Still heaps of fun! I love a good paranormal book as much as the next person, but sometimes they take themselves too seriously. I'm happy to report thStill heaps of fun! I love a good paranormal book as much as the next person, but sometimes they take themselves too seriously. I'm happy to report that Demonglass retains the same sarcastic humor and a snappy, action-packed plot that is just as entertaining as the one in Hex Hall.
Sophie is spending some time on her father's estate to figure out whether she's going to keep her awesome but pesky powers, and she's still secretly pining for her missing demon-hunter crush, Archer Cross. Complicating matters is the revelation that cute-as-heck Cal has been betrothed to her for years (hey, they do things differently in the otherworld) and the afore-mentioned crush is part of The Eye, a group hell-bent on wiping out all of Sophie's kind. Kinda puts a damper on the relationship.
The politics and power struggles within the Prodigium (witches, shapeshifters, and fairies) and with the demon hunters is growing steadily more complicated, and Sophie and her father must develop her gifts before time runs out. It would be interesting to see more of the plotting ladies within the Prodigium and to have the tension ratcheted up with The Eye, but hopefully these will be further explored in future books.
The author does a fabulous job of moving the story along with cheeky attitude, however, while taking time out for real connections between Sophie and her BFF Jenna and between her and her dad. There are also some brief but swoon-worthy moments with her guy, and you really breeze through this thing rooting for everyone to be happy. I'm really enjoying Sophie and her smart and snappy banter, and this series has fast turned into one of my fluffy and fun favorites.
Oh, beautiful cover--you've lured me in once again! Die for Me is somewhere between 2 and 2.5 stars for me.
What I liked about the book:
* The paranorOh, beautiful cover--you've lured me in once again! Die for Me is somewhere between 2 and 2.5 stars for me.
What I liked about the book:
* The paranormal set-up is a fairly original/unusual one. Vincent and his friends are revenants, undead guardians who help to save humans from potential danger. Their enemies are numas, who are undead evil-doers who try their best to lure humans to their deaths through various different methods.
* I rather enjoyed the novelty of having a YA book set in Paris, which is probably one of the book's key selling points. The details of the setting aren't particularly exceptional, however, though it's a nice change from reading about teens in America.
* With any immortal/human relationship, the inevitable question of "what happens when..." arises--and in this case it's a particularly difficult one. Vincent actively chooses his lifestyle and to "reanimate" again and again in order to help others, and Kate doesn't think she can live with someone who constantly puts himself in danger. I liked the solution that Vincent offers to Kate so that she can be with him, and it's probably the moment with the most genuine emotion in the book.
What I wish were different:
* The writing seems strangely formal or mannered. Kate and Vincent have a very awkward first meeting and most of their conversations are very stilted, though they're supposed to be cute or romantic.
* The relationship is set up to be almost the be-all and end-all for Kate. She's already (inexplicably) cut off all communication with her previous life and has no friends other than her sister, and there's very little adult presence in the story. In life and in literature, girls should have lives of their own outside of their love interests, and a great deal of Kate's time is spent pondering what's going on with Vincent or agonizing over their relationship. There's also not a lot of depth of emotion in this book. All the trappings of romance are there, but they're over the top romantic fantasies that don't seem real at all, but straight out of some sort of chick flick. (Pivotal date towards the end: boy shows up in a tuxedo looking like a "movie star," has pre-ordered a custom dress for her from a "chichi" boutique, and takes her out on a rowboat to see the Eiffel Tower from the water. He then gives her several more gifts to unwrap, including a purse to match the dress, seasons tickets to the opera in their own private box, and fencing lessons. All that's missing is a strolling violinist and a guy selling roses.)
* The plot is pretty simplistic, and the story would have much more tension and drama if we ever really got to care about any of the victims. The villain is also far too easy to spot! Authors, I beg of you, stay away from names that are even remotely close to those in traditional mythology unless you're writing for a grade school audience.
* Above all, I just didn't get a sense of who Kate really is, or why these two are attracted to one another. She reads two books in a cafe, but as soon as she meets Vincent on page 25, there's no other clue as to what this girl is interested in or cares about. The only big scene where Kate shows initiative and takes action towards the end occurs because she is literally no longer in control of her own body.
Overall, this book had a very original and promising premise (and a gorgeous cover!), but sadly just didn't live up to its potential.
