SOUL BEACH by Kate Harrison is a murder mystery novel with a twist – the twist b...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com - 4.5 Stars on the blog.
SOUL BEACH by Kate Harrison is a murder mystery novel with a twist – the twist being that the victim can still communicate with the world via Soul Beach.
The book begins with Alice Forster preparing for the funeral of her older sister, Megan, five months after her murder. Her sister was a reality TV star, known as the Songbird, and loved by millions for her beauty and girl-next-door personality. She was found suffocated, with her blonde hair brushed out around her like a halo, and the police are nowhere near discovering who killed her.
Alice is sixteen, and struggling to adjust to life without Megan. She is trying to continue as normal with her friend Cara and boyfriend, Robbie, but it is clear that she isn’t coping. The morning of the funeral she receives a strange e-mail from her sister’s e-mail address, dated with the date of her sister’s death. Alice thinks it’s a hoax, but she is then sent a link to Soul Beach, a mysterious online site that looks like a beautiful and serene beach scene, with palm trees and clear blue seas.
However, this site is definitely not ordinary, as Alice can hear her dead sister talking to her, and can actually communicate with her via the site. Her sister isn’t the only soul she can communicate with on the beach either, as the beach is full of pretty young souls in a never-ending party environment, but they can only see Alice if Megan introduces them to her.
Alice is only a Visitor to the site, but it is clear from her first entry to the site that her actions are being carefully monitored, as it is forbidden to ask residents how they died unless the resident starts the conversation about it. This leaves Alice to constantly fret over what she says to her sister, as she comes to rely upon the residents of Soul Beach more than her real life friends, and can’t bear the thought of losing it from her life.
It is clear that Soul Beach is not the paradise it is made to look like, as the residents are trapped there forever, described as a ‘limbo’ for souls with unresolved issues. As a Visitor, Alice is the only one who can help these souls to resolve their problems, which gives her even more mysteries to solve than that of her sister’s murder.
In her ‘real’ life, Alice is becoming more and more detached from her friends, breaking up with her boyfriend and steering clear of her parents and their arguments. However, she becomes determined to find out what really happened to her sister, as she doesn’t believe that Megan’s boyfriend, Tim, could have been behind it, and starts her own investigations.
Alice is a brilliant character, as the writer has given her such depth for a YA novel, especially with the grief she feels for her sister, and the attachment she forms for the beach. It is also easy to understand her self-destructive path with her friends, as Soul Beach becomes more real to her than real life, with her beginning to log on to the site more and more each day. And when she starts falling for Danny, a resident of Soul Beach, her life starts to get a whole lot more complicated.
I know. What kind of sick freak checks her email before she goes to see her sister being buried? But sometimes it hurts so much I feel like I’ve got acid in my veins instead of blood, and that’s when I go online.
The reader is left to make their own decisions about the nature of the beach, and I also loved the inclusion of the killer’s confession at certain points during the book. These inserts are told in first person, and give the killer’s perspective of Megan, but still don’t manage to give away any clues as to the murderer’s identity.
I loved this book, and I can’t wait to read the following books in the series, as I really have no idea who the murderer is, and have a feeling that any guesses I try to make are going to be totally wrong! This book was full of surprises, and I was absolutely drawn in to the world of Soul Beach. The only detail I had a slight issue understanding was how Alice could ‘walk’ along the beach when she was viewing it from a computer screen, but this was easy to overlook whilst reading.
I loved SOUL BEACH, as the story was gripping and a really innovative concept that I hadn’t anticipated. The character of Alice was easy to relate to and the murder mystery has gripped me, and I really can’t wait to read the next book in the series and get a step closer to finding out who the murderer is! (less)
THRONE OF GLASS is being released on the 2nd August and after seeing a lot of positi...moreReviewed by Becs for www.BookChickCity.com - 3.5 Star on the blog.
THRONE OF GLASS is being released on the 2nd August and after seeing a lot of positive reviews and publicity on this new release I was intrigued. When I managed to get my hands on an advance reading copy I was ecstatic. The downside to being so excited about a book is that sometimes it doesn’t reach expectations. However, I was not disappointed.
THRONE OF GLASS is mainly told from the point of view of the main protagonist, Celaena, an eighteen year old notorious assassin. Celaena had been imprisoned at the salt mines of Endovier, dubbed the death camp after an assassination attempt on King Adarlan went wrong. Despite the odds, Celaene had survived and was sought out by Prince Dorian to be his entry into the Kings Champion Tournament. Given the choice between dying in the salt mine or in a tournament, Celaena would rather go out fighting, and so accepts the Prince’s offer.
“If you win, and prove yourself both skilled and trustworthy, my father has sworn to grant you your freedom. And, while you’re his Champion, you’ll receive a considerable salary.”
At first there seemed to be some similarities to The Hunger Games, a dictatorship rule from King Adarlan, a tournament where 23 people from different kingdoms battle it out for the privilege to become Champion.
The similarities end there, THRONE OF GLASS is set in a world of Sarah J. Maas’ creation, where faeries and magic exist. King Adarlan has banned the use of magic and anyone found using it would be destroyed. Magic outlawed, Celaena is surprised to find ancient symbols in and around the palace and seeks to find their meanings, especially as there appears to be a link between these symbols and some unexplained gruesome murders.
Celaena trains at the glass palace of King Adarlan under heavy guardianship of the captain of the guard, Captain Westfall (Chaol). The relationship between Celaena and Chaol is tense with enjoyable banter and it’s great to see how their relationship evolves as Chaol realizes there is more to Celaena than just a dangerous assassin. Outside of training, Celaena is heavily guarded but she is allowed to wander the castle as a lady and meets the Princess of Eyllwe, Nehemia. Celaena and Nehemia become great friends and are both strong minded, outspoken women warriors who are great heroines in this book.
With any great heroine, a handsome man is usually on hand, and Sarah J. Maas gives us two to choose from with Dorian and Chaol. Both these characters have a different type of relationship with Celaena which allows her to fully shows her likable personality and brings out a lighter side in the dire situation of the tournament.
THRONE OF GLASS provides lots of action, not only through the trials in the tournament but because something sinister is lurking in the castle and some of the competitors are brutally murdered a day or two before each trial. Celaena, worried that she could be next, tries to figure out who or what is responsible, before it becomes too late. Help always comes when needed and when Celaena receives it from an unexpected source she needs to figure out if she can trust it and what will be required in return.
The finale comes with the last trial between the four remaining contestants resulting in a thrilling ultimate battle, and a great conclusion ready for the next instalment in the THRONE OF GLASS series.
I enjoyed THRONE OF GLASS, it has a bit of everything; mystery, romance and lots of action. Some things are a little predictable, but is a great story none the less. There are a few novella’s that precede THRONE OF GLASS, which I will be buying shortly. Celaena is a great heroine and I wish to find out more about the little deadly assassin. I’m excited for the next book in this series. (less)
GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers is a nice change to the current YA paranormal market, with assassins of dea...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com
GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers is a nice change to the current YA paranormal market, with assassins of death replacing the now-saturated vampire fiction. The book is full of twists and turns, becoming a historical, mystery, romance and paranormal book all in one.
