It took some real effort to make it through this, which I think is a first for a Sword of Truth (or this offshoot) book. Normally these read quick and...moreIt took some real effort to make it through this, which I think is a first for a Sword of Truth (or this offshoot) book. Normally these read quick and enjoyable, but this felt like a bit of a chore.
It felt like nothing much happens in here. There's plenty of danger and uncertainty, and we for sure know this since Richard is nice enough to tell us in about 5 different ways per page how much danger they're all in. Conversations are repeated every few pages, just in case you forget how screwed and confused they are. The prose in general felt way more stilted and awkward than I ever remember Goodkind's writing being.
All in all this was a bit of a letdown. I'll still be dutifully picking up the next because at least when there's plot it's interesting, but man I don't have high hopes at all.(less)
This is definitely a good follow-up to Eon, but it didn't suck me in as much as the first. Eona spends a lot more time waffling over what to do with h...moreThis is definitely a good follow-up to Eon, but it didn't suck me in as much as the first. Eona spends a lot more time waffling over what to do with herself, although I did like the themes of her losing her perspective on what was right and wrong and having to get her priorities back in order by the end of the book. For character growth, this worked well. Getting through the entire process was a bit painful at times.
Some of this struggle was seen in her really, really creepy romantic triangle. I don't want to spew spoilers here, but the involuntary attraction to an obvious perverse and abusive person was pretty difficult to get through in places. I definitely found myself uncomfortable in parts, but by the end it had redeemed itself for me in this respect.
Definitely recommend this duology to fantasy fans, especially of Tamora Pierce, but the first was the stronger of the two for me. Still a great read and a fascinating take on dragons.(less)
There's some really neat aspects to this--a corrupt king that felt modeled off of Henry VIII if he'd been willing to also murder all of his non-male c...moreThere's some really neat aspects to this--a corrupt king that felt modeled off of Henry VIII if he'd been willing to also murder all of his non-male children, mysterious magic, a girl who doesn't age, and of course the central mystery of who Tucker Scrap really is.
Unfortunately, Tucker Scrap did not click as a protagonist for me. I can usually get behind a good old underdog, orphan character a la Charles Dickens, but I just had a hard time understanding her. It felt like she was a really strong character at times, but after 150 pages of her reminiscing about the "good" times of getting beaten and abused by the man she previously worked for I got entirely too squicked out by her.
I think most readers probably won't notice this so much, as things do start happening one after another in quick succession and does get to be quite a page turner. As a reader who really likes character work, something just felt super off about this character. At times she felt like she could have been modeled off a Tamora Pierce-esque role model, at other times she felt like a Bella Swann.
I was provided a copy from the publisher via Netgalley.(less)
I picked this up on a whim, having grown up loving retellings of fairy tales that play with the conventions. I went in knowing this would feature Rapu...moreI picked this up on a whim, having grown up loving retellings of fairy tales that play with the conventions. I went in knowing this would feature Rapunzel as the lead (who, outside of the Shannon Hale version, I don't think I've ever seen anyone do a retelling with), but was pretty intrigued when I found out it would tie in with the Snow White story.
Rapunzel is easy to like in here, despite being innocent to a fault at the beginning. This works pretty well, since as the story progresses Rapunzel matures into quite an interesting character, and it does take just about the entire novel for her to grow up and become her own person after leaving her adoptive mother's care.
Some really interesting twists to get the two stories to fit together, and while some bits were comfortably predictable, enough was a pleasant surprise to make this an entertaining read. I'd never read the author before, but after this I'll be curious to pick up some of her other fairy tale novels.
I was given a copy from the publisher via Netgalley.(less)
I had a tougher time getting invested in this than I did the first of the series, Grave Mercy, but it was still definitely a worthwhile read for me. T...moreI had a tougher time getting invested in this than I did the first of the series, Grave Mercy, but it was still definitely a worthwhile read for me. This get a bit predictable in places, but I did like learning more about Sybella and her history, and overall the ending was a very satisfying conclusion to her personal drama.
One thing I liked is this is a good 100-and-change pages shorter than Grave Mercy, which made for some tighter storytelling. Anything longer really would have felt like a stretch on the narrative, and there was plenty of soul searching as could be expected in a story like this.
