After reading tons and tons of books about werewolves and shifters and vampires and fairies, how would it feel to read a fantastical book where only m...moreAfter reading tons and tons of books about werewolves and shifters and vampires and fairies, how would it feel to read a fantastical book where only magic resides? A pure fantasy with no huge monsters, no crazy moon phases and no bubbling cauldrons? Apparently, it would feel like a very nice change of pace – especially when that book is written by Maria V. Snyder and when it takes place in her wonderfully crafted world.
My love for Maria’s books goes way back. (Okay, I know I’ve only been reading novels for fun for 17 or so months… just be quiet! I mean way back to the beginning of my reading addiction). It started when I decided that I was a little too grown up to only read YA titles anymore, but I was still a little embarrassed hesitant to dive into full on grown up paranormal romance material. I did my research and discovered Maria’s ‘Study’ series. I fell in love with Poison Study. To this day, it’s still one of my all-time favorite books. I loved everything about it. The story, the world, the adventure and of course Yelena, Valek (Mmm Valek!…) and the many other wonderful characters. When I was finished reading the ‘Study’ series, I didn’t have to worry too much about going through Maria V. Snyder withdrawal because her ‘Glass’ series was already under way.
“Storm Glass” is the first book in Maria’s newest trilogy set in the lands of Ixia and Sitia. It takes place five years after “Fire Study” and follows the adventures and misadventures of Opal Cowan, the glass magician who helped Yelena trap the bad guys into glass her figurines. Even though her magic is unique and has helped better the lives of pretty much everyone in Sitia, Opal is not a confident person. She is studying magic at the keep where she feels alone and isolated, even though she is surrounded by students. Opal is very well written. You feel her plight to fit in – her struggle to find and understand herself and where she stands in her world.
I am really glad that Maria has decided to incorporate characters from her ‘Study’ series into “Storm Glass”. The mix of old and new will delight fans of her ‘Study’ series, but not overly confuse readers newly introduced to Maria’s books. Yelena and her brother Leif make an appearance. I loved their sibling banter in this book. Very funny. Leif is great at bringing a smile to your face even as you are reading about something as dire as the use of blood magic or the possible demise of the Sitian government. Master Magician Zitora Cowan is Opal’s travel escort and school mentor. Opal feels comfortable and trusting of Zitora and comes to value her friendship as well as her guidance. Their interactions on the page are delightful.
The new characters we meet are plenty. Each compelling in their own way, but a few do tend to stand out. Ulrick, a fellow glass maker and potential glass magician. Devlen, a swordsman and all-around suspicious character. And Kade, the most powerful Stormdancer. Opal meets Kade when she is asked to accompany Zitora on a mission to try and discover the reason behind why the Stormdancer’s glass orbes are breaking, subsequently killing the magicians. Kade is a lovely character. A brooding hero that Opal feels an attraction towards. He tries to convince Opal of her worth. He tells her that she should be proud of who she is and of all that she has accomplished. Opal is reluctant. That is when you think Kade is charming and you think he’d be a good match for our heroine. But once the Stormdancer’s issue is resolved, Kade and Opal part ways and you are left thinking “Say what?!”
Many happening make you think “Say what?!” in this book. The suspense in this story is not the kind that makes you want to throw the book across the room and bang your head against the wall. It’s the kind that makes you wonder how on earth the author came up with that idea and makes you wish you could read faster to find out how it will all come to pass.
“Storm Glass” is an entertaining and exciting adventure story. You truly don’t ever know where the story is headed which makes it a fun read. The new characters are great and the revisiting characters put a smile to your face. You won’t get totally disoriented if you don’t read Maria’s ‘Study’ series first, but you will get more out of the story if you do. I recommend that you do. I’m looking forward to reading the next chapter of Opal’s adventure; because the ending will definitely make you grateful that “Sea Glass” is already in stores and that you don’t have to wait to find out what’s next.(less)
If I were to write an action adventure story with magical and fantastical elements, I would write a book exactly like “Sea Glass”. But since I’m not a...moreIf I were to write an action adventure story with magical and fantastical elements, I would write a book exactly like “Sea Glass”. But since I’m not ambitious or imaginative enough to write an actual novel, I’m glad Maria V. Snyder can and did.
“Sea Glass” is the second book in Maria’s latest trilogy. It complements the first book perfectly, even upping the excitement and intrigue level a notch. There is enough magic, mystery, blood magic, humor, cameos, political intrigue and action to keep you riveted and entertained. She even has a bit more romance thrown in for good measure.