Set in Brittany in the late 15th Century, the novel’s heroine is Ismae Rienne, a turnip farmer’s daughter who is mistreated by her father as she is believed to have been fathered by Death. Her mother tried to cast her out of the womb before she was born, meaning that Ismae bears a terrible scar down her back that she tries to keep hidden at all costs, as everyone who has seen it is repulsed.
After her father tries to sell her for marriage, Ismae ends up at the convent of St. Mortain, the saint of death. Here she is taught the variety of ways of killing a man, showing a particular gift for the study of poisons, as she is immune to their effects. She is given her targets from the convent’s Seeress, each of which bear the marque of St. Mortain, which allows Ismae to see how they should die.
“Poisons that grip the gut and force a man’s life to dribble from him into a slop pail. Poisons that stop the heart or squeeze the humors from the body. Bloodwort to congeal the blood so it can no longer move through the veins. We will show you subtle poisons that take days to fell a man, and those that kill within seconds.”
Her actions as an assassin land her wrapped up in official court business, after the Duchess of Brittany’s bastard brother, Gavriel Duval, interrupts one of her assassinations. Ismae is then made to accompany Duval to court, becoming entangled in the corruption surrounding the rule of Brittany. France wants to take the country’s independence, meaning the Duchess’s hand in marriage is coveted by several suitors who each promise an army to aid Brittany. Ismae needs to aid Duval in discovering the true motives behind each suitor, and to find a solution for both the Duchess and Brittany. Is it possible for her to aid Duval and serve her saint at the same time? And what if everything she believes in is questioned?
Ismae was a really interesting protagonist, as her scars meant that she was always holding herself back from interacting with others, always trying to keep herself hidden. When she becomes an assassin she finally has a purpose, and it was interesting to see the conflict between her love of St. Mortain and her developing affection for Duval. Her first person perspective demonstrates her emotions well, as the descriptions of her feelings weren’t excessive and so didn’t affect the action of the book, which can sometimes happen in YA fiction.
As a compliment to Ismae’s strong character, Duval is a good match, as he has the emotional conflict of being the previous Duke’s bastard and half-brother to the Duchess. This means he is more likely to understand Ismae’s scars, and his devotion to his sister is admirable, as he goes to great lengths to protect her. He starts to show affection for Ismae, and the strength of their partnership is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
Overall I enjoyed reading GRAVE MERCY, although despite really enjoying the plot there were elements to the writing that ruined it for me. The author uses an abundance of short sentences in her descriptions, which kept halting my reading and ruined the flow of the paragraphs. It gave the description a blunt feel which was beginning to irritate me. I also didn’t like the constant use of the word ‘mayhap’, which is used throughout the book and the word just draws attention to itself in a sentence and I started to notice it being used all the time. Despite these issues with the writing I thought the book had a great plotline, and even though some of the mystery has an obvious cause it was still a great read.
This book was a good read, and I loved the plot as I felt it was something different to throw into the currently saturated YA market. The main characters were likable and the ending leaves a lot of possibilities for the sequel that are going to be interesting to explore. The writing style could be improved, as I was beginning to get frustrated at the overuse of short sentences, but overall it was a good read.(less)
THE GATHERING DARK by Leigh Bardugo is a thrilling YA fantasy novel set in a fictional world where Grisha...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com
THE GATHERING DARK by Leigh Bardugo is a thrilling YA fantasy novel set in a fictional world where Grisha live side-by-side with humans, serving the King of Ravka in the war with the surrounding regions. The plot is intricately carved, with this novel providing a strong basis for the future books in the trilogy and carving out the foundations of the Grisha universe.
Grisha are wielders of magic so to speak, their power being described as ‘like calling to like’, with the hierarchy of the Grisha dependent on their skills. The highest ranked is the Darkling, a man with the power to summon forth darkness and amplify others’ power, the strongest of all Grisha. The other Grisha wield a mixture of elemental, summoning, healing, and crafting magic, each having individual skills with which to aid the kingdom.
Our heroine, Alina Starkov, is an orphan, raised in a duke’s orphanage along with her best friend Mal, and now a cartographer in the army. Their regiment is tasked with crossing the Shadow Fold, a seemingly impenetrable stretch of the kingdom that is inhabited by volcra, vicious beings that will kill on sight. Alina’s power manifests during this attempted crossing, marking her as a sun summoner, a power almost as rare as the Darkling himself, making her a prime target…
Alina is a relatable protagonist, with her emotional turmoil at becoming a Grisha fully understandable, along with her subconscious desire to belong somewhere, to have some sort of purpose. I really liked her as a character, and felt that the first person narration was really well written by Bardugo, as I never once felt annoyed at her character or frustrated at her perspective. She grows throughout the novel, becoming even stronger and likeable by the end, the reader willing her to succeed along her journey.
Another well-written aspect of this book is the love triangle. Ordinarily the author will set up from the beginning who the protagonist will eventually end up with, prodding the reader’s affection towards the appropriate candidate. However, I felt that Bardugo completely subverted this, with the love triangle between Alina, the Darkling and Mal being totally unpredictable. I didn’t feel that there was a clear choice to be made until the end, with Alina’s childhood friend being pitched against the mysterious and seductive Darkling. But, is the Darkling working for the good of the kingdom or for personal gain? And will Mal ever understand Alina’s new ways of the Grisha?
Overall, I loved everything about this book, with there being some seriously unexpected plot twists that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. I could hardly put this book down, and am thoroughly looking forward to reading the following books in the trilogy. My only slight complaint is that the book was too short, I wanted more to read!
I absolutely loved this book, I was completely pulled in by the characters and the plotline kept me hooked until the end. I can’t wait for the next two books in the trilogy, and feel that this book was a superb opening to the world of the Grisha, and hope that it can only get better. (less)
FORBIDDEN by Syrie James and Ryan M James follows the recent trend for paranormal...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com - 2.5 Star on the blog.
FORBIDDEN by Syrie James and Ryan M James follows the recent trend for paranormal romance between angels and humans, and also follows the typical plot of a young adult novel. However, in my opinion this novel might follow stereotypical American YA fiction plotlines a little too closely, making it suited to a younger reader, with not as much enjoyment for a slightly older readership.
The plotline of FORBIDDEN resembles other recent YA fiction, with the main character, Claire Brennan, holding a scholarship to an exclusive private school where her grades are top of every class. She is sixteen, and has just started her period when psychic ‘gifts’ begin to manifest, allowing her to see past and future events whilst touching certain items or people. Alec MacKenzie takes the typical role of the mysterious newcomer to the school, also top of every class, and who takes a particular interest in Claire from his arrival on campus. He is a Grigori, or an ‘angel’, who has gone AWOL from his duties to prevent newly-awakeneds from becoming Fallens (what we might call the dark side to Alec’s good), with dangerous repercussions if his location is discovered by the Elders.
