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 fu...moreIf 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.(less)
**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...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 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.(less)
There’s nothing like buying a book on a whim and being surprised with just how damn good it is. The Emperor’s Edge has everything I like: well-crafted...moreThere’s nothing like buying a book on a whim and being surprised with just how damn good it is. The Emperor’s Edge has everything I like: well-crafted characters, including a strong female; mystery; conspiracies; a little economics even; dry humor; witty banter; and just the tiniest hint of possible romance (which is exactly how I like my romance, thank you).
Amaranthe Lokdon is one of a few female enforcers in the Empire and she’s incredibly loyal to the emperor, Sespian, and has designs to move up in the ranks. So when she’s offered the chance to take out the assassin Sicarius in order to protect the young emperor, she takes the job. Only problem is she wasn’t meant to succeed. Now that she’s survived the encounter Amaranthe discovers that there are not one but two plots against the emperor afoot and the only people she has to rely on are Sicarius and the ragtag group of men she brings together.
I loved this book. I especially loved seeing the characters evolve. And although short, I think the book was exactly the right length. I liked that the mystery wasn’t dragged out for a painfully long time. And nothing came easy for Amaranthe as she inevitably got in a sticky situation with each one of the guys, but I liked that she was incredibly smart and able to think her way out of every situation.
As for the romance. I suppose one could say there is a love triangle, but not really. Sespian clearly has a crush on her despite having only met her twice, and it’s really sort of cute, almost like when one of your friends’ younger brothers likes you. It was cute, but I didn’t see it happening. Then there’s some tension between Amaranthe and Sicarius. He is the strong, mysterious, silent type that girls often can’t help themselves around, but she manages to keep it professional except for a few times. And no one can ever tell what Sicarius is thinking (or feeling), but I’d be willing to wager that he has slightly fond feelings for her. And the fact that both of these men have feelings for her is just too amusing for words: (view spoiler)[I'm serious, MAJOR spoiler(view spoiler)[father and son both liking the same girl, ha! (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)]
All-in-all this was such an entertaining read, and a true gem that I accidentally stumbled across.
Really a 4.5 stars, but I enjoyed it so much that I rounded up rather than down. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Here's the obligatory warning that I'm in love with these books and they can do no wrong in my eyes.
All of the previous books in the Emperor’s Edge se...moreHere's the obligatory warning that I'm in love with these books and they can do no wrong in my eyes.
All of the previous books in the Emperor’s Edge series have been leading up to this book, in a way. The lines of the Forge storyline become completely clear, and by the end of the book it is understood that the events to follow will forever change the world of the Emperor’s Edge books.
We get some strong development between Sicarius and Amaranthe, plus we get more of Sicarius, Amaranthe and Sespian together for extended periods of time. (view spoiler)[And the truth about Sicarius and Sespian’s relationship finally is revealed! (hide spoiler)]
There are very few love triangles that I can actually stand (let alone like), but the one between Sespian, Amaranthe and Sicarius is one that I actually enjoyed reading and was a little torn up over. (Another was between Jonathan, Alanna and George in Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartetSong of the Lioness quartet.)
It’s clear that the story isn’t done, but Blood and Betrayal isn’t as much of a cliffhanger as the previous book. There’s more that has to happen, but the book tied up most of what started in Conspiracy(view spoiler)[with Sespian getting to do the spying he wanted the team to kidnap him for, the team being reunited and all secrets revealed (hide spoiler)].
In order to hold myself over until Forged in Blood comes out (2013!) I’ll be moving on to Encrypted, which apparently deals with the mysterious alien technology that shows up in both Conspiracy and Blood and Betrayal.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
And All the Stars is more than just a sort of post-apocalyptic story about teenagers surviving and being really smart and resourceful and amazing, in...moreAnd All the Stars is more than just a sort of post-apocalyptic story about teenagers surviving and being really smart and resourceful and amazing, in the aftermath of an alien occupation of earth. The story is about classes and social work and an individual being more than the generalization of his or her society.
This book was a really great read. I loved having the characters realistically discuss what to do next, seeing the occupation and changes to society take place over time. I always find it frustrating when a novel or a movie establishes some event is taking place (alien invasion, virus release, zombies, etc.) and then jumps ahead some how (character gets injured, usually) without showing the transition. And All the Stars is all about the transition.
