Pretty sure some of the backdrop and most of the character stuffs are spoilers at this point, but I'll eventually deal with that when I ever get to thPretty sure some of the backdrop and most of the character stuffs are spoilers at this point, but I'll eventually deal with that when I ever get to the actual Dresden Files novels. As is, this is a short story made specifically for the graphic novel medium, and I enjoyed it to pieces. As I have done previous Dresden Files graphic novels. I think this'll be my main medium to go to for this series...for now....more
This graphic novel pretty much acts as a direct adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, dialogueThis graphic novel pretty much acts as a direct adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, dialogue and scenery and characters all, plus smatterings of extras, etc. For those who haven't read the stories, I'd definitely say pick up this graphic novel, because the illustrations are lovely and helpful and canonly, vividly rich!...more
I...kind of understand where Clariel is coming from. I related to her on some level. Did I adore her as a protagonist like I did Lirael and Sabriel? No. Did I love her as a future villain? Hell yes....more
Now I kind of want to read Moon Called again. The book, that is. But I'm pretty sure that leads me back to my super-long cycle of rereading the firstNow I kind of want to read Moon Called again. The book, that is. But I'm pretty sure that leads me back to my super-long cycle of rereading the first six books of the series over and over again...*twitches*...more
You know, I seem to be enjoying the graphic novel adaptations to this series, so I'm not sure why the only Dresden novel I've picked up and read was tYou know, I seem to be enjoying the graphic novel adaptations to this series, so I'm not sure why the only Dresden novel I've picked up and read was the first one. I prolly should add the rest of the Dresden books to my list of things to read.
That said, I think it helped that this graphic novel was a short story and not broken up into several volumes. The artwork was awesome, too! Oh, and naga. And jinn. Yespls!...more
There was a lot of rich, Celtic background going on in this book, which I actually adored, because I loOriginal review posted at Story and Somnomancy.
There was a lot of rich, Celtic background going on in this book, which I actually adored, because I love reading about the fae folk and the Tuatha De. There was certainly a lot of research and folklore put into this book, evident in Aed’s stories throughout the text. So as far as worldbuilding went, I thought it was excellent, and the premise–a woman who used to be a tree tries to find herself amidst the beginnings of a massive war–looks to be interesting going forward.
That said, my feelings towards the rest of the book are lukewarm at best, and most of it has to do with the POVs. There were far too many, especially in such a relatively short high fantasy novel. I think at some point almost every single character introduced had a POV in the book, some only coming up as a couple of pages total and then disappearing again. I didn’t think every POV was needed; as much as I adore female characters, the book could have done without Liaden (because Kai kind of mirrors her viewpoint) and Branwen’s POVs (between Ander and Branwen, I thought Anders had a more interesting viewpoint. Personally, the only viewpoints I really paid much attention to was Finn’s, Iseult’s, and Kai’s (ironic, because I feel the oncoming love triangle between these characters, and I cringe at the prospect).
I didn’t think the characters themselves were fully fleshed out–though this being a series, I can understand withholding much of what makes these characters come alive. Still, I was a little put off by Aed (whose vocabulary later on boiled down to very few derogatory remarks to every. single. character who isn’t Finn). I didn’t see much point in Branwen and Ander until the very end of Ander’s POV. There were other random characters that came in near the last fifth of the book for some reason, which confused me.
The other part of my lukewarm feelings falls toward the pacing of the story. I liked the beginning fine enough: Finn transforms from a tree to a human woman, is picked up by a mystical man much older and wiser than his years, and she undergoes a journey to find out who she truly is. By chapter nine, though, where I expected things to pick up from introductory to action, there was still a lot of talk taking place. I still didn’t know where Finn fell in the grand scheme of things, and while I adored reading the description and stories surrounding Aed’s background and that of the surrounding area, I would have rather experienced those things by reading vicariously through Finn’s eyes.
Things did pick up at the Blood Forest, and I was finally getting some action, what with fae trickery and characters lost in a dangerous wood. That said, it slowed down again soon after, and by the end of it, things got too hectic and confusing, and I came off with many more questions than answers.
Tree of Ages had strengths in the detail and description, and perhaps if the story had been a bit longer, I would have been more endeared to the characters and more invested in the storyline....more
Old photographs? Eerie cover connotations and the promise of spooky children with spine-tinglingFull review originally posted at Story and Somnomancy.
Old photographs? Eerie cover connotations and the promise of spooky children with spine-tingling histories? Yeah, I was game for it, even though it’s not normally the kind of book I tend to read. Horror and I don’t mix, at least, not unless there’s a great deal of Fantasy or Something-Else in it. But I did want to read Miss Peregrine’s because the cover called to me, and I was prepared to be spooked.
