This should really be 4 stars, but due to some passages hitting personal literary triggers, I'm giving it a 3.5.
This book came highly recommended, andThis should really be 4 stars, but due to some passages hitting personal literary triggers, I'm giving it a 3.5.
This book came highly recommended, and it certainly didn't disappoint in terms of complexity, narrative, or prose. Highly engaging, it was quite the page turner, even amidst the complexity and elaborateness of the world-building, and the ensuing confusion created the lack of annexes to help sort everything out. As with most trilogies, it ends with a frustrating cliffhanger, and as such I will definitely read the next one in order to find out what happens....more
Graceling was awesome, Fire was great, but Bitterblue is just on a whole other level of amazing-ness! And yes, I sat there for 5 minutes trying to thiGraceling was awesome, Fire was great, but Bitterblue is just on a whole other level of amazing-ness! And yes, I sat there for 5 minutes trying to think of a way to express just how amazing it was, and that's the best I came up with!
Anyone who has read Graceling knows that Bitterblue's story is one of strength and determination, and was begging to be told. I wasn't disappointed! The writing was wonderful, and the story was full of intrigue, tension, and betrayals. It was a bit slow-moving at the very beginning, but as someone who read the previous books quite some time ago, I appreciated this time to get re-acquainted with the characters, the setting, and how much has changed since we last saw them in Graceling.
Much more reflective than the previous books, I loved how the focus wasn't necessarily on battles and quests, but instead focused on uncovering the truths behind Leck's legacy in Monsea, and on Bitterblue learning how to become the queen she was destined to be. With so many of our favourite characters in for the ride, good pacing, and lots of little surprises, I love how this books brings everything together, yet still leaves us wanting more.
Brilliant and amazing, it's definitely worth reading!
I'm not usually a fan of zombies, but there was something strangely compelling about the various Dead that threaten the safety of the Old Kingdom. ThoI'm not usually a fan of zombies, but there was something strangely compelling about the various Dead that threaten the safety of the Old Kingdom. Though it was a bit confusing at first, especially the juxtaposition of the modern (ish) Ancelstierre and the medieval Old Kingdom, I thought this was a great fantasy adventure with a fierce female protagonist. Sabriel is smart, strong, and has a clear level head, and though she's thrown for a loop and thrust into a situation that's beyond her scope, she doesn't falter or wimper but instead rises to the occasion.
At times scary, and other times rather sad, Sabriel was quite the page turner and I look forward to reading the other books in this trilogy.
Also, and this is just me thinking aloud about the origin of names, I found it interesting that the so-called modern country, Ancelstierre, sounds a lot like the French for Ancient Earth... or terre ancienne. I wonder if this is meant to parallel the name for the Old Kingdom, as both their duality seems to play an important role. ...more
This book is somewhat odd, in that I both really enjoyed certain elements of it, and despised others. Because of this, there were portions where I wouThis book is somewhat odd, in that I both really enjoyed certain elements of it, and despised others. Because of this, there were portions where I would think "YAY, I want more!", and others where I'd roll my eyes and skim the page, hoping a particular passage would soon end.
Things I liked - I loved the historical and scientific elements of the story. Diana, the main female protagonist is a historian with an interest in alchemy. She's also a 37 year old witch. Matthew, the male protagonist, is a biochemist with a keen interest in DNA and evolution. He's also a centuries old vampire. Throughout the book there was much talk about the role of genetics in the creation of paranormal beings, and how genes play an important role in the different species. During these passages I was excited and thoroughly engaged.
- I also enjoyed watching the relationships evolve between the different paranormal groups (witches, vampires, daemons), and learning about their differences (and similarities). In particular, the examination of customs and roles within these distinct groups, was very interesting.
Things I didn't like - The characterization felt over the top. The vampires weren't shiny per se, but they were described as being tall, elegant, and handsome. They just seemed too perfect in my opinion. They're beautiful, they're rich, they're brilliant and smart... I kept waiting for one of them to mess up royally and thus redeem themselves in my mind.
