4.5 stars Well, clearly I'm going to be kicked out of the cool kids' club, because I fucking loved this book. A good reminder to always try things ou...more 4.5 stars Well, clearly I'm going to be kicked out of the cool kids' club, because I fucking loved this book. A good reminder to always try things out for yourself to see what you think.
The pacing and more introspective heroine will likely be issues for some readers (and I fully admit that I think this would have worked better as pure historical fantasy, rather than middle-ages-in-this-weird-future-time period), but I can tell you that these were not problems for me at all, being that I devoured all 400+ pages in 24 hours and am dyyyying for the next book.
4.5 stars Hugely entertaining scifi written like urban fantasy, with an awesome Ripley-from-Alien type heroine and explosive action. SPACE. ALIENS. KI...more4.5 stars Hugely entertaining scifi written like urban fantasy, with an awesome Ripley-from-Alien type heroine and explosive action. SPACE. ALIENS. KICKASS WOMAN. FUN.
4.5 stars A story that is brutal and savage, yet full of honor and tenderness as well. A satisfying conclusion to a series I've come to admire tremend...more4.5 stars A story that is brutal and savage, yet full of honor and tenderness as well. A satisfying conclusion to a series I've come to admire tremendously.
4.5 stars Love love love love love. If you're a fan of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy or Diana Peterfreund's For Darkness Shows the Stars series, you...more4.5 stars Love love love love love. If you're a fan of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy or Diana Peterfreund's For Darkness Shows the Stars series, you need to get your hands on this one ASAP. It has the feel of a historical fantasy without slotting neatly into either category, as well as a pensive mood and very romantic story.
I was doubtful of the early raves, but I ended up loving The Winner's Curse. I know it's only January, but there's no doubt in my mind that this book is going to make my favorites list for the year. (less)
Everything, everything, everything a violent crime thriller should be, and the best Slaughter book to date. (view spoiler)[ I am even more irritated w...moreEverything, everything, everything a violent crime thriller should be, and the best Slaughter book to date. (view spoiler)[ I am even more irritated with The Shining Girls now. Grrrrr. (hide spoiler)]
If you could buy just one book this year, this one should be at the top of your list. I'm just going to say it: this book could very well be the next...moreIf you could buy just one book this year, this one should be at the top of your list. I'm just going to say it: this book could very well be the next The Hunger Games! I've never seen a book more likely to be a crowd-pleaser, nor one with more potential to sweep away a legion of fans. This book was so crazily addictive that I read it in literally half a day, and several months afterwards I am still jazzed over its edge-of-your-seat action.
What makes this story awesome, and what elevates it above many other action-oriented novels, is really the writing--taut plotting, a strong narrative voice, snarky humor, and a masterful feeling of grim tension that can only be relieved if you turn the pages fast enough.
4.5 stars Fantastic debut! Written like an adult urban fantasy, and a must-read for fans of Vampire Academy. There is, ahem, a very Dimitri-Rose dynam...more4.5 stars Fantastic debut! Written like an adult urban fantasy, and a must-read for fans of Vampire Academy. There is, ahem, a very Dimitri-Rose dynamic going on with this one.
Had a great ending, am very curious to see what will happen next...(less)
With most Book Sevens, I am usually checking release schedules and making all kinds of martyred noises about how series should quit while they're ahea...more
With most Book Sevens, I am usually checking release schedules and making all kinds of martyred noises about how series should quit while they're ahead. By that point, authors are usually stuck on rules they've set for how the relationships play out, or they're having trouble coming up with new problems without changing the nature of certain characters.
That's not the case with Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires, however. This series shows no signs of slowing down or relying on tired, recycled story lines or forced conflict to move the action forward. In this particular installment, the vampires' Cadogan House is in a state of flux as its status among the other Houses is called into question. On top of that, vampires are disappearing--and a face from the past comes back to make trouble for Merit and Ethan.
The series' trademark humor, great action sequences, and complicated political intrigue are all here, in ways that feel familiar and yet still fresh. I love that Merit is such a kickass character, but who still struggles with her vulnerability. The question of doing what is honorable comes up again and again in this series, particularly in this installment as she's faced with a new allegiance she's made with the Red Guard that may threaten her standing as Sentinel and protector of her House. I love that Ethan is true to the character we've come to know, and proves again what an admirable Master he is, as well as a good match for Merit. I love that we get to see Jonah, albeit all too briefly--someday he really must get a spinoff series, I think! And I love that awkward Jeff gets some cool moments as well.
