I am really torn up about what to rate this book. In fact, I’m going to make my decision as I write this review and see what it feels like in the end.I am really torn up about what to rate this book. In fact, I’m going to make my decision as I write this review and see what it feels like in the end. I like reading about Greek mythology. I like how the possibilities are endless when you write a story that’s based on myth, and some authors really do come up with some original ideas. Not only they tweak what happened, but they also play around with the characters and create many more different versions and you get to take your pick. This was such a book. The story revolves around Ambrosia, daughter of the infamous Medusa, and Perseus, the famous hero who defeated and beheaded Medusa. But of course this story is not this generalization. In fact, Ambrosia is a prostitute, finding it the best way to gather information about her mother’s killer in order to return the favor one day.
This was actually a fun book. It started out as very interesting and fast paced. I was instantly sucked into the story, the world building. I admired and respected Ambrosia’s determination of living the life of a prostitute in order to achieve her goal, in fact, this way her character had a head start in complexity and depth compared to Perseus. As for Perseus himself, he was the mysterious, hard stranger in the beginning, kind of reminded me of Aragorn’s first introduction as Strider from Lord of The Rings. He wasn’t as surprising as Ambrosia but he was solid.
A few chapters in though..It all went a little downhill. And this is the point where I have trouble with my rating. I don’t want to be unfair to the nice beginning, but then the middle and end-what can I say?- disappointed me a little. The two leads started showing signs of childish behavior, most of the time they acted like teenagers rather than the mythical beings that they were, and so their plight lost its initial appeal to me. I kept imagining-and desperately looking forward to- them going back to who they started out as, but unfortunately this didn’t happen. As the story unfolded and they went ahead on their path one step and one obstacle at a time, they became more and more like young adults. Actually, has anyone seen the Percy Jackson movies? I haven’t read the books so I can’t compare this to the books, but if this story was to be made into a movie, it’d be something like Percy Jackson. And though I enjoyed those movies, it would be not what I expected and wished for this book.
For starters, I liked the idea of Ambrosia taking on the tough job of being a prostitute for a purpose, and that, in my opinion, should’ve provided her with a certain level of maturity. I expected her to be wary of Perseus, to be as strong as she had to be for doing what she did, and very, very determined. Even if she was those things, as a reader, that message lost its effect by the time it reached me. As for Perseus, I expected a man who loved and lost, who was determined just as much as Ambrosia to finish the task he started, and generally be the-yes, clichéd- tough stranger. Instead, he was a young man who sulked and was resentful most of the time, and childish and funny in the rest. He didn’t impress me, actually they both didn’t impress me considering how they started out as lead characters.
The plot was a bit better than the hero and the heroine, I gotta give it that. It was what you’d expect from a retelling of a mythical story, it revolved around one general idea, the past and fate of Medusa, and kept throwing in obstacles in the way until the end. Action was not scarce which was okay by me. I liked to see some of the most well known characters making appearances in unexpected places in unexpected conditions and that was good too. But then again, the whole story had a childish vibe to it that I couldn’t shake off. And this is probably going to be why I’ll shave off from my rating.
This was an okay story that had a lot of potential that simply just fell short. Potentially deep characters, potentially good plot, everything was there and yet they failed to reach their true desired effect....more
This book is based on an old Norwegian fairy tale called 'East of The Sun and West of The Moon'. My acquaintance with this story goes back to a collecThis book is based on an old Norwegian fairy tale called 'East of The Sun and West of The Moon'. My acquaintance with this story goes back to a collection of erotic short stories based on fairy tales, Enchanted: Erotic Bedtime Stories For Women. Before that, I've never heard of this tale and I was pleasantly surprised when I realized what story this book was based on.
The original tale tells the story of the daughter of a poor peasant who's given away by her father to the White Bear in exchange of wealth for the rest of the family. Her husband is in bear form throughout the day but come night, he becomes a man and shares her bed on the condition that she never look at him. One day the girl gets curious and thinking there could be no harm, while her husband is still asleep, she lights a candle and finds he is a very attractive man. Her husband, waking up, tells her that his stepmother has put a spell on him to make him a bear and if the girl could have lasted one year without seeing him he'd be releived of the curse. But since she sees him before the time is up, he tells her that he has to go the stepmother's castle which is located 'east of the sun and west of the moon' and marry the stepmother's ugly daughter now. After he vanishes, the girl sets out to find him and after a long journey and many encounters including the East Wind, South Wind and North Wind who help her through her journey, she reaches the castle where the evil stepmother and her daughter, said to be trolls, reside.