- I did NOT enjoy the sugary romance between Matthew and Diana. It was sappy, overly dramatic, and those just passages kept going on, and on, and on. (view spoiler)[To add insult to injury, after many painful paragraphs during which Matthew waxes poetically about Diana's virtues, and tells her that he might not be able to step away after each kiss, he won't even consummate their relationship. He always has a ready excuse about it not being the right time, how he wants it to be special... blablabla. If you're going to go for over the top romance novel, at least give us that! (hide spoiler)]
- Since vampires require very little sleep, Matthew watches Diana as she sleeps. GAG! Not a fan of this. It reminds me too much of Twilight. That being said, a lot of Matthew's super protective tendencies (read: he continuously manages her, while simultaneously saying that she's a powerful witch) also reminded me of a certain shiny vampire's behaviour.
- The scientific inaccuracies also left me with a lingering nagging feeling whenever they appeared. Some were rather glaring and even a mediocre high school biology student should notice (AB negative is NOT the universal blood receiver), while others are subtle (the explanation for mitochondrial eve was rather tenuous).
Overall it was an ok read. Considering that it's nearly 600 pages long, it did manage to sustain my interest (if at times just barely). I think the main problem with this book is that it tried to do too much and didn't necessarily succeed in all aspects. Also, even after finishing it, I'm still not sure who the target reader is. Is it a paranormal romance? Is is fantasy? Is it geared towards history and science buffs? It's a bit of everything really, and does its best to satisfy everyone. I'm just not sure it was effective enough for me. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I really enjoyed this conclusion to Beka's story. I have to admit however that I'd figured out (or predicted) many of the final twists to the story, wI really enjoyed this conclusion to Beka's story. I have to admit however that I'd figured out (or predicted) many of the final twists to the story, which made for a less that surprising ending. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it, because I really did. I love how the characters evolved, and I greatly enjoyed the evolving friendship between Beka and Farmer.
Tortall lovers will squee with delight, while others will be thoroughly entertained (though they should probably start at the beginning of the series in order to fully appreciate some of the nuances and twists along the way). ...more
If I had to describe this novel in a single word, it would be PRETTY. Nearly everything about this book is pretty. The gorgeous cover, the beautiful aIf I had to describe this novel in a single word, it would be PRETTY. Nearly everything about this book is pretty. The gorgeous cover, the beautiful and evocative prose, the whimsical circus setting... it's just so darn pretty! If I could add another word, it would be enchanting.
The most frustrating thing with this novel (and why it fails to garner 5 stars), is that everything is just so slow! People, settings, events are wonderfully and beautifully described (and not in a preachy and boring makes-me-want-to-skim-the-page way either). On many occasions I could not only imagine the wondrous tents of the circus, but I could also smell the caramel sweets, and feel the excitement of the patrons. It takes a skilled hand to evoke such powerful reactions in a reader. The flip side of this beautiful writing is that the plot and the pacing inch along at a snail's pace.
That being said, if I could purchase a ticket for the Night Circus, I would be there in a flash. ...more
Though the beginning is a bit slow and sluggish (a bit of Marchetta syndrome as I like to call it), the writing is beautifuWow! This book was amazing!
Though the beginning is a bit slow and sluggish (a bit of Marchetta syndrome as I like to call it), the writing is beautiful and the world-building and character development is fabulous. A true sign of a great book is when I reach the end and flip the book over and want to begin anew... definitely felt that here. ...more
I really wanted to enjoy this book, but found it to be a disappointment. After a slow and predictable start, the concept of Iron Fey was interesting aI really wanted to enjoy this book, but found it to be a disappointment. After a slow and predictable start, the concept of Iron Fey was interesting and gave me a glimmer of hope for the rest of the book. Sadly, it wasn't enough. The last quarter of the book was a bit more exciting, but it wasn't enough to redeem it in my opinion.
