I knew going into Empire of Shadows that this would be a companion to City of a Thousand Dolls instead of the sequel I had really been hoping it woulI knew going into Empire of Shadows that this would be a companion to City of a Thousand Dolls instead of the sequel I had really been hoping it would be. So, instead of getting more if Nisha and Jerrit, there would be a whole new set of characters with new problems.
One aspect that is super exciting about Empire of Shadows is the world. In City of a Thousand Dolls, we were a little stuck inside the compound with Nisha. Learning only tidbits about the outside world. This all changes with Empire of Shadows. This time around, we get much more than I had bargained for. Learning tons of new tidbits about this world, how it operates, and its politics.
Mara is a highly trained bodyguard. Living her life now to atone for the sins of her past. Early on, I fell in love with Mara's character. Her strength. Her personality. I just loved it all. As part of her duties, she is sent to guard
Revathi. Like Mara, Revathi is an incredibly strong female character. While Revathi took a little bit to warm up to, I can easily say that I ended liking her as much if not more than Mara.
In addition to Mara and
Stefan. Sadly, the romance this time around wasn't exactly what I had been hoping for. While sweet at times, Mara and Emil go from zero to sixty in no time flat. I had a hard time rooting for them simply due to the whiplash their insta-love gave me. But thankfully, there are so many other elements that work in Empire of Shadows to make it a great read.
Verdict: Empire of Shadows is a nice companion novel to City of a Thousand Dolls. Sadly, the connection between the two is revealed at the very last moment. While a complete WOW!! moment, part of me wishes that it had played a bigger part. Find me at:
The Taking is a great start to what could be a phenomenal series.
Kyra has two main loves in her life, softball and her boyfriend, Austin. After a hugThe Taking is a great start to what could be a phenomenal series.
Kyra has two main loves in her life, softball and her boyfriend, Austin. After a huge fight with her dad, Kyra has had enough. But instead of her night ending the way she expects, Kyra is blinded by a flash of white light, then finds herself waking up behind a dumpster at a local gas station. When she gets home, she gets the surprise of her life. The night she thought she lost was more like five years.
The Taking has a great premise. There is no doubt about that. I love stories with memory loss and a mysterious something lurking in the background. The Taking has plenty of that and some to spare.
The Taking has moments where it is extremely fast paced. Which is both good and bad. The good being that The Taking is constantly moving. I never had the feeling that The Taking was having a bogged down moment or that whatever it was that was happening was filler. The bad side of that is that Kyra's character suffers a bit from this. Her taking happens so early in the read that I never got a good feel for her before it all goes down. Which left me without a starting point of sorts to compare the after events to. Austin being a prime example. We are told Austin is this love of her life, but barely see him before anything happens. Because of this, I wasn't able to really care about Kyra and her new found situation as much as I would have liked.
This leads into the romance. While it is a decent romance, part of me, if I am being honest, found it a bit creepy. Kyra, understandably, comes back to her life with nothing being the same. Her mom has remarried and has a new family. Her dad basically went off the deep end. The love of her life, Austin, has grown up, gone off to college, and is now dating Kyra's best friend. Being gone from her life for five years, Kyra has a really hard time getting back into the groove of things. It makes sense and is completely understandable. But then you add in Tyler.
Personally, I like Tyler. I like Tyler and Kyra together. However, in the beginning, it also was just a bit creepy to watch the extent of Tyler's affections for Kyra. Knowing all the while that Tyler is Austin's little brother. Knowing that he had a thing for her since he was at least twelve, if not earlier. Maybe it is just me here, but the more I thought about it, the more it just felt a little weird. Thankfully, as The Taking moves on, I finally got some character development that I had been needing so this issue did become less on one. Especially once the Austin and Tyler connection started to take a backseat. Verdict: The Taking starts off great, if not a little rocky. Thankfully, The Taking finds its bearings later on, making this a series to watch. Find me at:
Taking place shortly after the events of These Broken Stars, This Shattered World introduces us to a new world and a new set of characters.
