Lovely, lyrical, and achingly sad. Shiver is more introspective than most YA books and is sometimes criticized for being too slow or wordy, but I founLovely, lyrical, and achingly sad. Shiver is more introspective than most YA books and is sometimes criticized for being too slow or wordy, but I found it to be beautifully written, tragic, and a gorgeous take on werewolf lore. Sam's desperate struggle to hold onto his humanity is incredibly poignant, and his heartrending relationship with Grace is deeply emotional and sweet. It's a book that makes me cry every time I read it.
Sam cupped my face in his hands and looked me in the eyes. His eyes were yellow, sad, wolf, mine.
"These stay the same. Remember that when you look at me. Remember it's me. Please."
PS--this book is NOTHING like Twilight, despite the inevitable comparisons because of the subject matter. It's in a class all its own....more
Vivian-the-werewolf lusts after an unsuspecting human boy (MEAT boy, mind you) who is embarrassingly weaThis was an appalling book on so many levels.
Vivian-the-werewolf lusts after an unsuspecting human boy (MEAT boy, mind you) who is embarrassingly weak and supremely uninteresting. She's also fighting off advances from numerous other men who just randomly grab her breasts and has birthdays where her mom and 6 men watch her open gifts of lingerie. And creepiest of all, Gabriel, the 24-year-old head wolf, is after her to be his mate--although that doesn't stop him from sleeping with her 40-year-old mom throughout the book. *shudder*
Vivian is also a self-centered, vain, out of control teenager who calls her mom a bitch and who is surrounded by people who curse all the time for no reason. Every man in the book is a hormone-driven jerk and the few females in it are selfish and unlikable. (Gabriel is actually the most interesting and likable character, except for that icky sleeping with mom thing.) I don't care if you're a werewolf or not, bad behavior is bad behavior. And on top of all this...the book is written in a melodramatic tone with very poor structure and awkward phrasing. After being rejected by the boy she loves, for example, Vivian runs into the woods and screams "I am beautiful! Why can't he see that?" and then drinks a full bottle of booze (given to her by an adult), destroys the room of a girl she's jealous of, and then later (view spoiler)[tries to kill herself by lighting herself on fire (albeit to help "save" the pack) (hide spoiler)]. I can't adequately express how awful scenes like this are, and how surprised I am that more people are not taken aback by the book's content and writing.
This book would be an annoying enough if it were written for adults, but being that it's meant for teenagers, I find the whole thing pretty outrageous. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Boy, it sure takes some girls a long time to figure out there's a werewolf in her midst. Dogs react weirdly to Pietr, the new boy in school, he sniffsBoy, it sure takes some girls a long time to figure out there's a werewolf in her midst. Dogs react weirdly to Pietr, the new boy in school, he sniffs people, his eyes look "disconcertingly feral," he has "startlingly beautiful teeth," he heals super fast, he thinks vampires get more attention than werewolves do, there were wolf attacks in the town his family just left...do you need more signs? Oh, how about HE TELLS HER ON PAGE 205? But Jessie Gillmansen doesn't believe him until he actually leads her into the woods and transforms in front of her on page 286. And then the book ends 22 pages later.
I am somewhat shame-faced at having read this entire book. I kept waiting for it to get better, but if anything, it just got more and more convoluted. The Russian Mafia stuff makes no sense, the cheating thing makes no sense (Jessie's making him go out with her best frenemy Sarah, who was formerly evil but then killed Jessie's mom with her car, but who is now "good" thanks to Jessie's good samaritan project. So if this girl likes Pietr, Jessie can't have him, so he's got to go out with the other girl, but Jessie can't stop kissing him. Got that?), and the wolf thing doesn't have time to make any sense, because you only get 10 minutes with the knowledge until it's all over. And while it's clear the book was set up for sequels, it's very odd how abruptly the story ends, and how weird behavior from the killer best friend and Derek, the sometime-crush, is never explained (although it's pretty easy to guess what's going on in Derek's case), not even a little bit. Most of all, Jessie herself seems really young and misguided and naive, and with a main character so painfully unaware of herself and those around her, the book seems very skewed towards younger teens.
