Isobel has it all. Popularity, blond hair, good looks, and a coveted position in her high school's cheerleading squad. Oh, and she's dating a hot foot...moreIsobel has it all. Popularity, blond hair, good looks, and a coveted position in her high school's cheerleading squad. Oh, and she's dating a hot footballer. Woot. Anyway, things change for Izzy-luv when she gets paired up with Varen, a very sexysexysexy goth boy, for an English project. As Iz and Varen get closer, (OHHH BABY!), to the disgust of their respective cliques, strange things start to happen to our Isobel. Voices, dreams, strange things coming for her in the night. And they all have to do with Edgar Allen Poe, and maybe even strange mysterious Varen too....
Imma warn you right now, this isn't going to be a review. Instead it's going to be raving, crazy rant on how much I absolutely 100% ADORE. ADORE. ADORE! this book.
Right, so Nevermore, as you've probably guessed, fits very nicely in that paranormal YA romance department. With an added twist, a spice of originality that you cannot help but love. Especially if you're a fan of the creepy, dark, and just plain spooky stuff like I am.
So the story starts out pretty tame in relation to that paranormal stuff, as most of the novel is focused on the romance angle to the story. Which is absolutely wonderful, but I'll get to that. What you do see of the paranormal, funscaryfun stuff, however, is enough to make you crawl deeper into your covers, and cover your room with flashlights, nightlights and candles plus maybe a baseball bat to protect you as you sleep.
:P I'm exaggerating, but in all reality, I loved Creagh's creepy wording, imagery, and characters. It reminded me a lot of the creepiness and chills I got the first time I read the Gemma Doyle trilogy, as they've both got that dark, gothic feel, and I loved how Creagh was able to get me spooked the way I haven't been in a long time.
I also loved the exponentially increase of spooky events throughout the novel. It not only keep that suspense, and thus my heart pumping, but made Isobel get drawn deeper and deeper into the creepy fun paranormal world Creagh is slowing, agonizingly slowly showing us. And yes, while I'm sure it's killing Izzy not to know all the little details, the agony I'm referring to is all mine. Thank God, I never read this book when it came out, or I'd be much more distraught knowing I can't get my hands on the sequel till early 2012.
Another reason why I think I really likedlovedadored there really isn't a word for how much I loved this novel, Nevermore, I think and this is utterly random but, it reminded me strangely of Constantine. And I'm talking about the movie here, which I love, even though it's not that great, and features the very emotionless and stiff Keanu. Anyway, back to the point, Nevermore kind of reminded me of the movie in relation to the demons, and they way they looked in the movie, (though this doesn't necessarily mean demons feature in Nevermore-you'll have to read it to find out) and also because throughout the movie, Isobel (the psychic) keeps hearing someone calling her name: "Isobel, Isobel."
Which strangely happens in Nevermore as well. So naturally when I was reading those parts, I couldn't help but hear the Constantine version in my head. Which made everything a hell of a lot creepier. Because Constantine, while also being the only exorcist movie I can watch, is kind of spooky. Especially if you watch it at night with no lights, and by yourself.
So before I keep going on about the supernatural side of Nevermore, and start actually spoiling stuff-which I shouldn't do!, I'm gonna talk quite a bit about the romantic and pretty dominant side of Nevermore.
So Nevermore, while still a paranormal novel in it's own right, is also very much a romance novel between Isobel and Varen. Remember what I said about slow paranormal build-up, there had to be something else going on while we were getting hints of what's to come. What makes Nevermore special, however, as well as being one of the reasons why I love it so much and how it's brought me hope for YA, is that Creagh doesn't write her romance in the typical lust love at first sight, OMG he's so gorgeous and has great breath, I WANT TO BE WITH HIM FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER (okay I'm exaggerating again) style.
Instead Creagh does this wonderful thing, and has the characters learn about one another, and then fall for each other. Yes, there's attraction, but there's also this thing, this developing relationship between the two of them that makes their love for one another real and just ahhhh.. just perfect. There's friendship, there's fights, and it's just good, and well done. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole of this novel in relation to the romance, something I haven't done since I read Graceling the year before. It captivated me to say the least.
I think why I really enjoyed and just loved the romance in Nevermore has also to do with Isobel's character, something I was unsure of when I first heard of this novel. Cheerleader heroine? C'mon. But, you know what? Creagh makes it work, and makes it real. There is no sudden growth of intellect, or a change of heart from nasty popular girl to sweet adoring girlfriend that makes her suddenly worthy of poor bullied and misunderstood Varen's attention. There is just Isobel. And she is brave, strong, and herself throughout the entirety of this novel. She does not take shit. Not from Varen, not from her friends, not from ANYONE. And she fights for what she believes in, even when it scares her to do so. And she makes no excuses for being who she is, and for liking what she does.
She is Isobel, peeps. And she rocks my world.
I can't believe my favorite character is the blond cheerleader, it's Heroes Season One all over again.