The heroine, Meghan, is more than a bit clueless, and frustratingly so. Though she's told not to say thanks or make deals, she repeatedly does. Though she claims to be tough and come from a farm where she's done extraordinary things, she acts like a poor damsel in distress every single time. We know she has untaped potential, which makes it increasingly frustrating to watch her lack any gumption. She's also incredibly whiny, which made it hard to be sympathetic with her character.
Overall I found this book to be repetitive and tiresome. And though I generally enjoy the concept of fairyland and creative twists on it, in the end it just wasn't for me. I suspect lovers of paranormal romance might find it more appealing than I did... and in hindsight I should have suspected as much, considering it's published by Harlequin Teen. Lesson learned. ...more
Team Zombie, or Team Unicorn? I am definitely a member of Team Unicorn.
That being said, until the second half of this anthology, I was seriously leanTeam Zombie, or Team Unicorn? I am definitely a member of Team Unicorn.
That being said, until the second half of this anthology, I was seriously leaning towards the zombies! ;)
Zombies vs. Unicorns is a rich anthology featuring many well-known YA authors. Though I was a bit disappointed that there weren't any direct zombie vs unicorn battles, I did really appreciate that the stories tried to depict their chosen "team" in a few novel ways. I was quite taken with the idea of KILLER unicorns,
Favourite Stories "The Children of the Revolution" by Maureen Johnson - This one made laugh, as it was a rather hilarious commentary on the world of celebrities with zombies added into the mix. "Princess Prettypants" by Meg Cabot - had be giggling all along. "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Unicorn" by Diana Peterfreund - Beautifully written, this was an interesting twist on the traditional Unicorn story... gotta love killer unicorns! Also makes me want to go out and find other books by this author.
Least Favourite Stories "A Thousand Flowers" by Margo Lanagan - I struggled with this one a bit, both for the context as well as the shifting point of views. "Prom Night" by Libba Bray - After so many great stories, I felt like this one was a bit of a let-down. I wish it had been longer, or maybe just more developed. ...more
I'd been waiting (not so patiently) for this book for months, and when I finally got my hands on an ARC, I was not disappointed! Daughter of Smoke andI'd been waiting (not so patiently) for this book for months, and when I finally got my hands on an ARC, I was not disappointed! Daughter of Smoke and Bone lived up to the anticipation! It was a bit less of a light-hearted fantasy than the Dreamdark books, and a bit more intense than Lips Touch, but that added intensity and darkness really made this book stand out. Daughter of Smoke and Bone takes that whole good vs evil concept to new and exciting places because unlike so many other stories, we don't really know who is on each side... which makes for an interesting reading experience.
Laini has a gift for creating vivid, imaginative and beautifully constructed settings. Her writing is wonderfully descriptive without being overly heavy or distracting. The pacing and timing of the plot felt smooth and neither dragged nor felt rushed in my opinion. That being said, I do wish that Akiva's appearance and the ensuing drama it provided had been a bit slower to evolve, but that might be because I was enjoying Karou's existential questioning so much! The characters have depth, and though I wish I could know more about Brimstone's background, I understand that this was probably purposely omitted due to further developments in the book/series.
All in all it was a great novel, one I would definitely recommend to friends!
Also, though I can see how the cover ties in with the story, I'm simply not a fan of it. Unlike Laini's other covers which drew me in and evoked an emotional response, this one leaves me rather ambivalent. Luckily, the book itself does the opposite! ;)
I find it somewhat ironic that I am at a loss for words trying to describe a book that had no words whatsoever... but that's what has happened. The ArI find it somewhat ironic that I am at a loss for words trying to describe a book that had no words whatsoever... but that's what has happened. The Arrival is simply stunning!
The artwork is powerful and evocative, all while being mesmerizingly beautiful. The narrative is beautiful, and I really felt the loss, confusion and hope that the immigrant man felt as I turned the pages. Have I mentioned that the drawings are spectacular yet, because they truly are! I've just "read" this book twice in a row now, and I think I'm going to go start at the beginning once again... it's that wonderful!...more