is… I’m not sure that I have the words for Adam without giving anything away. He will make you melt. And the secondary characters are just as interesting/terrifying/intriguing.
Shatter Me is an incredibly unique experience. It certainly will not work for everyone, but it is enchanting and captivating, and a whole slew of other adjectives for amazing and perhaps-you-should-read-it-too.(less)
Thea Harrison writes these amazingly fantastical stories that never fail to leave me half-breathless. I stayed up late to read because I simply could not tear myself away from the book. I managed to disengage myself so that I could sleep, and unfortunately, lost some of the momentum from the day before; the story didn’t quite carry on in the second half of the book as it did in the first. It is likely that for this reason alone, I did not rate Storm’s Heart the same as Dragon Bound.
While the second book in the Elder Races series is categorically different from the first, it still holds the same kind of breathtaking love story. That Thea Harrison can create the same kind of magical love story while also drafting unique characters with strong personalities and backgrounds speaks to her writing ability and makes her one of those “automatic buy” authors. The quality of Thea Harrison’s writing stands out with rich description and detail.
By reading Dragon Bound, we know that there was some tension between Tricks and Tiago. This tension was carried over into Storm’s Heart making it obvious there was more to their relationship than even they knew. Tiago is single-minded when it comes to what he wants and doesn’t let anything stand in his way, and it is this quality that I admire most. I don’t believe in possession for possession’s sake, but rather that the desire to possess speaks of a unyielding bond that cannot be denied. Tricks is a fascinating blend of strength and uncertainty, and I hope that she continues to play a role in future books.
Storm’s Heart reads like a storm; it is a frighteningly beautiful story that is tinged with violence and the hint of something that defies civilization with its ancientness. And quite frankly, any book that brings out my creativity and has me putting together words like the previous sentence means that it has resonated deeply.(less)
When I first fell in love with romance novels, I was a die-hard fan of Linda Howard and Elizabeth Lowell because they wrote love stor...moreActual rating 4.5
When I first fell in love with romance novels, I was a die-hard fan of Linda Howard and Elizabeth Lowell because they wrote love stories that were both heart- and gut-wrenching. Thea Harrison has managed to remind me why I love to read romance novels. In many ways, this is the book that I have been dying to read for months; the kind of book that makes your heart clench and soar right along with its characters.
Dragos was a fascinating character from the beginning. Though a dragon, he can assume the appearance of a human. But he lacks the kind of complexities that weigh humans down and keep them from experiencing life in its truest form. He is narrow-minded and focused on getting what he wants (Pia). In a genre where instant attraction can go awry so easily, Thea Harrison had a way of making the romance between Dragos and Pia seems as if it had to happen; their love was as natural as it was necessary. You put a male lead who is terrifying and seemingly unlovable in his ruthlessness and desire to be alone along with a heroine that is headstrong and insecure, yet still able to stand up for what she thinks is right, and you’ve got me swooning.
There is so much emotional tension between Dragos and Pia. Every book that I have read lately falls flat in their ability to tap into the roller-coaster of emotions that I look for in a book. Pia is distrustful, and rightfully so. Dragos is determined, but confused by his feelings. The ensuing conflict that this creates makes the story so much more believable – and amazing. They fought others, they fought with each other, and they fought their inner selves. And yet, we all — reader and character, alike — yearned for a resolution.
There was never a dull moment in Dragon Bound. Even has I noted how much had happened in such a short time, I hoped that the story would go on forever. I was disappointed when it was over, because I had been irrevocably drawn to Dragos and Pia, and couldn’t stand an end to their love story. I felt compelled to read at the risk of shucking my responsibilities as a teacher — my students probably wouldn’t have minded not having a quiz, but it was with much difficulty that I pulled myself away from this story to do anything remotely productive. Dragon Bound rates among some of the best books I have read this year, right along side books such as the Night Huntress series.
Blood Magic is told from a total of 4 different character perspectives, all of them in the first person. This was probably my only c...moreActual rating: 4.5
Blood Magic is told from a total of 4 different character perspectives, all of them in the first person. This was probably my only complaint. One first person narration I can handle, but more makes the switch difficult, even with clearly marked headings. The transitions between Silla and Nick were the most difficult to make, but I found myself overlooking this annoyance after realizing how each character was given his or her own voice that was as subtle as it was profound.
Josephine – who we are introduced to first – baffled me at first because there is no indication of the role she plays in Silla’s and Nick’s story. But it was a bafflement that I knew would not last, and served to make me curse the story for not going faster, at the same time wishing I could read it forever. The romance between Silla and Nick was sweet, and didn’t feel forced or too fast; I felt the inexplicable draw they felt toward each other. Between Silla and Nick, I liked Nick better and looked forward to the portions that he narrated, but I don’t think that is really all that relevant. Perhaps it was just my personal preference.
Knowing that every character in the book was important in some way kept me engaged. Even characters that did not narrate – Nick’s mom, Silla’s brother – play a vital role in how the story and various plot lines are woven together into one glorious tapestry. Tessa Gratton knows how to tell a story, and her writing style is descriptive without being overdone and tedious. We were told everything we needed to know for this story, and at the same time, there are tendrils that remain waving free and unanswered, hopefully to be addressed in the second book of this series. There is a delicate balance between the knowledge we are given right away, and the knowledge that is held back for us to piece everything together at the end, and Tessa manages this balance with skill.