Varen, smexysexywonderful Varen, is equally written as wonderful as Izzy. Creagh makes him a very human hero, with flaws, lots of them too, and the ability to really screw up sometimes. He's a dick, but he's also sweet, though not so much that you or Izzy can forget the terrible things he can do. He's also not one of those heroes that's all over the heroine. Instead their relationship has a sweetness to it that makes it real and wonderful to read without it being fake or just blarg.
God, just writing this review makes me wanna grab the book, and dive in all over again. You know you love a book when you cannot wait to re-read it again. And Nevermore is definitely a book like that.
The other characters are equally as good, and even if Creagh doesn't give them all a lot of screen time their personalities are firmly rooted in their actions and dialogue. I love how the author is able to make them so real in my mind that's it's not even a chore to imagine them. They're already there.
Other than that, there really isn't anything more I can say about this novel that I haven't already really said above, or would be anything but praise. This book is fantastic, and is a beautiful balance between paranormal, and romance. The characters are great, the plot is excellent, and the writing is wonderful. It's one of those titles I personally am going to read over and over again, and am already counting down the days to its sequel.
But, in case you're not totally convinced, here's the one thing you should know about this novel: Nevermore is not a book you borrow from your local library or a friend or even the madwoman living in your attic. Nevermore is a book you wait 3 hours till the store opens, read like you're dying, and hug to your chest every night as you sleep. With ten thousand nightlights to keep away the spooky things.
After getting caught when a love spell goes wrong, Sophie is sent to Hecate, an academy for paranormal creatures, especially those that have revealed...moreAfter getting caught when a love spell goes wrong, Sophie is sent to Hecate, an academy for paranormal creatures, especially those that have revealed themselves to the human world. Gaining rivals, a love interest and surrounded by mystery, Sophie must figure out who she is before the semester and possibly her life is over! :P Hex Hall was a pretty typical teenage paranormal romance novel. It's fast-paced, light and fun. The humor is somewhat good and there's enough interest by the end of the novel to tempt you into checking out the sequel, Demonglass. In terms of plot, Hex Hall moved very quickly. Events are all collided together and the length of the novel prevents you from really getting to know the characters involved. While Hawkins did have some twists and turns I didn't see coming, most of it was pretty predictable. There wasn't much depth to the characters, but a sequel or too certainly opens up the possibility of development. The writing was decent, though it did seem to get better near the end. The dialogue was pretty good and contained lots of humor. All in all, it was cute and airy that initially made me dismiss it, but had enough to interest me into reading the next one. 3/5(less)
Demonglass, the sequel to Hex Hall, returns with the laughter, action, and romance we saw in the first one, with the added bonus to having much more c...moreDemonglass, the sequel to Hex Hall, returns with the laughter, action, and romance we saw in the first one, with the added bonus to having much more character development and realism than the first one originally had. So the story starts off maybe a week or two from the end of Hex Hall. *If you haven't read the first one, the summary might spoil a few things* Sophie is sent to London to live with her dad for the summer, and generally get to know him, and learn about her unique heritage. Along for the ride are Jenna and Cal, who drumroll please, is the other boy toy in the emerging love triangle. He's quite fine I suppose, but I am an Archer fan. Mystery, conspiracy, and a whole lotta magic gets things going, and everything comes to a head with a lovely created cliffhanger to make you wonder what's going to happen next. I was really pleased with the character development in this one, since there really wasn't much in the first one. Most of them, Sophie, Archer, Sophie's dad in particular really grew on me, and seemed to actually bring real and interesting personalities to the piece. There was some obvious, and wonderful growth in the writer in general that made me very happy I had stuck with the series. In spite of it, however, I felt, very much like in the first one, that there is little too much action, and a definite lack in description. Events moved way too fast, and relationships progressed even faster. I know this is supposed to be a teen novel and all (and perhaps I'm just growing out of this age group) but there were some parts that I just didn't care, and I thought could've been expanded so much more. (dear god I sound like my creative writing prof) In the end, however, there is enough interest and curiosity in me to wonder where the author is going next, and what'll happen to my Sophie and her Archer. No Cal doesn't exist. If I could I'd give it 3.5/5, but no half stars here so 3/5(less)
Soulless is the first novel in the Parasol Protectorate series and follows the adventures of prenatural, 'Soulless' and spinster Alexia. Set in Victor...moreSoulless is the first novel in the Parasol Protectorate series and follows the adventures of prenatural, 'Soulless' and spinster Alexia. Set in Victorian London with the added fun of werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural creatures, Alexia is tossed into conspiracy with the sudden arrival of unidentifiable newborn supernaturals who threaten society as a whole. Add a sexy Scottish werewolf, and the result is a historical paranormal romance. I really tried to like this novel. I heard lots of good things about it, and REALLY REALLY wanted to like it. But I couldn't. Soulless reminded me of two things when I was reading it: Jane Austen and Harlequin romance. Now, when I say Jane Austen, I don't mean Jane Austen, I mean the work by fellow Janenites, especially the lower end of that brand of fanfiction. Soulless reminded me a lot of that not only because of the setting and society, but the language, and the style were really reminiscent of those types of novels as well. The problem with it was that to me it felt fake. I couldn't get into it and I didn't like the awkward way of writing that made everything so much more muddled. In relation to Harlequin romance, I felt Soulless was like one of those mediocre romances where the relationship progresses way too quickly to be real, and the rest of the action and events are forgotten in the wake of the numerous erotic episodes. The sad part about those erotic episodes is that they were really the only thing keeping me going. Who doesn't like kissing scenes, after all? Everything else in the novel, characters, plot, writing, just killed it for me. Everything moved too fast to be believable, especially the romance. The characters were a bit too predictable, as was the plot, and nothing could induce me to care about them. All in all, I couldn't like it more than that and I forced myself to finish because one part of me wanted to see where Alexia and her werewolf boy were going to end up, and the other was hoping it would get better. 2/5(less)
Meghan Chase, newly discovered princess of the Seelie/Summer Court in the world of the Fey, is on her way to the Unseelie/Winter court, with her dearl...moreMeghan Chase, newly discovered princess of the Seelie/Summer Court in the world of the Fey, is on her way to the Unseelie/Winter court, with her dearly loved Winter Prince Ash. Except as they move forward, Ash becomes more and more cold to Meghan, and warns her of the coming mind games the Unseelie Queen, his mother Mab, likes to play. As they draw nearer to the court, however, something starts to stalk them; an ancient being who's ready to hunt them down.