Protagonist Claire is mostly likeable, but I often got infuriated with her teenage worries, as at times she seems incredibly whiney, turning her attention to a homecoming princess campaign in the middle of important events despite claiming to have no interest in the prize. She is a half-blood, half-Grigori, half-human, the first to be born for thousands of years, her mere existence being forbidden, and is the reason she is being hunted by the Grigori. Her relationship with her friends seems incredibly unrealistic, as she tells her best friends Brian and Erica everything about her new gifts and Alec’s true nature, despite being told to keep it a secret.
As for Alec, he is apparently ‘sexy, powerful, brilliant, fascinating… and frightening… all at the same time’. Sound too good to be true? You might be right. He is seemingly good at everything, featuring few flaws that I can think of, always turning up to protect Claire when she needs him. His identity as a Grigori is compromised and full of secrecy, which he seemingly reveals to Claire without question, despite any kind of relationship between them being forbidden. It seems highly unrealistic that a Grigori would just reveal their secrets to a human so easily, and several aspects to his character, as well as certain events, make the novel seem very similar to Twilight, not a factor I found at all appealing.
Overall, I could take or leave this book, as it was an easy read and I did enjoy the romance elements between Alec and Claire, but the teenage elements just took away all enjoyment for me. I don’t have a problem with YA fiction being set in a high school, but the characters were just difficult to connect with and some of the plot points just too obvious for me to enjoy. The story has been left open for future books, but as yet it is unclear if there will be a sequel, and I am unsure if I actually want to continue Claire and Alec’s story.
I enjoyed the principle of this book, and enjoyed certain events, particularly the build up to the conclusion and the romance scenes between Alec and Claire. However, the book just felt too typically teenage for me to enjoy it fully, with the high school setting and subplots of the homecoming princess campaign seeming too stereotypical and unnecessary. (less)
IMMORTAL CITY is written by a Hollywood insider and a well-established movie, commercial and music video dir...moreReviewed by Becs for www.BookChickCity.com
IMMORTAL CITY is written by a Hollywood insider and a well-established movie, commercial and music video director, so I was a little hesitant that Scott Speer would also be trying his hand at writing a novel. He can’t be great at everything, right? My assumptions were quickly proven incorrect as IMMORTAL CITY sucked me into the world of fame, fortune and guardian angel’s, whose services were bought by the rich. IMMORTAL CITY is a novel narrated in the third person set in a fantasy world where Speer replaces our Hollywood and famous actors with his Angel City and beautiful immortal angels.
The opening chapter shows how shallow and money orientated the guardian angels have become with a scene of a speeding driver cutting corners and causing a head on crash but because he was insured by a guardian angel he was rescued from the crash.
“How much…was this?”
“One hundred thousand dollars, in addition to your monthly rate.”
Brad’s gaze drifted to where the cars had landed in the water. His M5 was already submerged, but the back end of the pickup still protruded in the surf, bobbing in the swells like a corpse.
“What about him?” Brad asked.
“Him?” the Angel asked.
“Yeah,” Brad said, and pointed to the tailgate as it slipped under the waves. “Him.”
The Angel looked at the sinking pickup as if seeing it for the first time.
“He didn’t have coverage,” he said.
At first I was uncertain of the angels that Speer had created and as the book progressed the majority of the angels did little to change my opinion of them; selfish, greedy, shallow immortal beings that had everything and shared very little.
However, don’t let my feelings over the angels distract you from the plot, one of the main protagonists we follow is an angel, Jackson Godspeed (Jacks), who is the next hottest star to hit Angel City and his feelings are different from the other angels. Jacks is worshipped, followed and idolised by the majority of the population with only a select few not being caught up in the hype and one of these is Maddy Montgomery. Maddy is a freshman in high school and another prominent protagonist of IMMORTAL CITY.
Jacks fed up of his fame and feeling like no one is interested in him as a person, leaves one of his parties early, only to be told by his step father to lay low as an angel killer has just struck, as only an angel can kill an angel Jacks becomes a suspect. Jacks hides in the first dinner he finds where Maddy is working the shift for her Uncle Kevin.
A chance meeting Jacks and Maddy instantly find themselves attracted to each other, although once Maddy realizes Jacks is an angel she is annoyed and asks him to stay away from her. Jacks being a famous angel dislikes being snubbed and can’t get Maddy out of his head so goes to see her at school from there Jacks is determined to make Maddy like him and they start seeing each other regularly.
Maddy realizing they are from very different backgrounds continues to push Jacks away even pointing out that if she were an angel she would act differently to him.
“What I know,” Maddy said curtly, “is that if I could do what you do, I would use my power to help as many people as I could. I wouldn’t use it to get rich.” A few traitorous tears spilled over her cheeks, and she wiped them away quickly. “I would save people because it’s the right thing to do.”
As IMMORTAL CITY is from different view points there is much more going on to keep you interested while the rocky romance is going on, a serial angel killer is on the rampage and it seems to be targeting angels in the order of their stars on the Angel Boulevard, with Jacks becoming a newly commissioned Guardian Angel, his star will become the next one on the strip, will that make Jacks the next target? Can Maddy and Jacks find away to be together? And who is responsible for the angel’s deaths?
There is lots of suspense in IMMORTAL CITY and Speer’s gives you plenty of suspects to choose from, and even though I guessed that there was something off about one character, I had forgot about them when it came time to see who was behind the murders. I was amused by the surname choices for the angels, Godspeed, Steeple, Godson, Templeton, Trinity, Churchson, Holycross etc. it’s a fun use of church related names and very apt for the characters and I enjoyed Scott Speer’s writing.
All in all an enjoyable, well written young adult book with some unpredictable twists to keep you guessing, and one I couldn’t put down. As a fan of the young adult genre, IMMORTAL CITY was right up my street. A mixture of angels, romance and crime thriller all rolled into one book that I devoured quickly. I must admit that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy IMMORTAL CITY based on the author’s background but I was absorbed from the very first chapter. A great fantasy twist on Hollywood and angels. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.(less)
As a fan of Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey Series I was highly anticipating the release of THE IMMORTAL RULES.
THE IMMORTAL RULES is a post-apocalyptic vampire novel set in a dilapidated America written from the point of view of the main protagonist, Allison Sekemoto (Allie). Allie is human, an unregistered teenage girl who lives on the outskirts of a vampire city called New Covington. An unregistered human is someone who is not owned by a vampire and so does not provide blood, which means to the vampires she doesn’t exist. This is a dangerous way to live as vampires own and control everything: food, clothing, shelter, even knowledge. To survive, Allie has to scavenge, but if she is caught stealing or reading then the punishment is death by hanging.
