In the sequel to The Iron King, Meghan Chase is stuck in the Winter Court as per her contract with Ash. However, when Iron fey sneak in to steal the S...moreIn the sequel to The Iron King, Meghan Chase is stuck in the Winter Court as per her contract with Ash. However, when Iron fey sneak in to steal the Scepter of Seasons and no one believes that the Iron fey exist, it’s up to Meghan to get the scepter back and stop a war between Summer and Winter. Along the way she finds herself with the unlikely ally of an Iron fey when she finds out that an imposter sits on the Iron throne.
The concept in general is interesting. The execution is horrible. I mean really, mind-numbingly bad.
There is so much about this book that I hated. As the book went on I despised Ash and Meghan more and more. And the love triangle feels so forced and annoying. There are so many cliches in this book too.
Grim is predictably still great. I really enjoyed the idea of Leanansidhe’s little kingdom in between the real world and Nevernever. And I enjoyed the Iron fey who joins up with Meghan (view spoiler)[which is why I’m so mad that Kagawa killed Ironhorse. Because I really only liked two characters: Grimalkin and Ironhorse. And in one fell swoop she reduced the characters I like by 50% (hide spoiler)].
I’ve officially given up on this series because if I have to read one more page of Meghan and Ash being the ultimate sad, emo couple I’m going to give up on reading altogether and George R.R. Martin hasn’t even finished A Song of Ice and Fire yet!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm sort of a sucker for a good period piece and for a strong female character and this book started out with both. It faltered, it wasn't perfect, bu...moreI'm sort of a sucker for a good period piece and for a strong female character and this book started out with both. It faltered, it wasn't perfect, but overall this book was strong enough that I enjoyed having read it.
Camille does not lead a typical life for a young woman living in London in the 1800s. She dresses in trousers as a boy and spends her nights hunting werewolves with her guardian (which makes the cover a little confusing since she so rarely wears dresses). That is how she meets Nathaniel Strider, the newest victim of a werewolf bite, who Dr. Bennett and Camille have one month to study and find a cure for before he transforms.
Where this book falters for me is when it gets caught up in the romance. The language becomes unbearable (Strider actually affectionately calls her a "sopping kitten" at one point); Camille herself becomes unbearable (she finds her bottom lip quivering in his presence and she also becomes a lovesick fool). But, I enjoyed the science in this book, I enjoyed that werewolves are still monsters and not romantic creatures. I also enjoyed some of the twists (although I definitely guessed the cure well before Dr. Bennett and Camille did).
Slight sort of spoiler that doesn't ruin any plot: My absolute favorite part of this book, that showed wit and actually made me laugh out loud, is when Nathaniel and Camille kiss in public and when they notice everyone staring at them, he says "I suppose I should have waited to kiss you when you weren't dress in trousers."
Spoiler The ending ties up a little too neatly a little too quickly (Oh, surprise, we're heading to Transylvania and we've surprisingly worked out a way for Strider to come too! Hope that one-month courtship is long lasting and not just a fling born of desperation and danger!)(less)
Considering how close The Iron King and Switched were published, I find it almost impossible for one to have been influenced by the other. That’s why...moreConsidering how close The Iron King and Switched were published, I find it almost impossible for one to have been influenced by the other. That’s why I find it so astonishing how similar these two stories are. Girl who is an outcast and doesn’t fit in gets pulled into another world (literally and in King and figuratively in Switched) where she finds out she’s actually the daughter of royalty (of the king in King and the queen in Switched). The guy who brings her into this world (Finn in Switched, Robin/Puck in King) clearly has chemistry with her, although in King it is one sided on Puck’s side. In both, they have to try and learn how to use powers and they both seem to be surprisingly strong or stronger than usual for their kind.
However, I liked The Iron King better because there’s an actual purpose and journey and adventure. Meghan wants to get her little brother back (hey that sounds a lot like Labyrinth!) Yet, The Iron King wasn't as good as it could have been mostly because it tried to do far too much. They’re in Nevernever, then the human world, back to Nevernever, back to the human and back to Nevernever. Okay, enough hopping around. Plus, it’s like Kagawa researched a whole bunch of possible fey and other fantasy creatures and decided not only to have them all in the novel, but to throw most of them at Meghan the moment she steps into Nevernever.
Grim, while the BEST, was very much the Cheshire Cat. Puck got on my nerves and wasn’t as amusing as he thought he was. I didn’t see the appeal of Ash. And there was unrealistic insta-love which automatically causes me to dock points from a novel. Ugh. That always makes me, as a female, SO DISAPPOINTED not only in the character, but also in the women who write these novels. Why is there no happy medium between Bella Swan’s shameful obsession with Edward where her whole world revolves around him and Katsa’s tough act where she has already decided to never marry despite the fact that she had never been in love before? Where’s the realistic love in these novels? Like Kim and Mairelon in A Matter of Magic or Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter Boxset? Where’s the slowly evolving love that grows and becomes love, not insta-love following obsession or a complete denial of romance.
I always skim over the romances in these books, because I read them for the fantasy aspect or the actual plot (and in Kagawa’s defense, The Iron King had more plot than most YA paranormal stories). So the story was interesting and I liked the concept, because even though I mentioned the idea was reminiscent of Labyrinth I still liked it because they had mini battles to fight and they had to find certain things and figure out where the Iron King actually was based on riddles.
I just felt like I had whiplash reading this book because Kagawa had too many ideas and characters and creatures she wanted to visit in less than 400 pages. I’m not sure if I want to read the next book. If I do, it won’t be right away. The Iron King was an interesting read, but I have no urge to go out and read the next one right away.(less)
**spoiler alert** I give parts of the first half of this book a 3 and rest a 1.
There was just so much I didn't like about this book. For instance, onc...more**spoiler alert** I give parts of the first half of this book a 3 and rest a 1.
There was just so much I didn't like about this book. For instance, once Bella is a vampire, her learning to be one is so boring, and then the even more boring crap about the Volturi coming and then getting ready and about a hundred-plus pages of them just getting ready and talking. And then the final fight comes and it's a non-fight! Meyers could have made that last fight epic. She could have ended the books on a bang. Instead it was a whimper from me as I forced myself to get through it all.
The one redeeming thing was Jacob, and I might be biased because he has always been my favorite. Even with his creepy imprint on the horrible and annoying Loch Nessie monster, his character was still one of the best (closely followed by Emmett as always). Having part of the book from Jacob's point of view was incredibly interesting and he is just so interesting that this is part of the book that easily got a 3 in my opinion.
And having to read through the honeymoon was absolute torture. My the end of book 2 I was sick of reading Bella describe Edward as perfect and beautiful and an Adonis and be down on herself and self-conscious and blah, blah, blah. We get it, you suck as a character and you are obsessed with Edward. It had been done so often over the previous books that by this one I was having none of it.
Edward was a character I was always torn between. I liked him at times but then when he was with Bella he turned into such an emo kid. I like angry Edward. I like mad Edward. I like it when he's frustrated with Bella or something else because, oh my god, the kid has different emotions! The only time I liked emo Edward was during the pregnancy and seeing Edward from Jacob's point of view. That Edward was realistic. That Edward was someone I sympathized with.
There was so much that could have been interesting about this book, but instead Meyers just let it all fall flat. Take a note from Suzanne Collins: don't be afraid to go all out and murder some favorite characters. It's the last book, you're not using them after this anyway. Make the fight epic and intense and take out one or two of the wolves (one of them should have been Sam, Jared or Quil since they've imprinted) or at least two of the vampires, including one from the Cullen coven (preferably Jasper). This is the end of a series, make it totally awesome and heartbreaking.(less)
**spoiler alert** This book started out with promise and about halfway through I realized I made a mistake. The one thing I really liked about this bo...more**spoiler alert** This book started out with promise and about halfway through I realized I made a mistake. The one thing I really liked about this book was how cruel and heartless the character was. She was mad, she wanted revenge and she didn't quibble about that. She set out to kill those who took the man she loved and she didn't suddenly have a moral dilemma, which made sense with who she was during her human life compounded with becoming a demon.
What I didn't enjoy was her obsession with Charles. I think I've had enough of books that take a character who is strong and independent and then makes her swoon and become wholly reliant on a guy because she think she's in love with him. Wilhemina went from being mad at him and feeling betrayed to in love and I found it all a little nauseating to slog through.
I'm really glad this was only $0.99 on Amazon, otherwise I'd feel really ripped off by the way this book turned out.(less)
I've always been a fan of the X-Men so this was right up my alley.
Joss is an average teenager and she works very hard to be that way. Average grades,...moreI've always been a fan of the X-Men so this was right up my alley.
Joss is an average teenager and she works very hard to be that way. Average grades, no close friends and not causing trouble means that people won't notice her and if people don't notice her they won't notice that she has a Talent. And if she hides her Talent then the government won't take her away like they did to one of her classmates.
This book does a great job of starting to bring together Joss and her ragtag group of new friends who all have a variety of Talents. It's a strong novel I thought, a little short and easy to get through (I read it in just a few hours), but a fun read. You're not going to get some really intellectual story here and some of the characters (hello, bully Marco) are a little one-dimensional and cliched. But I thought Joss was really interesting and her crush on Dylan was believable and not at all vomit-inducing like in some other YA novels.
Overall I was happy with it (mostly because the ebook was only $0.99 on Amazon) and I'm looking forward to read the sequel when it comes out next year.(less)
I wavered between a four and a five, but based on the plot and the story I went ahead and gave it five stars. I did love this book because I really en...moreI wavered between a four and a five, but based on the plot and the story I went ahead and gave it five stars. I did love this book because I really enjoyed the characters.
The Passage is the novel version of Lost, so if you don't like large casts and chapters where you see things from everyone's point of view, you will not like this. I very much did like this... to an extent. I sort of felt like some of the characters weren't necessary to show their own point of view although maybe it will make more sense in the next book.
Where the book really faltered for me was in the way some of the action scenes were handled. For instance, Cronin gives the beginning of the action from one character and when the next chapter begins it is afterward the action is over and what the reader missed will be recapped. This was used too often I thought and I found it a little annoying to get through.
The one other thing that bothered me, but not too much because I know it's all going to be revealed sooner or later, is the way some of the characters spoke to one another in riddles. For instance, character A is watching an interaction between Character B and Character C. B and C know something but are talking about it in a vague way that only they understand and A is confused as hell. And when A demands to know what's going on, B and C may or may not actually explain anything or they might just give a cryptic answer. However, since a lot of it was later explained and revealed, this stuff never bothered me too much. It also made sense why Cronin did this, because when we are seeing things from one character's POV, he wants us to feel the same sense of disorientation and confusion.
Those issues being said, I love post-apocalyptic stories and this one was amazing. It is an absolutely epic read, spanning years and years and tying all the characters into one another's story.
After I reached the last page I felt my heart drop, because I'm genuinely concerned about the well being of some of the characters. They got through hundreds of miles of danger and just when they think they were safe, maybe they weren't after all. But you don't know.
And you have to wait until 2012 to find out, which I think might kill me.(less)
At the end of this book I sighed in relief because I've already got an advanced copy of the sequel, Rage, waiting to be read.
This is the story of how...moreAt the end of this book I sighed in relief because I've already got an advanced copy of the sequel, Rage, waiting to be read.
This is the story of how Lisabeth Lewis, a bulimic teenager, became Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I bought this book because of the concept, which could be rather dark and sinister. Kessler went the other way, and instead this book is about the hope Lisa finds as Famine. It's interesting and while she twists the purpose of the horsemen, I still enjoyed the book. I was a little put out that the horsemen weren't really bringing about the end of days, rather they were more the invisible hands that cause the everyday famines, wars, deaths and sicknesses of the world.
