In the most simplest of explanations; this is a story of how a magical circus came to be and the deadly game that inspired it. But you soon d4.5 stars
In the most simplest of explanations; this is a story of how a magical circus came to be and the deadly game that inspired it. But you soon discover it is so, so much more than that. It is not just a love story or a few magical tents to marvel at. It is not just the unfair competition Celia and Marco have been trained for their whole life, bound together at childhood. It's all of these and more, wound together to form something more breathtaking and complex than I first imagined. And it is nothing that I can adequately describe or give justice to in these few paragraphs.
While we're given multiple perspectives than span across a thirty year period, Celia and Marco are more the main characters. The two at the heart and soul of this tale. Unwilling competitors, but with no choice in the matter, they partake in a game unaware of the rules or what will determine a winner. The circus acts as their venue - though it becomes more tangled in their game than they initially realised - where each must continually make their move, constructing pieces of magic and art more breathtaking than the last. But this act has an air intimacy to it, as each revel in the other's creations, taking joy in their next awe-inspiring discovery of one another. It really is quite a beautiful thing - a subtle, yet powerful connection forms between the two of them without them even physically touching. Though I became invested in their romance, Marco did leave a sour taste in my mouth over Isobel. I felt she deserved much better treatment.
I was most taken by Bailey and the Morgan twins. I connected with Bailey the most, I understood his enrapture with the circus and admired his personality. He first encountered the circus when he was a small boy; and on something as simple as a dare, he shared a brief encounter with a pretty red-headed girl who would stay in his heart for years to come. It wasn't until he was 16, facing a difficult decision and longing to escape the restrictions of his life, did the circus return and he saw that shock of red hair once again. It was a sweet and heartwarming bond that formed between him and the twins, and Bailey himself proved to be an extraordinarily vital element to the story.
The night circus itself is a character, perhaps the most important and breathtaking of all (and for the first time, a circus that this animal-loving vegan wholeheartedly approves of). Morgenstern submerges you into this otherworldly and mysterious event, bringing to life each magical tent with a new and delightfully unexpected surprise hiding within each. She plays on your every sense, drawing you in so completely to the story that you can almost taste the caramel on the apples, feel the heat of the ever-blazing bonfire, the dazzling white chill of the Ice Garden or you find yourself secretly long to drop a stone in the Pool of Tears. You're right there alongside every other wide-eyed spectator, overwhelmed and unsure what to see first, where to go next; wanting to absorb it all in at once, but willing yourself to take it slow so you can savour every moment.
The circus may appear black and white to the untrained eye, but as you explore deeper into it's heart, nothing is as simple or easily defined. Each character is fleshed out in an array of murky and colourful shades. Morgenstern build a history, a foundation for these characters, tangling their lives together quietly, often without you fully understanding how they will cross paths later. She builds and builds and builds, subtly forcing you to care. Nobody is of little significance. Everyone plays a role, everyone is affected by the magic at play, for better or worse. It's a slow moving tale, but where every word is an important element to the finished masterpiece.
The Night Circus is an experience. A magical, romantic, dark and glittering experience, astounding in it's imagination. The story grows darker and more complex as cracks begin to show, and the game between Celia and Marco becomes clearer and more dangerous. But by the end, just as Bailey, Herr Thiessen and the many reveurs of the circus, you'll be wishing desperately to see the black and white striped tent greet you the next time you leave the house. ...more
Three years ago, Katy's father died. A death that has continued to haunt her and her mother ever since. So they decide to pack up and move away from FThree years ago, Katy's father died. A death that has continued to haunt her and her mother ever since. So they decide to pack up and move away from Florida to make a fresh start. The problem? They've moved to a town called Ketterman..... aka the middle of nowhere. Who lives in small towns like these? Apparently smokin' hot aliens do. Clark Kent would definitely approve with their choice of location. When Katy introduces herself to her next door neighbour, she's not exactly treated to a warm reception. Introducing Daemon Black. Shirtless. Mouth carved in a condescending smirk, with the right choice of words pouring out that make you want to punch him in the face. Such a charming fellow. He sneaks his way under both Katy's and the readers skin almost instantly. Perhaps the safest option would be for her to just ignore him? Hard to do when his sister, Dee, is the sweetest thing ever, a girl who Katy immediately strikes a friendship with. And provides an iron-clad reason for Daemon, loyal protector of his twin sister, to make Katy's business, his business.