“Sea Glass” starts off almost exactly where “Storm Glass” left off. In this installment, Opal has spunk! She is frustrated beyond belief that the list of those who believe what happened to her in “Storm Glass” is so short – and it grows shorter and shorter as the book progresses. On top of that, she feels as though she has no control over her own life or her own decisions. She feels trapped. While reading, I just wanted to reach into the book, shake these people and tell them to really think about what they are accusing! Seriously…*sigh* But alas, no matter how much I wanted to, there was no way to reach into the pages. So I simply continued reading to see where the adventure took me. (Not a real sacrifice, I must say). Through the book, Opal is gathering up her courage and it’s actually nice to see when she finally has enough self-confidence to “stick it to the man”. Unfortunately, when she is finally in a position to make her own choice, what she must decide between will basically screw her over no matter what she decides to do. Opal is well aware of this, but she is trying her hardest to opt for the choice that makes her feel as though she is in control and that let her feel somewhat independent. Opal is a great character. You really feel her struggle. It’s her struggle that makes her so relatable. Who hasn’t felt like the whole world was against you and as your confidence level wavers while you are trying to battle magicians who are using giant green bees as weapons? Okay…maybe not the magicians with the bees part…but the confidence part? Absolutely.
One decision that is easy to agree with is Opal’s choice of beau, Kade. How he tries to stand by her even when everyone else seems to have left her behind is quite admirable. Their relationship is not perfect – you feel as though Opal is holding back a bit. But Kade is strong and he wants to stick by her.
Let’s talk about Devlen. Now he’s a conundrum. He’s the bad guy. I should hate him. He hurt our girl Opal – many times. He’s deceived her, lied to her, tricked her… Really, I should hate him. But I can’t seem to bring myself to as wholly and completely as I should. I attest that to the way Maria writes her characters. She makes them human. Whether they are bad guys or good guys, I can’t help but feel drawn to them. You can’t help but feel for the naughty boy who is trying his hardest reconcile for his actions. I actually found myself wanting to tell Opal that if things with Kade don’t work out, maybe she should consider Devlen. Seriously, how messed up is that?!
“Sea Glass” bumps up the level of adventure from high to “holy cow!” It’s funnier than the first one too, although that should not surprise since Janco (from Maria’s ‘Study’ series) has quite an important role in this book – and Janco is funny! And the ending…whoa! What happens to our girl Opal is very unexpected. Then again, so is most of what happens in these tales. If you loved “Storm Glass”, then you will for sure really love “Sea Glass” and you’ll count the days until “Spy Glass” is released with impatient glee.(less)
I first read this book in late 2009. I really enjoyed it then. The characters are just…well, Barrons is in this book. Need I say more? This series is...moreI first read this book in late 2009. I really enjoyed it then. The characters are just…well, Barrons is in this book. Need I say more? This series is very detailed and Darkfever, being book one in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, is especially thorough. Not to the point where you feel lost or anything but enough that you know this book is building up for one hell of a series. It’s setting the stage for some gruesome and brain tingling adventure. I found Darkfever was even better this time around. Just Wow. And I mean Wow! I found myself re-energized for this series with this re-read. And I found myself asking new questions (because apparently I didn’t have enough questions after the first time I read this…)
MacKayla Lane’s (Mac) sister was recently murdered in Ireland. The day she was killed, Alina left some cryptic messages on Mac’s cell phone about a him and the Sinsar Dubh and how imperative it was that they don’t get it. After hearing these, Mac decides to leave her free-going fluffy life in Georgia and travel to Dublin to try to find Alina’s murderer…and to find the Sinsar Dubh. Problem is, Mac isn’t sure what that is or why it was so important to her sister. Once she arrives in Dublin, Mac discovers that she is a sidhe-seer, one who can see the Fae. Now, these aren’t fluffy little winged cutesy pootsy beings. Think about the creature from your worst nightmare and multiply it by 100. That is the fae folk in KMM’s world. Darkfever follows Mac as she travels to Ireland, discovers her heritage and her abilities and meets Barrons. Yes, THE Barrons.
Barrons has to be one of, if not the, most popular book boyfriends on the planet. He’s my favorite ‘Paranormal Book’ boyfriend that’s for sure. He is power. He is strength. He is intelligence. He is man? When he introduces himself to Mac for the first time, simply saying his name, you *swoon*. Your knees go weak because you know that you have just encountered greatness. A character who is larger than life and whom you want on your side. But it’s his slight vulnerabilities and tenderness that sneak through every once in a while that truly make him an intriguing man. (Or Fae or vampire or mob boss or a freakin’ ballerina or whatever the hell he is.)
I’d forgotten how thought provoking this book is. Some of the passages just make you smile in their exactness. Such as:
“I love books, by the way, way more than movies. Movies tell you what to think. A good book lets you choose a few thoughts for yourself. Movies show you the pink house. A good book tells you there’s a pink house and lets you paint some of the finishing touches, maybe choose the roof style, park your own car out front.”
“She understood now why her friend Elizabeth, with her near-genius, analytical mind gave wide berth to murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, and horror stories, and read only romance novels. Because, by God, when a woman picked up one of those steamy books, she had a firm guarantee that there would be a Happily-Ever-After. That though the world outside those covers could bring such sorrow and disappointment and loneliness, between those covers, the world was a splendid place to be.”
And other passages are almost philosophical, filled with life lessons we really should be paying attention to:
“Barrons laughed again. ‘And there, my dear Fio, you make one of Womankind’s greatest mistakes: Falling in love with a man’s potential. We so rarely share the same view of it, and even more rarely care to achieve it. Stop pining for the man you think I could be — and take a good, long, hard look at the one I am.’”
