Quicksilver is one of the best books I’ve read. R.J. Anderson is an amazing author, and I can barely find the right words to review this book. R.J. Anderson never dissapionts. Quicksilver is intriguing, has enigmatic, charismatic characters, with great writing and a suspenseful plot.(less)
Unwept is entirely different form the books I usually read. Ellis wakes up without a memory on the train boarding to a creepy, disturbing town where she meets strangers who she’s supposed to know. The town is filled with mysteries. Time keeps zapping, things disappear and reappear on their own. People who claim to know her don’t always have her best interests at heart. Ellis has no idea if she’s the one going crazy, or if the town is harboring something more sinister than she ever imagined.
I liked the mystery. The build up is slow, and at first I wasn’t sure if it was Ellis imagination, or if everything was real. Page by page, the truth got revealed, but even then I had a feeling we didn’t know the entire story, or parts had been left out.
Ellis was an interesting character. She seemed bland at first, but the more she recalled about her old life, the more she became a real person. The secondary characters fell flat though. They had little to no personality, more like cardboard figures that only server to bring the plot forward.
The writing was great, but the book felt like it was just laying foundations for what was to come next. The ending was a bit of a let-down, because it didn’t give any real resolution to the problems or mystery.(less)
I had no idea this was the third book in a series. However, even though not reading book one and two, I wasn’t completely lost, and I got the hang of the story almost right away. This book is filled with original elements, and a great plot. I enjoyed the characters, but sometimes the plot got away from me, and some parts seem to go nowhere. A decent read, but could’ve been better.(less)
This book starts out amazing. The middle part is a little less kick-ass awesome, but it picks up again toward the end. Faeries are awesome, and I loved reading about the Otherworld civilization. Great worldbuilding and writing too.(less)
Another one that I didn’t figure was a sequel until I started reading. This book is an excellent read though. I loved Avry, I quickly picked up on the worldbuilding, which is quite extensive and impressive, and all characters seem well-motivated and three-dimensional. Excellent writing too. No wonder this was a bestseller.(less)
Wicked Kiss definitely does NOT suffer from second book syndrome, in fact, it’s even better than the first. What would you do if you could steal someone’s soul, or their lives, by kissing them? It’s a question Samantha Day has to answer, and fast. Demons and angels working together is pretty kick-ass. Add in a kick-ass main character, and you get an entertaining novel, ideal for fans of YA paranormal.(less)
In Liminal Lights, Magic is real, and that’s something Nadia will find out soon enough. It grows in children and matures in them, until it’s captured by Liminal beings, who harvest and manipulate the magic into talents and skills inherent in humans. Whatever is left, they keep for themselves, in an effort to sustain their own life forces. But with the human race evolving and magic growing more and more scarce, Liminals like Bean, Pritt and Tissa have to come up with a new way to harvest magic and survive. Nadia’s dormant power is the last hope for the Liminals. Unfortunately, the shadow forces are out to get her powers as well.
Nadia is an interesting character, and Bean, Pritt and Tissa make for intriguing protagonists as well. I liked how the Liminals were like faeries, but different. My favorite character was Bean. She’s quirky but intelligent, and she’s also very determined.
The writing was good, and the story is suitable for middle graders and young adults alike. A solid plot, good characters, all in all, very enjoyable.(less)
I thought it was young adult, turns out it’s not, but it still reads like one. Dimitri is an okay main character. I wasn’t really that fond of him, but he turned out all right. Aspinwall Mansion is almost a character on its own, and some of the scenes are deliciously creepy. The writing is atmospheric and suitable for a gothic horror novel. Unfortunately the story lacked originality, and while the writing was atmospheric and haunting, the book never really reached the creepy-level I’d hoped for.(less)
Interesting concept, with the protagonist unable to feel emotions, although she sees them in others. Delicious chemistry between Elizabeth and Fear. A spooky read with a mystery wrapped inside, and gorgeous writing to match.(less)
Oh.my.freaking.god. Someone needs to stop Julie Kagawa before she writes more masterpieces. Seriously. She kind of destroyed my heart with this one. As usual, we meet a bunch of characters from the Nevernever, some old familiar turn up, and the writing is, once again, top-notch. Julie Kagawa is an amazing author, and she drives that point home once again, with this novel. Words cannot describe how awesome this is.(less)
Into the Heart of Evil is the second installment in a fantasy series by Joel Babbitt, with kobolds palying the main parts. Durik and his group of warriors have to prove themselves. I don’t want to give away too much about the plot, considering this is a second in the series, but the story follows the basic good vs. evil story, although there are several shades of grey here. Durk and his friends have to travel into the heart of evil, a journey almost impossible to survive. With lots trials still waiting for them, an ancient power awakens in the southern valley that decides to help the paladin on his journey.