Katy is a protagonist SO many of us can relate to. I love the fact that she's a book blogger. How many times do we see this in YA novels? It was such a friendly little wave to see mention of In My Mailbox and Waiting on Wednesday, of Katy refreshing for new comments or dying of embarrassment when a certain alien watches her vlog. Aside from that, she's a character who's very easy to like. She's funny, tough and doesn't shy away from defending herself or taking a stand for those she loves, even if the odds are not in her favour. She certainly doesn't take Daemon's crap and I loved that she was able to put him off his balance sometimes. She didn't fall head over heels for him. You could see that attraction she held, reluctant as it was, but she didn't turn into a gooey eyed school girl. She pushed and pulled just as much as he did. While deliciously frustrating as that was, I admired her feisty spirit.
Daemon is... hmm, I suppose posting a puddle of drool doesn't eloquently describe my reaction to him? No? Fine then. He completely revolutionises the meaning of 'the boy next door'. He's cocky, arrogant, and quite often, a complete jerk. BUT. Beneath that is... yes, still a cocky boy, but there is a sweetness hiding behind that intimidating front and Jennifer brilliantly manages to explore his complexities. Many times we see the supposed 'bad boy' in fiction as broody and mysterious in the beginning, then when the girl gets her clutches on him he turns into a marshmallow. I like that Daemon doesn't completely shift in his personality just because there's a girl he may be falling for. There's a reason why he doesn't let people get close and those reasons don't suddenly change. His frustrating self is ever present right until the very last page. He's the kind of guy you want to simultaneously strangle and rip his clothes off. An enigma you're dying to pull apart layer by layer to see how that tasty balance of heart and douche fit together to form such an irresistible creature.
Damon and Katy were just downright SEXY in their attraction. They go back and forth so many times your head will spin from watching that cord of tension pull and tighten, pull and tighten, until you find yourself running at them, half crazed with a pair of scissors just to make it snap already! Jennifer makes you CRAVE for that long, long, long awaited kiss and when they finally do? Holy Green-Eyed Alien, it's HOT. But what's so seductive about this couple is not so much the physical, but the want of something physical. The desire. The emotions pulse off these two in waves, you can taste the need, the frustration, the reluctance, the affection and the not-of-this-earth sex appeal.
I've only read a very small collection of alien novels, but I quite enjoy them and Obsidian was no different. Jennifer's mythology was intriguing and there's interesting politics at play with a branch of the government, the Lux and some uber bad aliens of darkness who you really don't want to be alone with after sunset. Given events that transpired and the fact that Katy has gotten herself caught up in Daemon and Dee's world for a long while to come, I'm interested in seeing how the Department of Defense will intrude upon their lives in the sequel, because I have a feeling things may get messy there.
Obsidian is a thoroughly addictive novel with a protagonist that will compel you from the opening page and a love interest who demands you pay attention to him. It's steamy, witty, funny and keeps you on your toes every single page. Whether with verbal sparring, intense actions or sexual suspense. It is such an indulging read that you'll have difficulty setting down and even more difficulty waiting for Onyx, the sequel, to be released!...more
The Power of Six picks up right where it left off in I Am Number Four. John, Sam and Six are on the run from the law, doing what they can to best evadThe Power of Six picks up right where it left off in I Am Number Four. John, Sam and Six are on the run from the law, doing what they can to best evade both aliens and authorities. We're also treated with an entirely new character's story, which is a fantastic addition. Right from the get go, you're pulled into the whirlwind of action, a thrill-ride that refuses to cease until the very last page. You're hanging on every word, wondering how these characters are going to make it out alive, because sure, they've all got these awesome abilities, but they find themselves in such impossible situations that you're really not sure if they'll all survive. And some of them don't.