Allie is part of a small gang of four and is protective over Stick, a small boy that seems unable to fend for himself, and shares whatever she has with him. She proves to be an independent, courageous, determined, caring individual from the offset taking great risks to save herself and her gang from starvation. Food is scarce so she leaves the safety of the city walls through the sewers to try and find some in the ruins making sure to be back by dark. The city walls not only keep them penned in, they act as a protection from the rabids.
Rabids are mindless, bloodthirsty creatures that were accidently created after vampires were purposely infected with the red lung virus, that was decimating the human population, to try and find a cure. Rabids live freely outside the city so going to the ruins is a great risk for Allie, especially when darkness falls.
On a trip to the city from the ruins, Allie runs into a stranger who she quickly realizes is a vampire, unexpectedly this vampire has a civil conversation with Allie instead of harming her. The strange vampire turns out to be a master vampire named Kanin. Kanin saves Allie when during a return trip to the ruins with her gang to retrieve the food goes wrong when the gang is attacked by rabids. Allie’s wounds are fatal so Kanin gives Allie a choice, die or become a vampire. Allie chooses to survive as a vampire, a creature she loathes. Kanin teaches her the rules of survival as an immortal explaining the complex hierarchy that exists in the vampire community, who can make another vampire, how to hunt and feed but most importantly how to survive. However, Allie refuses to let go of her past and returns to the ruins to see if any of her gang survived.
Kanin is a wanted vampire and should not be in the city, however Allie’s actions leads to their vampire hideout being discovered. Kanin protects Allie and sacrifices himself to be caught allowing Allie to flee the city but she is alone. During Allie’s journey she has an occasional nightmare and experiences some of the torture Kanin’s captors are inflicting upon him. It’s these nightmares that determine the next road Allie takes when the path splits and she is again alone. During Allie’s journey she has an occasional nightmare and experiences some of the torture Kanin’s captors are inflicting upon him. It’s these nightmares that determine the next road Allie takes when the road splits and she is again alone.
Cast out she wanders and discovers the world outside the city, everything is desolate, only coming into contact with animals and rabids. Lacking human blood her body starts to give in to the madness and bloodlust of the monster she has become. Her bloodlust drives her to try to satiate her hunger through animal blood until she hears a rumbling and sees lights travelling along a road. Investigating the noise she comes to the first road since leaving the city and finds raiders.
Raiders are a dangerous motorbike gang who live in the old human city Chicago and they work for the vampire, King Jackal. The raiders viewed Allie as a weak lonely human girl who they could take advantage of little did they expect Allie would eat them for dinner as the bloodlust controls her, fulfilling Kanin’s teachings.
“Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being. Accidentally or as a conscious, deliberate act. It is unavoidable. The question is not if it will happen, but when.”
Hunger satisfied and again in control of her bloodlust Allie continues on the road, which leads her to find a large human group of wanderers who are searching in hope for a place called Eden, a human settlement that is rumored to exist, which is entirely free from vampires and rabids. Allie instantly likes Ezekiel Crosse (Zeke), a 17 year old blonde, blue-eyed boy who is second in command and he invites her to stay. As the group travel at night and sleep during the day she is able to continue her journey with them hiding her true identity, and keeping her bloodlust in check.
The book picks up pace as Allie interacts with others and she is able to finally show her true personality as she fights and hides the monster within. I enjoyed the relationships she formed with the rest of the group and the efforts she endured to not eat certain members of the group. Allie’s protectiveness as she helps to defend the group from rabids and raiders, and her kindness as she tries to hunt and provide food for the group to lift some of the burden from Zeke shoulders, and her strength as she continues to fight the monster she is, makes Allie an intriguing and loveable character.
After a feeding that goes wrong the group find out what she is and drives her away despite her saving Bethany’s life, an eight year old girl who got swept away in a river, and are too scared to trust her even though she has protected and never hurt them. Allie decides that even though they want her gone she is determined to help them to get to Eden although it’s from the shadows.
When the need arrives Allie is able to help Zeke and preserve a secret by taking on King Jackal in his own city trying to rescue Zeke’s group and their leader Jeb.
Who will survive King Jackal’s Chicago and find Eden? Will Zeke be able to see her as anything other than a monster? And what will happen to Allie if they find Eden? The following quote explains the difficult choice Allie had to continually make and the strength and determination she possess.
We are vampires, Kanin had told me, on one of our last nights together. It makes no difference who we are, where we came from. Princes, Masters and rabids alike, we are monsters, cut off from humanity. They will never accept us. We hide in their midst and walk among them, but we are forever separate. Damned. Alone. You don’t understand now, but you will. There will come a time when the road before you splits, and you must decide your path. Will you choose to become a demon with a human face, or will you fight your demon until the end of time, knowing you will forever struggle alone?
In THE IMMORTAL RULES Julie Kagawa creates a monstrous futuristic vampire world in which humans are no more than cattle. Despite Allie’s hatred towards the vampires she is scared of death more and as such chooses to become what she hates most. It’s her struggles to come to terms with what she has become, trying to keep hold of her humanity, maintaining her caring nature that makes her a strong lovable character who you want to survive. As she finds love in Zeke she decides that some things are worth dying for and will do whatever it takes to ensure he reaches his goal.
Overall I loved THE IMMORTAL RULES, I couldn’t put it down. Having vampires as the sun hating blood suckers of nightmares all set in a dystopian future, two of my favourite genres, is a great combination. I can’t wait for the next book in the series as we continue on Allie’s journey to find her sire Kanin. Well worth staying up until 4am to finish.(less)
I first came across Amanda Hocking’s Trylle series when she was self-publishing, even though the original series was flawed with editing errors it didn’t detract too much from the flow, and I enjoyed the entire series. With SWITCHED now in a professionally edited format, I jumped at the chance to re-read it, even travelling up to London to meet and purchase a signed copy from Amanda Hocking herself.
The version of trolls Hocking creates is not the usual creatures you find lurking under bridges waiting to jump out on the billy goats gruff. These trolls are beautiful, magical creatures who have a connection to the earth, constant bad hair days, are fussy eaters, short tempers, and hate shoes! I like this unique spin on trolls and it’s a refreshing change in the young adult market.
SWITCHED instantly grabbed my attention as the main protagonist, Wendy Everly, describes an incident that happened eleven years ago when her mother, Kim, accused her of being a monster and tried to kill her on her sixth birthday. I can understand why Kim felt that way. Wendy comes across as a fussy, demanding, self-absorbed, tantrum throwing brat. However, this is not the only reason Kim wanted to kill Wendy, as she recognized that Wendy was something other than her child.
“I was pregnant, Wendy! But you’re not the child I gave birth to! Where is my child?”
Now with Kim locked up in a psychiatric hospital, Wendy is left in the care of her Aunt Maggie who is the most considerate patient woman you could imagine. Wendy lives with both her Aunt and her older brother Matt who both dote upon Wendy, giving in to her every need because of her traumatised childhood. Hence the attitude!