The writing is as amazing and descriptive as in the first installment. I’m still pretty psyched about these main characters being kobolds. The world Joel Babbitt has crafted in his series grows more and more interesting as we discover more about it. Fantasy sometimes lacks interesting characters – by focusing heavily on plot, character development often gets overlooked. Not so here, the characters are each intriguing, and Durik’s personality changes and grows throughout the book. I highly recommend this book to fantasy fans.(less)
It’s been a while since I read fantasy, but when I started reading “The Trials of Caste“, I was instantly reminded of why I’m so fond of the genre. With great descriptions and an unique setting, author Joel Babbit makes this fantasy world come to life. Here, kobolds are the heroes of the story – a huge difference from the usual role they play in fantasy, where they’re either the villains, on the side of the villains, or minor characters.
The kobolds’ descriptions were great, and I could easily keep them apart. Although kobolds with their own culture and habits, their emotions are similar to those of humans, and they’re easy to relate to. In this world, young adults must prove themselves before they can fully ascend into adulthood. While our main cast sets out to participate in a series of increasingly-difficult trials, a lot of things happen in the background, like the struggle for power over the tribe. In the trials, friends must fight against friends, and the question arises who can be trusted. Durik was easily my favorite character, and I cheered for him from start to end.
Excellent writing, good characterization, and an unique, refreshing fantasy setting. I can’t wait to get started on the sequel.(less)
A strong book with interesting characters and an intriguing plot – what more can you want?
In Dead of Knight, an omen falls from the heavens – starfall – and six people begin a journey, while two mad kings struggle for control over a kingdom. With darkness lingering on the horizon, there’s a lot more at stake than the glories of war.
There’s Elise des Eresther, leader of a rebel army, who plots against King Orson when he plans to take siege over Eresther, her beloved home town. Ryan, a former farmer boy, who left his hometown behind to work as a soldier, finds himself questioning everything he ever believed in when he encounters Elise.
Gwen is a woman with magical abilities, who must hide as a man while she boards a ship. If not for the enigmatic captain Adrian, who catches a glimpse of her true nature, Gwen’s journey might have ended differently. But Adrian has secrets of his own.
And then there are King Orson and Odell, two mad men struggling for power.
It’s the start of an interesting journey, as the different personalities clash, and a touch of destiny comes to interfere. There’s some solid writing to back up the plot, and overall, a pleasant reading experience. I can’t wait to see what happens next.(less)
What else can be said about The Screaming Staircase besides that it’s one of the most impressive books I’ve read in my entire life? Jonathan Stroud gives us originality – a fresh concept, a dystopian world haunted by spirits, which can be best seen by children, and which are deadly when they touch you. With ghosts out in the open, Londoners stay inside their homes as soon as night falls, trying to escape the specters lurking down the streets. But even their homes often get plagued by ghosts. Murder victims stay behind to haunt the living. Suicides keep on committing the same act night after night.
Lucy Carlyle is a talented young agent who arrives in London hoping for a good career. But instead, she joins the smallest agency in the city, where there are no adults to supervise, and the charismatic Anthony Lockwood, owner of the agency, tends to do things his way. This could go great, or horribly wrong. And like you guessed, it goes horribly wrong.
After setting a house on fire during a job that should’ve been relatively easy, Lockwood & Co. is on the verge of bankruptcy. But when a wealthy man shows up on their door with a proposition, they can’t say no, even if that proposition sounds a little crazy.
I’ve seen this book qualified as middle grade; in my opinion, it’s definitely NOT middle grade. It’s suitable for a young adult audience and older. As an adult, I loved it, because it’s brilliant. It’s original, refreshing, the concept is great, the plot is surprising. A young adult would love it – and the main characters are young adults as well. But for middle graders? First of all, it’s a wopping 404 pages. Secondly, the subject matter is scary, complicated, and not at all suited for middle graders. Even the writing doesn’t find that target age group. So I’d firmly recommend this one to young adults and older audiences, but not to middle graders.
