In Richelle Mead's fifth installment to the VAMPIRE ACADEMY series, SPIRIT BOUND takes the reader back to St. Vla...moreMarked improvement over Blood Promise
In Richelle Mead's fifth installment to the VAMPIRE ACADEMY series, SPIRIT BOUND takes the reader back to St. Vladimir's Academy where Rose and Lissa are preparing to set out into the real world. Dimitri, still in his Strigoi state, is stalking Rose with the intent to kill her; Rose is frantically searching for a way to use spirit to cure him; and both Lissa and Rose are graduating and moving on to court, where Rose's guardian role will be assigned and where Lissa hopes to move into her royal role as the last in her family's line.
SPIRIT BOUND was a marked improvement over the past two books, and I was excited for that. Mead's writing style remains easily readable, and pacing was better, with the resolution of Dimitri's Strigoi state (one way or another - no spoilers) resolved within the first half of the book. Lissa's character grows in many ways, including her role in court, her personal strength, and her willingness to take risks for others. Adrian and Christian also develop as characters, with each getting more attention in this book; their wry and humorous dialogue adds much to the story.
Even with these strengths, the book fell short in other ways. The plot is unsurprising with resolutions to many points that you can see far in advance, and other events are so implausible that it takes away from the credibility of the story arc. The book ends with another cliffhanger, with a set up that comes out of nowhere and makes the book feel unfinished. Even though pacing picks up soon into the book, the first 100 pages are slow, with lots of backstory and reiteration from previous books. As for characters, Rose's development seemed stunted throughout. She shows no compunction about putting her friends and fellow guardians in mortal and professional danger for her own ends, and she acts out multiple times like a petulant child. While her actions annoyed and frustrated me, I couldn't decide whether it was 1) good characterization to show her traits as they are or 2) bad characterization because she doesn't grow or change. Also, while it was nice to see Adrian play a significant role, he becomes little more than a simpering fool for Rose, despite her recurring misuse of his feelings.
Overall, the Vampire Academy series continues to be leaps and bounds ahead of other YA paranormal series, but it still could see some improvement with more consistent pacing, fewer predictable plot points, and more character development for Rose. I hope that the final book in the series, LAST SACRIFICE, brings the resolution everyone been looking for, along with some significant growth for Rose. (less)
Quite possibly the most well-crafted novel I have ever read. When I read this back in 11th grade, I was taken aback by the artistry and the complexity...more Quite possibly the most well-crafted novel I have ever read. When I read this back in 11th grade, I was taken aback by the artistry and the complexity and the symbolism that all appear wrapped together in this novel. Though I have never worked up to reading it again, it remains in my mind as one of the most influential pieces of literature I have ever read (or likely ever will).(less)
Not my favorite Shakes work, but it seems ludicrous for little ol' me to give a star rating to something that has survived 400 years and influenced We...moreNot my favorite Shakes work, but it seems ludicrous for little ol' me to give a star rating to something that has survived 400 years and influenced Western literature in so many ways. Therefore, though the story is only a 3-star for me, I bump it to 4-stars for its enduring merit. (less)
Though I should be terribly ashamed of this rating, I have to admit that this book was the addictively readable, sometimes swoony stuff that brought m...moreThough I should be terribly ashamed of this rating, I have to admit that this book was the addictively readable, sometimes swoony stuff that brought me into the fold of YA literature. It was rife with anger-inducing sexist stereotypes, unhealthy relationships, and poor writing, but Meyer does weave a tale that pulls the reader in. That doesn't forgive it all its faults, but I admit to being sucked in, all while yelling at the characters (literally) about their foolishness.(less)
Bad execution of a good idea, 1.5 stars, December 9, 2009
Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, the first book in Holly Black's faery trilogy, introduces reade...moreBad execution of a good idea, 1.5 stars, December 9, 2009
Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, the first book in Holly Black's faery trilogy, introduces readers to a dark and twisted world of Faerie. Sixteen-year-old Kaye is the daughter of a rocker mom who moves from town to town before an act of violence pushes them back to New Jersey. Kaye thinks the faeries of her youth are a thing of the past, but soon, her world starts changing as she learns that she has been chosen as a sacrifice between faery courts. Kaye must struggle to save herself, her friend, and a certain faery knight.
Unfortunately, this world of Faerie is not very likeable or easy to read. First and foremost, I found the book difficult to read due to the writing style and lack of editing. The writing is unclear in many places, with disjointed sentences and weak dialogue. Transitions between scenes were abrupt, and it was sometimes difficult to gain a coherent understanding of what was happening. Though some settings were described well, the characters were not. Character development was limited, and the relationships between characters seemed weak and unimportant. As described, the love connection also didn't seem believable.
Secondly, Black's world of Faerie is dark, twisted, and cruel. I don't mind darker tales; however, there needs to be a point to it. The book contains vulgarity; smoking, alcohol, and drugs; unhealthy relationships; references to violent, hurtful sex that`s enjoyed; and grisly murder and torture. I knew some of this going in, but I was surprised that none of these issues were used as a means of character development or conflict. None of the characters seemed to have any redeeming or likeable qualities. Even if a character is flawed, I want to read a book where I want to root for him/her, despite these flaws or a sordid past. In this case, I was left feeling ambivalent towards everyone.
While a good concept with potential for a great tale, my negative reaction to this book was much stronger than I expected. I hope that Black brought her fans something better in the sequels, Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie and Ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale. (less)