Wendy never quite fits in with her peers and I can understand why, as I also disliked Wendy initially. Sullen, selfish, ungrateful are not endearing characteristics.
Due to frequent expulsions, Wendy’s family have recently moved and there is only one person at school who is newer than Wendy, his name is Finn. The new comer, Finn, can’t keep his eyes off Wendy and at first the attention he gives Wendy makes her think he is a little creepy, but soon Finn intrigues Wendy with his cryptic and evasive answers.
At a school dance Finn runs hot and cold with Wendy, one minute Finn’s dancing with her, the next he’s insulting her. Wanting to escape Wendy manipulates a class peer to drive her home using an unexplained ability.
I’d discovered that if I thought about something and looked at somebody hard enough, I could get that person to do what I wanted.
This ability is called Persuasion and it allows Wendy to control some people around her, but we are yet to see its full use or limitations. It is a power of the Tyrell and is the start of her powers manifesting, which leads me to believe she may have more powers to come.
After upsetting Wendy, Finn turns up outside Wendy’s bedroom window requesting a chance to explain. Finn tells her she is a troll, a changeling and part of the Trylle tribe, Finn explains he is a tracker, someone who finds and brings the changelings home.
In Förening, the home of the Trylle tribe, Wendy learns that the Queen of the Trylle, Elora, is her real mother, which makes Wendy a princess, placing a huge responsibility on her shoulders. Elora is a very powerful gifted Trylle and often appears aloof. It’s Elora’s indifference, and Wendy’s new responsibilities, that help break her spoilt attitude and you start to see a slow positive change in Wendy’s character.
The middle part of SWITCHED is about Wendy meeting humans and trolls who reside in Förening and is a little slower in pace. Wendy meets Rhys, the human baby she was switched with at birth, Tove, a quiet reserved noble Trylle who would be eligible for the crown if Wendy seemed unsuitable, and Willa, another recently returned changeling who becomes Wendy’s friend. Wendy quickly learns the hierarchy that exists and how your position has a huge significance within the Trylle community, there is a distinct class divide.
Even though the introductions of these characters is a little slow, it does allow you to connect to them. I like Rhys, he’s cheeky, happy and very friendly and helps to soften Wendy’s bratty immature nature. Tove is an exciting magical Trylle and Willa comes across as your normal fun teenager who keeps checking out the men and we definitely can’t forget dark mysterious Finn who is completely selfless, unpredictable and creates a sexy presence in the palace.
Wendy admires Finn a great deal however, she is uncertain of his feelings towards her as everything he does seems to be connected with his job. The sexual tension increases as she waits to see if her feelings are returned. I love the chemistry that builds between Finn and Wendy and I’m looking forward to see if their relationship develops in Torn.
Many of the Trylle’s powers become evident when the Vittra attack the palace at Wendy’s coming home ball as the Trylle seek to protect Wendy. Vittra is an opposing Troll tribe who want to kidnap Wendy. Tove is amazing in this battle and I became a huge fan. However, once the attack is over, Wendy feels useless and thinks Tove would be a better leader. For the first time Wendy shows maturity and thoughtfulness in her final decisions in this book, this decision sets the scene for Torn.
At the end of SWITCHED there are a few chapters from Loki’s point of view, Loki is a Vittra who is responsible for obtaining Wendy for the King. Although Loki was not mentioned during Wendy’s story I am sure she will be meeting Loki in the future. Loki gives us an insight to the Vittra people and the ruthlessness of their King. Loki sounds an intriguing character who I hope we will hear more from.
SWITCHED held my attention from the offset. Although I found Wendy selfish, immature and spoilt, there were other characters that carried the story through namely, Finn and Tove. I liked the unique twist on trolls, and Wendy started to show admirable qualities towards the end indicating growth and maturity she lacked earlier in the novel. I’m looking forward to Torn and seeing how Wendy’s character develops further.(less)
The story opens with the diary of the time travelling teenager, Jackson Meyer. Jackson has the dream life...moreReviewed by Melanie for www.BookChickCity.com
The story opens with the diary of the time travelling teenager, Jackson Meyer. Jackson has the dream life, he’s rich, he’s highly intelligent, he has a gorgeous girlfriend, he has a major computer geek for a best friend, oh yeah and he can travel through time. He only recently discovered his talent and can’t travel very far or outside his normal life span. The only one that knows he is a time traveller is his best friend, the computer geek, Adam. He starts out experimenting and recording his experiences in his journal and its through Jackson’s journal that Cross starts and finishes her story.
Everything goes wrong for Jackson when strange men appear out of the blue for him and his girlfriend Holly ends up with a fatal gunshot wound. Rather than watch her die Jackson travels back in time to try to fix what has happened and save Holly. Jackson soon finds himself two years in the past and he can’t jump back to his real timeline in 2009. He does travel back into his past and Cross uses these scenes to give Jackson’s background. In the process of trying to change the timeline he discovers everything he has ever known about his life has been a construct and built on lies.
I started out quite liking this book but the plot turned a little cloying and confusing. I liked the fact that Cross chose to write Jackson and his friends like normal teenagers, they drank, had sex and disobeyed their parents. In YA, teenagers are usually portrayed as being uncharacteristically good and it was refreshing that Cross chose to have her characters act fairly normal. Halfway through the story it seemed that Cross decided to add the ‘adult’ into YA and all of a sudden the story turned more into a romance and Jackson was written as a much more mature character.
Jackson goes back in time to try to save Holly and in this process he is introduced to the EOTs (Enemies of Time) who were responsible for shooting Holly in 2009. It wasn’t clear to me why the EOTs were the enemies as they didn’t act anymore evil than the alleged good guys nor did I really understand what their evil end game was. By the end of the book Jackson is battling and killing the EOTs like he has trained all his life and I was expecting him to travel back in time to acquire these skills and heroism but this wasn’t the case, confusing me further.
Cross makes the big mistake of changing the laws of time travel in TEMPEST. Everyone knows that Star Trek wrote the book on time travel and you don’t mess with the rules. Several episodes in Star Trek were dedicated to how you could irrevocably change the future by travelling back in time and changing some of the simplest things like who you spoke to or the direction you took on your way home from work. Cross chose to create her own rules as the time travellers in TEMPEST couldn’t change the future by changing actions or events in the past. In Cross’s reality the time traveller creates an alternate timeline when they make a jump in time and can continue to live on that timeline but they can’t reliably travel between the them. I thought this explanation was overtly confusing and it didn’t convince me that it was a reliable alternative to the traditional theory that changing past events create a new future. It also seems that by the end of the book that Cross changes her mind and has Jackson go back in time to change future events which was inconsistent with the rest of the plot. Time travelling is a tricky plot device and without a lot of planning it can quickly unravel and ends up being contradictory and confusing. I did have to applaud Cross for trying something so complex with her first book but it was unfortunate, there wasn’t more planning with the plot to avoid confusing the reader.