The thing is, I think somewhere buried deep down (okay, deep, deep down) there might've been a decent book in this. But it needed to go through many more revisions with a lot more character development, a refresher on the importance of providing motivation, and a huge overhaul on planning out a coherent plot. But maybe I'm just kidding myself, just like Jessie did....more
Anyone who is a fan of Vampire Academy will love the sarcastic, meat-loving, ass-kicking Merit. This is a fun series that follows a typical "newly forAnyone who is a fan of Vampire Academy will love the sarcastic, meat-loving, ass-kicking Merit. This is a fun series that follows a typical "newly formed vamp" story, but is also filled with lots of great action and excellent training sequences. The power plays between the different covens is well done, Merit's relationships with her friends is strong and true, and there are some super cute guys in it. A fast-paced, thoroughly entertaining start to the series....more
Fun fun fun! I love Vampire Academy but I haven't been able to get into the Georgina Kincaid books as much, so it's great to find that this series isFun fun fun! I love Vampire Academy but I haven't been able to get into the Georgina Kincaid books as much, so it's great to find that this series is so entertaining. Eugenie, like all of Richelle Mead's heroines, is a kick-ass character and both Kiyo and Dorian are appealing in different ways. Some great action scenes, in both the battle field and the bedroom. Looking forward to starting Thorn Queen....more
Never judge a book by its title. I have to confess it took me awhile to get to this one because I think the title is a little cheesy (and it's now obvNever judge a book by its title. I have to confess it took me awhile to get to this one because I think the title is a little cheesy (and it's now obviously impossible to get Elton John out of my head), but this turned out to be a hilarious book that had me laughing out loud numerous times--not a bad feat when a big part of the book is about raising the dead. All the characters are engaging and likable, especially smart-mouthed Sam, strong and beautiful Brid, Sam's little sisters, the...incapacitated Brooke, and the gleefully bizarre Ashley.
"So, you're telling me the zoo commissioned you to make a zombie panda in order to avoid a potential international incident." Hah!
This is probably a 3.5 star book for me, though, since:
* I would have liked to have seen more of Sam's necromancy powers appear earlier on * Douglas would have been more interesting if his character was a little more developed * it would have been fun to see more of the critters that appear later in the book * the flashbacks slowed down the momentum a little too much * the book would have been more pulled together if Sam's narration was in the third person. With focus shifting between him, Douglas, Brid, and then later Ramon and Tia, having Sam's POV in the first person was confusing when it would have been just as good written in the third.
Still, these are minor ticks considering this is a super funny, fast-paced and entertaining book. I enjoyed the big battle scene at the end, am mightily intrigued by the idea of a were-bear, and I love the way the author writes. Can't wait for the next installment in the series! Though now I want waffles. Badly....more
3.5 stars I'm not much of a traditional fantasy person, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It starts off a little unevenly and even had me giggling a3.5 stars I'm not much of a traditional fantasy person, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It starts off a little unevenly and even had me giggling a bit here and there, but it gradually became a complex, epic story full of fascinating mythology and dazzling magic. All of the characters are extremely well-developed, in that all the ones who are good behave with honor and the ones who are evil believe absolutely in the rightness of what they are doing. I really like Ellie and Rain, whose relationship builds slowly and believably, and I love how protective both he and his men are of their future queen.
I'm not really sure how to categorize this book. Is it fantasy? Is it paranormal romance? Somewhere between the two, I think, as there's intricate world-building and politicking but also lots of tenderness and emotion. I normally have very little patience for fairy court business (so much talking and posturing), but everything that goes on here is well-thought out and fraught with potentially dangerous consequences. It'll be interesting to watch Ellie develop her powers and to see where the story goes next.
I've read through dozens of books that try to do what this one does, but none other that ever fully appealed to me. Ignore the cheesy cover and font and try this one if you enjoy this fantasy-written-for-women thing. I'll leave you with the words that sold me on the book: the king is a gorgeous half fey, half winged flying CAT.