You know by now that I have trouble reviewing books I loved, and I absolutely loved The Screaming Staircase. I can’t stress that enough. Everything about this book was brilliant, from the writing which jumped from fun, light humor to dark, gritty atmospheric the next, to the characters, to the amazing plot.
If you buy one, and only one book, this year – then buy The Screaming Staircase.(less)
I’m not overly fond of werewolves, but I decided to pick up Inquisitor anyway, and I’m glad I did. What lured me in about the premise was the murder mystery, and how the main character gets accused of a crime she didn’t commit. I love a good murder mystery, and if you throw in false accusations, and paranormal creatures, then I’m all ears.
While the murders are the red wire throughout the book – if Allison doesn’t solve them, she’ll get executed, because people believe she commited the murders – there’s plenty of other stuff going on. To top off the string of murders, all of the victims are werewolves.
Also, there aren’t just werewolves. Think witches, shamans, weather magic, basically anything you can possibly think of. R.J. Blain has established a fantasy world with diverse characters, an intriguing setting, and a solid main character – and I hope there will be plenty of other adventures in this world, because the world building truly impressed me.
Allison is an easy character to relate to. She’s strong, determined, intelligent, witty, and the ideal person to solve these murders. She’s the kind of heroine one can’t help but look up to.
On the downside, some parts of the book were a little confusing, and while the writing was strong, I think it could’ve been a little tighter.
A solid urban fantasy novel though, and great for all fans of the genre.(less)
The Book of Lost Fragrances is one of those rare reads that pulls you in from the first page, and keeps you at the edge of your seat until the end. M.J. Rose is a wonderful author, who has a real knack for storytelling, and for pulling the reader into the story. With beautiful, atmospheric descriptions, the author describes both settings and characters sublimely.
Jac is our main character. She’s always been haunted by the past. After her mother’s suicide she moves to America, leaving her parent’s perfume company into the hands of her brother Robbie. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives, and then goes missing, Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind. She has to discover an ancient family secret, a perfume that unlocks the mysteries of reincarnation. With a large cast of side characters, and a journey through time, this book combines mystery, history, and romance into an intriguing read I fell in love with right away.
I also liked the premise of finding a scent powerful enough to stretch through time. Kind of reminded me of “Perfume”, the murder mystery novel about a serial killer obsessed with scent. I loved that one, and I loved The Book of Lost Fragrances as well. Guess I’m a perfume lover of sorts.
It’s hard to review books you loved, since there’s nothing I can find in this book that upset me, or that I thought could be improved. If anything, it was a tad too complicated at times, especially keeping characters apart. Some names were similar, and sometimes I had trouble linking names to characters. The whole: “who’s that again?” thing. Also, it started out a little slow.
But all in all, a wonderful, amazing read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to reading more books by this talented author!(less)
With a main character named Thutter McClutter, you know you’re up for some hilarious scenes. The Taming is a middle grade fantasy that will appeal to older audiences as well, and reminded me of classics like Narnia, The Neverending Story, and even the Wizard of Oz. It may not be as spectacular, but it certainly holds the same magical formula of humor, kids, and fantasy.
A mysterious creature appears just beyond the Hollow, and it brings along an enchanted object. The Council of the Glade is worried about the creature, but Thutter and three of his friends see it as an excellent opportunity for some good, old-fashioned adventure. But leaving the Glade is dangerous – it breaks the ancient Code and leaves the four friends unprotected. With a powerful slitherer called The Beastmonger trying to stop Thutter and his friends, adventure is never far off.
The Taming balanced solid writing and a fast pace, and mixed it together into a pleasant read. My main pet peeve would be the large role for the Elders Three, and how important Thutter’s believe in them is. All heroes must believe in something, and I didn’t mind the idea of Thutter believing in Them, I just felt like it was stressed too often, and sometimes distracted from the main story.
Apart from that, this book was an excellent read. Definitely for middle graders and older though – the writing is too complicated for a younger audience. Middle graders who struggle with reading may get challenged as well, but they’ll probably succeed with a little help. For a middle grader who loves reading, this book is ideal though.(less)
Crossing Forbidden Lines offers a complicated but intriguing fantasy world, amazing characters, and great writing.