Winter's Passage is a (FREE!!!) ebook novella, and features the journey between the two first books in the Iron Fey series: The Iron King and The Iron Daughter. In terms of actual importance to the overall plot within this series, there doesn't seem to be an actual need to know the occurring events in this ebook, but it's still fun to read.
So, since this novella really is only 50 some pages, nothing really goes on of importance. Most of the novella focuses on the relationship between Meghan and Ash, as well as her feelings for Puck, and just keeps you up to date on what's going on when you're between books. Which worked out well for me since it's been ages since I read the first one in this series.
In spite of the fact that it's a pretty meh novella in terms of actually importance, I couldn't help being hooked from the get-go. That was one of the things I really liked when reading The Iron King was how easily Kagawa draws you into her world, even if you've read like a kazillion faerie tales/novels.
Meghan is pretty much the downside to this world, because she's a bit of a whiny character, and doesn't really understand the idea of politics and games. She's naive, and it's very cute and endearing, but it gets on my nerves once in a while. Similarly, Ash drives me nuts with his emoness, although in the end I can't help but keep reading about them.
All in all, Winter's Passage is cute, and interesting enough to wet your appetite for the next novel in this series. It's also free and 50 some pages. Really can't go wrong with that. 3.5-4/5(less)
The Demon Trapper's Daughter is an interesting and original paranormal YA novel set in Atlanta, USA. The world has been overrun by demons and necroman...moreThe Demon Trapper's Daughter is an interesting and original paranormal YA novel set in Atlanta, USA. The world has been overrun by demons and necromancers, and trappers, humans working to trap demons to make a living, are the main focus of the story. The novel revolves around this girl Riley who, you guessed it, is the daughter of a very famous trapper, Paul Blackthorne. As Riley attempts to follow in her father's footsteps, conspiracy and mysteries start to appear surrounding Riley and the demons as Riley struggles to keep her friends and herself alive. The Demon Trapper's Daughter was a very original and intriguing novel. The concept of demons taking over, and the adaptations humans are forced to make to survive was probably my favorite part of the book. I loved the idea of a Supernatural (TV Show)-esque world where hunter and trappers have their own community and rules, and the changes demons have made to the 21st century. To me it was not only brilliant, but very real. That being said, however, I felt there was a supreme lack of explanation in how all of this happened. Yes, the book does hint at certain things, and infodumps are not exactly the easiest things to write or read, but I really would've have loved to read about the whys, hows, and whens about how the world got to that point. I'm a stickler for wanting to know ALL the answers, and not knowing them in this one really bugged me. That being said, it's certainly possible they could be answered in later books. Hm. One of the things I liked and disliked about this book was the characters themselves. I liked Riley for the most part, but got annoyed at her enough to make me feel mixed about her character. Other than Beck, maybe, I didn't really care for any of the others, and felt most of them were pretty stereotypical. Hot, mysterious boy, innocent, loving boy, friend who gets offended way too quickly, dick master, father who wasn't there and kept secrets...you get the idea. The problem with these characters is that they get predictable, and I don't like predictability. In terms of writing and pacing, I felt it was for the most part decent, but I did put the book down several times because it got too boring, and had to force myself to push past those parts. Not a good sign. There's good action within the novel, don't get me wrong, and I felt the author did do a good job writing those scenes, but the majority of it is just okay. I saw enough things coming to figure out a good chunk of the plot, and there's enough cliched plot devices here for me to figure out the next few books too. All in all, while The Demon Trapper's Daughter was entertaining and kept me reading for the most part, it lacked certain elements that me like it beyond the 'okay' mark. 2/5(less)
