Whenever I finish one of the Emperor's Edge books I have this urge to grab random people on the street, shake them and demand to know why they haven'tWhenever I finish one of the Emperor's Edge books I have this urge to grab random people on the street, shake them and demand to know why they haven't read them yet. I honestly can't praise the author, these books and these characters enough. And as much as I enjoyed the first two, I think this one was the best. And based on the epilogue, the story is just going to continue getting better....more
I just ... this book killed me. Martin has this way of crushing all hope. And I say that with all praise. He doesn't pull any punches and horrible, hoI just ... this book killed me. Martin has this way of crushing all hope. And I say that with all praise. He doesn't pull any punches and horrible, horrible things happen in this book. But that being said, it's not all doom and gloom. There are certain characters that give you hope, especially at the Wall. Those guys are the best. And I love that the characters constantly evolve and change. We see how war makes for strange bedfellows, how people's morals are tested and best of all we see who rises above and who falters.
I'm so glad I have the next book handy. I'm sure I'll devour A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, but I don't know how I'm going to wait once I finish them.
(view spoiler)[I hated Catelyn, so there's no sadness from me there. But I was devastated to see what happened to Robb. And then to hear what they did to his body afterward? That was one of the most horrifying things I read and I both dread and look forward to seeing if they actually show his body with Grey Wind's crowned head sewn on in the show. (hide spoiler)]...more
In the second book of A Song of Ice and Fire we get to see some of our characters flourish, while others begin to sink into despair. It's a nice contrIn the second book of A Song of Ice and Fire we get to see some of our characters flourish, while others begin to sink into despair. It's a nice contrast, especially since we have POVs from all sides of the fighting.
One of the interesting things about this book is that because so many of the characters are no where near one another, sometimes we have to rely on the chapter we're currently reading to find out new information. And sometimes that information isn't entirely reliable because it's based on rumors or just flat out lies. So it's interesting to actually get the characters POV without knowing the truth until a chapter or two later.
As a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings books, I went into George R.R. Martin's series with incredibly high hopes. Thankfully, I have yet to be disappointed. These books have everything I loved about LotR - the huge cast, the various points of view, characters whose trustworthiness is unknown, the journey and the character development - but Martin's books have a gritty realism to them that LotR sort of avoided for the most part. Sometimes the grittiness is a little much for me (I get it, everyone wants to rape every woman they ever come across and usually they want to rape each woman multiple times in a humiliating ways).
But to sort of, kind of, not entirely counter the overwhelmingly horrible acts done to women, we have some pretty kickass women (which LotR was sorely lacking with the lone exception of Eowyn), such as Arya, Brienne, Meera, even creeper Theon's sister Asha. Even, loathe as I am to compliment her, Cersei....more
These book was incredibly good. And then I got to about 90% in and my mind was simply blown. All of a sudden, everything that had happened previouslyThese book was incredibly good. And then I got to about 90% in and my mind was simply blown. All of a sudden, everything that had happened previously took on all new meanings. I never saw that coming and it was amazing....more
If I was wearing a hat it would be off to Scott Lynch. This book is amazing. Going into it though, is like going into Million Dollar Baby: it's all fuIf I was wearing a hat it would be off to Scott Lynch. This book is amazing. Going into it though, is like going into Million Dollar Baby: it's all fun and games and win after win and you think you've got a handle on where it's going and then BAM! It all goes to hell and you NEVER saw it coming.
Never before has a cast of characters so delighted me. Locke is brilliant and funny and ballsy as all hell. Probably my favorite part is when we learn that Locke was told once when he was younger not to piss off a Karthian Bondsmage. So what's the first thing he says when he comes face-to-face with one? "Nice bird, asshole." And that, right there, tells you a lot of Locke Lamora. He's arrogant but so damn smart that he can afford to be so. It was amazing seeing how all of his cons would unravel and suddenly make sense. He's always five steps ahead of everyone else around him.
The rest of the Gentleman Bastards are simply the greatest as well. Tough and loyal Jean Tannen, the comical and sneaky Sanzo twins and adorable Bug who is just trying to keep up with the men. But beyond the Gentleman Bastards are a whole host of other characters that are fascinating and so three dimensional from the rich Salvaras to The Gray King and even Ibelius, the questionable healer.
This book might not be for everything. There's some rather strong language (which I loved to death as I curse like a sailor in everyday life) and people get cut up, eaten, tortured, stabbed, burned, etc. This is a book about thieves, and some of those thieves don't have the strong morals that our main character does, and even Locke's morals only go so far and when he's pushed, he drops the fun attitude and becomes a force to be reckoned with.
And I loved the way the book was structured, how the reader gets interludes that jump back in time to round out the city of Camorr or how the Gentleman Bastards came to be as awesome as they are. I foresee this is a book I will want to read many, many times in the future... just after I read Red Seas Under Red Skies....more
A wonderful compliment to The Alchemist, The Executioness is even more ambitious, striking out from the main city in its companion novella and exploriA wonderful compliment to The Alchemist, The Executioness is even more ambitious, striking out from the main city in its companion novella and exploring the rest of the continent, showing readers what life is like elsewhere.
After raiders have burned her town and stolen her children, Tana chases after them, sending her on a journey that will not only affect her, but thousands and thousands of others. And while The Alchemist was about finding hope and beating back the bramble, which makes life hard and almost unbearable, The Executioness is more about controlling your own life and beating the people who make life hard and unbearable.
This novella is so empowering for women, who are often pushed aside in war and fighting. It brings up the very salient point that they too suffer, they too lose people, only they are never given the chance to get their revenge. They have a powerful desire to fight back that is ignored by men because they believe the women are too weak. But Tana is not too weak and she knows that all women have the same ferocity within them just waiting to be let out.
I really enjoyed the personal journey, the changes that go through our main character as we see her constantly sacrificing and transforming herself so that she can do what is needed. And by the end, she has changed, perhaps not into who she wanted to be and maybe not even into a good person, but into someone that was necessary.
She did it all for her family, her children. And really, what wouldn’t you do for the ones you love?...more
This book leaves me very torn. On the one hand it's epic and it's wonderful storytelling. On the other hand I kept wanting to go back to Lyra and WillThis book leaves me very torn. On the one hand it's epic and it's wonderful storytelling. On the other hand I kept wanting to go back to Lyra and Will and every time the story focused on Mrs. Coulter or Lord Asriel I was impatient to get back to Lyra and Will. Of course, I think it was also because this was a reread and I really wanted to get to the parts of the book I remembered loving so much. Although I remember I had never been a very big fan of the world of the dead part.
Also, the ending is so heartbreaking, but I suppose it's perfect because of that....more
What's so great about this novel as compared to the first is how many different storylines The Subtle Knife follows. In The Golden Compass, we mostlyWhat's so great about this novel as compared to the first is how many different storylines The Subtle Knife follows. In The Golden Compass, we mostly follow Lyra with small tangents. However, in The Subtle Knife we follow Lyra and Will separately, as well as Lee Scoresby (view spoiler)[(the way he and Hester die gets me every time I read it!) (hide spoiler)], various witches and Mary Malone. I think this was a good decision because it's in this book that the trilogy really opens up to the bigger picture and the storytelling expanded accordingly....more
Still one of my favorites even though the ending was more hectic than I remember (view spoiler)[ when they're chasing Lord Asriel and the witches showStill one of my favorites even though the ending was more hectic than I remember (view spoiler)[ when they're chasing Lord Asriel and the witches show up, then the Tartars, then Mrs. Coulter. And the whole scene between Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel when the window opens between the universes was rather annoying, but then I don't particularly like either of them. (hide spoiler)]
Also, the explanation of Dust didn't make a whole lot of sense when I actually stopped to think about it. (view spoiler)[The theory was that Dust was basically original sin. That by severing the children from their daemons and thus preventing Dust from settling on them, they are saving children from original sin. Only, according to the Church, isn't original sin something we're born with because Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit? When we're born, we're born with original sin and baptism takes care of that. But then, I never did pay much attention in Catholic school. (hide spoiler)]...more
This book was recommended to me by a friend of a friend, so I was a little hesitant because I didn't know what sort of things she liked to read. NormaThis book was recommended to me by a friend of a friend, so I was a little hesitant because I didn't know what sort of things she liked to read. Normally, I'm a fantasy/sci-fi gal. That being said, this book was possibly my favorite book of the year.