The obligatory romance worked pretty well for me, and I did rather like the personal connection they discovered that linked some of their respective histories together.(less)
I'll admit I picked this up with some hesitation--I enjoyed the first book in this series well enough that I was pretty curious about what direction t...moreI'll admit I picked this up with some hesitation--I enjoyed the first book in this series well enough that I was pretty curious about what direction things would move, but with an ever-growing pile of to-read books I was unsure of whether I wanted to spend the time on a sequel to a book I didn't love. I'm really, really glad I gave this a chance! While I found the first book in the series to drag in a lot of places due to the romance, this book was a non-stop adventure story (with some cute romantic scenes to spice things up) that delved much deeper into Lora's otherworldly self than the first book did.
Lora is still a fabulous, strong-willed character and with the central plot revolving around (view spoiler)[her braving the warfront of WWI on a rescue mission, she really gets in on some crazy fun action. Both she and Armand grow a lot as characters (he, thankfully, backs off a lot on the romantic pushing, allowing her to get a grasp on her emotions without forcing her), and the interactions between the two felt pretty natural. (hide spoiler)]
The first book has just barely hit the shelves, and with how strong this is I definitely recommend this series to fans of young adult romance and fantasy--book one is heavy on the romance, book two heavy on the fantasy, and I'm definitely looking forward to whatever book three has in store.
I was provided a copy from the publisher via Netgalley.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is a very sweet little adventure story revolving around a feisty young woman who spends her time concocting potions, and who is now on a mission...moreThis is a very sweet little adventure story revolving around a feisty young woman who spends her time concocting potions, and who is now on a mission to assassinate her best friend after a foiled first attempt. I was pleasantly surprised by the charming wit in here, the entertaining cast of characters, and how deep the storyline and politics actually wound up being. This could have been a fairly shallow fantasy, especially with how short it was, but it had some really fun twists along the way and I was very happy with how things turned out.
Kyra was a good lead character, and while the tagline of this novel seemed silly ("Can she save the kingdom with a piglet?") it all really tied together well for a very charming story. Fred was a good balance to her seriousness, and his silliness was rather adorable.
I'm really saddened to learn that the author died before this was published, but happy that her family and friends got this out. As much as I really want to read more by her, I'm very glad to have had a chance to read her debut novel. (less)
I was really happy to see a return of Sophos, who I enjoyed in The Thief...and a return to the first-person point-of-view. Turner's characters really...moreI was really happy to see a return of Sophos, who I enjoyed in The Thief...and a return to the first-person point-of-view. Turner's characters really shine when read from their perspective, and while I've enjoyed the series as a whole this felt much stronger than the last two books.
I loved how strong a character Sophos ended up being in here. He was a fun character in the first book, but in here he really gets fleshed out and I like growth a lot. His willingness to live a simple life and his caring spirit growing into a realization of what he has to do is really well-done.(less)
This was a fun adventure story that reminded me a lot of Haggard's King Solomon's Mines or Doyle's The Lost World. Set at the end of Edward VI's short...moreThis was a fun adventure story that reminded me a lot of Haggard's King Solomon's Mines or Doyle's The Lost World. Set at the end of Edward VI's short reign, the story starts off a bit slow as the characters begin exploring the magical properties of both the bodies and the items of a doomed expedition to a magical island, while also juggling the politics of the period. It easily pulled me in with all the detail work, and it didn't take long before the characters were off on their expedition.
The magic and physics of the island felt really well-done, and I enjoyed the descriptions of all the wonders. The one place this flagged for me was the dialogue and characters--it felt a bit stiff, and outside of Catherine I didn't much care what happened to anyone. Still, I was happy this was a story willing to allow a girl of 16 to be fascinated by science and want to live her life outside of her gender confines.
Definitely worth a read for fans of the old sensationalist style novels, especially for the non-stereotypical gender roles.
I was provided a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley.(less)
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this--I had never read Shana Abé before, and have to admit I didn't even realize her adult series in any wa...moreI wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this--I had never read Shana Abé before, and have to admit I didn't even realize her adult series in any way tied into this. So, this is another series aimed at young adults but set in a long-established adult series world, which has seemed to be a bit of a trend lately in the young adult market. It worked for this. The world-building isn't incredibly detailed, but as this is the first book and Lora is just discovering the truth around her, it works. Not only is she tackling a new life as a charter student after growing up an orphan, but this hidden second world is slowly explored around her.
