The prose was pretty yet melodramatic at times -- but even pretty prose could not make up for what these stories lacked in believability, characterization, and messages. They felt very shallow, however dream-like they were. Also, Block took reckless abandon with her myth and fairy tale reworking. For instance, in "Psyche in a Dress," did I really need a 'Cupid and Psyche' retelling where Psyche actually manages to take the roles of Eurydice, Persephone, AND Demeter as well? All it seemed like was an excuse for Psyche to get it on with Cupid/Eros, Orpheus, and Hades at different times. I'm sorry, but -- as much as I didn't like Psyche for her 'Mary Sue'-ness in the original myth -- this Psyche was much worse, taking 'Mary Sue'-ism to the max. (The ending was the only thing that particularly moved me with this poem-like tale.)
With the second story/novel, "Echo," I also really noticed how Block's writing tends to get convoluted with nonsense and "fateful meetings" that end up leading nowhere (until sometimes the very end). Now, I understand that Block is likely trying to get the message across that true love, if it exists, doesn't always stay or doesn't always come soon. I also understand that she tries to illustrate how our lives shape who we are as people and our interactions with others reenforce or inhibit our growth. I get that. BUT Block gets so lost in her whimsical, practically carefree world where drugs, sex, and parties seem to be staples and loses the messages of her stories until the very end. It's pretty bad that the message of the stories don't hit me until the end -- and, by then, I just don't care. I need to feel it throughout the story.
Also, I don't think I've ever read works from an author that, when she mentions sex or sexual acts in a roundabout or subtle way, still manages to make me cringe and feel dirty for reading it. None of the 'love' in these stories felt like love to me -- just lust and desperation. And are all of Block's heroines so promiscuous? It's rather annoying since, while I get the feminist idea of, "Hey, women shouldn't be afraid to be sexual! Most men aren't!", I don't need to have it thrown in my face how many times these heroines sleep around just because they're lacking in some areas of their lives (whether it be through identity, affection, or anything). That just makes women seem weak more than anything else. Wouldn't these heroines actually be stronger if they didn't resort to such base measures to feel wanted, loved, and/or needed?
The third set of stories, all fairy tale retellings of sorts, actually warmed me up to Block a bit more. The Rose and the Beast illustrated more to me how I wanted Block's writing and storytelling to be for me. I just wish her tales could be more consistent, a little lyrical and heartbreaking and bittersweet, just like these fairy tales she wrote were.
All in all -- I'm not sorry I read this book, but I did expect much more from it. While I give Francesca Lia Block four stars for her prose, I have to give two stars to her overall execution. That leaves me to say that this was a three star read for me. Still, I find myself interested in what else Block can offer, so I'll likely try out a few more books of hers before I give up on her. The eternal optimist, that's me. ...more
***FAIR WARNING: This review includes spoilers for not only this story -- but also the books Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity***
Part I rating: Five s***FAIR WARNING: This review includes spoilers for not only this story -- but also the books Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity***
Part I rating: Five stars Part II rating: Four stars Final/Overall rating: Four-and-a-half stars
Now to the review (which is more like commentary):
Does it sound strange that I DIDN'T totally understand the Irial/Leslie/Niall love triangle before reading this? I knew Irial was bisexual -- or, rather, had a feeling from the way he talked in Ink Exchange to Gabriel and Niall in almost a flirtatious manner -- but I obviously didn't catch on to the whole Irial/Niall thing until I read this story. It wasn't a bad thing to find out, but now I feel a little stupid that I read IE years ago and still didn't catch on to Niall's carrying a torch for the former Dark King . . .
Anyway, I'm glad Ren finally got his. *mumbles something incoherent that likely involves bad words*
Final thoughts: I still think Leslie is a fool for not going off with Irial. Why can't she become a faery like Seth? I mean, really, what's the big deal? I understand her fears about it, but we as readers all know the Dark Court is going to change in a LOT of ways in the coming books (with war likely on the horizon) -- though then the love triangle of Leslie/Irial/Niall would cycle for eternity. Methinks, then, that Niall or Irial is likely going to die in Darkest Mercy . . . and I have the terrible feeling that it's going to be Iri. T_T
(Sorry, it's late as I babble on about this SS that I read a few weeks ago . . . so I'm getting a bit weepy as I think about Iri's possibly impending doom.)
As a whole, this short story was a nice addition to the WL world -- and I'm hoping we'll see more of Leslie again in the future -- hopefully as one of the fey. ;)...more
Well, I have to say that I think everything that happened in this book was bittersweet yet inevitable. This book openWhat to say about Last Sacrifice?
Well, I have to say that I think everything that happened in this book was bittersweet yet inevitable. This book opened up more possibilities than any other book in the Vampire Academy series thus far had -- and, though this book brought an end to Rose's first-account tale, the story is far, far from over. As a fan, I really can't wait to see where the characters will go from here, how they will grow, what struggles they will have in the uncertain future. Unlike other endings to series, this wasn't an "end-all" book -- and, while that was disappointing to me, I can't say it wasn't expected. There were too many loose ends to tie, too many fates to determine, too many answers to give in the pages allotted.
Richelle Mead says in her Acknowledgements page that she "[hopes] you'll continue to enjoy the many Moroi and dhampir adventures to come." I feel a little dismayed by that since that makes it sound as though the books will continue endlessly. I already know Mead has a six-book series ahead of her still -- but could more follow? Personally, I'd rather have an ending where I could ponder the characters' futures for myself than follow them for the rest of my life.
This book, however, cements my desire to see the journeys ahead for a few characters -- namely, Adrian the Moroi spirit user with the vice habits and Sydney the Alchemist who aided Rose through quite a few misadventures. (I'm also interested in an unusual Moroi by the name of Angeline; I'm certain Mead has plans for her as well.) The next VA series is set to be third-person, so chances are more likely than not that we'll see POVs from Adrian and Sydney at some points. (I'm also keeping my fingers crossed for a romance -- but that's just me.)
Overall -- yes, I liked this book. Yes, there were things I didn't like about it. Do I think Rose's "growth" was genuine throughout the series? No, not at all. I felt she didn't learn ENOUGH lessons. However -- flaws aside, I do think the series is a step above other young adult vampire series out there. And, yes, I do believe Bloodlines will prove to be just as engaging (and sometimes infuriating) as Vampire Academy was. I am a hopeless VA fan, so of course I'm already dying to know what will happen in the next series. All I can say for now: let the speculation begin! ...more