Angelfire: Angel/demon mythology+reincarnation love story+urban fantasy YA=a surprisingly well written story, even in spite of the tropes and cliches....moreAngelfire: Angel/demon mythology+reincarnation love story+urban fantasy YA=a surprisingly well written story, even in spite of the tropes and cliches. So Angelfire is essentially about this normal *cough not cough* teenager named Ellie who discovers through a very very hot and sexy Will that she is the essentially the supreme hero of Earth and her sole purpose is to kill reapers, demon-spawn things that eat your soul and send it straight to h-e-double hockey sticks. Along with the super-awesome powers she inherits, however, comes the knowledge that she's being doing it FOREVER and that she gets reincarnated EVERY time she dies. Sucky, but at least she's got sexy boy toy to keep her company :P When words reaches Ellie's ears of something that might kill her, though, things get serious as Ellie and co try to stop the bad guys from getting the bad evil weapons as Ellie tries to figure out what she is all the while trying to keep who she is straight. Add a few elements of the angel/demon/biblical mythology...say the Appocalypse... and the novel really gets interesting. I'm not a huge fan of the whole angel/demon mythology that's taking over YA and I'm even less of a fan about the reincarnation love story crap that's more of an excuse to put two characters together than actually have them CREATE a relationship, but BUT somehow it worked out pretty well in Angelfire. I enjoyed the angel/demon mytho and felt it really worked in this novel, since not only is most of the novel centered around it, but they stick by the rules (sorry I can't think of an example) in such a way that I felt the research and thought planning that went into creating this story/world. And that made me happy, because there was OBVIOUS planning and lately I've been reading stuff that seems to lack a bit of that. The romance between Ellie and Will (THIS IS NOT A SPOILER BELIEVE ME IT'S VERY OBVIOUS) surprisingly was also well done I found, and for the most part I believed in its realism. Even though it's based on their past, and it's a very predictable reincarnation love story, I felt there was an actual relationship and that the love aspect of it was pretty easy to believe in. The only thing off with it, I felt, was Will (but I felt his entire character was a bit ehh..so) because he played the part of guardian-we-can't-be-together-angst-angst-boy a bit too much, and well it pissed me off. I wanted to shake him, but I suppose that means I care or something. Ellie, on the other hand, I felt was very believe as a character and as a heroine. Her thoughts, emotions, and just general narrative were a pleasure to read and I really enjoyed reading the world through her eyes. Will, I felt for the most part, was as real as Ellie was, and except near the end when he acts really REALLY stupid I really did like him as a character. Most of the characters in general in the novel were actually really well done, and their dialogue, (DEAR GOD SO ENVIOUS) was amazingly indicative of their personalities. I knew these characters from the moment they spoke, it was fabulous and I LOVED LOVED LOVED it. The plot is also pretty well done, and besides those few twists that were a bit predictable, it was entertaining and even got me a few times. (Especially the end, SO SHOULD HAVE SEEN THAT COMING) The writing is fairly decent with good description and flow, and it never got TOO boring for me to totally stop reading. All in all, a surprisingly good start to a very interesting series, 4/5.(less)
Banished is the story of Hailey, a poor girl in a rundown town that's going nowhere fast. Hailey lives with her tyrannical grandmother, a woman who no...moreBanished is the story of Hailey, a poor girl in a rundown town that's going nowhere fast. Hailey lives with her tyrannical grandmother, a woman who not only deals drugs in her house, but is slowing suggesting expanding her market to the prostitution of Hailey herself. Hailey's only comforts in this world are her adopted mentally challenged brother Chub, her dog, and the knowledge that when she turns of age she will be finally able to run as far as she can. The paranormal fun-times show up, however, when Hailey unexpectedly heals a girl injured in gym class seemingly with her hands, and strange men coming looking for her...
When I first started to read Banished, I was intrigued but not overly so. I kept seeing flaws in character interactions, and some plot points, yet at the same time I COULD NOT PUT THE DAMN BOOK DOWN. I don't know what it was, but I just HAD I just HAD HAD to know, and keep reading. I think it was the prose. Or somehow crack was inserted in the pages, because I was ADDICTED. I really don't know what it was that got me so engrossed, but I was.
So the plot of Banished is pretty typical, and reminded me a lot of the lovely Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers. ie conspiracy, lots of running/hiding, and things go BOOM! Oh, right, and they're both paranormal Ya. Forgot about that. There isn't really much I can say about the plot because it really is almost background for Hailey's coming into her powers. There's a lot of explanations, story telling, and just incidents where Hailey uses her powers, all during these runningawayfromthebaddies moments. It's not that the plot is in any way weak, but it's nothing special to say the least. It's almost typical first novel in a trilogy, in that the whole point of the book is to introduce the powers, provide background, and build the set-up for the upcoming conspiracy.
The explanation behind Hailey's powers was one of the most interesting parts of the book for me. Though it's relatively short, and isn't utterly original or anything like that, it's very different from what you usually see in modern YA. I liked the incorporation of historical elements, and that kind of fairy-tale, old magic idea Littlefield plays with.
