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 a...moreI 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. (less)
Blackbringer is simply breathtaking, it's as simple as that! After reading Lips Touch Three Times, I was mesmerized by Laini Taylor's way with words a...moreBlackbringer is simply breathtaking, it's as simple as that! After reading Lips Touch Three Times, I was mesmerized by Laini Taylor's way with words and determined to read something longer... something that would satiate me just a bit more. Blackbringer was definitely the answer to that.
Laini Taylor presents us with a story set in Dreamdark, an imaginative and beautifully constructed world where faeries co-exist in a place filled with mannies (humans), crows, Djinns, demons, imps, and dragons. But this isn't just your typical fairytale... it is so much more! The prose is exquisite, the descriptions evocative, the world-building fascinating, and the characterizations are rich and varied. The story moves at a great pace, never slacking, through all its twists and turns, all the way to the end.
It's the story of a feisty little faerie who must save the Tapestry of the World from unraveling, all while trying to capture the Blackbringer before it destroys them all. It's one of those books that you can't put down, and when you turn the last page, it leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction and longing for more. The best part... there IS more! Taylor has written a second novel set in Dreamdark, which I can't wait to read. (less)
I really wanted to enjoy this book, but sadly I just couldn't. Between the product placement narrative and the less than likable main character, I sim...moreI really wanted to enjoy this book, but sadly I just couldn't. Between the product placement narrative and the less than likable main character, I simply couldn't find anything redeeming about it. I kept reading hoping that it would get better, that Morgan, the main character, would grow up. Alas that didn't happen, in fact it kept getting worse as the pages went on.
Maybe I'm not the target audience. Maybe a 12 year old girl would enjoy it much more than I did? Maybe I expected too much?
It started off well. The writing was beautiful, very descriptive, though a bit difficult for something geared towards pre-teen readers. I don't know a...moreIt started off well. The writing was beautiful, very descriptive, though a bit difficult for something geared towards pre-teen readers. I don't know about you, but I don't know many 11 year olds who use "sibilant" and "indefatigable" in passing, but I digress.
The chemistry between Victoria and Elliot, two 11 year old children from vastly different time periods who must go off on a quest in order to save their world from evil powers, is wonderfully executed, and you can really feel their growing friendship. Even if it's unrealistic to believe that only two children could save the world and retrieve two long-lost orbs from a pair of dragons, there was enough intrigue and potential there to make it work. Besides, it was the premise of having an uptight young girl from the 19th century paired up with a shy boy from the 1960s was what drew me in initially. It was also one of my biggest disappointments, as they spent most of the 400+ page book accomplishing separate and seemingly unconnected quests.
The plot for the first 300 or so pages was relatively engaging and had many strong points. I liked seeing Victoria grow as a character, though I think Elliot's growth could have been much more developed. The secondary characters were interesting, though there were so many of them as each chapter was almost a short story unto itself. That being said, while most of the twists were predictable, they were well executed.
My main criticism is that the final denouement was simply too simplistic. All the buildup led to a simple outcome, final battles that just happened, and were easily won. I found myself thinking "is that it?" after reading. Throughout the entire story, it is evident that neither Victoria or Elliot know what is going on. As such I expected either some kind of growth or epiphany on their part, or some great battle where their wits would save the day. In the end, it was neither.... they just won, the end. I expected more, and was really disappointed with how simply everything was resolved. There was so much potential there, and I just don't think it lived up to my expectations.
Perhaps as a younger reader I would have enjoyed it more, but as an adult the ending left me unsatisfied.
"And I'm here in Fairyland, where dreams can hurt. Somewhere all stories are real, all songs are true. I thought that was a strange thing for the Keld...more"And I'm here in Fairyland, where dreams can hurt. Somewhere all stories are real, all songs are true. I thought that was a strange thing for the Kelda to say...
Tiffany's Second Thoughts said : Hang on, was that a First Thought?.
And Tiffany thought : No, that was a Third Thought. I'm thinking about how I think what I'm thinking. At least, I think so."
Such demonstrations of metacognition, which sometimes bordered on meta-metacognition, amused me greatly. The feegles were wildly entertaining, and Tiffany wise beyond her years. Brilliant reading experience!(less)
A fairytale for all fairytales. Wildwood Dancing is an imaginative spin on the classic Frog Prince story and the tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses...moreA fairytale for all fairytales. Wildwood Dancing is an imaginative spin on the classic Frog Prince story and the tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Set in Transylvania, the author gives a new twist to the traditional fairytale setting by incorporating folklore from the region, which makes the story both refreshing and utterly enchanting.
The characters were sympathetic and rich, the pacing spot on, and the plot was engaging. A wonderful heroine, an evil cousin intent on controlling everything, a magical Other Kingdom complete with a cunning witch, a visiting group of Night People, and an ensemble of friendly beings, makes Wildwood Dancing a wonderful reading experience.
As Draguta would say : "Be careful what you wish for, nothing comes without a price." Well I couldn't have asked for a better reading experience, and the price was a few hours less sleep as I found myself having difficulty putting the book down. (less)
I tried really hard to enjoy this book, but my effort was in vain as I still found myself unbelievably frustrated with it.
As a non-English major, and...moreI tried really hard to enjoy this book, but my effort was in vain as I still found myself unbelievably frustrated with it.
As a non-English major, and someone whose upbringing and science background gave a limited understanding of the so-called classics, I felt intimidated, and ignorant each and every time the characters spewed poetically about various authors and their works. On quite a few occasions, the references were to works/authors that I'd never heard of, or knew only in passing. Was it really important to discuss for over 10 pages, the significance of the translated Iliad inscription in the tunnels below their building? Did it really add to the characterization, other than to show them as stuck-up academic snobs? The fact that Janet, the protagonist, would then look down on Christina for not being well-read, or sharing her love of literature, whilst not bothering to even TRY understanding her, also annoyed me. I realize that on some level, the author was trying to portray Janet as a self-centred snob, who couldn't appreciate anything or anyone who wasn't remotely like her, whilst also depicting her as a brilliant student, but it ended up alienating me as the reader. Not only could I better relate to Christina the pre-med biology student, but I also share her name.
Furthermore, the minute description of college life and of a liberal arts education was tedious to read. I don't care to know about the offerings of the college, nor to know the names of her profs, which classes she is taking, and the sequence of books they will be reading in each. Nothing of significance happened, other than the primary characters whining about the weather, school, or their love lives, yet it spanned hundreds of pages. It was like reading someone's diary, someone I had nothing in common with, and whom I didn't like very much. I kept hoping it would get better.
Yes, there were glimpses of foreshadowing throughout the novel, but they were so short and few between that they couldn't salvage the rest. It only started getting interesting in the last 100 or so pages, and then it was too short to really redeem itself. The idea that a Faerie Queen could hide her court in a small college, and the ramifications of this, is an intriguing concept, but one which I felt wasn't developed sufficiently. I would have liked to see certain things from different point of views, maybe gain a better understanding of why Thomas acted the way he did, when he tried to send a message through the play. Or maybe see more of the ramifications of the final confrontation.
In the end, I think that it wasn't the most elegantly told story, and that the fact that it was generally unfriendly to those without an extensive reading background, limited my understanding and appreciation of the book. Perhaps if I'd understood it better, I wouldn't have experienced such frustration and contempt whilst reading, and could have better enjoyed the experience, but that is not the case, and as such the multiple layers of frustration overshadow the layers of brilliance hidden underneath. (less)