I had prettTaking place shortly after the events of These Broken Stars, This Shattered World introduces us to a new world and a new set of characters.
I had pretty high hopes for This Shattered World going into it. I knew this time around there would be little to no Lilac and Tarver, which was fine with me. But I was really curious to see how everything would tie together from These Broken Stars.
This Shattered World starts off, pacing wise, just like These Broken Stars. The plot begins by heavily focusing on our characters. Their individual stories told via dual POVs. For Jubilee Chase, the military is her life. She is good at what she does and it is her escape of sorts. She believes that she is on the right path... until she meets Flynn Cormac. Flynn is a native. Living in under his sister's shadow, but unlike his sister, Flynn wants a peaceful existence. When Flynn abducts Captain Lee, he is hoping that he can show her another way for everyone to come together. No fighting, just military and natives working together to make Avon a better place. However, as expected, Flynn's plan does not exactly go as planned.
There is a part of me that really loves this read. The beauty of Avon. The character development of Jubliee. The turmoil of the natives. I loved seeing how everything progressed with This Shattered World.
But This Shattered World was almost a DNF for me.
One of the issues I had with These Broken Stars was how long it took for the main conflict to show itself. Sure, there is the character / romance conflict going on. But the main issue that they (more than likely as a new couple) have to resolve is missing for most of the read. Like These Broken Stars, This Shattered World begins by focusing heavily on building up the world and the characters. I love that. It is great and wonderful, but it can also make the read feel stagnant much too quickly. I found myself more than once wanting to scream "let's go already!" After probably about the third time of this, I found myself seriously thinking I could not go any further. I loved the characters and the read as a whole, but the time it was taking for the overall big event to show itself was almost too much.
Again like These Broken Stars, once it did, it was a game changer.
This Shattered World in a matter of a few pages went from "I really don't think I can keep going" to "Finally, this is what I was waiting for. This is great!" Verdict: If you enjoyed These Broken Stars, This Shattered World will be a must read. Personally, I liked These Broken Stars better, but This Shattered World has its high points. If you didn't love or felt meh about These Broken Stars, This Shattered World will probably be one you better skip. While a good story, the plot formatting is pretty similar in both, which for me, is a cause for frustration more than anything. Find me at:
Incredible. Exciting. Completely original. Stray is the real deal times like a million!
I love me a good fairy tale. Heck, give me a retelling. I loveIncredible. Exciting. Completely original. Stray is the real deal times like a million!
I love me a good fairy tale. Heck, give me a retelling. I love them both equally. With the amount of fairy tale and fairy tale retellings, I pretty much figured I had seen it all. I was wrong. Stray is unlike anything I have come across before. It reads like a fairy tale, but it is completely unique and fresh. Stray was everything I didn't know I was hoping it would be.
In Aislynn's world, all women are born with magic. Whether you be a princess or a servant, magic is within you. But unlike most tales where magic is a good thing, Stray takes a different path. In Aislynn's world, magic must be controlled, suppressed. Women must stay on the Path, or face the consequences, which are not pretty.
Aislynn right away struck me as a girl out of place. While born into privilege as a princess, Aislynn never came across as spoiled or snotty. She is a down to earth girl facing a "normal" problem. Despite her best efforts and desire to fit into the norm, Aislynn cannot. Her magic is just that powerful. While Aislynn trying to stick to the Path could have come across poorly, Sussman makes it work. I don't want to say that I pity Aislynn, but in a way, I did. She tries so hard time and time again, but no matter what, her best isn't good enough. So, is it her or the system?
Stray is an interesting combination of many elements. While it is based firmly in the fairy tale camp, it strangely also has hints of a dystopian built in. The Path system that women are confined to, ultimately, is the villain of Stray. Sure, there is the "true" big bad villain out there in the background. The verdict is still out on her since we actually have not seen first hand what she is capable of. Will she actually be a villain? Or is she kinda like Aislynn, a person who never fit in right so that makes her evil? Only time will tell for certain.
A completely fresh and original take on magic. A must read for fairy tale lovers.Find me at: