Although I personally wouldn’t consider Juliet Marillier’s Shadowfell series to be very memorable, I have continued reading it because it’s a solid trAlthough I personally wouldn’t consider Juliet Marillier’s Shadowfell series to be very memorable, I have continued reading it because it’s a solid trilogy, especially if you enjoy slow, traditional fantasy.
The Caller begins with Flint having reached his breaking point after witnessing the events at the end of Raven Flight, and no longer willing to work as an Enforcer for Keldec. Meanwhile, in order to fulfil her quest of becoming the most capable Caller that she can be, Neryn sets off to meet the two Guardians that she hasn’t trained with, the White Lady and the Master of Shadows. On her way to seek the Master of Shadows though, Neryn finds out that Keldec has found a Caller of his own and has started using his Caller to amass an army of fey to fight for him. The task of overthrowing Keldec just became that much harder for the rebels!
In comparison to the previous two novels in the series, The Caller had a much faster pace, which I liked. I also thought Marillier did a good job of making Neryn realize that Keldec’s men and servants aren’t all evil and that many of them don’t approve of his tyrannical ruling. It would have been nice though if the conflict between Keldec and the rebels hadn’t been resolved as quickly or easily; it wasn’t very realistic, and the finale could have been so much more epic in my opinion!...more
Much like her debut, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters’ sophomore novel, The Cure for Dreaming, is a great blend of paranormal and historical fMuch like her debut, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters’ sophomore novel, The Cure for Dreaming, is a great blend of paranormal and historical fiction that’s written in such a way that you’re transported to the time period of its setting.
The year is 1900 and change is in the air in Portland, Oregon as women fight for their right to vote alongside men. One of these suffragists is our narrator, Olivia, whose father is very much against the idea of women entering the domain of politics. As a result, he hires a hypnotist to cure Olivia of her dreams of becoming an equal to a man in any way. Thankfully, Henri Reverie, does not share the same opinions as Mr. Mead, and rather than letting Olivia see the world the way it should be, he lets her see it the way it is. Although I’m sceptical about hypnotism, I did find the public and private sessions of hypnotism fascinating, and would have like more factual information about it at the end of The Cure for Dreaming.
I also liked Winters’ ability to make me care for or hate her characters. For example, I loathed Olivia’s father for his extremely controlling nature, and am very grateful that dentistry is no longer the way it used to be because having Mr. Mead as your dentist … *shudders*. On the other hand, I fully supported the romance between Henri and Olivia because Olivia finds a true partner in Henri.
A book that reminds you not to take your rights for granted...more
Although I’d never checked it out, Cinda Williams Chima’s The Heir Chronicles was a fantasy series that I’d heard a lot about in the past. With the reAlthough I’d never checked it out, Cinda Williams Chima’s The Heir Chronicles was a fantasy series that I’d heard a lot about in the past. With the release of the newest book in the series, The Sorcerer Heir, however, I figured I’d give the first book, The Warrior Heir, a try.
Though I found The Warrior Heir to be an okay novel and thought the worldbuilding was pretty solid, the story just didn’t grip me. Not only was The Warrior Heir quite predictable, but its pacing was slow and the characters were sort of boring. Ultimately, I think my younger self would have enjoyed this book a lot more....more
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson was a book I probably wouldn’t have read if it wasn’t for the book blogging community that put it on my radar. A reteTiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson was a book I probably wouldn’t have read if it wasn’t for the book blogging community that put it on my radar. A retelling of Peter Pan narrated from the perspective of Tinkerbell, this story focuses largely on Tiger Lily and features a less innocent Peter.
I really liked the idea of having Tinkerbell be the narrator of this book because as a fairy, she could understand the thoughtz and emotions of everybody around her. So, you got more insight into all the characters. It also led to Tinkerbell being a more rounded character herself instead of just being a fairy who’s in love with Peter Pan.