But a third into the book and I was a little confused as to what I was reading. I knew the pictures were going to play huge roles in the narrative (like, creepy additions that made the reader visualize without further explanation), but I didn’t think it would go along the lines of “I remember what this-and-this looked like from a picture I saw in this-and-this photo album.”
So I was slightly annoyed up until things finally escalated halfway into the book, where Jacob meets the children in the pictures. From there it got more into the realm of supernatural/horror to scifi&fantasy where (view spoiler)[ a time-looped orphanage contained kids with magical abilities. Oh, and their headmistress/matron is a shapeshifter who can manipulate the confines of time itself. (hide spoiler)]
And from there I read on, and on, and on, because it was entertaining. I liked the peculiar children in their little pocket of time, and I found them intriguing. I really want to know more about the ymbry-whatchamacallits, and I’m only bummed that the damn book is not a stand-alone and has a sequel. I’m glad Jacob did come to his own and conquered his doubts in the way that he could, and at least there’s some resolution toward the end–though, as the first in a series, obviously there are some cliffhangers as well.
Something that did come off as Blah, though: that romance. Ew. Not shipping it at all. I like Emma as a character, sure, but lordy. Also, while I did pick up the book for the stunningly strange pictures contained within, I’m not sure I liked that little tidbit at the end where the author passes the photos as “authentic save for a few touch-ups.” It kind of killed the speculation.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
First off, the new, redesigned cover looks so much better than the original that I saw on Goodreads. ItOriginal review found at Story and Somnomancy.
First off, the new, redesigned cover looks so much better than the original that I saw on Goodreads. It probably would have looked cooler if the mirrored water portion showed the silhouette of Eila’s great grandmother Elizabeth (in some dated dress), but I can’t complain. It certainly told more stories about the book than two good-looking models getting intimate with each other (not that the book is devoid of lovey wovey stuff…but that’s a different rant coming altogether).
What I Liked
That prologue. I admit I’m always a fan of kickass female flashbacks, and the more tragic they are, the better! The scene with Elizabeth Walker and Jacob Rysse was riveting to read, and I kind of wished–and half-expected–that scenes in Elizabeth’s POV would litter the book. Sadly this was not to be so, and what other glimpse I had to Elizabeth’s past occurred in rare lightning-flashes once or twice more in the story.
Past Grievances. The tie-in from the past to the present was pretty cool, and I liked that there was a deeper family history, with a back story that spanned many years before. I liked that there were characters that had been in Elizabeth’s timeline, who undoubtedly show up again in Eila’s, and thankfully, a majority of them are there to help, not so much to harm.
Eila’s entry into Cape Cod. At first I read the story and thought: “Oh. Teenager moves into new place and is going to start moping at some point, isn’t she?” Eila’s reaction was anything but, and that in itself was a breath of fresh air. It probably helped that the location was a beautiful cape town with a view of the ocean, and living in a mansion would probably perk any moody teenager up. But Eila’s optimism and “nothing’s-going-to-happen-unless-I-go-out-there” attitude made me respect her for a time.
Marsh. Because large, Black Shuck-y dogs (and large werewolves…hem hem) with the ability to shapeshift will always be cool in my eyes.
The mythology. Soul-sucking and soul-channeling is certainly a different way to go as far as supernatural creatures go, though I had the impression that there would be more of the water involved in the story (actually, I initially thought there would be selkies or kelpies involved…but I probably let my imagination go wild there, lol). That being said, I thought it was an interesting take on dual powers, and I am kind of curious as to how the intermingling would go between the two opposite forces. Obviously there was going to be major intermingling here; it is a young adult romance after all.
What I Didn’t Love
More Expos, less Explas please. I admit the story dragged after a couple of chapters. I get that there needed to be introductions put in place, and a setting to describe (and Cape Cod truly is a beautiful setting), but it went on and on, and then finally, BOOM. Action happened. Which took about half a chapter before Eila spends another chapter screaming for everyone to explain things to her. And unfortunately, they indulge her, and what I got was probably one to two chapters of Raef telling her everything he knew that made her familial line special. This doesn’t happen only once, either. Further on into the story, the action takes a huge pause in order for Raines to explain even more back story to a motley crew in the middle of a raging high-class party. Yes, I get that Eila needed answers to be able to move on, but getting that much explanatory dialogue in huge chunks in the middle of the book was like getting an entire back story that could have been explained in short fragmented scenes. Eila dreamt about Elizabeth’s final hours, so I don’t see why she couldn’t have gotten flashbacks of Liz in other situations that would enable her to learn more about the Walker family. I think that would have made things much more engaging, and it certainly would have taken all of those chunky explanations down a notch to not be so annoying.