There are also some, um, pretty hot scenes in this book. Vampires eyes' get silver when they get angry or excited and let's just say there is a LOT of silvering of eyes and pouncing in this one. :D
If I had to quibble about anything, I'd say that I do wish the author didn't feel the need to use so many of her characters in every single book. While I appreciate the sprawling and memorable cast of characters, as well as how easily she works back story into the narrative, having to explain so much does slow down the momentum of the beginning of each book. And please, let's have these vampires suck a little more blood!
But those are minor points when I enjoy so much about these books--somehow the Chicagoland Vamps just work for me every single time. I'd recommend this series to: anyone who enjoys adult urban fantasies, or to mature YA readers who want to try out books with a similar feel but more adult conflicts. Chicagoland's Merit is a lot like Vampire Academy's Rose, actually. Both strong, principled characters who get into all kinds of trouble, but have a hell of a time fighting--and reasoning--their way out of it.
This review also appears on The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
This book is so much fun, and a terrific start to a promising series. I am far too behind on reviews I have to do to write one for this, but I did wri...moreThis book is so much fun, and a terrific start to a promising series. I am far too behind on reviews I have to do to write one for this, but I did write a spoiler-free review of book two here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
If you enjoy sarcastic quips and hot boys with your YA urban fantasy, you'll definitely want to pick this one up, though!(less)
Not many books start out with the heroine getting shot in the chest with a flying arrow. Fortunately, Tevra is wearing chain mail and astride her hors...moreNot many books start out with the heroine getting shot in the chest with a flying arrow. Fortunately, Tevra is wearing chain mail and astride her horse, however, so she doesn't even bat an eye. She merely pulls out her sword, narrowly avoids the keening magical orb pursuing her, and rendezvous with the men under her command. The king himself has charged her with ending the corruption in the Forest Province, and as the youngest Colonel in the Light Cavalry, she takes her extraordinarily powerful role as the king's viceroy quite seriously.
I rarely traditional fantasies because I often don't have the patience to learn all the new customs and names--and so many fantasy books seem so focused on the world building that an engaging story sometimes falls by the wayside. Not so in this book, however! We are thrown into the action as soon as the story begins, and we are quickly caught up on the issues at stake. For a short book in which sword battles, politics, romance, and magic play nearly equal roles, it is exceptionally well-paced, entertaining, and accessible, whilst pleasing most fans of high fantasy, adventure, and romance.
Tevra is an unforgettable heroine, one who imperiously commands war-scarred men and dispatches corruption with ease, but who is also capable of expressing herself subtly with a cool lift of her brow or a gracious tilt of her head. The author has created in Tevra a sympathetic protagonist who is believably authoritative, but whose inner dialogue also shows a more vulnerable, emotional side that is immensely appealing. In the middle of the sensitive political issues she must deal with, Tevra is also struggling with an unwanted attraction to the Forest King, and her tingly encounters with this man made me clutch the book a little more tightly more than once. Complicating matters is the headstrong young Hetwith, who has been at her side for more than a decade and whose strengths and weaknesses somehow seem a perfect match to complement her own.
Written with brisk economy that still manages to convey a great deal of expressiveness and emotion, Tevra's story excited me and moved me in ways that I didn't expect. It is thrilling to witness her decisiveness and determination in the heat of battle (the woman takes a harpoon through her side at one point!), it is unbearably sad to hear about her past as an Unchosen maid, and it is scandalously pleasing to see her discover her feminine side for the first time. It's always tricky with first person narrative to make the reader cognizant of clues that the main character herself may not necessarily be aware of, but somehow the author managed to do that here. I also loved the cheerful humor and witty language with which nearly every scene was met--I don't think I've ever chuckled so much in a fantasy adventure.
While it's true that you might predict some of the plot lines or you may guess some of the secrets that Tevra keeps hidden even from herself, it really doesn't matter. This book fulfills every demand you would want from a story like this--and it does so with style, playfulness, and latent emotion. I couldn't have loved it more.