When Daniel finds the rare book by Julian Carax he probably never would have imagined he would become get drawn into a decades old mystery and come face-to-face with a man who wants nothing more than to destroy everything Carax has written. Daniel finds himself obsessed with learning about who Julian was and why someone has burned almost all but a few copies of the author's books.
There are so many twists in this book and Zafon does a wonderful job of pulling in the readers so that we, too, want to understand the mystery of Julian and the girl he loves Penelope. Fairly quickly we learn that Penelope and Julian did not get their happily ever after and it's unraveling what happened to them that makes this book so engrossing. And it's not just the story of the past that is intriguing, because Daniel is having some interesting adventures of his own: his sidekick has clearly run into trouble in the past and may not be who he say he is, there is a man who is not-so-subtly threatening Daniel to leave it alone, and also he's falling in love with his best friend's sister and it's mirroring Julian's own story.
I absolutely loved this book and I recommend it to anyone who is at all interested in intriguing plot....more
I really want to give this story 4.5 stars because it was a great book and I absolutely loved it, but I felt a little like it got repetitive from theI really want to give this story 4.5 stars because it was a great book and I absolutely loved it, but I felt a little like it got repetitive from the first book. After all, the premise of this book is similar, Katniss is going back into the Hunger Games. Still, it was a great book because the arena has changed and is way more interesting and imaginative.
Catching Fire is an apt title for this book because throughout it you can really feel that the idea of rebellion is slowly spreading throughout the districts and Katniss is the catalyst whether she likes it or not. This book introduces a whole host of new characters that I immediately loved. It would be so easy to not like the other victors of the games, but they're almost all amazing, from flirtatious Finnick to bitchy Johanna (my new favorite characters) to the drugged out morphlings and bloodthirsty Enobaria. The former victors are all incredibly unique and it's fascinating to see what winning the Hunger Games does to you a few years out.
The best thing about this book is the suspense of waiting for full-blown rebellion to start. There were so many hints of it, things Katniss didn't catch on to but the reader does, that I was losing hope as tributes started dropping like flies in the arena.
This book was still incredibly interesting, and it is clearly the stepping stone to something much bigger and greater in the next book. And the end of this one, what Katniss learns at the end, is a killer.
EDIT: I'm actually downgrading my 4.5 to a 4. Thinking about it again, the love triangle in this book became a little much for me and although Katniss is totally a badass and she's totally not a girly girl, it's like Collins forgot that because Katniss enjoys being made up and describing the clothes and the makeup a little too much. The whole time she's being transformed you get the feeling that Katniss not-so-secretly loves it even though it doesn't fit with her character as established before....more
I first started reading this book as just a sample I had downloaded off Amazon. I was a little skeptical going in because it is technically YA and it'I first started reading this book as just a sample I had downloaded off Amazon. I was a little skeptical going in because it is technically YA and it's written in first person (which always used to annoy me, but now I've come to accept partly because of this book). As soon as I finished the sample, I bought this book and the sequels.
This book is marked as YA, but there are a lot of heavy themes that are probably better suited to adults. For those who have read the Japanese novel Battle Royale, this book has a similar premise, teenagers fighting to the death in an arena where only one can survive. The Hunger Games, though, is better. And you can see in this book where the next two are going to take you, because it's clear that the government is shady and the citizens are getting restless.
