Other than that, it was fine. I guess. I wasn't really expecting a young adult novel to pop up in the middle of...moreTwo words for you: cliffhanger ending.
Other than that, it was fine. I guess. I wasn't really expecting a young adult novel to pop up in the middle of this (not YA) series. I can understand why, in that Savannah is transitioning from her role as a kid in the series to becoming an adult. And I like Adam a lot, so hurrah for his being included. But this really wasn't what I was hoping for in terms of character movement and story lines. Paige and Lucas are completely absent, and Jaime only appears briefly. The clues scattered through like breadcrumbs also made me remember why I don't like mysteries. If you like YA novels or are a die-hard fan of the series, it's worth the read. I wish I hadn't paid hardcover price for it, though.(less)
Wow, I really liked this book. I got the digital review copy through NetGalley, read it in one big gulp, and am thinking about buying my ow...more4 1/2 stars
Wow, I really liked this book. I got the digital review copy through NetGalley, read it in one big gulp, and am thinking about buying my own copy -- I can easily see myself reading this again, especially if there are any sequels.
It's a pretty typical urban fantasy quest in some ways - a sídhe abducts a family member and three young people set out to retrieve him, meeting friends and enemies along the way - but the storytelling abilities of the author make it all fresh and immediate. At different points of the story I laughed out loud, fought tears, and found myself curling into a ball to get away from the nightmare images.
The romance between teenage Teagan and Finn is very nicely handled. Teagan is wicked smart, compassionate, responsible, and socially uncomfortable. Finn, a sort of adopted cousin she's never met, comes to live with her family after he's found on the street. Teagan's first impression of him when he's brought in by the social workers is that he is wild, like a wolf unfamiliar with humans: "It took her five seconds to figure out that Ms. Skinner was wrong. He wasn't feral. You had to be tame before you could turn feral. Finn Mac Cumhaill did not look like he had ever been tame."
Then they're introduced; he turns faint and she throws up. Yes, good girl falls for bad boy with a heart of gold. But Teagan is determined to go to Cornell to attend vet school, and no boy is going to get in the way of her plans. On Finn's part, he won't bring anyone he cares about into the darkness that is his destiny.
Other characters in the story include Teagan's little brother Aidan, who has an amazingly good memory for music and strong directional skills, their parents, and Teagan's best friend Abby, who is very grounded in reality and very funny.
My only real complaint is probably just a personal pet peeve: the world is built on Celtic folklore, but occasional pieces of Norse and Christian mythology is added as well, in the form of Yggdrasil and angels, respectively. À la carte mixing of mythologies gives me the same reaction as mixing pickles with peanut butter - yuck. If it weren't for that, I probably would have given this five stars.(less)
I feel like I should have liked this a lot, but the best I can say is that it is interesting and I don't dislike it. The op...moreWarning: cliffhanger ending
I feel like I should have liked this a lot, but the best I can say is that it is interesting and I don't dislike it. The opening scene was exciting, it brings the reader into the world and introduces Finley, the ostensible heroine, in all her split-personality glory. Actually, many scenes, individually, are interesting. It's when you string them together in a narrative whole that it starts to lose steam.
The characters, individually, are interesting and well thought-out. The world and its steampunk elements are interesting. The plot... I think it's that aforementioned lack of narrative flow is why it never made it over the hurdle from interesting to I care. Also, I kind of feel like I've read this before--and as the author herself says, it's supposed to be like a cross between The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Teen X-Men. And it was, but ... aiming to be derivative is not really the same as shooting for the stars.