While elements of TEMPEST were weak and suffered slightly from Cross being too self referential with Holly, the plot was an ambitious undertaking for a new writer. My enjoyment in the early chapters carried me through to the end and Cross made a good effort to keep the reader engaged with a fast pace even if this sacrificed consistency in the plot.
Despite the good start I felt let down partway through TEMPEST. The development of the EOTs as the antagonists was weak, as was the explanation of time traveling. Cross portrayed Jackson as the typical teenager at the start of the novel but by the end he was acting far more mature and self sacrificing than what would be expected in the plot. I was surprised to read that there is plan to turn TEMPEST into a movie and it was described as a cross between the Twilight series and The Hunger Games. TEMPEST does not have the forbidden love affair elements as in the Twilight series nor the true suspense and intrigue as The Hunger Games. Also, the diary format to deliver context and plot may not translate to the big screen. I am hoping that this was her first novel that Cross will be able to pull the plot together to deliver a more cohesive story and strong characters for the rest of the series. (less)
I use reading to escape reality and live in a fantasy world for a few hours each ti...moreReviewed by Becs for www.BookChickCity.com - 3.5 Stars on the blog.
I use reading to escape reality and live in a fantasy world for a few hours each time I pick up a book. Allison Van Diepen has combined the two in THE VAMPIRE STALKER, bringing fantasy into her character’s reality.
This is a short, simple but fun read about Amy, a teenage girl who loves reading and is obsessed with fictional character, Alexander Banks, a vampire hunter from her favourite series. THE VAMPIRE STALKER opens with Amy and her best friends, Luisa and Katie, queuing up to get their hands on their pre-ordered copy of the new book release in their favourite series, The Mists of Otherworld .
There were many things that made me laugh, as I recognized some of the obsessive behaviour that I sometimes show when it comes to my favourite series and authors, and how I feel about certain admirable characters who I would gladly swap my husband with It also helped me appreciate instant downloads to my kindle so no one else could witness my obsessive behaviour.
I found it easy to relate to Amy because Allison Van Diepen uses characteristics that some book lovers display and by doing so I instantly connected with Amy, she felt like one of my book buddies.
After receiving her book, Amy settles down to read it cover to cover before she hears any spoilers, only to throw it across the room once she is done, unsatisfied with the ending. If there are any readers out there who have not done that I need to hear from you! So many book titles were popping into my head as I read these lines, especially Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
At school Monday morning Amy discusses the book with the school librarian, Ms Parker, and the conversation is one I’ve had many times, resulting with the same feelings as Amy.
“But it made you eager for the last book in the series, didn’t it? I thought Elizabeth Howard did an excellent job of keeping her audience on the edge of their seats.”
“You’re right,” I admitted. “I just don’t enjoy being on the edge of my seat for an entire year.”
The initial part of THE VAMPIRE STALKER is to illustrate how much Amy is infatuated with the fictional character Alexander, which is written in a light-hearted, fun tone. It then picks up pace and the action increases when Amy is suddenly attacked on the way home after a school dance. Her saviour looks and talks like Alexander Banks, but when he introduces himself as the Alexander Banks Amy feels scared and asks Alexander to prove who he says he is. After Amy checks out all of Alexander’s described scars from the books she then decides to believe him.
“It’s OK. I – I believe you.” The world was shifting around me. What choice did I have but to believe his wild story? It could be that he was crazy enough to mutilate himself in order to be alexander. But the scars looked too old for him to have made them since the books came out.
Amy helps him by explaining the Chicago she lives in compared the otherworld Chicago, provides him with a place to stay and helps him to locate Vigo, a deadly vampire and Alexander’s biggest nemesis. Alexander, uncertain of a few things, turns up at Amy’s school to ask her some questions. Needing a safe place to talk, Amy takes Alexander into a private study room off the library where Ms Parker recognises him.
Unknown to Amy, Ms Parker used to study physics, she studied a phenomena called Literary physics. Ms Parker understanding what may have led Alexander and Vigo to cross over into our dimension helps Amy and Alexander to put things right.
The final segment of THE VAMPIRE STALKER is the games, chase and fight to try to get Vigo and Alexander back over into the otherworld Chicago, even though there may be a chance that Amy’s attraction to Alexander could be returned.
THE VAMPIRE STALKER appealed to my sense of humour and made me laughed at myself, I recognised the behaviour in the book and could compare it to my own obsessive behaviour and impatience for the next book in a series, going to book signings and getting frustrated at the thought of a year’s wait for the next release, especially when a cliff-hanger drives you insane. I could completely relate to Amy, although my imagination has not yet produced an actual character to come to life, I did find myself thinking about which character/s I would pick.
THE VAMPIRE STALKER is a short, simple, fun and light-hearted read. For those of you who have fantasied about a character from a book and wanted him to be real it’s an amusing read that will make you laugh at yourself. Great for a reading slump. The plot is a little immature, so I can see the ratings on this book being very varied, definitely a young adult read. (less)
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake is a breath of fresh air into the current young adult fiction mark...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake is a breath of fresh air into the current young adult fiction market, offering readers a unique romance story with a gripping sense of horror. It is unique to anything else I’ve ever read, and I actually felt compelled to read this book in one sitting, barely taking a break from the pages.
The novel follows the story of Thesius Cassio Lowood, better known as Cas, who is a ghost hunter, seeking out vengeful spirits and dispatching them to the afterlife with his athame blade. He has inherited the profession and the blade from his father, who was murdered by a particularly violent spirit, and Cas fights ghosts in order to become strong enough to avenge his father’s death. His ‘job’ results in constant moves for him and his mother, never becoming settled in one place or making friends, let alone falling in love.
One of his tip-offs leads him to Thunder Bay, Ontario, to hunt the ghost known as Anna Dressed in Blood, a girl murdered in 1958 on her way to her high school prom. She had her throat cut, with her white dress being drenched in blood, becoming destined to haunt the old Victorian boarding house where she once lived. Whoever ventures into the house is never seen again, suffering a horrific murder at the hands of Anna. She is the strongest ghost that Cas has ever come up against, so will this be a fight that he is destined to lose?
Cas Lowood undergoes a brilliant display of character development throughout the novel, starting off as an overly independent individual who doesn’t want to make friends for fear of involving them in his dangerous ghost hunting. The fact that he and his mother move around constantly means that it is easier for Cas to not make any concrete ties to any particular place, simply moving from one hunt to the next. However, there is something about this particular hunt that draws Cas in from the first moment he receives the tip off with her name written in blood.
Then I’m driving through dark streets under the light of a growing moon. I know where I’m going, even though I can’t remember deciding to do it.
He is drawn to Anna, and it is clear from the moment he steps foot into the house that there is a connection between them, with Cas being the first person that Anna is unable to kill. She is a haunted soul, evil conflicting with good, with an increased level of power compared to the other ghosts that Cas has faced. The murders she carries out are truly horrific and brutal, but she shows a softer, more human side to Cas, as an innocent girl who had her life unfairly ripped away from her. She is struggling to control her murderous side, seeking an escape from the evil side that possesses her and putting her trust in Cas to save her.