The Power of Six introduces narration of a new character - Marina. Number Seven. Marina is living in Spain with her Cepan, Adelina. They used to share a close relationship. But during their time on Earth, Adelina has become distant and less focused on the mission of training Marina and keeping her safe. Rather than stay on the move to remain undetected from the Mogadorians, they've been living at a convent in Spain for the past eleven years. Marina hasn't given up though. She may not be receiving any answers or guidance from Adelina, but she is constantly searching the internet for any signs of the other nine Garde and she is almost certain she's find one in America - John Smith. She's desperate to learn more about him, to maybe even find him. I really grew connected with Marina in particular, her journey was just as engrossing as John's and I loved all the people she met along the way.
John left Sarah behind in Paradise and while her absence has weighed heavy on his heart, the long days spent on the run with only Sam and Six has sparked new and unexpected feelings within John. No, no, not with Sam! Six, of course. There is definitely an attraction between those two, which I found myself enjoying much more than worrying about Sarah. Maybe because Six is just way more badass than she is. But Sam is also carrying a torch for Six and it's not entirely clear for awhile where her own feelings lay, but it definitely adds a little tension to the situation. Most of the tension though, comes from the fast moving, edge-of-your-seat plot that never allows you the opportunity to sit idle. It constantly keeps you on your toes, the moment you sit down to relax - BAM. Something flies around the corner and you're reading faster and faster to see how - IF - they'll escape.
Not only are they on the run for the Mogadorians, but Sam and John's faces are on every television screen and newspaper within the country, with a high price for capture on both their heads. They're wanted terrorists which doubles the danger, increases the stakes and forces the trio to be on even higher alert than before. Because while they may evade capture by one, they have another enemy waiting right around the corner
More of the Nine are introduced, bringing with them new alliances and pretty awesome powers. The story moves along swiftly and there's never a dull moment. You're constantly in the centre of a raging storm, danger and uncertainty abound. Betrayals from the most unlikely, shocks and unexpected terrors lurk in every shadow. The Power of Six is a thrilling sequel that manages to far outstrip it's predecessor. The only problem now is waiting for that eagerly anticipated third installment!...more
Mammon kicks off right away with siblings, Grace and Joe, quickly discovering that they're not quite the normal teenagers they always considered themsMammon kicks off right away with siblings, Grace and Joe, quickly discovering that they're not quite the normal teenagers they always considered themselves to be. Grace has telepathic abilities and Joe has the incredibly powerful gift of being able to open rifts into other dimensions - a Ferryman. They learn they're descendants of highly skilled mercenaries known as sarsareh and after their parents are brutally murdered, their Auntie Diana takes them to Renfield - a training centre for the sarsareh. Joe is holding onto the rage of his parents murder, desperate for vengeance, playing right into their hands of the extraordinarily powerful and calculating demon known as Mammon, who has been seeking those with Joe's talent for years, for it will allow him access to the darkest pits of Hell and with it, an army of unstoppable demons. Can Joe stop himself from going over the edge before it's too late and he literally brings forth Hell on Earth?
Grace was easy to empathise with and I liked that she makes mistakes. I mean, coming into these powers, you're bound to get over-confident or make the wrong calls of judgement and she does exactly that, which I think makes her more human, more relatable. Joe, on the other hand, I struggled to connect with. Toward the end I grew a little more favourable to him, but I suppose it was a combination of his attitude and general personality that just didn't click with me. But he's a necessary character, the catalyst which sparked the whirlwind journey the Callahan siblings were forced into.
There is a hint of romance throughout the novel between Grace and Ivan, which has a Vampire Academy feel due to the fact that he's her slightly older team leader. And did I mention he's Russian? We sure do like our Russian men! I think it's the accent and the general air of I'm-deadly-as-hell-and-can-kill-you-with-my-left-toe. I'm convinced now that all the hot Russian guys hunt supernatural monsters in their spare time. Definitely need to take a vacation to Russia someday soon.