3.5 stars I enjoyed this overall, particularly the physical scenes, the setting, the transformation scenes (she's so good at those!), Maya's relations3.5 stars I enjoyed this overall, particularly the physical scenes, the setting, the transformation scenes (she's so good at those!), Maya's relationship with her parents, and some of the unexpected humor. But this origins story is somewhat hampered by the fact that you already know much of what is going on thanks to the companion series Darkest Powers Trilogy (not to mention strong clues dropped throughout), so you're spending much of your time waiting for Maya to catch up. Feels a bit too much like a set-up book.
But it's a good start to the series, and I'm looking forward to the next. I'm just grateful I waited until they were all available to start the trilogy. ...more
My poor heart has never felt this way after finishing a series; I had no idea it was possible to feel such tempered happiness as well as such overwhelMy poor heart has never felt this way after finishing a series; I had no idea it was possible to feel such tempered happiness as well as such overwhelming grief for everyone involved. Many of the things I thought might happen, did--and yet it doesn't change my fierce love and admiration for the way everything unfolded.
THIS is how a love triangle should be written, in a way that preserves the honor of everyone involved. There isn't another series out there that has ever managed to handle one with such love and kindness and respect.
Ugh, that epilogue. Still sobbing uncontrollably. I don't know how to stop! My puny human heart wasn't meant to process such epic love stories.
P.S. If you're considering reading the Infernal Devices series, I wrote a real review for Clockwork Prince here, which is book #2. It contains no spoilers, even if you haven't read the first book.
This is probably the hardest review I’ve ever had to write.
Shiver tears my heart in two every single time I read it. I felt Linger had its problems, mThis is probably the hardest review I’ve ever had to write.
Shiver tears my heart in two every single time I read it. I felt Linger had its problems, mostly in the diluted narrative with the addition of two more POVs, but it was still extremely moving and I wanted to see what happened next. How strange it is, then, to read Forever and experience nothing even close to the emotions the first two books inspired.
The Wolves of Mercy Falls series is love story told almost like a fairy tale. Aside from the bittersweet urgency of the romance, one of the most poignant elements in the books to me has been the wolves’ desperate struggle to hang onto their human selves. The knowledge that they will lose every shard of awareness of who they are moves me unbearably, and Sam and Grace together are unlike any other couple I’ve ever read.
I am far less interested in Isabel and Cole. I like them just fine, even though they are both just typical YA characters that can be found in 100 other novels. If they had an entirely different book to themselves I probably would like them better—but they don’t. They’re stuck right in the middle of Sam and Grace’s story, and the intrusiveness of losing momentum in every other chapter as the story switched to their first person POVs became an increasingly frustrating experience. This is the end. There are no more books. I don’t give a shit about Isabel’s ongoing daddy issues or Cole’s woe-is-me rock star problems (view spoiler)[and it’s beyond weird that he’s the one with all the scientific solutions (hide spoiler)], all of which are rehashes from the previous book, I care about what happens to Sam and Grace. The story is even further fragmented by the addition of yet another POV, which was completely unnecessary and added nothing to the story.
There are too many starts and stops that interrupt the flow of the action, there is a scene of shocking ugliness (view spoiler)[involving the increasingly crazed Shelby and a dead bird (hide spoiler)] that I thought was completely out of place, and the actual resolution to the problem seemed to be dragged out far too long. I also didn’t find a single quote that I wanted to pull. I normally am rapturous over the author’s prose as well, but even the language in Forever didn’t move me as much. Sam and Grace also seemed like shadows of their former selves, and I found myself becoming impatient with the way their narratives dawdled over insignificant details.
The only scene that really moved me—yes, the only scene—comes very early in the book when Sam is racing to pick up Grace after she’s turned human again for the first time and the awful feelings he experiences (view spoiler)[when he arrives to find nothing but her clothes and a pair of shoes (hide spoiler)]. There are a few good scenes later in the novel that involve some sacrifices, but I read them with a fairly detached attitude. I’m not sure if I’d just become so numb by that time that I wasn’t able to fully immerse myself again, or whether they really just didn’t hold the same urgency and depth that I've come to expect from this series.
What I found most disappointing, however, is that so many scenes did not ring emotionally true. If you’ve been separated from the love of your life for months, the first thing you would do when you become human again is to findhimfindhimfindhim and hang on tight before you lose yourself again. It’s not to wander out to have a random meaningless conversation with someone else. (And he would probably not have let you out of his sight to begin with.) The reunion scene was incredibly distant and anticlimactic, and the actual ending was even more of an emotional dodge. Everything honestly felt as though it was done for sake of a writing technique rather than something that was really true to the characters--or true to human nature.