Mortis = Hot Non-Sparkly Vampires? I admit I was a little lost on how the powers of a Mortis worked. Yes, I get that they feed on souls, and some of them–those that were “altered” by Elizabeth’s shining personality–have converted to vegetarianism. Only, where does the blood come in? Why does blood function as an acceptable substitute to a human soul? I can suspend my disbelief here, but it just seemed too much of a convenient stretch that Mortis can easily just ask for a blood donation and voila, all nice and healed. Jacob Rysse I saw as a Mortis. Raef and Kian? They seemed more similar to the YA take on vampires than anything. Also, I couldn’t take Raef seriously at all; he was constantly described as a Greek deity, and all I could think of is this. Really attractive, I know.
The romance. My constant initial reaction to insta-love these days:
For supernatural beings with no souls, the several named Mortis characters seem to be doing well on acts of romance and such. I wasn’t too thrilled by the head-over-heels attraction and the continual goo-goo-gaga-ness that Eila seemed to succumb to every frellin’ time beautiful, hot, chiseled Raef came in the picture (nevermind that she’d been creeped out by his shady actions BEFORE she’d seen him in person). Seriously, girl, get over it, please, somebody’s trying to kill you, and it is so not the time for mooning over a boy (not to mention the fact that Mortis blood can very well take her out of existence, but hey, Eila doesn’t seem to care because she and Raef share a DEEP SEXY SEXY CONNECTION, so why should we?!). Ana was also more interesting when she was furious with Kian and not trying to snog him–by the latter half of the book, the “I love you”s got over-the-top, and I was feeling sorry for friendzoned!MJ because I thought he was the most badass of the lot. Don’t even get me started with who ends up with Raines.
So did I like the story? Sorta kinda, but I was expecting something that would try to break out of the YA paranormal formula, only to find that it mostly fell in lieu with the tropes that are too well-known in the genre. That said: at least there wasn’t a love triangle....more
Lately I’ve been breaking my stories down to things I loved, things I had love/hate relationships to, and tFull review posted at Story and Somnomancy.
Lately I’ve been breaking my stories down to things I loved, things I had love/hate relationships to, and things that didn’t fly for me. It was harder for Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn because while I liked the idea and premise of the retelling (I mean, come on, Ali Baba on an airship–how cool is that?!), I didn’t think much of the tale itself changed because of the steampunk elements. For me, it really did just feel like throwing in steampunk elements in a story that would have gone the same route without the clockwork boxes and automaton djinn. I would have liked to actually have seen Ali solve more of the problems using his tinkering, even though the original turns Ali into a background character by the second half of the story.
Then there’s Morgiana herself. I’ve always been a fan of Morgiana in the Ali Baba tale. Something to do with the fact that she manages to hold her own and rises out of her station as a slave/servant/submissivethingymajig. In this story, she’s a djinni of unknowable powers (no, seriously, I have no idea what her limits are and what she can actually do, since it’s not very clear). Trapped by the “King of Thieves” (he’s actually not called thus, but he’s certainly a leader among the thieves), Morgiana is freed by Ali and willingly serves him in his household. What gets me is the fact that she’s a djinni. With powers. I know she’s grateful to Ali and all, but really? There must have been some other rank in the household that lets her protect Ali without setting herself down as a servant. Heck, her frelling kindred-djinni was a badass clockwork falcon. Instead Morgiana gets stuck in a rather limited female robot body. I wonder as well where her personality went afterward, because she went from “dangerous-flashy-eyed-djinni” to “bland-as-a-rock.” Even Malekeh was more intriguing as a female, and she wasn’t perfect.
Which brings me to the characters. I liked a number of them, but I felt that the retelling was much too short and there were too many characters that got spread too thin as far as development went. I loved the Langstroms, and Babbage was pretty fantastic in the scenes he was in. Malekeh was a standout character, though as I said, there wasn’t much story to flesh any of the characters out besides Ali. And even then Ali wasn’t very inspiring of a character. The only thing I knew about him in the end was that he was a really good tinker and he made the body of a perfect woman in order to hold the terrible unfathomable power of a djinni. Which is a shame, really.
As far as the steampunk went…as I said, I thought it was an added bonus, but I also thought it didn’t quite reconcile with the fairy tale. The story itself wasn’t really altered, everything still happened within the pattern, and I was really hoping I’d have gotten some major changes in the tale. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking....more
I got a wedding, honeymoon, characters of indescribable badassery, and frelling river monsters. Most of which sent me to a slightly crazed,Ermahgerd.