Blake has created a plot full of twists and turns, wrapping up the majority of loose ends with surprising revelations. Cas’s friends, Carmel and Thomas, also undergo a significant level of development considering that Cas is the main focus of the story, with the three becoming firm friends. I also loved how the romance plotline wasn’t conventional, as it is cleverly hinted at throughout but Cas doesn’t realise it until quite far along the novel. The ending was truly heartbreaking, especially as I’d been so pulled in to Cas and Anna’s story, and I will definitely be reading the sequel to find out the continuation of their romance.
Overall this book was brilliant, and I’d advise readers to not be put off by it’s YA tag, as it really does appeal to a wider readership. ‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ is definitely going to remain on my bookshelf for a long time to come, and I can see myself re-reading it multiple times!
This book was absolutely wonderful, a beautifully crafted horror and romance rolled into one that gripped me until the end. The characters are well-crafted, and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a character quite like Anna. I can’t wait for the next book in the series because this book really took me by surprise, and it has a beautiful cover, what’s not to love!(less)
***Warning spoilers for the first book in this series, 'Shade' ***
Jeri Smith-Ready has created a clever and different world in this series. Just over sixteen years ago, the 'Shift' happened and every child that has been born since can see and talk to ghosts. This has changed the world and created a divide between pre and post shifters. Imagine being able to testify in your own murder trial. Our lead character Aura is a post-shifter and tragically lost her boyfriend Logan at the beginning of the last novel.
'Shift' takes off a few weeks after 'Shade' ended, with Aura trying to get on with her life, but unable to move on with the devastating knowledge that Logan has turned shade. At the centre of this book is perhaps a somewhat unusual love triangle, with Aura torn between the ghost of the boy she loved and her feelings for the very much alive Zachary.
The first part of this book is a mix of grief and painful teenage hormones at times with characters seemingly making frustrating decisions. Aura seems to be growing up and dealing with her grief slowly, but surely. Logan on the other hand seems to have grown entirely selfish with little thought for those around him, self-seeking the fame and notoriety he didn't have enough time to reach in life. Even Zachary doesn't quite behave as nobly as I wanted him to. Then there is a third unexpected character thrown into the mix who completely surprised me. All churning the painful hormone cocktail as each character tries to find his or her way.
Because of this swill of emotion, I didn't feel like the book really started moving and come into it's own until the final third of the story. It focused more on the relationships between each other and Aura's gift with ghosts and I felt like I was waiting for things to get moving. But, then in the final third we finally get the action and insight into the mystery and Aura and Zachary's birth that it felt like I'd been waiting the whole book for. But I wish that more of this mystery and pace had been woven into the early part of the book.
This is a well written novel that deals with young adult issues of grief and relationships in a clever way. Aura is a heroine to look up to as she struggles and grows up through the experiences thrown at her. I would have liked a bit more of the broader storyline explored in more detail earlier in the book, but I would still definitely recommend it. (less)
I’ve got really mixed feeling about this book. I really enjoyed the ideas behind it and I loved Gottfried Ac...moreGuest reviewed by Dot for Book Chick City.
I’ve got really mixed feeling about this book. I really enjoyed the ideas behind it and I loved Gottfried Academy plus the characters of Renee and Dante were great but their relationship was a little too close to Twilight for my liking. The initial encounter with each other felt just like the one between Bella and Edward. There’s nothing wrong with that scene in Twilight but I think that it detracts from the story in this instance as rather than being carried away by the scene, I felt as though I was comparing them.
"Dead Beautiful" is a paranormal romance but in some ways it is not as predictable as some that I have read. We know from the very start that Renee and Dante share some kind of power but we are kept guessing as to exactly what it is. The reader finds out things just as Renee does and I think this keeps you turning the pages.
Gottfried Academy was probably my favourite part of the book. It is like a more grown up version of Hogwarts and full of mystery and secrets.
I don’t want to spoil this book for any that haven’t read it and I did enjoy it on the whole; I just thought that it could have done without the Twilight similarities. I’m sure there will be more books to follow this one which is Yvonne Woo’s debut. I will certainly check them out, just so I can find out what happens next in the mysterious world of Gottfried Academy.(less)
This book has all the hallmarks of average young adult fiction with the teenage orphan/one parent misfit who falls for the bad boy while fighting an evil force and finding their hidden inner strength in the process.
TOUCH OF FROST is set in a boarding school filled with wealthy, privileged teenagers who are all gifted with the skills and powers of ancient cultures, mythical beings and fairy tales such as amazons, Valkyries, Spartans and Celts. Gwen, is the true misfit as she is not only from a poorer background and forced to attend the academy after the death of her mother, but she is also the only student with gypsy ‘pyschometry’ powers. Gwen’s powers allow her to touch objects and to see images and the feel emotions of anyone who has ever touched that same object. Her gift also allows her to see the person’s biggest secret and led her to discover the abuse a friend had suffered at the hand of her step father. This incident scarred Gwen, not only from what she saw, but she also believed it indirectly led to the death of her mother, something that she feels responsible for causing. While powerful in her own right, Gwen doesn’t feel she fits in as her powers are so different from the other pupils. She goes relatively unnoticed because of this belief and leads a lonely, friendless existence for much of the novel.
Everything changes when Gwen stumbles across the body of ‘mean girl’ Jasmine Ashton, who has been murdered in the library where Gwen works. She also discovers the mysterious, and potentially dangerous, Bowl of Tears, has gone missing, which is an important artifact in their mythology and rumored to give the ability to control another person. Gwen is determined to solve the mystery of why Jasmine was murdered and find out who has the Bowl of Tears.
In the process of her investigation she unexpectedly makes a friend out of the wealthy, blond Valkyrie, Daphne Cruz, who Gwen enlists help to try to undercover what led to Jasmine’s death and of course, who could have potentially murdered her. No YA book is complete without the heroine falling for the local bad boy and in the case of TOUCH OF FROST the bad boy comes in the form of the dark haired hotty, Logan Quinn. Logan, in true heart throb fashion, comes to Gwen’s rescue more than once and saves her from getting killed by the book’s main protagonist. Gwen’s teenage heart is all ‘aflutter’ at the attentions she receives from this bad boy but is conflicted by accidentally learning his deepest secrets through her special powers. Logan, truly lives up to his bad boy title by making Gwen think he is interested and then breaking her heart in the final scenes of the book.
Without littering this review with all the spoilers, Gwen solves the mystery of Jasmine’s death, catches the bad guy (or girl), discovers she is really powerful, almost wins the hunky bad boy and makes her first friend at the Mythos Academy.