The characters were, I felt, some of the weakest and strongest points of the novel. What I felt was weak about them was how some of the relationship status between characters, (in particular Hailey and Prairie, as well as Hailey and Kaz) progressed to a point where there was almost absolute trust between them in a very little, and therefore unbelievable, amount of time. This was something I had felt, similarly, when reading the DP trilogy, in just the way everyone turned into BFFs very quickly. Conspiracy does that to people, I guess. In spite of my previous statement, however, I found Littlefield had done a good job of making these quick character relations work. Most of the time, I went along and remained immersed in the story. It was only when I started to question certain things that I realized the quick progression from stranger to trust. This is part of the reason why I feel Littlefield's character remain a very strong part of the novel throughout. The other part is that her characters are just in general really well done. All of them, excepting perhaps Kaz and his mother, had a good balance of moral and immoral characteristics that made them very real in my mind. Hailey as a protagonist was a good fit, for example, because she was well balanced in her strengths and weaknesses, and showed genuine fear and courage throughout the book.
The prose, and perhaps you could call this Hailey's narrative, was what got me going. There was just something about it that made me want to keep reading well into the night. It was engrossing, utterly engrossing, and I loved the way Hailey's 1st person POV made it just so real. It was definitely one of those types of prose that snared me right from the beginning.
All in all, Banished was an unexpectedly fresh and addicting paranormal novel. Good characterization, a plot to keep you entertained, and a prose to get the blood moving, Banished is throughly enjoyable. 4.5/5(less)
The Vespertine reminded me both of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy and the Luxe series. Set in the late 1800s in the United States (and mostly the upper easte...moreThe Vespertine reminded me both of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy and the Luxe series. Set in the late 1800s in the United States (and mostly the upper eastern area), the Vespertine follows Amelia, an orphaned girl, visiting her cousins in Baltimore, the Stewards ?ithink Anyway romance, of course, peeks his head in when Amelia meets Nathaniel, an artist and obviously not good husband material for Amelia. But, like all tragic romances, they cannot keep away from each other and love each other at first sight, and all sorts of teenage things that made me gag. Right, so the story gets supernatural when Amelia sees a vision of her cousin dancing with this guy Thomas. When it comes true=instant popularity as EVERYONE in the town wants to have their fortune told. And of course goody Amelia does it all for free. Or the popularity it brings her, go figure. When Amelia starts to see darker things in her visions, things get scary and dangerous real quick. There were lots of good things about the Vespertine. Historically the author stuck true to what was happening at the time, especially in terms of the supernatural trends, and made sure the historical accuracy was there for both her characters and situations. There was a few times where I did question some of the interactions between characters, mostly Nathaniel and Amelia, but I felt for the most part the author remained true to the reality of that time. Though I did find it interesting that there was no (or at least minimal) mention of god or the Church. From what I know of that time period, both were pretty prominent features of society. I do understand the lack of it probably relates to the fact that YA as a genre doesn't really put too much emphasis on religion as a whole, historical accuracy of the time does dictate that it should be present somewhere. I read a review of this that basically summed up the book as 200 pages of nothing/fun, and 80 pages of OMG Greek tragedy. Easily that's the best way to describe the plot. The first 200 pages are fun, happy-go-lucky events that utter set-up for the last 80. Except for the few chapters we get set a few months later that are Amelia reflecting on her actions, and of course leaving us with the suspense and feeling of impending doom. Because of this I hated the plot till the 200 mark. Amelia isn't an interesting character; she's more a goody-two-shoes in all reality, and I couldn't care less about her and Nathaniel's relationship. I actually didn't like any of the characters in this novel, and felt the majority of them were pretty predictable. Knowing that, it's easy to see why I loathed reading them frolic about and have fun without any real conflict popping up. When things got real and crazy tragic tragedy :P showed up, things got interesting and the author gained a lot of respect in my eyes for bringing out some pretty good twists. I lost respect for her again at the final twist of the book, those of you who've read it will probably know what I'm talking about, because I felt she had had a chance to do something a little different in YA (view spoiler)[Have a female heroine who's not utterly dependent on her male counterpart, or just have her without one. Love stories are great and all, but it would've been interesting to read a character who's not utterly devoted and stuff. (hide spoiler)] The biggest thing I hated about the Vespertine, though, besides the characters was the writing. I hated, hated, hated the overdone poetic cheesy metaphor crap that populated this book. Everything was 'elemental,' and it drove me nuts. I understood she wanted to bring a sense of that historical romanticism, but really? I think I've written poetry better than that and my poetry sucks. Like really sucks. I don't like when author put too much poetry in their prose, and this one was one of the worst I'd read. In spite of the bad stuff I talked about, the Vespertine wasn't terribly bad. It had good moments, and the ending Greek Tragedy stuff was especially intriguing. 2.5-3/5["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Strange Case of Finley Jane is a short prequel ebook (about 9 chapters or so) to the steampunk romance The Girl in the Steel Corset (which, along...moreThe Strange Case of Finley Jane is a short prequel ebook (about 9 chapters or so) to the steampunk romance The Girl in the Steel Corset (which, along with other novels lately, seems to be a nod to the v. v. v. popular Girl with the Dragon Tattoo-title wise anyway). The story, while short, basically revolves around Finley, a girl with mysterious powers that give her a tendency for violence (go grrl power!) and her actions during her time as a companion to Pheobe, a young girl recently engaged to a man, Lord Vincent, who's much too old for her, and has a very large interest in science and technology a la Frankenstein style.