Fun! This book really grew on me. It took several tries to get past the first couple of chapters, but once Sophie finally gets settled in at Hex HallFun! This book really grew on me. It took several tries to get past the first couple of chapters, but once Sophie finally gets settled in at Hex Hall things start moving along. The witchy battles are pretty cool, there's good build-up of the mystique behind the school and behind Sophie's past and powers, and the author does a nice job with creating a variety of different characters with distinctive voices. I especially liked BFF Jenna and the super cute and witty Archer, and Sophie herself turns out to be a pretty kick-ass heroine.
It did take me a little while to get used to the author's voice, but the humor actually gets to be really good as the story develops and I've gone back to giggle over certain passages again. Overally, this is a really terrific debut and a fast-paced, entertaining read. It's always a plus when a YA author manages to surprise her audience with twists and turns in the plot too, and there are a couple of really good ones here that will leave readers on the edge for more.
Besides...you can't not love a girl who tries to stop an attacking werewolf by yelling, "BAD DOG!"...more
I love Victorian fiction and I enjoy crime thrillers, so I thought this would be right up my alley...but I just couldn't get into it. The writing stylI love Victorian fiction and I enjoy crime thrillers, so I thought this would be right up my alley...but I just couldn't get into it. The writing style just didn't appeal to me after I read a couple of chapters and skimmed a few more. Oh, well......more
When I think of Jane Eyre, I think of a dark mystery, beautiful prose, and strongly moral characters. Most of all, I think of the undercurrent of passWhen I think of Jane Eyre, I think of a dark mystery, beautiful prose, and strongly moral characters. Most of all, I think of the undercurrent of passion that burns through all of its primary characters, from the tortured Mr. Rochester to his poor mad wife, to the zealous Mr. Rivers to the unhappy and neglected Adele, and above all else, in the quietly determined Jane herself. It is very strange, therefore, to read a book based on this story that is so severely lacking in any of those elements.
This book would have been much better off if the author had abandoned the notion of basing this on Jane Eyre at all. But even taken on its own merits as a young adult novel, much of it really doesn't even make that much sense. There's just absolutely no way a girl with so little experience and interest in children would ever be entrusted to be the nanny of someone in Nico Rathburne's position, and no convincing reason (being that this is modern times) why he should not have been able to divorce his wife. And do most girls tend to ask their new employers whether he's been tested for sexually transmitted diseases? The relationship between Jane and Nico never felt genuine or loving or real, and really, very few of the characters have any life of their own either. Poor little Maddy, the whole reason why they come together in the first place, is relegated to merely a plot device, as are the other servants, the band members, Jane's siblings, etc. Nico's rock star status seems especially random and doesn't contribute to the story in any meaningful way, except as the realization of some sort of adolescent fantasy.
Jane herself is also a puzzle. There's no real reason given for her being as reserved as she is, either in her upbringing or her beliefs. Just because someone doesn't wear make-up or read gossip magazines and is bookish (though there's no actual evidence of her reading, by the way) doesn't mean she should be boring, for heaven's sake. This girl has so little about her that is interesting or unique, and what spirit she shows is lifted directly and reworked from Charlotte Bronte's own dialogue.
This doesn't mean that a contemporary take on Jane Eyre is a mistake. I think it's actually a great idea to do a modern rewrite on this story, because it's one filled with dramatic tension and romance and tragedy. But it's important that a good rewrite not only captures some spirit or ideal from its source material, but that it also catches the reader's imagination on its very own. As such, dear Reader, I sadly cannot recommend this particular version.
A haunted house, a forbidding lady, a master who has gone mad, and a servant girl caught up in the middle of the whole mess. If this premise appeals tA haunted house, a forbidding lady, a master who has gone mad, and a servant girl caught up in the middle of the whole mess. If this premise appeals to you, there's no doubt you'll delight in this book. I'm a big fan of Victorian fiction, and the author does a superb job of making the era come alive and keeping the language and decorum pretty true to the period.
Abigail Tamper is a 14-year-old servant at Greave Hall, where she's lived all of her life. Her mother died under mysterious circumstances not long ago, and the troubled Master of the house seems to know more about her death than he will admit. Abi has few confidants among the other servants, and her only protector against the cruel Mrs. Cotten, who rules the household, is her childhood friend Samuel, who is the Master's son who is badly wounded from his service in the Crimean War. Abigail's terror and loneliness are palpable, and readers will feel for her as she tries to unravel the mystery and figure out whether there is more danger in the supernatural forces present in the house...or from the earthly ones.
