After the killer, and I mean KILLER, twist of Variant, I was on pins and needles awaiting the second installment. Feedback begins shortl...moreWhile Reading:
After the killer, and I mean KILLER, twist of Variant, I was on pins and needles awaiting the second installment. Feedback begins shortly after the events of Variant. Benson and Becky have escaped Maxfield Academy, and find themselves on the run. Strangely enough, in the first few chapters, readers are again faced with an interesting twist. Remember those kids that died in Variant? Well, they might not be as dead as you first thought.
I loved that Feedback brought me back into this strange, yet engrossing world. But Feedback suffers greatly from a lack of action. There are pages and pages of strategy, game plans, group alliances, but very little actually happens. It was not until later (much, much later, I might add) that Feedback finally got the the point where I felt like I was in familiar territory.
That is not to say that Feedback was a horrible read. I liked it enough. But there were more than enough times that I found myself either wanting to quit, or stopping myself from just skimming till the end.
To be honest, some of the problems that I had with Feedback I also had with Variant. I don't mind a book that has slow pacing as long as there is something there to keep me interested. Variant did that with the twist, and all the group alliance drama. But with Feedback, that something extra that I needed was missing. Will there be a third installment? Maybe. But I am probably no longer invested enough in this series to keep going, if there are more installments planned.(less)
While Reading: By this point, it is probably no secret that I love fairy tales. I mean seriously love them. Their history, their back story, their evol...moreWhile Reading: By this point, it is probably no secret that I love fairy tales. I mean seriously love them. Their history, their back story, their evolution. I find it all so fascinating.
Phillip Pullman is an author that I quite admire as well. When I discovered that he was taking over and retelling some of his favorites, I found myself beyond excited. My mind went in a thousand and one directions thinking about how he would approach these retellings. Would he stay true to the Grimm legacy, or would Mr. Pullman somehow make something old feel like new again? The answer: both.
Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, to be honest, was not what I was hoping for. Knowing some of these stories so well, at times, I would even be hard pressed to call it a retelling. Cinderella, for example, is pretty spot on. However, Pullman changed it up a bit with The Frog Prince. It continued like this for much of the volume. So, in this regard, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm was a tad disappointing.
However, I must admit that I love Pullman's commentary. At the end of each tale is a page or two about the origins of the tale, and Mr. Pullman's general thoughts.
Final Thoughts: In college, one of my favorite classes I ever took, was a fairy tales course. In a lot of ways, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm reminds me of the text we used for that course... but with a lot more flavor. If you love fairy tales or want to get the real scoop on your favorites, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm would be an excellent addition to your collection. (less)
While Reading: Years into the future, our world has changed. Oceans have risen. Leaving the world to all but abandon Earth's once dry ground. High rise...moreWhile Reading: Years into the future, our world has changed. Oceans have risen. Leaving the world to all but abandon Earth's once dry ground. High rises are the new normal. Politicians being the new king.
Our MC, Aria, knows about all the ins and outs of politics, or at least she should. As part of the Rose family, Aria can trace her family line back generations. Each generation a helping hand to this altered city and its people. But that family prestige comes at a price. Believing that she has had a break down of sorts, Aria awakens to find that in a blink of an eye her life has changed. The family's once arch-rival in politics, the Fosters, have now become an ally... due to her pending nuptials with Thomas Foster. With gaps in her memory, a forbidden romance coming to light, and secrets that have been hidden for generations, Aria must get to the bottom of the lies if she ever hopes to have her true happily ever after.
Part of my love for Mystic City was due in a large part to Aria being such an amazing character. I loved watching her progression as she came to terms with her memory loss. Having to rebuild everything she thought she knew about her life and family. The relationships that she had built changing over night. Leaving her confused and like a new born child. Her eyes finally open to the world around her and all its injustices.