But just as much as the actual story, I loved how diverse the characters were. There's a straight boy who doesn't confirm to hetero norms and has a gay best friend who he's super close to and he doesn't mind when people assume they might be a couple. There are people of other religions, people from multiple ethnicities. And even one male who dresses feminine with makeup and traditionally female clothes despite definitely identifying as male.
My only complaint has to do with the end: (view spoiler)[the big final battle is skipped over ala The Hunger Games where Katniss would always wake up later to someone explaining how things finished. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
However, Unearthly was incredibly interesting and had a very unique take on the idea of angels. All angel-bloods (Clara is only a quarter and her mom is half) have a purpose. Shortly after puberty they begin to have visions of what they were put on earth to do. Clara learns that her purpose is to save a boy from a forest fire in Wyoming, so her California family packs up and moves.
There are typical high school moments in the book, but for me the most interesting thing is the mythology created about angels and angel-bloods. I want to learn more about this world, about these beings. Some angel-bloods’ purposes are to watch, others are messengers, and there are those who are supposed to interfere in human events in some way. There is conflict between angels. There are angel levels and hierarchies. It's all touched upon here, but not completely fleshed out yet.
In this book, the antagonist isn’t really the Black Wings (fallen angels who have gone against their purpose and what God intends for them), although Clara does have a confrontation with one. The main antagonist is actually Clara herself. As the book progresses and she meets Christian, Clara seems certain she is supposed to fall in love with him. When she instead falls in love with someone else (love triangle! dun, dun, DUN! But seriously, it's not that annoying), Clara finds herself torn between fulfilling her purpose or being with the boy she truly loves.
To me this book doesn’t really end. This felt like only the first act. I think it’s because there are so many open storylines now that Clara has made her decision and things don't go down how anyone had expected them to. There's so much to cover in the next book still: (view spoiler)[Neither Clara nor Christian knows what they should do now that they both technically didn’t complete their purposes. Something tricky is going on with Jeffrey, whose wings are almost completely black now. And Clara’s mom is still hiding things. I imagine all of this will come into play in the next book, and I eagerly await all of it. Especially Jeffrey’s storyline. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
While an incredibly well-written book with a great mystery and an even better of ensemble characters, there is one thing to know going into it: there...moreWhile an incredibly well-written book with a great mystery and an even better of ensemble characters, there is one thing to know going into it: there is mention of torture. The hangman's job is to also torture people to get them to confess, and while those scenes aren't terribly graphic, they did make my stomach turn a little (although I might just be a total weakling when it comes to that stuff).
When children begin turning up dead with a witch's mark tattooed into their skin the town's midwife is thrown into the keep and labeled a witch. The townspeople are convinced she is doing it, but the hangman, who is responsible for torturing a confession out of the midwife, believes she is innocent. Now he has a week to prove who is really behind the murder of these children and the only help he has is his daughter and Simon, the physician.
I don't think there was a single character I disliked. Even the court clerk, who you're supposed to hate because he clearly doesn't care about the truth, just what is simplest and easiest, I didn't mind because at least I understood why he did the things he did. There was a reason to his indifference.
My biggest complaint about this book is the drawing out of the mystery. A character would unearth something that explains or helps them come to an understanding, but the reader isn't told what that is at that moment. Or every time there looks to be a breakthrough, something would throw a wrench into everything. I didn't mind it the first few times this happened, but this plot device was used to often that I eventually became tired of the teasing.
The other thing is that I don't know why the book is named The Hangman's Daughter. Magdalena is undoubtedly smart and does help, but she's almost nonexistent for the first half of the book. And even when she joins up, her father and Simon are still more of the main character's than her. It's like renaming the Harry Potter books Ron Weasley and the Sorceror's Stone, where Harry's still the main character and he goes off and does things without Ron or solves something and then has to explain them to Ron later.
But overall this book was very engaging and I found myself at work trying to read it on my phone so I could find out what happened next.(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)
Although the population in Divergent is divided up by the virtues they hold most dear, in a way, the book is all about how the best of people have all...moreAlthough the population in Divergent is divided up by the virtues they hold most dear, in a way, the book is all about how the best of people have all five virtues within them.