Mammon is told from multiple perspectives, both villains and heroes, which adds more depth to the story, since we're gaining intel from every direction. We know what the enemy is planning, we can see when our heroes are falling right into their web and you can only curse in frustration (but in a good way!) and wonder what's going to happen, how they'll get themselves out of this situation.
While I did find myself a little detached from the characters in the first few chapters of this book, I'm glad I went back for a second bite because as soon as I dove back into this story, I realised that J.B Thomas is clearly a female Ferryman. Because when opening this book you'll find a rift hidden inside, it's magnetic force pulling the reader deeper and deeper into it's world of cunning, ruthless demons and the highly skilled mercenaries who risk their life to fight back. Mammon paces itself well, full of action and an incredibly compelling, unique take on the demon mythology. It's Supernatural meets Vampire Academy and yet another fantastic novel from an Aussie!
Also: How cool is the cover? And totally fitting for the story! That looks like one scary powerful rift hanging above the city....more
This is my first Maria Snyder book and I'm more than pleased to say: it definitely won't be my last! She has created such a captivating, intriguing, oThis is my first Maria Snyder book and I'm more than pleased to say: it definitely won't be my last! She has created such a captivating, intriguing, original new world. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started, but what I found was a thoroughly unique and refreshing atmosphere that I did not want to leave!
Trella, otherwise known as the Queen of the Pipes, is a scrub who lives in the lower levels. It's her job to clean the pipes and ensure Inside stays clean and rust-free. She deliberately distances herself from her fellow scrubs, who she sees more-or-less as a herd of obediant sheep. There's only one person who she willingly associates with - Cogon. Her one friend in the crowded, over-populated lower levels she craves to be free of, a boy she grew up in the same Care group as. And it's him who persuades her to see the supposed prophet, Broken Man, who claims he knows where to find Gateway - a doorway to the Outside.
It's on a whim that she decides to follow Broken Man's instructions in retrieving a number of disks he had hidden. He says they contain information on Gateway's whereabouts. Trella doesn't believe in such nonsense - or maybe just doesn't want to give herself that kind of hope. So she makes her way through the pipes to uncover the disks and sets off the start of what will change their entire existence and by doing so, marks herself as the leader of a rebellion. I loved what this did for Trella, the growth it allowed her to have over the course of the novel. She began working as a team with others, forming genuine friendships and getting to know people for the first time, eventually realising that they aren't so much different to her afterall.
In her journeys through the pipes, she stumbles across a secret storeroom... well, not-so-secret to the Upper-level boy using it. Riley. Aw, I adore Riley! There is a light touch of romance that begins to develop between him and Trella, which was really sweet and innocent. Riley was a great character and the whole "Sheepy" thing was too adorable! With all the fictional bad boys who often like to dominate our hearts, Riley has the genuine 'nice guy' vibe going for him, yet he's not boring in any way. He's cute and charming with a stubborn streak. And while he had to work on gaining Trella's trust, there's no doubt the connection between them is going to heighten in the sequel. They completely changed one another's view of the Uppers and Lowers, coming to the realisation that they've all been fed lies to create enmity between the levels.
I really loved all the characters in this book. Trella had a strong and compelling voice that kept me glued to the pages. She's stubborn, tough and rational - a real headstrong character who I loved to watch grow. The secondary characters were equally as awesome - from Cogon, ever the optimistic and people-person, to Logan the techno genius. Characters are the meat of a novel - you can have an amazing plot, but if your characters suck, it's a total flop. But even if the plot sucks, there's still a chance at survival if your characters are captivating. Maria has nothing to worry about though, she has both the endearing characters AND the kickass dystopian plot that you'll be hard pressed to draw your ink-smudged nose away from me. Trust me, I tried, but the darn book just sucked me back in again.
There was some level of predictability, but it never stopped me from turning the pages faster and faster to see what would happen next. There was still a few shocks in store for me! And the lure of Outside was too tempting to resist. Did it really exist? Would they find it in time? If they did find it, what was really beyond the Gateway? When all was revealed, I was actually quite surprised. I wasn't expecting what was uncovered! Plus the whole characters in peril, coming uprising, ignorance between the Uppers and Lowers, danger, action and mystery were all kind of... hmm, what's the word? Addictive!