Other characters that I liked included Tiger Lily, a girl struggling to hold on to her freedom while trying to find a place for herself within her tribe, Pine Sap, the boy who accepts Tiger Lily just the way she is, and Tik Tok, Tiger Lily’s adopted father. Sadly, I didn’t find Peter’s story as captivating – he came off as clingy and manipulative instead – and didn’t really feel like I got to know Wendy very well because she entered the story so late. Poor Wendy also wasn’t portrayed in a very favourable light, which wasn’t surprising.
What I loved about Tiger Lily though was that it was grounded in reality. In Anderson’s story then, Neverland is a magical island that some Englanders like Captain Hook were able to find. As a result, you get to see how the European travellers affected the Indigenous population. For example, the native Neverlanders worry about the aging disease brought by Englanders, which is why the Sky Eaters agree, as a tribe, to let Phillip die. Meanwhile, after being nursed back to health by Tiger Lily, Phillip begins trying to get the Sky Eaters to give up their religion and traditions and start assimilating to more European ways of living. ...more
Whereas the previous books in The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner starred Eugenides, A Conspiracy of Kings is from the perspective of SophWhereas the previous books in The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner starred Eugenides, A Conspiracy of Kings is from the perspective of Sophos. This was unexpected; and meant that at least early on, I missed Eugenides.
But, I think Turner knew exactly what was necessary to broaden the scope of political intrigue in her series. Unlike Eugenides who you know would definitely have something up his sleeve, Sophos is a more vulnerable character; and so the series shifts its focus from the sly Eugenides’ ascent to power to the growing possibility of an invasion from the Mede Empire.
Since reading The Thief, I had liked the shy and scholarly Sophos. In A Conspiracy of Kings, you get to witness the suffering he endures – being kidnapped and sold into slavery – transform him from a naïve and idealistic character to one who is worthy of being a king. Although Sophos does his best to remain true to himself and to avoid bloodshed, he comes to realize that violence is sometimes unavoidable as a monarch. Some things are just worth fighting for!
And it’s not as if Eugenides isn’t around to help. While he can’t do anything outright because of his position, you know he’s machinating in the background with Attolia and Eddis.
The problem now is having an excruciatingly long wait for the next book in the series as there is still no date for when the fifth book is to be released. If only Turner would write faster!...more
Having seen the love for Sarah Fine’s Sanctum series and then the positive reviews for Of Metal and Wishes, I decided to give Fine’s writing a try witHaving seen the love for Sarah Fine’s Sanctum series and then the positive reviews for Of Metal and Wishes, I decided to give Fine’s writing a try with Of Metal and Wishes, a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera.
Of Metal and Wishes is very much a character driven book. While I liked Wen, a girl who learns to look beyond the Itanyai’s prejudices to see the Noor for who they are, and Melik, a Noor who refuses to be cowed by the Itanyai, my favourite character was the complex Ghost. Full of contradictions, I loved how the Ghost could be so kind one minute and then terrifying the next with the amount of power he wielded.
I also liked the romance. Although I thought there might be a love triangle in Of Metal and Wishes, there actually wasn’t one because Wen was only ever interested in Melik. Admittedly, they did develop feelings for each other quite quickly, but I was willing to excuse this because of the cramped and isolating conditions of the slaughterhouse.
Where Of Metal and Wishes could have been better developed, however, was the worldbuilding. Not only was little revealed about the world beyond the slaughterhouse, but there wasn’t a firm time period established either because while the conditions of the slaughterhouse had a historical feel, the machinery described in the outside world appeared to be more modern. Hopefully, the sequel will clear up some of my questions about the worldbuilding. ...more
When I requested The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack, I was expecting a book with great worldbuilding, a wily protagonist, and a slow buWhen I requested The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack, I was expecting a book with great worldbuilding, a wily protagonist, and a slow burning romance. Sadly, not only were none of my expectations fulfilled, but the plot also lacked organization as it consisted of characters endlessly running around from place to place while highlighting the adults’ incompetency.