I got a wedding, honeymoon, characters of indescribable badassery, and frelling river monsters. Most of which sent me to a slightly crazed, fangirly flailing stupor. I've gotten into the habit of bookmarking my favorite bits, and there were a lot in this book for me to remunerate. But certainly most of them probably involved either Mercy or Adam...or both. *coughs*
Ugh. I thought I'd have stopped bawling over the series after Iron Kissed, but NO. Frelling Silver Borne happened and not all of my tears resulted froUgh. I thought I'd have stopped bawling over the series after Iron Kissed, but NO. Frelling Silver Borne happened and not all of my tears resulted from heartbreak. I detect it also had to do with Sam and Ari, and then the last two chapters with Bran and Mercy and what transpired afterwards.
I think Briggs keeps getting better with this series, because I'm finding myself complaining less about too many plot points and getting more worked up over the shitstorm that occurs throughout the story. The werewolf challenge in Adam's house was intense, but I thought Mercy stole the whole show. Of course she would.
And the description of Mercy's mate bond near the end? :sighs: Beautiful....more
This book is apparently the third of the Oona Crate Mystery novels, though I don’t actually believe one neededOriginal review at Story and Somnomancy.
This book is apparently the third of the Oona Crate Mystery novels, though I don’t actually believe one needed to pick the previous novels up to understand what’s happening in book 3. Perhaps reading the first two books might have shed some light on certain characters, but I didn’t really mind beginning where I did, so I just treated the book as a standalone.
What I Loved
Oona. She’s a firecracker of a girl, and clearly talented for her age. Of the characters, she was definitely the most fleshed out and it was easy to like her. I think her insistence on female empowerment was what grabbed me as most appealing about her. Oh, and her magnifying glass wand.
The setting. I’m always up for a Victorian era story, and I loved the election events happening in the background. Molly Moon Morgana for the win!
The other characters. The rest of the cast were kind of forgettable, and when I was finally getting to know a few of them rather well, they disappear from the story only to reappear at the end.
The magic system. The concept of the glass gates was pretty cool, but the magic wasn’t particularly interesting for me. It was described as Harry Potter-ish, but the wand/spellwork combination didn’t grip me the way magic at Hogwarts managed to do.
What I Didn’t Love
The pacing. The story was slow-going. While I normally don’t mind certain fantasies their propensity to get overly detailed and long-winded, I think children’s stories should really get on with the show. It took Oona too long to get to the heart of the problem, and while I trudged onward, it became very difficult for me to see the point of it all.
The formatting. Understandably the book is still in its draft stages, since it’s to be published in June of 2015. That said, it was hard to move to certain scenes when there was absolutely no breaks between chapters or scenes. It went from one scene straight to another with no indication of the previous scene ending. I don’t know if the formatting of chapters got lost when transferring to ebook, but I can’t lie and say it didn’t bother me, because it did.
Overall, it was kind of a cute story, and the cover is nice and colorful. While I did like Oona, I’m not sure I really want to read any more of the series....more
Valiant retells the tale of “The Brave/Valiant Little Tailor” inasmuch as it kept the essence of the tale andOriginal review at Story and Somnomancy.
Valiant retells the tale of “The Brave/Valiant Little Tailor” inasmuch as it kept the essence of the tale and expanded on the world of the giants and the backdrop of the tailor. Of course, the Brothers Grimm version was merely a rough skeleton of the retelling, and Valiant itself emerged not so much a variant, but a full-blown story that could very well be a new tale to be AT-classified.
The story is about Saville, the daughter of a tailor who disguises herself as a boy in order to make ends meet after her father gets terribly sick. While posing as a tailor for the king, she is trapped in a city that is about to be conquered by a duke with an army of giants. There isn’t much for a tailor’s daughter to do, right? Well, you would think that. But then again, nobody in Reggen’s met the likes of Saville until now.
What I Loved
The tailor is a young woman named Saville. I’m already a sucker for fairy tales, but a fairy tale with a woman as the hero who gets by on sheer force of will, cleverness, and courage? YES PLEASE. I loved Saville as a character. She had her ups and downs, and there were times she said or did things that I found were a wee bit annoying, but I loved her for them anyway. The word “valiant” clearly defines her journey in the story, but she’d probably tell you differently.