Mystic City blew me away. It went way beyond any expectations that I had for it. Initially, I was drawn to the idea of forbidden love, star-crossed lovers. The Roses and Fosters have been fighting generations. The thought that these two families could put aside years of fighting for their children's romance was astounding and seemed a little too good to be true. And it was. Completely not in the way I was expecting either.
Final Verdict: There was such much that I loved about Mystic City. The characters. The politics. The romance. And I never even got to mention the Mystics themselves. But that was largely due to me wanting to leave much of the story a surprise... because you have to read this one.
Sure, Mystic City is not 100% perfect. I did have a bit of an issue with the romance of Aria and a certain someone feeling a little off. But that is a small issue in the big picture. Although, this is the start to a series, Mystic City has a solid feeling ending. No cliffhanger. No big, bad thing looming in the distance. Mystic City feels like it could easily have been a standalone. And I would not have been disappointed if it was, but I am excited to see what happens next. (less)
While Reading: The beginning pages of Katya's World read similar to something out of a textbook. It's prologue, if that is what you want to call it, se...moreWhile Reading: The beginning pages of Katya's World read similar to something out of a textbook. It's prologue, if that is what you want to call it, seems almost formal in describing how the inhabitants of this world came to be on this planet, the people's relationship to Earth, and its progression as a colony over the generations. While odd in its formality, this prologue set the stage for one of the most unique reads I have ever come across.
I have been racking my brain trying to come to terms with this read. Part of what makes Katya's World so wonderful, sadly, is also part of its downfall. A colony on a far distant planet. A people who generations later see themselves as a separate entity, having no real relationship with their home planet. An underwater world. This book just screams potential. I wanted to know everything about this foreign world. However, Howard only took us so far.
In Katya's World, one of the most disappointing aspects was the lack of information to fill the world out. Howard gives beautiful descriptions of air crafts, submarines, and all sorts of technical items. But when it came to the planet and its people, the one area that I really wanted to know more about, Howard's beautiful descriptions were strangely absent. What do these people eat? How does a normal person live? What normally equates to nothing more than background noise for me, was thrust into the forefront due to the lack of answers.
Now, that is not to say that my lack of answers, especially in this area, take away from the book. It really does not. But when introducing something so foreign, I feel as if I need to understand this world at least to a certain point. Plus with the very real possibility that Katya's World is a standalone, I am left to remember the questions that I wish had been answered instead of those that were.
Final Verdict: I tried really, really hard to love Katya's World. In the end, I would like to think that a part of me did. Katya was an immensely strong female lead. Plenty of action. A wonderful group of secondary characters. There really is a lot to enjoy about this read. However, the lack of certain questions being addressed took away more from my reading experience than I ever anticipated it would. There is no doubt in my mind that if Howard had expanded the book's focus a bit more, Katya's World could have gone from a decent read to a phenomenal one. (less)
While Reading: After the semi-dropping off ending of Ashfall, I was really excited to get back in to the action. But after looking at the blurb, I was...moreWhile Reading: After the semi-dropping off ending of Ashfall, I was really excited to get back in to the action. But after looking at the blurb, I was not too sure that Ashen Winter would live up to new expectations that I had for this series.
Ashen Winter takes place a few months after the events of Ashfall. Alex, along with Darla, has been living with his uncle and his family in relative comfort. They have just enough to survive, but much, much more than most. However, Alex's parents still have not returned. And through a promise with his uncle, Alex is determined to bring them back, or at the very least discover what happened.
In a few ways, the plot of Ashen Winter could be described as Ashfall backwards (minus the post-apocalyptic event, of course). Many of the events that Alex and Darla went through in Ashfall are repeated, but thankfully, Mullin's has plenty of twists up his sleeve. Making a book that could have fallen flat easily, feel fresh and as exciting as the first book in the series.