Before I start this review, I do have to admit that I've actually never read the original novel (Corset for short, too lazy to type full title), and only picked up the ebook because it was free, and well I wanted to see a bit of the world the author created to see if I'd like it. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised with this small tidbit, and am considering somehow getting my hands on Corset.
So, as this is both a prequel, and a short one at that, as well as being a side story and therefore not as well thought out/planned to be as awesome as the original story, I didn't expect much plotwise. Surprisingly, however, I was kind of impressed how much action and twists and turns there were in these nine or so chapters. While the plot is kind of cliched a bit, and pretty predictable, I liked it. It's part mystery, part action, and then there are these fun Victorian and steampunk bits that make it just lots of fun; all things I expect Corset to have as well. There isn't any romance in this small story, something that will obviously change as Corset contains another YA love triangle. Though apparently one of the players in that triangle is an automaton....
The world by itself is pretty basic. Victorian society, which Cross does stay pretty close to as far as I could see, plus all this crazy steampunk technology stuff. Automatons feature largely in this world, as do other steam powered machinery within the day-to-day household. There's a bit of name dropping in the prequel, (and stands to reason, the novel as well), Austen, Shelley, etc.., but that's to be expected.
There's not much development (well durr) in relation to the characters, but we get enough hints about Finley at the very least to be intrigued about what's going to come next. Most of it does revolve around Finley's supernatural powers, and the why and moral dilemma surrounding them as expected of a coming-into-powers novel, but Finley is a distracting enough character (full of grrl power and just general comebacks) to keep you occupied.
There isn't much to say about the writing. It's decent, gets the job done, and keeps you entertained, but there's nothing really about it that I'd rave about.
All in all, The Strange Case of Finley Jayne is an interesting, and event filled prequel novella. There's good action, mystery, and fun victorian steampunk. 3.5-4/5(less)
After reading wayyyyy too many paranormal romances, or variants of it in the YA field, you see more than your fair share of tropes, cliches, and the u...moreAfter reading wayyyyy too many paranormal romances, or variants of it in the YA field, you see more than your fair share of tropes, cliches, and the usual predictable formula.
Girl/Boy-->Mysterious/Exemplary Power-->Love Interest-->Family/Parents/Heritage Twist-->Destruction/End of the World-->Yada/Other Points of Interest.
And for the most part Darkness Becomes Her was very much a formulaic YA novel. Centering around our protagonist, Ari, a girl with silver hair, who starts searching for information on her birth mother, a woman who killed herself in what is now known as New 2. (The second reincarnation of New Orleans, but with crazy paranormal activity added to it) There she meets a band of outcast children, including a dashing, but slightly dickish young man named Sebastian (Can we say LOVE INTEREST any louder?), who promise to help her find out the truth surrounding her heritage, and the possible powers she may possess...
But, and while all of the above is shouting TYPICAL YA, there was one aspect to the novel that made me stand up and take notice...and which sadly I'm not going to spoil, because I just don't do that :P For those of you who've read the novel, you probably know what I'm talking about. (view spoiler)[Who seriously expects ATHENA to show up in New Orleans? (hide spoiler)] For those of you who don't, let me just say it caught me off guard, and really raised the novel in my esteem. I thought the originality of it was just well done, and definitely different for the genre.
The plot, in general really, I did enjoy, and found it to be fun, although slightly predictable. It also moved very quickly, and the relationships Ari forms, especially with Sebastian for instance, didn't quite gel for me as they should've. The fact that the romance develops within like two days was one thing that really did turn me off, since I felt the novel was just following that typical YA requirement checklist instead of allowing (and here comes my favorite word!) the development of their relationship to progress a bit more naturally. Thankfully there was no insta-love at least, and the relationship was more one of attraction, but it still irked me.
I did like the friendships Ari made with the other teens and tweens, and found them a bit more understandable. Though that might've been because she didn't trust them right away, and found a few of them kind of freaky.
The writing was another one of the good points in this novel, with it's fast moving pace, and easily engaging style. There was nothing specifically poetic about Keaton's writing, but it worked well with the YA, action-packed feel to Darkness Becomes Her.
All in all, Darkness Becomes Her was a solid read in the field of YA. It has romance, action, and heroine who's likable enough to win over the majority of its intended audience. While I wasn't a fan of some of the more romantic sides to this novel, the spark of originality did surprise me, and got me guessing who or what Ari might be. A good read for the more younger side of the YA field, but a good one nonetheless. 3/5["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Jenny Pox is just your average teenager with a dead mother, a poor, and sometimes drunk father and...who's touch spreads disease, pain, and death. Moc...moreJenny Pox is just your average teenager with a dead mother, a poor, and sometimes drunk father and...who's touch spreads disease, pain, and death. Mocked at school for her long gloves, Jenny is the butt of every joke the pastor's daughter, Ashleigh who just might have a few secrets of her own. But everything changes when Jenny's three legged dog gets run over, and one of the most popular boys at school, Seth, puts his hands on Rocky and heals him...But Jenny and Seth's love will have to survive Ashleigh's wrath, and all the manipulative powers she has at her command...