I felt like Divergent was wonderfully written and incredibly fast paced. I couldn't put the book down and I found all of the characters and their many facets to be fascinating. The story and the ultimate conflict is set up wonderfully throughout the book, as is the burgeoning romance Tris finds herself caught up in. It is all realistically developed, unfolding in a believable manner — something many YA novels lacks when it comes to romance.(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)
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 the...moreI 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.(less)
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. Norma...moreThis 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.(less)
A wonderful compliment to The Alchemist, The Executioness is even more ambitious, striking out from the main city in its companion novella and explori...moreA 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?(less)
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'...moreI 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.(less)
I think I would typically rate The Host at 3.5 stars, but because I was so surprised at how much I liked it (and to be fair, I went in with really low...moreI think I would typically rate The Host at 3.5 stars, but because I was so surprised at how much I liked it (and to be fair, I went in with really low expectations), I’m bumping it up to 4 rather than down to 3. I really feel like I have to justify why I liked this book, especially since I loathed Twilight so much.
In my opinion, this is a huge improvement over the schlockfest that was Twilight. There is an actual, interesting story to tell that is beyond a love triangle (although there is a love triangle present: more on that later). And it’s a rather unique story too. Meyer proves to be a competent storyteller, even if her writing leaves a lot to be desired at times. She still has her sentences that aren’t quite sentences, which annoys the crap out of me. She still has her creepy, WTF scenes that masquerade as her idea of romance and love, and make me wonder what goes on in this woman’s head.
One of my biggest complaints, however, is that Meyer still avoids actual confrontation and loves the fluffy, happy, Disney ending. (Hell, even Disney might be more hardcore considering it’s not afraid to do things like kill off Mufasa or throw in a montage of a married couple’s life that includes me bawling for five minutes when we learn the wife can’t have children and then she DIES and it’s so depressing. Disclosure: I love Disney and Pixar). The whole book is leading up to a confrontation between Wanda and Seeker. And what we get is Wanda being a sad sack and then coming up with the perfect plan that fixes everything. (view spoiler)[Yes, Wes dies. But he dies off screen and to be honest, who gives a crap? We barely knew Wes. He’s just someone who lives in the caves and happens to support Wanda. But he’s not vital, we see maybe three scenes with him. And yes, Walter dies. But it’s of cancer. No one can control that. It’s not the result of someone’s choices. And again, we barely knew him. (hide spoiler)]
Meyer broaches some interesting topics, specifically about humanity and the soul. We have to wonder just what makes us human. What makes us civilized? And what is it that makes a person who he or she is? Is it the body, the soul, personality, interactions, relationships to people, reactions to events? Furthermore, the book brings up interesting parallels of how countries would invade another and take over, enforcing their ideas on the natives. The whole justification by the souls (other than they can’t survive without a host) is that humans were too violent and they were killing the planet. So they came in and they made it better. They made people better and the world better. Of course this is all debatable, and it’s not really better for the humans if they are trapped in their own heads or if they disappear altogether.
This book was already incredibly long at more than 600 pages, but Meyer made a mistake in not giving details and explanations in the area that really needed it. Wanderer is placed in Melanie’s body and she quickly realizes that the host is not gone. Wanderer, who has been to eight different planets, is supposed to be pretty hot stuff among the souls. She’s strong and she’s confident that Melanie’s presence isn’t going to be a big deal.
Fast forward a few months, and we learn that perhaps Melanie is just stronger. We get a few memory/dreams and the adventure starts as Wanderer chooses to go search of Melanie’s brother Jamie and Jared, the man she loves. Wanderer, at this point, already has very strong feelings for the two and she doesn’t want any harm to come to them. I suppose it’s understandable, but I felt like Meyer copped out by not showing us the slow change in Wanderer as she gradually came to care for two men she’d never met simply through the memories of her host.
It’s like the insta-love problem. You skipped all of the relationship building, all of the turmoil, the INTERESTING stuff. Plus, considering how AWFUL Jared is to Wanderer for the first couple of months she's there, I just don't believe that she would still sort of love him even when she's afraid he's going to hit her (yes, this is a very real fear she has at times). But maybe if we saw the development of her feelings for Jared, I could better understand why those feelings remain despite her fear.