Though it didn’t have as many steampunk elements as I thought it would, the worldbuilding in The Girl and the Clockwork Cat was pretty decent. I felt like I was in Victorian London, and I liked McCormack’s use of historically accurate language.
Maeko’s character, however, was less tolerable. Where I was expecting a hardened street rat, I instead got a girl with a soft heart. As well, I found that she thought she was much smarter than she actually was, and so constantly put herself in unfavourable situations.
Finally, the romance that the synopsis promised hardly came into fruition because Maeko ended up feeling torn between two guys. I’m not sure why the author chose to go the route of a love triangle because a straight-up romance between fellow thieves would have been a lot more believable than the possibility of a romance between a street rat and a wealthy guy....more
Hillary Monahan's Mary: The Summoning was a book that I have mixed feelings about because although I liked some aspects of it, other parts could haveHillary Monahan's Mary: The Summoning was a book that I have mixed feelings about because although I liked some aspects of it, other parts could have been improved upon.
Here is my list of pros and cons about Mary: The Summoning:
Pros: - I liked that Monahan created a background for Mary. She wasn’t just some ghost, but a girl with a history, which made me want to know why she became so full of fury that she eventually became Bloody Mary. - Although Mary: The Summoning was full of horror scenes, they weren't too frightening. While some people might be disappointed by that, I was actually content about not having to worry about whether Mary was coming for me. If you’re a scaredy-cat but want to read a horror novel, I would suggest giving Mary: The Summoning a try. - I loved what happened to (view spoiler)[Jess (hide spoiler)] at the end. She totally deserved it!
Cons: - I thought there was a lot of telling rather than showing in Mary: The Summoning. For example, before we even really get to know Shauna and her friends, we’re told about their personalities and group dynamics. - Shauna and her friends weren't very memorable. - I would have liked to know more about Mary’s background. Three letters addressed from Mary to her sister just weren’t enough since they only painted a brief picture of her life. - I wasn't too pleased that by the time story ended, Jess’ motives for wanting to summon Mary remained unclear. I had thought that Mary: The Summoning was a standalone, but Goodreads confirms otherwise. Honestly, I'm extremely surprised that one book wasn't sufficient for the overall story arc.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Through the use of music and a loosely defined world of Limbo, Claire Legrand’s The Year of Shadows explores the themes of loss, friendship, and lonelThrough the use of music and a loosely defined world of Limbo, Claire Legrand’s The Year of Shadows explores the themes of loss, friendship, and loneliness in a manner suitable for MG readers. Consider for example the protagonist: Olivia. During a time of recession, many tweens will be able to relate to Olivia’s situation of having their parents be stressed about their finances. Although I found The Year of Shadows to be a solid read, I couldn’t help repeatedly comparing it to Legrand’s other novel, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, which I thought was more engaging. ...more
The last book that I read that involved a serial killer was Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer, a novel that I wished I had DNF’ed. Thankfully, after readiThe last book that I read that involved a serial killer was Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer, a novel that I wished I had DNF’ed. Thankfully, after reading Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers, I have found a book about serial killers that I would gladly recommend.
With its horrifying descriptions of crime scenes, references to notorious real life serial killers, and statistics and logistics about murder, I Hunt Killers was unsurprisingly dark. But, there was also unexpected humour laced throughout this novel due to its snarky main character, Jazz. Jazz was likeable as well because although he used his charm and skill to manipulate others, he was constantly worried about becoming a replica of his dad.
As well-developed as Jazz was, I found the secondary characters to be just as strongly developed. My favourite character from the cast of secondary characters would have to be Howie, Jazz’s amusing, loyal, and chatty best friend. A close second would be Jazz’s crazy grandmother.
Though there’s little I would change about I Hunt Killers, I would rather not have had POVs from the serial killer because they weren’t necessary nor were they particularly interesting. Overall, however, I Hunt Killers was brilliantly written.The last book that I read that involved a serial killer was Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer, a novel that I wished I had DNF’ed. Thankfully, after reading Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers, I have found a book about serial killers that I would gladly recommend. ...more