Jenny Pox was a very different sort of novel, but still followed enough tropes to make it typical. The one I rolled my eyes at was the poor-made-fun-of-girl-who-really-did-nothing-wrong, and the fact it was the popular-boy-who-turns-out-to-have-a-heart-inside who saved her from the evil-popular-witch. Which was...well most of the plot. Surprisingly, however, Bryan plays with that formula, and adds in a whole host of darker themes like sex, manipulation, and death which adds a whole other element of horror to the mix.
So the story is essentially divided up between Ashleigh's and Jenny's alternating POVs. And while Jenny was sweet, and very pitiful, I have to say I much preferred Ashleigh's devious ways. In many ways, Jenny was a bit much. She was too easy to pity, too easy to relate to, and didn't have much going for her besides you feeling bad for her, and enjoying the romance between her and Seth. (Who I have to admit made me wonder for a long while in the novel as I kept expecting that it was all a joke twist to totally break Jenny's heart. I have no idea why, but I was very guarded with him, especially since he was the 'popular' boy stereotype otherwise.) It was only near the end that I actually really liked Jenny and had some actual respect for her as she went total kick-ass with her crazy powers. Ashleigh, however, was so enjoyable to read because she was an utter and total biotch. She used her powers and planning right from the beginning, and it was so interesting to watch her use her manipulation in being a total bad-ass villain.
I think what I'm trying to say is that Ashleigh was refreshing. She's was an absolutely terrible person, but her plans were fun to watch as they unfolded. She had weak points too, and that was definitely interesting to see especially when the climax of the novel finally hit. But I enjoyed her because she was so fun to read about especially when Jenny would get a bit too sad and sulky and just urg for my taste. In many ways, Ashleigh was also very real in comparison to the almost perfect quality surrounding Jenny, and even to some degree her father who's only real character development comes quickly without problems or hinderance. Seth, too, had almost a perfect quality to him and the only times he wasn't perfectly perfect were when he was under Ashleigh spell.
The plot centers mostly on Ashleigh's manipulations and Jenny and Seth's romance, which is either going good or not depending on Ashleigh's ability to keep Seth away from Jenny. It's really only near the end of the novel with the climatic battle that things start to get very interesting, and is a welcome reward for the amount of set-up the novel slogs through in preparation for the 'final battle.' The final twist and revelation at the end was one of my favorite moments, as was Jenny's kick-ass skills, and really made the novel worth the feelings of blarg I sometimes got while reading.
The writing is, I think, where I had the most difficulty since it was so dry and almost distant from what was going on. It was also somewhat technical which was kind of at odds with the southern talk and smack the novel is riddled with. It didn't draw me in, in other words, which was probably why I was left with a 'meh' feeling after finishing Jenny Pox even though part of me was very interested in the world the author had created.
All in all, Jenny Pox was an interesting take on an overdone formula. It provided romance, paranormal happenings and a villain to hate within its mix of horror, love, and fantasy, and spiced up my reading list :P 3/5(less)
I'm a sucker for thieves. Girl thieves, boy thieves, teenage thieves with angsty problems. It's one of the reasons I love Artemis Fowl so much. (Besid...moreI'm a sucker for thieves. Girl thieves, boy thieves, teenage thieves with angsty problems. It's one of the reasons I love Artemis Fowl so much. (Besides the funnies, the characters, the plot, the scifi...) It's like my obsession with assassins. I love thieves in the same way. They're sneaky, crafty, and usually have crazy plots to go with the fast pace they're written in.
It's also the reason why I usually end up getting sucked into buying assassiny (it's a word now!) or thief-centered novels even if the synopsis or reviews aren't exactly noteworthy. I can't help it-assassin/thief novels are my ultimate temptation.
And maybe that's the reason why I really, really liked Heist Society so much, even though it was kind of predictable, and followed the kind of tropes you tend to see in YA. It was such a typical thief book, with no qualms about being anything more, that it easily became a fun read for me. In other words, it was exactly what I wanted from a YA thief novel. And I was perfectly fine with that.
So Heist Society starts off with our leading lady, Kat, who gets kicked from her prestigious (and very not thievery inclined) boarding school under mysterious circumstances. *cough cough* Her family wants her back. Why? Because her father is on the run after being accused and threatened by a very powerful man who believes Kat's father stole his priceless collection of art. Add in conspiracy, fancy, fun thievery times, and even a hint (oh I love hints!) of romance, and you have Heist Society.
Heist Society has a lot of what you expect from a thief-centered novel. Action, crazy fun plots/plans, etc... Nothing is every truly exaggerated, (though all thief novels do have a bit of exaggeration to them), and I never felt like the novel was doing anything unrealistic. Rather the book remained fascinating, and keep me glued to the page even when I had to go to class.
Stupid school. Book more important.