Thank the Force of Sheep I had the sequel nearby as soon as I finished!...more
The palace of Amentina is slowly falling into disrepair, the money is dwindling and Reneta, Queen of Amentina, is adamant that her eldest daughter, LiThe palace of Amentina is slowly falling into disrepair, the money is dwindling and Reneta, Queen of Amentina, is adamant that her eldest daughter, Lilith, marry a wealthy Prince soon so their land will not die. But when her betrothed suddenly dies, the plan goes awry and Lilith is left nursing a broken heart. Until Renata quickly puts her back on the market and she's offered marriage to Prince Amis of Pergamia. Lilith wants no part of it at first, but something is calling, beckoning her sister Zeraphina to the north where Pergamia lies. The desire burning within her very veins, tugging on every inch of her being toward north. She needs to go there. She must convince Lilith to accept Amis' invitation. But what will await her?
Mystery, danger and Rodden, a man who rivals Zeraphina in all kinds of delicious ways. But can she trust him? What is he hiding? Why does he keep putting a stop to her finding any answers? And why is he such a jerk 90% of the time? (Hush, Zeraphina, don't speak such nonesense of my Rodden!) What awaits the reader is amazing tale that will suck you into it's heart, clutching tighter and tighter as you venture further into Pergamia and the terrors that lurk nearby. I could not read this fast enough, but so very disapointed when I had no more pages to turn!
I think Zeraphina may be one of my new favourite heroines. Your normal definition of "Princess" hardly applies to her and not just because the girl has a craving for blood. And I adore her two animal companions. She's such a plucky young thing - so determined and headstrong and stubborn. If she wants answers, she will go to all ends to seek them out. She doesn't sit around and let the chips fall where they may, she charges forth right in the middle of the action. I really admired her and that fiesty spirit burning within. The wit she brings forth to rival Rodden's makes for such entertaining scenes between the pair and her determined bravery adds to the general awesomeness of this novel, particularly the ending!
I absolutely adored the connection between Rodden and Zeraphina. Their banter back and forth was brilliant. And oh that man. That sexy, brooding, infuriating man. The tension, the agitation and eventually the attraction between them builds and builds until it bleeds from the very pages and you're just as hungry for that blood as Zeraphina is. They grow into such a fierce duo, so full of fire and when they actually do hint at their feelings toward one another, you just about want to explode.
Throughout the novel Zeraphina is on this mission to learn more about the war between Pergamia and Lharmell, but nobody is giving her any answers. She'll find a vague hint here and there, but just when she thinks she might be onto something, Rodden is right there ready to squash all progress. I think that guy has an inbuilt, 'Zeraphina Is Finding Answers' radar to which he must put in motion the, "I Must Intercept With My Brooding Hulk And Piss Her Off" defense strategy. But don't worry, frustrating as it may be for her and the reader at not getting those answers, he makes it a sexy frustration.
Rhiannon has crafted an amazing new mythology with the Lharmellins. Do not chalk up the blood hunger to 'vampires' when you read the synopsis, because it is far, far from your typical bloodsucking craving. When we do learn more about them and their land of Lharmell, it definitely lives up to the mystery! Toward the end especially, Rhiannon has written some brilliant scenes that highlight the creepy, luring nature of the Lharmellins and their effect on Zeraphina. I am so intrigued to see where the story is headed next!
Rhiannon Hart is one debut author that everyone should be on the watch for. Blood Song is an incredible start to what is no doubt going to shape up to be a favourite series of mine. A rich, vivid new fantasy world containing such a unique and compelling mythology with creatures that will lure you into their frenzied web of seduction - to draw away from the pages would be a sin. The gradual romance which starts as a spark, a suspicious, uneasy spark, begins to simmer and then burn and flare into something delightful. If you like your heroines spunky, relatable and flawed, if you like a novel that will demand to be read in one sitting, then this is the perfect read. Do not pass it up!...more