What was so good about this novel was that Lisa's story wasn't just about becoming Famine, it was her struggle with bulimia, which I thought was very realistically done. I loved the Thin voice that Lisa kept hearing and how it eventually wars with her own voice and the voice of Famine. This one girl has so many sides to her and she's just trying to figure out which one she really is.
And as there naturally has to be a conflict, there is and Kessler doesn't shy from a good ole showdown. It's an amazing confrontation that works on so many levels for me and was really enjoyable to read.
I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to start Rage.(less)
The more I read this book, the less interested I became to the point that by the time something actually happened I was so fed up that I barely paid a...moreThe more I read this book, the less interested I became to the point that by the time something actually happened I was so fed up that I barely paid attention. People who we thought were good were actually secretly bad and *yawn* don't care. You can't write a book that starts out interesting, turns into a high school soap opera with random uninteresting bits of training and then try to make me care about the big ending.
I bought Vampire Academy because I read the sample on Amazon and I was so interested in the main character. A strong female with a sharp, sarcastic wit. Awesome, right? Wrong. Rose is not that awesome, in fact I downright hated her and her horrible temper and the stupid situations she put herself into. She's a relentless flirt who liked to drink and "have fun" but oh my god, she's not ready for sex.
And I'm so sick of the romance aspect of these YA novels. They all suck, they're all eyeroll worthy and they make me gag with how cliched they are. I felt like reading this novel was a waste of time, that's probably why once I started to hate it I kept putting the book down or I started skimming pages so fast so I wouldn't have to read about the stupid teenage drama.(less)
UPDATE. I've had some time to cool down after finishing the book (what a difference a day makes) and I now have a more level-headed review to present:...moreUPDATE. I've had some time to cool down after finishing the book (what a difference a day makes) and I now have a more level-headed review to present:
Rage is a book that manages to further the idea of the four horsemen by providing more interactions between all four and allowing readers to see some interesting sides to the others (Pestilence's slipping grip on reality and concerns were wonderful to witness and it was great to see the new Famine).
However, it was the supporting cast that ruined the book. The high school students were all horrible caricatures of high school students. I think Kessler tried too hard to make them all unlikable in order to justify Missy's anger and her inability to handle strong emotions. They weakened the book because I couldn't find it at all realistic and I thought too much time was spent dwelling on that rather than the trials of becoming a horseman. I understand Rage was longer than Hunger, but in this case, don't think the added length did the story much good.
I look forward to seeing Pestilence (who I'll assume will be male) because I think Death might be making the wrong choices when choosing emotional, unstable teenage girls to become horsemen. The new Famine seems awfully well adjusted, so I sort of wish we could have seen if she is an adult. I assume Pestilence will be a new horsemen because the current one is slowly losing his mind, so I'd like to see if this is a part of being Pestilence or if the new one doesn't have this problem.
OLD, SLIGHTLY ANGRY REVIEW: Kessler used some really interesting story telling devices in this book that I appreciated a lot. First she had the dream sequence (which can be so horribly corny if done wrong), which was just plan awesome. Then, much later, there is an odd part where it’s like a transcript almost so you can see things from both Missy’s side and War’s side at the same time.
Rage begins with Death coming to visit Missy just after she’s killed her cat, which was super sad for me. But then Missy shows balls by literally slamming the door in Death’s face. Awesome. Because War was so badass in Hunger and I was so pumped to read about a cool, tough, badass chick taking over as War. Thank you for having a spine, right? Wrong. Things go downhill from there. Not downhill like it all gets crazy, downhill like I slowly lost interest more and more the further I went along and all because the prologue built up the idea of a character I liked and then she was absolutely not like that at all for the rest of the book.