Final Verdict: Ashen Winter was a pure delight. And an amazing follow-up to the awesomeness that was Ashfall. Just when I thought that this series could not take it up a notch, Mullin pulls through with some crazy twists. And like Ashfall, an ending that will leave you dying for the next installment. (less)
While Reading: As soon as I saw post-apocalyptic and aliens together in the same sentence, I wanted to know more. Midnight City is unlike like anything...moreWhile Reading: As soon as I saw post-apocalyptic and aliens together in the same sentence, I wanted to know more. Midnight City is unlike like anything I have come across before. Part alien invasion. Part post-apocalyptic. Each element blending together to create a read that is completely fresh and original.
Much of Midnight City rested on Mitchell's world creating skills. Before I really got into the read, I began wondering about this world's possibilities. I knew if done right, Midnight City could be an amazing read. But one wrong turn, could also as easily transform Midnight City into a hot mess. After reading a few pages, Mitchell's world creating skills began to show, and I was left in awe.
The beauty of Midnight City is that I have never come across anything like Midnight City. Oh sure, I have read plenty of alien books or post-apocalyptic reads, but none that have blended the two together in the way that Midnight City does. The fractions. The Strange Lands. The Forsaken (oh, my goodness, those things almost gave me nightmares!). All these little aspects coming together give so much depth to this read.
Awe-inspiring world creation? Check. How about our characters: Holt, Mira, and Zoey? The answer: just as wonderful. The gang (aka: Holt, Mira, Zoey, and (the) Max) were delightful. Each adding a new level to understanding of Midnight City's world. No two characters were alike. Each bringing their back stories to the table (eventually) to add a better understanding of how these changes have effected them. Holt being immune, carrying the guilt of losing his family. Mira losing her control slowly against the Assembly. Zoey, a child who has lost her memories, but could possibly hold the key to Earth's salvation. I could not have asked for a better set of characters.
Final Verdict: I am 100% smitten with Midnight City. Midnight City completely swept me off my feet. I never expected to feel such a strong bond with this read. But it happened, and now I want to know as much about this world, and our characters as possible. Mitchell is a skilled writer. Giving just enough away about the plot and the world to satisfy, but leaving so many other details partially answered for tackling in later installments. Oh, how I wish I could have the next installment now. (less)
While Reading: Ruby Red first introduced reader to Gwen and the Circle of Twelve. The Twelve’s talent? Time travel.
Words cannot describe how much I ado...moreWhile Reading: Ruby Red first introduced reader to Gwen and the Circle of Twelve. The Twelve’s talent? Time travel.
Words cannot describe how much I adore this series. I thought I loved Ruby Red. But Sapphire Blue blows the first book out of the water. With the second book in the series, the story really starts to unfold, questions begin to find their answers. Secrets are revealed. But when nothing is as it seems, who can be trusted?
In Sapphire Blue, readers are again introduced to Gwen, Gideon, and the gang. Gwen still is an outsider looking in. Trying to figure out exactly how she, as the Ruby, is suppose to fit into the bigger picture. Gideon, oh, Gideon. You showed a lot of promise in Ruby Red. But in Sapphire Blue, I fear, you may have started to show your true colors. I am so torn with him! Okay, so Gwen and Gideon are not the perfect couple. Gwen: too goofy. Gideon: too serious. But their chemistry, when present, is nice. I adored their interactions in Ruby Red. But in Sapphire Blue, it is like they have reached the point of no return. Misunderstandings. Jealousy. It may be too soon to really sort out my feelings for this romance.
Romance, and my conflicting feelings aside, Gier knows how to write a page turner. Gier has this amazing talent of adding in subtle details. In addition to the main story, pieces of additional information have been planted. A family tree. Historical documents. Quotes from classical pieces. Every little extra detail adds another level of depth, a better understanding to this world.
Final Verdict: After loving Ruby Red, I had high expectations for its sequel. Sapphire Blue lived up to everyone of them. The chemistry of the characters. The are they / are they not questions of the romance. The secrets and betrayals. It kept me on the edge of my seat. I did not want to stop reading this one. So, pull up a chair. Clear your schedule. I promise you once you start Sapphire Blue, you will not want any distractions.(less)