'Ice' is based on this lovely fairy tale but of course it is not that simple. I have to say, I was amazed by Sarah Beth Durst's storytelling. She took a simple story and made it a truly wonderful journey filled with many beautiful, breathtaking, and at times, suffocating scenes. Her language was very realistic, it made it so easy for me to get into the heroine's mind and understand her struggles and doubts.
The heroine, Cassie, was an amazing character. I don't think I've ever come across a YA novel character who's this determined to make something happen. She's the daughter of a scientist, she's lived all her life practically in ice, she knows hot to survive, how to track. These are all thanks to her upbringing, but the rest, the fight she has in her, the determination, are what make her a great heroine. On her journey, from the moment she meets the polar bear till the end, she has to overcome many obstacles both psychologically and physically, and I'm sure if it were any other person this story would've ended before it even started. But then again this is what makes it so unique.
I don't want to say more about the storyline because the way the author changed the tale is so beautiful in my opinion, and original, that whoever reads it should see it unfold themselves.
I ooh'ed and aww'ed during this book and towards the end I had a slap-my-forehead moment. And I definitely loved it. ...more
I can't remember how I first saw this book and added it to my to-read pile but I'm glad I did. There were parts of the story that were a bit complex tI can't remember how I first saw this book and added it to my to-read pile but I'm glad I did. There were parts of the story that were a bit complex to imagine but once I let go and went with the flow, it was all good and I enjoyed it very much.
The world is under threat of many random natural disasters and certain people are able to prevent these. They work in pairs, Souces and Shields; while a Source has the ability to detect and avert the disasters by channeling their powers through themselves, a Shield is the one who, well, shields them from the aftereffects of absorbing that mcuh power that otherwise would most definitely kill them. And this 'bonding' between pairs is for life, if one dies, so does the other. Depressing yet? Add to that the possiblity that you're paired with someone you despise, and then you've got yourself hell on earth.
Which is close to what Dunleavy -Lee- feels. She's bonded to the sweetheart of all Sources and Shields, Shintaro Karish -Taro-, the boy whose charms has made everyone fall in love with him while all Lee wants is to stay on the sidelines and do her job as a Shield without any spotlight or action. Needless to say her wish does not come true.
I gotta admit, at the beginning I was afraid of not liking Lee, she was strong but she also was self-centered and had the potential to be a cocky and annoying heroine. Thankfully while I stuck to the story, she became more likeable. I still thought she sometimes had too many questions that weren't necessary and/or too smart. I do look forward to her character development though, in the future books.
Now, Taro, our hero, is another story. I liked him from the start. Through the point of view of Lee, he's described as the charming, handsome sweetheart with talent but not much wits or conscience to go with it. But as we read on, we see that he's in fact more than what Lee believes. He's a Source and usually Sources steal the show. While most of them might've acted the way that was expected of them, Taro immediately made it clear that he's different. He has a heart and, as opposed to common belief, a conscience as well. He really was charming and pretty funny, and overall, an adorable guy who made me come to the point where I wanted to smack Lee for being so hard on him.
Like I said earlier, I did find some parts of the story a bit hard to imagine and follow, but it was generally very enjoyable. I gotta say it actually got much better towards the end where the real action and mystery took place. The beginning was a little bit about introducing us to the story and the world.
I'd recommend this to those who like fantasy, and I sure look forward to how our hero and heroine will work on their relationship as well as averting all kinds of disasters, natural and annatural....more
What a strange yet fantastic and beautiful tale. This is the first time I'm reading Angela Carter but I can say that if this is a true example of h4.5
What a strange yet fantastic and beautiful tale. This is the first time I'm reading Angela Carter but I can say that if this is a true example of her work, then I'm hoping to read more. It was such a strange story and I'm not exactly sure how to describe it properly but I'll try.
Melanie is a fifteen year old girl who's orphaned with her two younger siblings, a brother who loves nothing but making ships, and a much younger little sister who lives in her little world. They are taken in by their uncle Philip who's married to a woman, Margaret, who hasn't talked since her wedding day, and her two brothers, Francie and Finn.