But Meyer also proves in this book that she’s capable of writing a believable, growing relationship: thus, the third aspect of the predictable love triangle. This is where things get tricky. Melanie, who is very much still there, loves Jared. Her body responds to Jared. Therefore, Wanderer (aka Wanda, now) also has very strong feelings and responses to Jared. But, enter Ian. Wanda slowly develops feelings for Ian, who has slowly developed feelings for Wanda (Melanie, for the record, is not happy about this because it's still her body ... so, creepy, when you think about it). Things aren’t insta-love for the two of them right off the bat. Instead, Ian is one of the many who (quite understandably) hates Wanda for what she is, doesn’t trust her and even tries to get at her so they can kill her and protect the group. But we can see when Ian starts to change his mind; when he realizes that there is more to Wanda than a parasite alien.
But Meyer has to ruin some well-written relationship development with her incredibly twisted idea of what is romantic (she did some fairly creepy things with Edward-Bella-Jacob. Hi, tent scene and time when Edward offers to pimp out his wife). There’s a lot of weird experimental kissing and a juvenile pissing contest between Ian and Jared that is full on ridiculous because these are grown ass men.
I know there has been talk of two other books, which I’ll probably read, but I think The Host stands fine just the way it is. I like the ending as it stands. It opens up the possibility of sequels (view spoiler)[(I would assume that they would then focus on the rebel cells of humans and taking back Earth.) (hide spoiler)] but they aren’t necessary, and to be honest, they will probably be a letdown unless done exactly right.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
In Genesis, we meet young Anaximander, who is enduring questioning on the topic of her choice in an attempt to gain entry into the prestigious Academy...moreIn Genesis, we meet young Anaximander, who is enduring questioning on the topic of her choice in an attempt to gain entry into the prestigious Academy. Through the questions presented to Anax and her carefully worded answers the reader learns about how a devastating plague ravaged the world and a small society survived by completely cutting itself off from the outside world. Of particular interest to Anax is the figure Adam Forde. We learn about Adam's importance as if the story is the center of an onion and we need to peel back the layers to slowly unveil the true meaning of this story.
Genesis is not an easy read. There is a lot of philosophical discussion, particularly when we look at one of Adam’s interactions. These philosophical discussions and arguments become quite important for the end of the story we are being told. And the end of this story is delivered with a punch. This is a book that I believe needs to be read again in order to truly appreciate the ending.
Genesis is a quick read but it is not easy material, and that makes it all the better.
Some thoughts about the very end of the book, so major spoilers ahead. (view spoiler)[I find it interesting that even the robots have their own religious founding in a sense. There is Adam and Art who represent Adam and Eve. It is Adam, though the infects Art and brings about the virus (equivalent to Eve eating the fruit and giving it to Adam). This is interesting because men dominate women throughout the Bible and history and yet it is the woman - whom men would consider the lesser of the two - who brings about a cataclysmic event.
Now it is the human, the lesser and flawed of the two that brings about the mutations in certain robots, something they are still trying to stamp out years and years later (I believe they even refer to it as original sin). But without Adam Art would never have been able to send out his programming and thus begin the war between robots and humans. They even refer to this whole episode as their Genesis. I found it interesting that although they are robots and probably have no need for religion and faith, they still use terms from religion and their history mirrored a religious story. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
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 chang...moreI 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.(less)
I know a lot of people are probably sick to death of angels (the new vampires and werewolves). But the angels in Angelfall are not the angels of Unear...moreI know a lot of people are probably sick to death of angels (the new vampires and werewolves). But the angels in Angelfall are not the angels of Unearthly (which I loved). They aren't normal people or kind to humans or guardian angels or anything like that. These are biblical angels. These are Old Testament/Torah, wrath of god, angels that destroyed cities like Sodom and Gomorrah. Susan Ee has legit angel and bible lore (I'm not religious, but I did go to Catholic school) and I was absolutely giddy about that. (Nephilim are referenced correctly! Gabriel is the messenger of God and brings about the beginning of the apocalypse! Uriel has ties to hell!)
The book takes place after cities of the U.S. have already been destroyed when angels came down to Earth to wreak fire and brimstone. In life after modern amenities are gone, people keep one eye on the skies to hide from angels, gangs roam the streets and Penryn (your typical tough female lead, like The Hunger Games' Katniss, Graceling's Katsa or Hollowmen's Remy) watches as her little sister is grabbed by an angel who flies away with her. And the only chance she has of getting Paige back is the injured, wingless angel she finds on the street. Raffe is willing to bring Penryn to the angels only because she has his wings and it's his hope that they can be reattached.