Readers who are invested in Isabel and Cole’s story will probably like this one much better than I did. But for me, this story has always been about the boy who became a wolf in winter and the girl who loved him. I am unbearably saddened that their beautiful story has become so diluted and so…mundane. It’s possible a future re-reading may make me look upon this book with a different perspective, but frankly that’s pretty hard to believe at this point. I bleeding heart love Shiver and will always be grateful for the beauty and wisdom and romance it brought into my life. But I will probably be much happier if I forever look upon it as a standalone novel that is perfect in and of itself.
It breaks my heart to do this, but this is a 2.5 star book for me.
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**Please be aware that the spoilers in this review are real, so don't click on them unless you've read the book. There are mild spoilers in the visibl**Please be aware that the spoilers in this review are real, so don't click on them unless you've read the book. There are mild spoilers in the visible text, but they're not anything that you haven't already guessed if you're already a fan of the series. And since three people have done this already, please DO NOT discuss spoilers in this book without spoiler-tagging your comments since you will absolutely ruin the book for people who haven't read the book yet. If you don't know how to do this, please learn before commenting.**
I absolutely LOVED the first two Hex Hall novels. There are few authors whose books I pounce on at midnight the day of release and stay up all night reading, so that should give you an idea of how much I love Sophie, Jenna, Archer, and Cal.
The relationship between Sophie and Jenna is still fantastic, and that was probably my favorite part of this book. Their worry for each other, their banter, etc, are all familiar and funny and a welcome interlude whenever they're together. There is also a plot line involving (view spoiler)[demon kids Nick and Daisy that pulled at my heartstrings a bit. (hide spoiler)]
I'm sorry to say that this turned out to be my least favorite book in the series, however. The action zips back and forth between a lot of locations and the various overlapping storylines felt rather jumbled, which is problematic even if you've already guessed many of the big secrets back when you were reading Demonglass. I had a hard time staying engaged in the story, especially since there were moments that seemed to lend themselves to a bigger emotional punch (view spoiler)[such as the revelation that her mom is a Brannick, the early interactions with Cal, seeing her father again, Archer being tortured, etc (hide spoiler)] than were portrayed. I also got a little tired of Elodie popping up again and again (view spoiler)[and possessing Sophie's body (hide spoiler)] and the way Sophie's magic came and went at pretty convenient moments.
My two biggest issues with the book, however, were:
1. (view spoiler)[Sophie kissing Cal very soon after the book begins, before she even knows if something's happened to Archer. I'm not satisfied with the amount of guilt she felt after Archer pops up again, and in fact, she never even tells him about that particular kiss. Then Elodie later uses Sophie's body to kiss Cal again to torture Archer! Both scenarios just seemed very convoluted and forced to me, and they felt very different from the sunny nature of the previous books. (hide spoiler)]
2. DO NOT CLICK THIS if you haven't read the book. Seriously. Don't do it. (view spoiler)[Cal's death. And the precious little amount of time spent mourning him. Please give me a hug. :( (hide spoiler)] Not only did that make me extremely sad, but it felt so unnecessary.
Many of the elements I enjoyed so much about the previous books just felt different here. It's definitely still a funny book, but there's so much going on that the humor doesn't flow quite as smoothly. The parental relationships, always one of the stronger parts of the Hex Hall and Demonglass, were largely absent here as well. And most of all, there's very little time spent with Archer or Cal. What's there relies a tremendous amount on your past knowledge of Sophie's intimacy with them, and there aren't nearly enough meaningful moments between them for my taste. (view spoiler)[Okay, and not nearly enough make out scenes, either! (hide spoiler)] Don't get me wrong, there are some, but they didn't seem as urgent and charged as the ones in the previous books.
Maybe it's just me? I'm really sad to feel this way about the ending of a series I love so much. I'm very curious to see what my fellow Sophie fans think of this one, though. I liked this book overall, but the surprises that this book offered were just not the kind that I really enjoyed.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more