“’Lose the pessimism, Ms. Lane. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.’”
In this series, Karen Marie Moning has an incredible voice. Her descriptions of the world she has created in this book are eerie but impressive. When Mac comes face to face with a Fae, you want to run and hide just as much as Mac does. Darkfever has it all. A heroine who is on her way to learning truths about herself and setting off on one hell of a journey that you want to take part in, a hero that makes you drool and shiver all at once, a villain who is impossible to pin down and a story that leaves you begging for more. You reach the last page wondering where the series will take you next…and having no idea where that could be. You are so filled with questions you must continue reading. And you want to continue reading, because you want to know if any of your theories are correct or if they are way off base. It’s the kind of book that you think about days after you are finished reading it and the kind of series that makes you glad that there are at least three more books out there already and a fifth one coming out January 18th 2011. I’m not going to focus on the fact that that is the final book in the series. Because that just makes me cry.(less)
Bloodfever is the second book in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. It is your typical second book in an Urban Fantasy series. Book one usually sets u...moreBloodfever is the second book in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. It is your typical second book in an Urban Fantasy series. Book one usually sets up the world and its players. Book two is typically a transition book. The book that reminds us of how the world works in the series, shows us how the hero or heroine has developed from book one and guides the reader in the direction that the series is ultimately going to take her. Yes, Bloodfever is your classic book two, but with Karen’s talented mark on it, it also feels like so much more.
I can’t believe how much of this book I had forgotten! And important stuff too! It’s embarrassing actually. It’s making me really glad I decided to re-read this series before its big finale. (OMG only 39 more days until Shadowfever! *super squee*) Even though the Unseelie Fae are ultimately the evil do-ers in this series, each book focuses on a specific bad guy. I remembered who it was but I found him even more disgusting this time around. He is just nasty. Poor, poor Mac…
Mac is still her new kick ass self in this book. She knows she is stuck. She knows that she is being used by V’Lane and by Barrons and by pretty much everyone else that crosses her path, but she is trying to be less of a pushover about it. She is trying to regain some control over her own life. I like seeing Mac like this. And I can’t wait to follow her on the rest of her journey and be reminded of other things I really should have remembered but forgot…and made to feel like an idiot because of it. *sigh*
You see more of V’Lane in Bloodfever. He is trying a different approach with Mac this time around. He is really trying to be her friend. I love how he tries to humanize himself for Mac. It’s quite comical actually, in a creepy sexy sort of way.
Of course, there is lots of Barrons in this book. Have I ever mentioned how I love Barrons as a character? Well in case you all missed it, I love Barrons as a character! He is the same in this book as he was in the last. Arrogant in the best of ways, smug in the sexiest of ways and tender in the most surprising of ways. And do I detect a slight hint of jealousy a time or two?! We may see some cracks in his façade once in a blue moon in this book but we still don’t get any closer to figuring out who Barrons is exactly or what he is exactly. At the back of the book, Karen has included the Glossary from Mac’s Journal. I think, when it comes to Barrons, Mac says it best in her journal. She writes: “BARRONS, JERICHO: I haven’t the faintest fecking clue. He keeps saving my life. I suppose that’s something.”
You meet a new character that will play quite an important role not only in the books from now on but also in Mac’s life. We meet Dani, the 15 year old wonder sidhe-seer. She is a cute character who won’t curse for real so she says “feck”. A lot. Definitely one of the most likeable characters in this series. And through Dani, the mystery of the “crazy old lady” gets answered…sort of. But don’t let that excite you too much. Because for every one thing that may get answered in this book, 100 new questions come up! And you think I’m kidding…
Here is a good example of things that make you go “huh?” in this book:
“I had an overwhelming desire to start screaming at everyone to run, to leave, to do…something…I couldn’t remember…something that lurked somewhere in my genetic memory…a thing we’d learned to do…long ago…a ritual, dark thing…we’d paid a terrible price…it had been our greatest shame…we’d made ourselves forget.”
Okay, maybe it doesn’t quite make you say “huh?” In actuality, it makes you say “WTF?!” I really do appreciate how Chapter 14 is basically a recap of what has happened so far and what you should be thinking about. It helped keep me focused and it helped me ask the right questions instead of being inundated by a million other questions I seem to be making up as I go along in this series.
And we still get some philosophical moments I love so much in this series. These are two of my favorites:
“You can’t go forward if you’re looking backward, Mac, Daddy always said. You run into walls that way.”
“Lies roll of us. It’s the truths we work hardest to silence.”
Before I go, I’m just going to say one more quick thing. The cave scene! That is all I’m saying. Okay…I won’t leave you like that. I’ll add one more thing and that is I read that scene twice in a row.
Bloodfever really keeps the story going along nicely and keeps you wanting more. Basically, it’s the perfect second book. Faefever is book 3 and I remember that one. And boy oh boy I can’t wait to read it again!(less)