But you know who bothered me more than her? Every other character in this book (minus the four horsemen; their steeds; Missy’s one random friend, who she was a horrible friend in return to; and one random soccer teammate who wasn’t developed enough but was given the unfortunate name of Bella).
So let’s talk about the absolutely horrible characters in this book. And I'll give Kessler this much, they're supposed to be horrible. You're not supposed to like them because they're all bullies. But where does this girl live that people freak out just because she wears all black, like every other teenage who ever shopped at Hot Topic? Also, I found it incredibly unrealistic that almost the entire school, including people she never met, thought it was a good idea to make fun of the girl who cuts herself rather than be concerned. And even her soccer coach tells her to stop being stupid. That’s ridiculous because I’m POSITIVE the coach was taught how to deal with a situation like this and that is NOT the right way. And her teammates on the soccer team peed on her clothes in the locker room. Is that normal teenage girl behavior now?
It was like every single person in this book was the epitome of the teenage bully cliché and Missy was the perfect example of the sad sack. All she needed was to have Freddy Prince Junior get dared to take her to prom (which, okay, I loved growing up, so I can't be too judgmental) and it would be all set to win clichéd teenage drama of the year.
At least Hunger focused mainly on Lisa turning into Famine and learning the ropes. Rage is all about the shitty time Missy has in high school while she mopes and wavers between anger, depression and self pity. Ugh. The parts where Kessler, and this story, shined were when the focus was on Missy becoming War and battling with her inner voice were great (although a little too similar to Lisa vs. Famine in the first book). But then, that's what we're here to read about, yes? About the horsemen stuff, not the high school stuff (at least I was). And the ending was strong and went a different way than the first book did, which made me happy; that would have been a huge letdown if it all ended the same after everything.
Lastly, maybe Death should stop making unstable teenage girls vessels for the horsemen because what inevitably seems to happen is they blow a fuse/lose control/start to cause some really bad shit and then go “oops, I don’t want to do that after all.” Well, I think Pestilence is supposed to be a guy, so I'm really looking forward to that.
I know it sounds like I hated absolutely everything about this book, but ultimately, I didn't. I think it just frustrated me because I expected so much more after the first book and instead I felt like this was a step in the wrong direction. Can we focus more on the interactions between the horsemen please? They’re awesome together and you always come out of their conversations having learned something new.(less)
It would have been easy to make Eon: Dragoneye Reborn a simple story about a girl pretending to be a boy because she wants to prove herself. In realit...moreIt would have been easy to make Eon: Dragoneye Reborn a simple story about a girl pretending to be a boy because she wants to prove herself. In reality, there's so much more going on here. In this story, there are so many others relying on who they think is Eon to help prevent a plot to overthrow the emperor.
I was surprised at the gender themes going on in this book, especially since it was YA. Eona differs from Alanna in The Song of the Lioness Quartet. In private, Alanna doesn't hesitate to act as a girl or talk about the fact that she's actually female to those who know. In comparison, Eona is fully immersed in acting and behaving as a boy. She has even separated herself into Eon, the person she is everyday, and Eona, the part she keeps hidden as often as possible and the side of her she is trying to stamp out entirely.
Eona doesn't believe that she can have power as a woman, whereas Alanna wants to prove that she is strong regardless of her gender. The first person POV actually serves to cement the idea that Eona is gender identity issues. Because gender pronouns are never used during the narrative I found myself forgetting she is a female character unless something specific was mentioned to remind me.
The other interesting issues brought up are the many eunuchs and even Lady Dela, who is not only a cross-dresser, but everyone knows that she is actually a man.
I had two issues with the book, one of which was small and I quickly got over and the other that sort of soured the ending for me. Eona is one of those "super special" characters (like Bella Swan). She's not only a girl trying to keep up with boys and men, she's also a cripple, she's a former slave and she can see all of the dragons if she concentrates (whereas the other Dragoneyes can only see their own). Since it's far too easy to compare this book to the Song of the Lioness books, I found it even more unnecessary that Eona be so special. Alanna was a strong character on her own. She was touched by the gods but that wasn't so uncommon and she had strong magic, but her own brother was more powerful. She was a strong fighter, but that all came from ruthless drills and continuously pushing herself.