The good, the bad, and the smart giants. THERE ARE GOOD GIANTS. THERE ARE BAD GIANTS. AND THEY’RE NOT DUMB. I emphasize these things because I swear they’re mostly considered bad. And they’re not in this story. In this story, they’re as much human as the humans are. And I loved that. It does remind me a bit of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted in that respect, but obviously both stories are completely different. Also, Volar is awesome.
The little homages to the Grimm tale. I liked how McGuire incorporated that whole stone-cheese and stone-bird trick that was in the Brothers Grimm variant, because it reminded me that the story pulls loosely from an already-established tale. Yet as the story went on, it’s clear the tale will not end exactly as is. Plus, the fact that Saville didn’t exactly go goo-goo-eyed for the king or the princess made for a more interesting outcome in the romance portion.
The characters. Saville was undoubtedly my favorite character, but Will and Galen were close seconds. Will more so because his story was heartbreaking. I admit to having teared a bit at the end, but I won’t say more than that.
The romance portion. SO ADORABLE OMGAH. Okay, fine. Again, I owe this bit to the story itself being a fairy tale retelling. But it’s also probably because of the gradual way the romance grew. Not in a matter of days or weeks, but one that took months to come to fruition. Swoonworthy, that.
What I Was Iffy About
The redeemability of a few characters. Don’t get me wrong, I liked how there was redemption in a few of the characters, the king and his sister-princess in particular. At the outset, both were kind of silly to the point of me asking how they managed to survive so long as monarchs with the way they went about their daily business. It was tiresome to see (yes, I’m using their favorite word, apparently), and I was only too glad when Eldin and Lissa sucked it up and produced their own flavors of valiance. That said, while Lissa’s change had been a bit more obvious, it seemed sudden on Eldin. I guess it would have been nicer to develop him more as a character, but this is just me half-wishing the story had been a bit longer in that respect.
What I Didn’t Love
The Tailor. He’s supposed to be a wretchedly unlovable character, but gods, did I hate him. I don’t know why there was any point to giving him the stroke, though. I thought it would have been just as effective to keep him around as a secondary character who either redeems himself or doesn’t (seeing Saville get around the latter would have been interesting, too).
Overall, I cannot wait to re-read this again upon publication. I devoured this in a day and a half....more
**spoiler alert** Never dull with Mercy Thompson, I suppose. Although I maintain that the poor girl can't catch a break.
I did have some concerns about**spoiler alert** Never dull with Mercy Thompson, I suppose. Although I maintain that the poor girl can't catch a break.
I did have some concerns about how convoluted the plot was getting, because there was so much happening, like, everywhere within a span of days that it was a little over-the-top. That said, I expected the series to contain more pulp than the usual fantasy fare I read (well...nevermind, 'cause I don't think I HAVE a "usual fantasy fare"...). Also, the fact that Mercy took down a Master vampire without the need for werewolf muscle was the cream of the book. That and Samuel's humorous historical quips about pack mating bonds. And Baba freaking Yaga. And I suppose it also has to do with the fact that there's a bit of some uninterrupted Mercy/Adam time that finally happens in the damn story.
Still, Mercy needs a bit of a rest. Poor girl's got work, you know?
(Also, I should get a medal for digesting three Mercy Thompson books within a span of a weekend. That's three times the rate I usually spend on books a week on a normal basis...)....more
Shameless confession: I was probably in tears for a good 50-100 pages of the book. It was upsetting, and I always hate reading certain types of:sniff:
Shameless confession: I was probably in tears for a good 50-100 pages of the book. It was upsetting, and I always hate reading certain types of abuses like this in books. I tend to skim or skip them. But this was harder to do because it encompassed every. Single. Action and reaction afterward. But i couldn't put the book down because my little book nerd self will get into the story especially when I'm so engrossed by it. And Mercy is just....gah.
Mercy's a strongass motherfreller and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Also. That ending just made me want to pick up book 4. Dammit all to hell. I'm speeding through these books like a Mercyverse vampire on a highway....more
As the second Mercy Thompson book, I expected things to pick up, and thank goodness they did! Those dUuuugh. These books are addicting. And dangerous.
As the second Mercy Thompson book, I expected things to pick up, and thank goodness they did! Those damn vampires are batshmat cray, but then again, I'm thinking every preternatural creature is. Including Mercy. Especially Mercy.
Also, the werewolves seem to growl a lot when they speak. I'm actually wondering how that works, because I imagine there's a lot of rumbling in their throats and that kind of sounds awkward more than intimidating. Those silly werewolves! (But I love them anyway, with their awesome fur patterns and their flashy changing eye colors and their southern drawls...hem hem).
Oh. Right. The review. Another great installation to the series. Looking fkr ward to reading more. Just not when it's already past midnight. Maybe....more