This is an enjoyably creepy, atmospheric Victorian murder mystery with a strong heroine and wonderfully detailed, moody setting. The descriptions of Abigail's duties as a housemaid are particularly well done, as well as the hierarchal interplay between the servants. While experienced readers may guess the villain before he's revealed, this is a quick, enjoyable read and a terrific addition to the gothic genre, especially for the younger teens for whom it's intended. Plus there's an embroidered fabric Ouija...how fun is that?
4.5 stars Wow. Is this really being shelved in young adult fiction? Laura Whitcomb's writing is deliciously wordy, witty, and wonderful, and the story4.5 stars Wow. Is this really being shelved in young adult fiction? Laura Whitcomb's writing is deliciously wordy, witty, and wonderful, and the story surprisingly complex with many mature themes. The author did a fantastic job of minding the formal speech and thought patterns of Helen's background and contrasting them with the jarring reality of present day, all while ruminating on human existence and forgiveness and the value of a life well-lived. This is an exceptionally intelligent YA book that does not spare the emotions of love and grief and the heavy weight of responsibility. I particularly enjoyed Helen's delight at the burst of sensations she experiences when as she discovers the touch and taste of certain things for the first time, as well as the sad, aching pull of her attachment to her human hosts.
The suddenness of the physical relationship between Helen and James surprised me, though, as until that point everything had unfolded very slowly and naturally. Still, the connection between these two lost souls is undeniable, as they are so well matched as lovers of literature, people of integrity, and most profoundly, as the only known beings in that plane of existence. I'm astounded by the places this book was bold enough to explore, and I am deeply satisfied with how the story was resolved. It's truly remarkable when an author can make a ghost feel so eloquently and painfully human....more
In many ways, this is an exquisite little fairy tale. I loved the vividly imaginative concept of a young singer being asked to perform with3.5 stars.
In many ways, this is an exquisite little fairy tale. I loved the vividly imaginative concept of a young singer being asked to perform with a clockwork piano player, who may or may not be an enchanted prince. The descriptive passages that show us the city, the cruelty of fairies being caught under glass, and Nimira's mother's embroidered costume are all enjoyably detailed, and I appreciated the more unusual aspects of the infamous love triangle, particularly the fact that Hollins isn't made out to be a complete villain.
For all its wonderful attention to detail as far as physical setting and objects are concerned, however, it's surprising how little description there is of the emotional aspects of the story. What dismay or pity or love Nim feels seems rather distant, and you never really get the shock of emotion that you might be hoping for. (And none of the characters, Nim included, really have any sort of back story.) The notion of a man being trapped in clockwork for twenty years is wildly romantic and incredibly tragic, and I wish the author had chosen to explore the depths of this scenario a little bit more passionately.
Still, I really enjoyed reading the story (enough to look for a copy for my own shelves, even), though it's much shorter than I expected and some of the machinations of the plot are a little slight, particularly at the end. I'm looking forward to the next book to see where the story goes, however...and crossing my fingers that as the story develops, the characters' emotional lives will, too.
I think Gayle Forman has ruined all other realistic YA fiction for me. I liked Leaving Paradise well enough, because the idea of a girl forgiving a boI think Gayle Forman has ruined all other realistic YA fiction for me. I liked Leaving Paradise well enough, because the idea of a girl forgiving a boy who hit her with a car is an interesting set-up...but after reading such beautiful, emotional books as If I Stay and Where She Went, Simone Elkeles' work feels fairly contrived and lacking in depth. A lot of this book just didn't make any sense to me, either--what kind of camp is this exactly where Caleb and Maggie are forced to be together? Where the cabins and bathrooms are co-ed and the entire program is just six kids and one counselor who also happens to be Caleb's transition counselor? It's all just too weird and unrealistic.
The relationship between the two characters is not shallow, exactly, but it's just not all that interesting either. It's probably not fair to read most books after experiencing the genuine depth and connection between the characters in Gayle Forman's books (even the secondary ones), but it's hard not to wish that other novels with similar subjects came even close to eliciting the same level of gut-wrenching response. ...more