The other issue I had, which was much more difficult for me to get over, was how Ido is dealt with at the end. Although the war has yet to be fought, the smaller battle is wrapped up a little too neatly and I didn't think it was handled realistically.
That all said, the book was interesting from the get-go for me and once I got about 100 pages into it, it became and incredibly fast read.(less)
I'm now moving on to The Magician's Ward, but I finished the first book and wanted to write a review while it was still fresh in my mind.
Mairelon the...moreI'm now moving on to The Magician's Ward, but I finished the first book and wanted to write a review while it was still fresh in my mind.
Mairelon the Magician: This book was a fun read, complete with a mystery, double crossings, a search and more than one pistol. I thoroughly enjoyed following the storyline and trying to figure out what exactly everyone was up to.
This is the second book this year I've read where the main female character spends the majority of her time dressed as a boy. In Camille the title character does slip into dresses on occasion and changes from a strong character to one who fell ridiculously in love with a boy after knowing him a week. On the other hand, Kim in Mairelon the Magician never changes out of her boys' attire and is often mistaken for a boy (something she encourages by never willingly letting people know she's actually a girl). I liked that about Kim because it showed how guarded she is. At the same time I couldn't help but wonder how so many people could mistake an almost 17-year-old girl as a boy after spending a significant amount of time in her company.
This book had so many characters and the way they all came together was done wonderfully and, incredibly enough, humorously. Watching the characters, of all different walks of life and stations, was engaging because of how they clashed.
As much as I enjoyed the ride while reading the book, there were times when it unfortunately lagged. For instances, I didn't like the recaps. Wrede had a tendency to follow a scene with Mairelon bringing attention to a whole bunch of unanswered questions. As the reader I knew what the questions were, and I didn't need things repeated and slowed down. Also, the finale, as humorous as it was at parts, was dragged out for far too long with far too many explanations that needed going over.
Update (3/2/11): I just finished the second book, The Magician's Ward, and I enjoyed it so much that it more than made up for any issues I had with the first book. It was great to see the various ways the characters changed but still stayed enough like themselves.
The Magician's Ward is a finely woven web of mysteries and characters. Every new character, whether or not they were involved with the main mystery, had an overall purpose in the story and even better they weren't two dimensional. The unlikable society women weren't all that bad (even if Letitia is a snobby, gold-digging brat) and they could have been horrible caricatures simply created to make Kim hate them and those like them.
Kim was amazing. She went through a huge transformation and yet was still recognizable as that girl who dressed as a boy and lived on the streets. I very much enjoyed the inner conflict she has wondering who exactly she is. She spent so much time pretending to be a boy for her safety and now she's pretending to be a society girl it's what is expected as Mairelon's ward. Either way, she's clearly playing at being someone else. I can't help but wonder when she's going to have the chance to find out who she really is.
The cast of characters in this book was amazing. From Mairelon's mother, who was quirky but still very much conscious of societal expectations, and Renee D'Auber, who is just as cool as she was in the last book, to the various toffs Kim has to deal with and even Mairelon's aunt. I'm always a sucker for when you spend almost the whole book thinking about a character one way and then they decide to do something awesome that makes you reevaluate them.
And allow me to say that this is how I like my romance done. Subtle. Simmering. Natural. I would like to thank Patricia Wrede for creating a romance that I believed, enjoyed reading about and actually rooted for. Too often romances are so unrealistic and I get a headache from rolling my eyes in disgust (and this is coming from a girl marrying her high school sweetheart), but here I loved every moment where I could see the characters realizing their feelings for one another.
This book was so highly entertaining. I definitely preferred The Magician's Ward to Mairelon the Magician, but overall they complimented one another beautifully.(less)