I love lawless end-of-the-world-type societies, so Angelfall hit the mark for me. I like books that are light on the romance, but hint that there is actual build up of a relationship. I just really liked this book. I love underground rebellions (like Neville Longbottom and Dumbledore's Army in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).
And I absolutely loved that Penryn's mother is legitimately crazy. She's schizophrenic, sees things, does things that only make sense to her but seem to have no rational reasoning and is just damn fascinating to read about. A woman like that would normally be in the care of professionals. Instead, given the end of the world and everything, she's free to roam the streets and right now the real world looks as horrifying and scary as what she's always pictured in her head. And she is actually more dangerous than most people because of how unpredictable and out of touch with reality she is.
I think the only reason Angelfall didn't get 5 stars from me was because the story is the classic "younger sibling was taken by supernatural creatures and I have to get him/her back with the help of one of these supernatural creatures that I don't trust all that much" (although the end is different (view spoiler)[ when you consider the fact that Paige has been turned into a little monster! I can't wait to see how that plays out (hide spoiler)]). Lastly, it's written in first person POV, and I'm honestly getting so sick of that. There's something about first person POV that I never really liked and the more YA novels I read that are written like that, the less patience I have for it.
Overall, this was an amazing book, a fascinating read and has planted the seeds for a really great series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What you should know going into this review, is that I am unabashedly in love with these books.
In a way I sort of dreaded this book because it was the...moreWhat you should know going into this review, is that I am unabashedly in love with these books.
In a way I sort of dreaded this book because it was the one where we get Akstyr’s POV, and he’s always rubbed me the wrong way. As the one member of the group who has always looked out for himself more than the others, I felt like Akstyr was going to harsh my good vibes about the Emperor’s Edge group.
You know it’s the mark of a good author and storyteller when a book focusing on a character you don’t particularly care for is just as enjoyable (possibly more so) than the rest of the series. Buroker had a stroke of genius when she decided to use Akstyr’s POV in a book with the most interesting (so far) storyline.
In this book, the story that began at the end of the previous one (view spoiler)[(Sespian contacting the group to be kidnapped) (hide spoiler)] comes to fruition. Sespian, that kind, young emperor with a bit of a crush on Amaranthe, finally comes back into the picture for an extended time. No longer being drugged into submission, we finally get to see Sespian as he really is.
Of course, nothing goes as planned, and the group discovers that Forge is even more formidable than they initially estimated.
What I really wasn’t expecting was for this book to end with such a cliffhanger. Because Conspiracy is really the first part of this story arc. While the previous three Emperor’s Edge books can stand alone, Conspiracy cannot. In order to finish the story started here, you need to move onto Blood and Betrayal. Which I’m doing right now!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
“It was kind of romantic. Catastrophically romantic.”
With those two sentences, Nick Dunne aptly sums up the relationship he has with his wife, rife wi...more“It was kind of romantic. Catastrophically romantic.”
With those two sentences, Nick Dunne aptly sums up the relationship he has with his wife, rife with false personalities, resentment, the thirst for approval, the desire to be better for one another and a begrudging sort of admiration, even love.
Nick and Amy’s marriage is in rocky waters when Amy goes missing on the morning of their fifth anniversary. The novel is told through alternating chapters from Nick, beginning on the morning of Amy’s disappearance, and from Amy’s diary, beginning back when she met Nick up until shortly before the “event.”
As the investigation progresses, Nick’s lies pile up, the evidence mounts against him and the reader relives how Amy and Nick fell out of love.
At first glance,Gone Girl is a simple mystery, well written, but initially nothing special; however, halfway through the novel takes a sharp and drastic turn. This run-of-the-mill mystery becomes so much more, and I couldn’t put it down at that point. For me the first half is a 3.5-4 stars, but the second half is a solid 5; you just need to power through and get to the good stuff.
Gone Girl is not the sort of book I would normally pick up, but the hype around it was so strong, and it ended up on so many "best of" lists from 2012, that my husband and I had to give it a try. He read it first and couldn't stop raving about it, but couldn't tell me too much about it. And now I know how he felt. It's really the sort of book you need to read all the way through to understand why it's so good, because you can't discuss anything from the second half of the book without ruining it all.(less)