The romance, or the hints of it anyway, really, really made me happy, as did the relationships between the group in general. If you don't know, making me happy with a romance is pretty hard to do. (Or easy, depending on your how you go about it). The relationships in here both, I felt, developed naturally (even if they were more than a little predictable) and made me really curious to see how they'll progress in Heist Society sequel Uncommon Criminals.
The dynamics in Kat's family were equally as fascinating, and I found myself interested in the politics between the variety of cousins, friends, etc... that all (somehow) constitute as Kat's sticky-fingered fam. While most of them fell into trope-like character traits, I never felt annoyed by that, and might've even liked them more. It was like watching a parody of a typical spy movie; knowing who each of these characters were already just made the book so much better, so much more relatable, and so much more fun.
The writing was nothing I hadn't seen before, and easily fits in with the atmosphere Heist Society portrayed. It kept me reading and entertained.
All in all, Heist Society was fun. The fast pace, the predictability even, the sheer simplicity of it made it an instant favorite that only complimented Heist Society's weaving plot, lively characters, and cute romance. While I previously hadn't been a fan of the author due to the fact I didn't care for her I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You series, Heist Society definitely changed my mind. 4/5(less)
Arrows of the Queen is a typical YA high fantasy adventure novel that uses tropes like training schools, communication/bonding with animals, and some...moreArrows of the Queen is a typical YA high fantasy adventure novel that uses tropes like training schools, communication/bonding with animals, and some measure of courtly intrigue in the vein of Green Rider and Pierce's Tortall series. (the Alanna: The First Adventure, Wild Magic, and First Test quartets come to mind especially) Centering on a young girl named Talia, a misfit living in Mormon-like community, the story truly begins when a strange horse, one of the famous Companions of the Heralds, forces her to bring him home. What she comes to find is a world very unlike the one she knew, a magical destiny, and maybe even a place to call home.
Arrows of the Queen, for the most part, is kind of trope-filled. Talia goes to a training facility where she will eventually become a full-fledged Herald, for instance, which (the idea and the actual training she went through) reminded me strongly of Alanna's experience in becoming a knight in Alanna: The First Adventure. Talia also suffers from bullies in a manner that prevents her from making any real friends (view spoiler)[until they decide to shove her in a freezing lake and claim it as being all a 'joke.' *cough Conspiracies cough* (hide spoiler)] like many heroines do. And most tropely especially of all Talia has magical, wonderful, extraordinary powers that help pretty much everyone.
I have a problem with this typical Mary-Sue-ness-like quality I tend to see in a lot of older, and more female-focused high fantasy. It was the reason, for instance, why I really had a problem with Green Rider, and why I'm currently rolling my eyes at The Eye of the World. (It also always seems to be farmer's sons/daughters that have this quality. Perhaps I should go help out on the ol' family farm and then will magically discover a dragon egg, be whisked away by a horse, and maybe a dead rider, will set off on a great adventure when orc things attack my village gain some kind of super powers. [Ten points if you can guess which books I'm talking about]).
I'm trying not to be mean to Talia. In spite of her amazing ability to help people, the fact that she can learn pretty much anything instantly, and you know the fact that she has an amazingly unheard of bond with her Companion, who's also super awesomely famous as is her position, she's really not that much of a Mary Sue. She has trust issues and is really shy, and gets utterly depressed until a tragic accident pushes her into revealing her problems, duh!
Okay, she kind of grates on my nerves.
Seriously though, in spite of the fact she easily falls into the category of awesome, but doesn't know it Talia was actually a pretty decent character. Her loneliness, her inability to trust people, though told more than shown, really got to me, and allowed me to relate to Talia even when I was rolling my eyes. She's tropy (it's a word, I made it one), but has enough to her not for me to utterly hate her and instead consider her more of a 'meh' character more than anything. In general really the cast of characters in this novel were mostly meh for me as they fell into those black and white characteristics I'm just so fond of.
The plot is fairly straight-forward, and doesn't really go into detail about the three years it covers. Much like Alanna's first book, most of the training is told and summarized for us like a report card on our heroine's progression. Though weirdly without much guidance as far as I could tell. I never really knew what year events were happening in, and felt kind of weird when it was suddenly mentioned that it was like two years since Talia had been there. (view spoiler)[or when Talia decided it was time for to have sex. Randomly. And without doing much of anything first. At that point I realized there was no way she was still like 13 (hide spoiler)]
The romance, however little of it there was, is really nothing to write home about, and progresses very quickly before dying off just as fast. I saw it coming, was strangely weirded out by their fast pace, surprised when it dropped off, and then became very confused at the end of the novel. It was definitely...unique?
The world building was a bit unsteady, and I felt like aspects of the world were kind of thrown in instead of carefully explained. I had a similar problem when I read Wizard's First Rule, for instance, in which events/people/etc... appeared with the explanation 'oh you're not from here,' and while Arrows of the Queen didn't do this to that extreme, there was a definite lack of information given to us until sudden powers or people were introduced.
All in all, I liked Arrows of the Queen. It was a simply written high fantasy, but one that was familiar and comfortable. While I never loved it, the novel had enough to it to make me at least consider checking out it's sequel. 3/5
"Abstract thought takes a poor second place to berry pies when you're only thirteen" Haha.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)