Not expecting so much romance, I was disappointed by the feeling that this was turning into a love-at-first-sight story pretty early on. I spent the first half of the novel not really sure if I was enjoying it all that much, but the writing is good and the dragons interesting. Things got a lot more exciting towards the end, and I'll be picking up the second when it's released as a result.
I really liked how Lora is more of a strong female character than the typical teen paranormal romance seems prone to featuring--she's willing to speak out against the stupid stunts the boy in here pull. Both Jesse and Armand pull some controlling/creepy things, like showing up in her room uninvited (or even watching her while she sleeps). I'll give her this--she doesn't think it's cute or sweet, completely unlike Twilight or the Discovery of Witches, thankfully. I liked her voice and narrative, and she's what has me curious about the next book even though this wasn't quite to my tastes.
I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley.(less)
An excellent continuation in the adventures of Eugenides, with much of the narrative concentrating on a new character, Costis, as he observes Eugenide...moreAn excellent continuation in the adventures of Eugenides, with much of the narrative concentrating on a new character, Costis, as he observes Eugenides struggling with his new position. This felt like a much stronger narrative than The Queen of Attolia, and I loved all the political intrigue.
Costis is a solid new character in the series, and I really did enjoy watching Eugenides through his eyes. This felt more in line with the tone of the first book in the series, although some of that has to do with Eugenides having come to terms (well, more so) with his disability and getting back to being himself. The confrontations between him and his subjects gets increasingly entertaining, and the conclusion felt spot on.(less)
A pleasant start to Sanderson's new young adult series, happily with his trademark intricate work on a entirely new magical system that has complex ru...moreA pleasant start to Sanderson's new young adult series, happily with his trademark intricate work on a entirely new magical system that has complex rules and interactions. This even has some really solid worldbuilding--I was disappointed briefly when I realized this was set in America, but it quickly because apparent the Earth this is set on is insanely different from our own. Leonardo da Vinci's "springworks" inventions have taken off as a primary technology and he's become a saint. The "states" of America are actually separate islands, and deeper in they are infested with creatures called "chalklings."
Joel and Melody both took some warming up to, but both settled into a fun dynamic between the characters--I especially enjoyed an exchanged near the end of the book where Joel complains how "girly" unicorns are and Melody threatens to also draw flower people.
The central mystery itself manages to be pretty creepy as Joel, Melody and Professor Fitch get closer and closer to the truth. The details of the Rithmatist magical system are explained slowly throughout, as well as the history of the United Isles of America (and this alternate version of Earth, although to a lesser degree than America). The balance between the characterbuilding, worldbuilding and main plot all worked excellently and definitely have me wanting for more. (less)
This was quite a departure from the first book in the series, leaving the first person perspective to give bigger political scope in a third person pe...moreThis was quite a departure from the first book in the series, leaving the first person perspective to give bigger political scope in a third person perspective. This is less of an adventure story and far more a complex, political struggle between the various countries. It's a deeper story, with plenty of character building and surprise twists.
I really enjoyed this, but it didn't have quite the personality as Thief did. Some of this is that the third person perspective really lends itself to a dryer narrative tone, rather than the snarky tone of Eugenides I enjoyed so much in the first book. (less)
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked this up from the new release shelf at the library, and honestly I can't really say what exa...moreI had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked this up from the new release shelf at the library, and honestly I can't really say what exactly it was after reading it. It's certainly a gruesome and surreal tale, ridiculously vulgar to unbelievable degrees at time, but with such a stunning cast of characters I couldn't put it down.
Jan, who in this type of tale would typically be the "villain with the heart of gold" stereotype is a disgusting creep. Sander, the crazed thug, I couldn't help but like... And Jolanda was hilariously to-the-point, violent and no-nonsense for most of the novel (as a teen, she's got some angst, but as soon as it got to where it could be aggravating the story worked its way around it).
I think the icing on the cake here is when the author is gearing up to have one particularly confounding and inexplicable part of the story explained...Jolanda, as honestly I'd expect, goes and punches the guy in the nose and runs off without hearing him out. And that's the most explanation ever given. It's so true to the character he'd built up for 450 pages that I had to just laugh (despite being a bit sad at never actually getting a full explanation).
A lot of this is so surreal and reminded me some of Haruki Murakami...just a incredibly gross and vulgar take on the dreamlike qualities his novels have. The water scenes in here involving giant fish, however, felt very real and incredibly eerie. Definitely not for the easily squicked out.(less)