This was a pleasant surprise for a fantasy book as it is at once thoughtful for the world building as it is for the characters and relationships.
The RThis was a pleasant surprise for a fantasy book as it is at once thoughtful for the world building as it is for the characters and relationships.
The Royce-Hadrian partnership of course is very fun to read, and it's compelling to find out more about how their friendship and loyalty was built over the 12 years they've worked together. There are glimpses of things that they know about each other that are hinted at and will likely get "Revealed" as we go, but I do love complex character relationships...which is why I'm actually reading Chronicles parallel to Revelations, so I'm sorta cheating on that end, but I've always liked "flashbacks" to the past and origin stories inserted between present events in books (been spoilt by manga and their angsty flashbacks I guess). I did dither a bit at first where to start, but ended up starting with Chronicles first since I wanted to get attached to the characters right away...then I gave in and started Revelations because Chronicles was way too cheerful (relatively, and a pleasant surprise) and I needed my angsty-past flashbacks to balance things out.
Of course, the back cover kind of "spoils" the fact that Royce and Hadrian get set up, but I was totally enjoying myself waiting for Royce's "I told you so" the first few chapters. The banter and dialogue is well-written for sure, and a good deal of serious business mixed with dry humour. The overall storyline is fairly interesting, and it is not a "clean" hero-defeats-evil kind of story. A few of the characters surprised me with their actions and motivations (in a good way, not the "why would he even do that" kind of way) which kept the story just this side of suspenseful without being overly dramatic. In fact a lot of plot points were handled very practically instead of dramatically, and there was a decent amount of humanizing the limitations of the characters' abilities.
Some bits of exposition are of course necessarily long but there are character bits thrown in there to keep it interesting. I wasn't too fond of Myron since he basically was a walking encyclopedia/history book/translation tool (smartphone of the riyria universe?) and was way too round-eyed. My complaints are minor though and I'm already starting book 2 so I can hopefully find out more about Elves and Dwarves....more
I read this parallel with book 1 of Chronicles so I got to know Royce and Hadrian past and present. I love character development in books so I alwaysI read this parallel with book 1 of Chronicles so I got to know Royce and Hadrian past and present. I love character development in books so I always look forward to series that emphasize it.
Hadrian is almost frustratingly trusting in this book at first, although that's not to say he is stupid (which he mostly pretends to be). He's very straightforward with his thoughts, and has a bit of blind courage to his actions. There's of course a lot of angst about his past, which is usually annoying but he's a sunshine angster (ie smile through the pain) so it's not just sad-angry-mope with him thankfully. Mostly he's a hopeless softy around Those In Need and gets attached easily.
Royce is basically the mysterious, scary eyed killer for most of the book, even after meeting Hadrian. We don't get his POV until much later in the book so most of his appearances is through Hadrian seeing Royce being mean and creepy. It's also hilarious that Hadrian is very impressed by Royce, even while he dislikes him. He's obviously reluctant to partner up with Hadrian, and very capable on his own - so when Hadrian finally makes himself useful he's usually immensely shocked. He's by no means emotionless (which would be boring) so he's actually quite an entertaining character.
By the end of the book they are just beginning to trust each other so Hadrian still has a lot of work to do.