This review is based on a digital ARC received via NetGalley.(less)
Fast, easy, mostly enjoyable read, but I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't spent half the book wanting to hit Shane and sometimes Claire and Eve...moreFast, easy, mostly enjoyable read, but I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't spent half the book wanting to hit Shane and sometimes Claire and Eve upside the head for being such complete morons. Jealousy impedes higher brain functioning, apparently, at least in Claire and Eve's case. Shane's impulse control problems - I'm not sure where they come from, but if he gets killed at some point in the series, I won't be surprised.(less)
I love this book so much that when I could no longer find it at a public library, I hunted it down on the used market. (That probably doesn't sound li...moreI love this book so much that when I could no longer find it at a public library, I hunted it down on the used market. (That probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's been one of my public library repeat reads since I was a kid; it was like an every three years ritual for me.)
Do I still love this book now? Yes. It's scary, sensual (in a non-graphic way), smart, magical, empowering and in many other ways fabulous. Plus, it's set in New Zealand, which as a kid growing up in one of the landlocked parts of the US, that seemed kind of magical in and of itself. Anyway, I still vividly recall certain scenes, and the wonder of reading those scenes is still there for me as an adult.
Here's a quote from one of those scenes. I'm not sure if it's my favorite, but it's a good representation of the heroine, Laura Chant, and her ally, Sorry (Sorenson Carlisle) as she makes an object of power under the supervision of the witch Winter (Sorry's mother):
"Stamp, your name is to be Laura. I'm sharing my name with you. I'm putting my power into you and you must do my work. Don't listen to anyone but me." She thought for what seemed like a long time, though it was really only a single second, and in that time, oddly enough, the picture of the old, whistling kettle at home came into her mind. "You are to be my command laid on my enemy. You'll make a hole in him through which he'll drip away until he runs dry. As he drips out darkness, we'll smile together, me outside, you inside. We'll " (she found her voice rising higher and growing a little hysterical) " ... we'll crush him between our smiles." She looked up at the reflected witches and said nervously, "Is that enough?"
"Quite enough," Winter said, and behind the fine lace of her age, Laura saw a reflection of Sorry's wariness.
"Terrific!" exclaimed Sorry. "Chant, can I be on your side? I'd hate to be your enemy."(less)
Very engaging story overall, other than a bit of a drop-off in tension in the middle (it was like there were two story arcs - one for this book and on...moreVery engaging story overall, other than a bit of a drop-off in tension in the middle (it was like there were two story arcs - one for this book and one to set up the next). The lead character, Cas, is very charismatic and, while he approaches broody bleakness at times, he never steps full-on into emo territory. He may not have a lot of hope, but he's usually got a plan and he'll give it his best shot. I also enjoyed the secondary characters quite a lot, and am wondering how many of them will be in the next book.
My only real complaint is that I occasionally got thrown out of the story by some of the pop culture references. Generally I'm okay with those things, but when I'm fully engrossed in whatever scary, funny, horrible thing is going on, I don't want stop to realize that I'm reading a Buffy or Evil Dead reference. And, other than those moments, I really was engrossed in the action and atmosphere of the story, which is probably why I found them so jarring.(less)
At first, I really enjoyed this -- the worldbuilding, the tone, the characters. I liked how Karou interacted with her frien...moreWarning: cliffhanger ending
At first, I really enjoyed this -- the worldbuilding, the tone, the characters. I liked how Karou interacted with her friend Zuzanna and with her foster family, especially Brimstone and Issa, and I liked her drive and how she was just evil enough to be interesting. There were a few details that seemed a little off to me, but I could roll with them. Then, Akiva arrived and it all descended into doomed love and (view spoiler)[Karou as a reincarnation of Akiva's dead lover (hide spoiler)] and angels vs. demons and blah blah blah cliffhanger ending.
I think it was the combination of my high expectations and the use of a trope that's kind of a pet peeve of mine, but I was disappointed by this and unlikely to read more of this series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I enjoyed the richness and tone of the world building and I liked the characters (yes, including Kaye; I don't get all the Kaye hate). But something w...moreI enjoyed the richness and tone of the world building and I liked the characters (yes, including Kaye; I don't get all the Kaye hate). But something with the pacing didn't completely work for me, the middle part especially seemed to really drag. I'm still trying to decide if I want to continue with this series.(less)