Uncle Philip is a toy maker. They live above the shop and Philip occasionally puts up shows with his puppets just for the family. These are not your usual family nights however, for Philip is a true puppetmaster who controls the household as he does with his beloved puppets. He's an egoistic man who likes total control over the people who live under his roof, he likes silence and complete obedience and he never acknowledges the existence of his nieces and nephew. He's a man to be despised and throughout the story what I could only feel for him was hate. He's not even usually around and yet it feels like he leaves a part of his presence behind to loom over the household and it's smothering.
The siblings Margaret, Francie and Finn are a different story. Margaret is not talking, she communicates with everyone through either the chalkboard at home or the pad and paper she has. She's lovely, lonely, a gentle soul, unappreciated by her tirant of a husband but she loves her brothers. And when Melanie and her siblings arrive, she embraces them wholeheartedly, especially the little babygirl.
Francie and Finn are two close brothers. They love their sister, they're both passionate about their likes, Francie's a fiddler and Finn likes to paint, he often paints the toys in the shop and helps out Uncle Philip. We don't get too acquainted with Francie at first in the book, he's a quiet man, older than Finn and doesn't like to talk much at the beginning. Finn, on the other hand, is the first one to approach Melanie and try to make friends with her. He's decribed as filthy, smelling of paint and sweat all the time, with teeth yellowed by smoking a lot. If you think about it, you're supposed to find him repulsing, and yet it's also impossible to do so, for he's nice and often stands up to the uncle and even gets his fair share of beatings for it.
The relationship all these people have, the bonds they form throughout the book is really beautiful to read, the connection Melanie finds with the Margaret/Francie/Finn siblings. I could almost picture every scene, every emotion, the whole toyshop and the characters with such clarity in my head, my own interpretations.
The only reason I'm not giving this a 5-star rating is because I had a difficulty following the long descriptions at times. Even though most of the time it was easy to picture everything, there were a time or two when I was lost between words, maybe my english was just not enough to grasp the whole sentences, I don't know.
Overall, this was a good, odd tale of a strange family with secrets of their own. It may not be for everyone, I think it's a love or hate kinda book, you either might read it till the end and love it or just give up from the beginning. It was love for me....more
I have to admit I'm still uncertain about how I feel towards this book. What got me first interested in this was the conflicting reviews I read here aI have to admit I'm still uncertain about how I feel towards this book. What got me first interested in this was the conflicting reviews I read here about the content of the book. Especially the relationship between the two protagonists.
I took me a while to get into the book because of the writing. Maybe it's because english is not first language, but it was hard for me follow the story sometimes. Most of the time I just wanted to skip through to later chapters. We weren't given much backstory to the characters, we know a little bit more about Lessa, how she ended up where she was before she was found by F'lar, the male protagonist, and why she is the way she is. The plot was hard to follow for me, especially the Threads threat I didn't get much, I admit, so the action was lost on me. But I did like the idea of the relationship the dragons and their riders have. The way they communicate with each other and are always in constant sync. I also liked the idea of travelling between times.
Now, about the relationship between the two main people, Lessa and F'lar, one thing I couldn't comprehend is the idea of F'lar shaking Lessa when he's upset with her. I just simply couldn't picture the motion in my head, don't know why. One other thing is the sex part. If I didn't read around that the riders mate with the riders of their dragons mate I don't think I could've understood that right away in the book. I didn't understand the rule, in fact, most rules, where they come from etc. The relationship didn't seem all too horrible to me, save for the shaking thing which I couldn't comprehend, and in fact, Lessa and F'lar both seemed a bit immature and childlike towards one another. It was like they were playing a weird couples game with one constantly shaking the other when not pleased and the other constantly whining and rebelling against whatever she can think of while they both yelled at and dared each other. I found myself liking a secondary character, F'Nor- the half-brother to F'lar and another dragon rider, much more than the others. I didn't get the much misogynist feel from this, considering the period and notion it was supposedly written against. I thought it might've been necessary to describe the men with a certain mind-frame against women while in the book they also come to terms, even if slowly and at times a bit grudginly, with the fact that women are a part of the war they fight against the enemy.
Overall, it was an ok book for me, one I couldn't quite connect with though....more