Gwen's story is more world-building than character development since she starts out fierce and continues to be for the whole book. Her powers seem rather like a plot device, but her story is less about that and more about her being a great leader and becoming the influencer she is in the Revelations books. She only really meets the other two at the very end of the book and I'm very interested in how her relationship with Royce, and Hadrian, will develop....more
A very organized, detailed and pretty checklist+journal for award-winning and "notable" young adult book recommendations. I definitely recommend this journal for people who like reading challenges, collecting/recording reading recommendations, and/or would like to read some good books published in the past that they may not have heard of. Though it doesn't have the limitless storage capacity of the internet, it could be a great companion on laptop-less holiday trips too....more
A very different kind of mutant superhero story, with empowered female leads, a diverse cast, and the visceral backdrop of New York City's most run-down sectors. I was quite engaged in each of the characters stories and personalities, but perhaps due to its 7-issue limited run, a lot of potential left unexplored....more
Jasper steals the spotlight as the sarcastic, gay Korean-American University student who finds himself conflicted between accepting the well-meaning comfort offered by people who couldn't relate to his experiences, or pushing them away with jokes and reassurances. Peter is far from the token love interest as his voice comes to life through his love of music and the emotions songs and lyrics stir within him. Claire is the mutual acquaintance that brings the two closer together, but while she is not entirely negligible, I was disappointed in her role as the author's preacher. While I was quite moved by the messages of love and peace, I felt that the stark reality of the actual consequences in the aftermath (anger, hatred, war) should not have been so easily omitted....more
This is a reread for me, and as such with rereads of mystery novels, it's harder to be surprised. That said, I did deeply enjoy the majority of the stories as I recognized the little clues dropped here and there along the way. I am also continuously surprised at the range of voices Mr. Telfer is able to emulate, it is almost like listening to a full-cast show!...more
I'm glad that Mr. Doyle has understood that audiences did not much enjoy the 5 chapters of criminal exposition (from the first book) as much when Holmes is not there to deduce the hell out of stuff. This second novel of the Sherlock Holmes series delves further into the personal lives of both Holmes and Watson, yet maintains the quality of plot and pacing that the first book had offered....more
This introduction of the uniquely gifted detective Sherlock Holmes, seen through the eyes of the humble ex-army doctor John Watson, appeals as both a historical mystery, as well as a deeply entertaining portrait of the eccentric sleuth. It was fun to follow along with the easily sympathized Watson as he struggles to figure out both what Holmes has already been able to deduce from the mystery, as well as the great mystery of Holmes himself. Even though I was not particularly interested in the 5 chapters of the criminal's backstory, John Telfer did an amazing job voicing both an excitable and gentlemanly Watson, as well as a soft-spoken and thoughtful Holmes. So, if you are planning to listen to this series in audio, I highly recommend Mr. Telfer as your narrator of choice....more
With a surreal and overly passive narrator, this rather short beginning to The Turning series is saved by the monumentally more interesting, and diverse, side characters, as well as the pleasantly unexpected developments in its second half. The uniqueness of some of the characters makes up for the lack of character development, and the "weird" writing style can grow on you, but only in this limited 200-page dose. Not really worth the hardcover price, but do give it a chance, it's a nice surreal detour, and it's not that long....more
I was in quite a rush to finish this book because I had bought it with the intent of gifting it to my friend the next day but instead, I became quite captivated by it myself. The mythology and world building is imaginative and original, combining a medieval setting with a unique blend of magic and quite "modern" characters who believe valiant knighthood is outdated. The character voices are distinct and sympathetic, alternating every chapter between the cynical but good-hearted "rogue" Fisk and the stupidly honest but well-meaning "knight" Sir Michael. However, they are not at all stagnant in their traits: Fisk learns to trust and sacrifice, while Michael learns to lie and manipulate. Side characters are also given depth and acknowledged as independent beings with their own character traits and personalities. The story itself was full of both plot and character twists, and it keeps you guessing as to who the real villains are and who is in league with who until the very end. This is one of those books where I would go and buy my own copy later because I enjoyed it that much....more
Saiyuki RELOAD is the sequel to the series, making an almost complete reversal on perspective of the youkai/demons driven to madness and murder. Where Gensomaden Saiyuki (the main series) sets up the world and the characters, RELOAD delves into the other side of the story: the youkai who have not gone mad, surviving in a world of human distrust and want for revenge. The second half of RELOAD, the "even a worm" arc, deals with "what if" youkai souls could be harvested to bring humans back to life? The only catch is, they come back with an ingrained need to destroy other youkai. Ethics and alternate perspectives are the main focus in this sequel, and much is left ambiguous for the reader to mull over after the action ends....more