I compare almost every YA novel to The Hunger Games which I loved and could have easily given 15 stars to. TOUCH OF FROST is not in the same league as The Hunger Games but it’s quite readable. The heroine, Gwen, did feel sorry for herself for large part of the book, which I normally find annoying and there was an overabundance of references to her being a gypsy. She did however, have some amusing one liners, liked comics and wasn’t constantly swooning over the love interest, Logan Quinn which I found refreshing. It was also a relief that Estep, didn’t leave us with a ‘happily ever after’ with Gwen getting together with Logan but rather, saw our heroine heartbroken at the ending.
I am not totally convinced that about the setting of a boarding school filled with the teenage mythical beings but I guess Valkyries and Spartan teens have to get an education somewhere! Overall, this book was a fairly easy read and Estep set the stage nicely for continuing the series. If you are in need of a light hearted read or particularly like YA then TOUCH OF FROST is an enjoyable read.(less)
Wow, wow, and wow I LOVED this book. I’d had it sitting on my to read pile a while and a...moreGuest reviewed by Vicki for Book Chick City. 9/10 on the blog.
Wow, wow, and wow I LOVED this book. I’d had it sitting on my to read pile a while and although I was looking forward to it, I wasn’t desperately excited about it. So when I turned to the first page I wasn’t expecting to be anywhere near as gripped as I was. Combining two of my favourite styles - duel narrative and flashback diary entries, along with a dark tale and passionate romance, this book was pretty near perfect for me.
And boy is this one dark, possibly one of the darkest YA PNR books I’ve read. Warning: if blood makes you squeamish in the slightest this book may not be for you. As the title suggests it features pretty often in the book, with some gruesome scenes and descriptions of blood letting it’s definitely not for the faint hearted.
I loved the duel narrative between main characters Silla and Nick and found the frequent switch, sometimes a few times per chapter, kept me hooked to the story. The romance between the pair does come quick and is immediately intense and passionate, but in this instance it really worked. Not only because they have a common trait to bond over but because we see the relationship develop from both sides. Silla is genuinely messed up, not just angsty, with the tragic and violent death of her parents haunting her…yet she’s still feisty, brave and determined. I found her believable and sympathised with her easily. Nick is prickly, moody, and passionate with a penchant for poetry, which didn’t come across as contrived… and hot! Yup I could totally see why they fell for each other so hard and quickly.
My favourite parts however where the frequent diary entries from the past, courtesy of Josephine Darley. At first they seem harmless, a way to inform the reader of the ritual of Blood Magic, but as the book moves on Josephine’s story clearly becomes integral to the present day plot…only how remains a mystery right up until the end. As much care is given to this character’s development as it is to Silla and Nick, and with each entry grows more and more dangerous and sinister. I loved it!
"Blood Magic" was certainly a fresh and exciting read, with beautiful prose, a sinister dark plot and fantastic character development throughout…not to mention the intense romance! I devoured this book over two sittings… I couldn’t tear myself away and quickly that ‘little bit more’ turned into over a hundred pages. If you like your paranormal dark and addicting, then I can’t recommend "Blood Magic" enough although would caution younger readers as in my opinion it sits firmly at the upper age of YA fiction with a definite adult crossover appeal.(less)
I have been looking forward to reading "Darkness Becomes Her" ever since I saw it on Goodreads a while back, and while it didn'...more7/10 on Book Chick City
I have been looking forward to reading "Darkness Becomes Her" ever since I saw it on Goodreads a while back, and while it didn't knock my socks off it was a really good read.
Ari Selkirk is seventeen and after being passed from one foster home to another for most of her childhood decides to find out about her birth mother. After visiting the doctor at Rocquemore House and being told that her mother had committed suicide shortly after she was born, Ari decides she needs to know more. The doctor gives her a box filled with her mother's things including a letter addressed to her.
The letter is one of the aspects of the plot I couldn't buy into. Ari reads the letter and her mother warns her to run. That's it? Her mother writes a letter but instead of telling her daughter what, why and when, all she gets across is "run"! I couldn't get on board with this. It feels as though the letter was just used as a spring board for the entire story, so Ari could investigate etc, I hate letters like this, whether they're in books or films. I always end up irritated as I think if they wanted to let their loved ones know about the dangers facing them they would surely just tell it straight and not in a series of riddles that they have to work out, which only buries them deeper in what they were being warned against. Just silly.
However, it does the trick as Ari decides to head out to New 2, which used to be New Orleans. Thirteen years ago, two hurricanes hit New Orleans devastating it. But instead of doing what is usually done after a natural disaster, the government sells the city it to a bunch of families for a few billion dollars - really? Not sure why the government would do this...it doesn't seem particularly plausible. Also, the hurricanes that hit the city were described as category four and not five, which is the most destructive hurricane there is. I would have found the selling of the city more believable if it was destroyed by nuclear means and was now a nuclear wasteland where nothing could live or grow for tens of years, but weather? It just didn't seem realistic to me.
But I ignored these two aspects and just followed Ari's journey and it is an interesting one. Ari is a great character and a fab heroine, full of grit, kick-arse moves and oodles of sass, which is sadly a rarity in paranormal YA as this is the kind of character I love reading about.
"Ari!" Sebastian stood on the sidewalk, holding up his hands in a 'What's going on?' gesture. ...I mimicked the gesture with probably more sarcasm than he deserved, and then jogged over, ignoring his questioning look and heading to the main entrance. He caught up to me at the doors. "You should wait here." A small laugh escaped my lips as the doors slid open. "You've got a lot to learn about me. I don't wait in the wings."
Ari uses coarse language (she should wash her mouth out with soap!) and has quite a serious personality, so when I read this next quote it really made me smile.
I was pretty sure I knew what I looked like: a cartoon hamster in the headlights. Totally not what I expected him to say, especially after I'd just implied he was one of the bad guys. "Uh..." What the hell was I supposed to say to that? "Okay" A grin split Sebastian's face, slicing two dimples into his cheeks. Holy Mary Mother of God. I actually stopped breathing for a second.
It made me smile, firstly because it was nice to hear Ari say something like this as she had been so serious up until this point and secondly, because I thought exactly the same thing. Sebastian is smokin'. There was something about his character I liked from the first moment he entered Ari's life, so I know where she's coming from... ;)
These are the type of moments that made the book for me despite the negative points I've mentioned and gives "Darkness Becomes Her" its huge potential. The combination of vampires and witches with greek gods is unique to me and was exciting to read.
I did find that everything happened a bit too quickly though, including the romance between Ari and Sebastian. Her time in New 2 barely spans two days and yet so much happens and is revealed that it made the novel seem a little shallow, there wasn't enough time to really develop the story or the characters in just 273 pages.
"Darkness Becomes Her" is an exciting read with a great lead heroine and although the story wasn't as edgy as Ari, it was still an enjoyable read. It's an interesting mix of urban fantasy and greek mythology which has incredible potential to be a fabulous series. I hope the next book will be a little longer to allow things to play out at a more realistic pace and for the characters to grow and mature, but I can't wait to read what happens next...(less)