One of the truly great things about this book is Katniss, the main character and our narrator. She is, quite simply put, awesome. She is a no-nonsense, independent girl and she is completely oblivious to anything remotely regarding romance, which is good considering the fact that this book sets up an epic love triangle with the boy who is her best friend and who she trusts implicitly and the boy who she's been thrust into the arena with and who she feels she owes because he's saved her on more than one occasion. The best part about this love triangle is that in this first book it's all in the background. The story and action doesn't get sacrificed for the sake of the love triangle. This is not Twilight, where everything gets put on hold for the characters to have deep, long conversations about how infatuated the two boys are with the girl.
I honestly don't think there was a single thing about this book that I disliked and I wish there were more books out there like the Hunger Games trilogy....more
I loved this book and there isn't a whole lot more for me to say. The concept is creepy; the characters are not only well developed but they all changI loved this book and there isn't a whole lot more for me to say. The concept is creepy; the characters are not only well developed but they all change so very much; there are some deep, thought-provoking topics on life and religion; and the ending is perfect.
And the fact that there's a sequel coming out is making me all sorts of giddy with excitement....more
Set in Germany during the late 1930s and early 1940s, The Book Thief is partly a story about Nazis, a little about the Holocaust, and a lot about humaSet in Germany during the late 1930s and early 1940s, The Book Thief is partly a story about Nazis, a little about the Holocaust, and a lot about human relationships and the shape of a human soul.
I almost didn't give this book a proper chance. I had trouble getting through the prologue because I thought the narrator's presence was too strong. I thought it seemed gimmicky to have Death narrate the story so much. But then I got into the first part and I fell in love with the characters and the heartache and the pain.
The Book Thief isn't the type of book that I felt compelled to rush through to see what happened next. I didn't read it quickly. Instead, this was the type of book that I read a chunk and then had to put it down so I could process what I read.
Zusak has written a very painful book in a very beautiful way. One that will tug at your heart and maybe step on it a few times by the end. The characters are so multifaceted and real that even though I knew what was going to happen to them, how they would die (because Death is kind enough to give some fair warning) it is still so upsetting....more
**spoiler alert** Update: Originally I gave this book a 4, but I recently changed it to a 5 because even months later I couldn't stop thinking about h**spoiler alert** Update: Originally I gave this book a 4, but I recently changed it to a 5 because even months later I couldn't stop thinking about how completely unforgiving it is in the best way possible. The the pace of the book still wasn't ideal in my opinion, but that is so easily overlooked. I know a lot of people disliked the way that Mockingjay ended the trilogy, but to be honest I don't think it could have gone any other way. Collins proved time and time again that she didn't pull her punches and that she was willing to make these books as realistic as possible, no matter how much it hurt to read. This book is about war and the lengths people will go to in order to win. I love that about this book.
Original review Two things you need to be warned of going in: the characters are all broken by the end of the book and no character is safe. One great thing that comes into play in these books is the effect relationships have on people. Katniss is not the strong character of the previous books; the simple knowledge that Peeta is being held by the Capital because of her is slowly making her lose her mind. Finnick is not the shameless flirt anymore because the girl he loves, poor, insane Annie, is also in the Capital and he's complete off his rocker as a result. Even Haymitch isn't the same. He blames Katniss just as much as she blames him for losing Peeta. The great thing about the new relationship between Katniss and Haymitch is seeing how similar they are and how much they both relied on Peeta, the strong, normal, good one of the trio. And emo, angry Gale loses the emo and just becomes angry, he becomes a product of the war because he's determined to no longer let the Capital ruin the lives of people in the districts. He's determined to win at any cost and it ends up breaking him.
I absolutely love how much Collins broke Peeta. As my favorite character I love him to death, but seeing him when he comes back from the Capital just made me love the character even more. Everything good about him, his trust, his love for Katniss, his good nature, have been turned and twisted and made into a weapon.
And the ending is absolutely brutal. You see Peeta fall apart to the point that he's begging people to kill him because he can't live with the way he is now and you see Katniss get addicted to a drug, lose her mind, and pretty much lose the will to live. This doesn't sound like what the protagonists of a YA novel should be acting like, but then Collins' Hunger Games trilogy so much more and so much better....more