Spread the Love
If you ever wonder about whether word of mouth is influential, by the way, this book is another great example of how readers discover and share hidden gems. Gail Carriger chose a moment from this book as her favorite romantic scene on my blog for her guest post. Since I started reading it, more than 100 people have shelved this book and I know a number of friends have purchased it (along with a few of the author's other titles) as well. Taming the Forest King is sadly out of print, but you can easily obtain a copy through secondhand bookstores or online through Amazon, Half.com, Alibris, etc. Good luck! It's well worth the $5 or so you'll spend.(less)
-- This story is incredibly original, and unlike any other scifi book I've ever read before. Leaps and bounds a...more4.5 stars Here's what you need to know:
-- This story is incredibly original, and unlike any other scifi book I've ever read before. Leaps and bounds above most YA science fiction for sure, and with an interesting mood/tone that you don't often find in this genre.
-- Much of the book is also a survival story, so if you like that sort of thing (as I do!), this one will probably interest you.
-- The writing is terrific. Don't let the "Titanic in space" idea fool you; while technically true (and a spectacular crash indeed), there's much more complexity to this story than that.
-- The two main characters are fantastic, both as individuals and together.
Check out our Q & A with Dan Krokos, who chats with us about his new book and some of the controversies that have rocked the YA community this yea...moreCheck out our Q & A with Dan Krokos, who chats with us about his new book and some of the controversies that have rocked the YA community this year. Some interesting thoughts on GoodReads' author program, too.
Of the many young adult science fiction novels that have been released recently, False Memory stands out as an extremely fun, solidly entertaining debut. This action-packed, suspenseful story follows Miranda North, a teenage girl who wakes up without any memory of who she is. Before long, she discovers that her unusual ability to release a painful pulse of energy is the reason why she's being relentlessly pursued...and the reason why her life, as well as the lives of many others, is now in danger.
From brain wave manipulation to rogue agents to a tonally genuine romance, this book includes a lot of different elements, and manages to present them all in a surprisingly engaging way. The author understands how to balance tension and levity, as well as how to up the ante both physically and emotionally as the story builds to its climax. It's rare to find a YA action novel that is this well-paced, especially since most of its protagonists are also well-developed. Miranda's blind panic and fight or flight adrenaline practically leaps off the page with her POV, but her observations about the other characters also allow us to know them as well.
I had a really great time reading this story because it was just so much fun, but what I appreciate most about it is an interesting sensitivity in its heroine that I frankly find rather unusual coming from a male YA author. Miranda is a sensible, fast-thinking character, but she's also very feminine in a way that doesn't rely upon endless descriptions of her appearance or other surface things; it's more of a subtle but very present emotional mindset that I found very appealing, particularly in the way her feelings about her teammates Peter and Noah change over the course of the book.
I really liked the way the love triangle is handled here, by the way. Miranda is placed in a very tricky situation, and even though her confusion and anger lead to some complicated situations, it wasn't hard to understand her predicament, nor to feel sympathy for everyone involved.
This novel is a promising start to a planned trilogy, and it's going to be thrilling to see where the story goes next. False Memory surprised me with its electrifying blend of mystery, drama, and action, and my guess is that fans of science fiction thrillers will absolutely love it.
Recommended for:fans of Divergent, Legend, The Darkest Powers series, Unraveling, and Partials.
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
On a more serious note, I want to briefly address the fact that I originally placed this book on a "will never read" shelf following a serious incident back in January. The author made some ill-advised remarks in defense of a fellow author on a pre-review written by a friend of mine, and like many others, I was absolutely outraged that she was repeatedly goaded on her own space in that way. The author did apologize to the reviewer, however, and following some additional information that I learned, I decided to give the book a chance--and I'm very glad I did, for more reasons than one.
If you'd like more information about what happened, there is a long discussion on this thread, and my reasoning for changing my mind is posted on message #210 here. I've also had the opportunity to discuss what happened with the author at some length since then, he has some very interesting insights from an author's perspective. I've invited Dan to the blog for a chat that will appear next week, so I hope you'll come back for that discussion. I think anyone who is concerned about this current author/reader divide will be interested.