Abaddon the Demon Lord wants to use the Elemental Crystals to transform the earth into a realm of darkness and witchery. The army of Asgoth has got their hands on the crystals, and are ready to deliver htem to Abaddon. Darshun returns from the sacred Shajin Island, where he has completed his training. He discovers that he’s the fulfillment of a two thousand year old prophecy: he’s the guardian earth has been waiting for, and the one who must defeat the demon lord once and for all.
After getting betrayed by a woman he fell in love with, Darshun is shackled inside the dungeons of the Dark Queen’s castle. Healed by a female elf named Kelarin, Darshun once again sets out to destroy the forces of evil. But when a battle with the demon lord pushes him to the brink of death, and he’s healed by an Elder, he must combine his forces with those of others to defeat Abaddon’s impressive army.
I didn’t have time to read the first book before I dived into this one, but first change I’ll get, I’ll read the first book. This series is definitely intriguing, and the fantasy world it depicts is rich in detail, and complex enough to keep me entertained for this book, and probably for many more. Darshun is an entertaining character – he struggles to keep patience, but at the same time wants to hurry to fight the demon lord, like two instincts fighting for control inside of him. His struggle was entertaining, and I can’t wait to see his personality develop in the next few books.
An excellent, entertaining read for fantasy readers.(less)
The Benighted is a dark read filled with mystery, dread and suspense. It’s set in a mythical, epic-fantasy world with princesses, knights, and the ancient battle between good and evil. With a set of characters so real they feel like you could walk up and talk to them, and a plot that doesn’t shy away to explore some of the darker sides of humanity, this is an interesting, enjoyable read.
Skylar, the princess of a fallen kingdom, daughter of a murdered king, is captured and imprisoned for helping the escape of Harlin Brien, the knight who was framed for the King’s murder. But Skylar is convinced of Harlin’s innocence, and she’s certain the king’s advisor, Cross Lutherus, is the real culprit behind the murders on the royal family.
When I read “princesses” and “knights”, I can’t help but think of an unimaginative, innocent fairytale that will have a happy ending you can see miles away. Princesses tend to be personality-less cardboard figures. Skylar…not at all. She has personality, wit, backbone, courage. What she goes through isn’t for the faint of heart, and even though she wants to give up several times, part of her always manages to cling on. This is the kind of princess I can root for.
The writing is haunting and descriptive, and the fantasy world A.M. Dunnewin conjures up, is definitely intriguing, but also dark and unsettling. An inspiring story for anyone who enjoys the darker side of fantasy.(less)
In The Key to Everything, we meet a diverse cast of characters who each have one thing in common: somehow, their lives got entwined and connected to the Key. Auden, our main character for the largest part of the book, moves into a new house with his family. From the moment he sets foot inside, strange things start happening. An ancient, leather-bound book, calls for him. At first, he believes it’s just the stress of moving that’s catching up with him. But as he starts having nightmares about his family, with neck at an impossible angle, and their mouths impossible wide open, he starts to believe there may be something more sinister going on.
I thought at first that this would be your average, ten in a dozen, haunted house story. But it turns out to be so much more. The writing is amazing. Alex Kimmell has a distinct narrative voice, a clean eye for detail as an author, and the ability to make his characters seem like real flesh-and-blood people. He masterfully writes down the gorey, gruesome scenes this book demands, but is just as skilled at slowly building up tension. While it may have started out as your average haunted house cliché, it’s anything but.
If I had to come up with one flaw, it would be the second-person POV used when the chapter focuses on Auden. I’m not a fan of “you did this, you did that”. I much prefer third person, or first person POV. But it does manage to give the book a bewildering, surreal quality, so maybe it succeeded in what it tried to do.
This book deserves to be read by all horror fans. Immensly flawed characters, great narrative, interesting plot, deliciously creepy.(less)
In The Six Days, Jamie Carpenter’s Mom disappeared fifteen years ago. He’s left alone with his Dad, his older brother Cal, and younger brother, Danny. His mother’s disappearance is the talk of town, which isn’t always easy for Jamie. Luckily he has his best friend Nia around, who supports him, no matter what.
But when the siblings and Nia discover old books on the attic of their home, books Jamie can read but Nia can’t translate at all, they know something strange is going on, and the books are connected to their mother’s disappearance. When a storm hits the small town, and the lights go on in the spooky lighthouse – where the lights never go on, and one can’t even access it – Jamie’s little brother Danny gets kidnapped, and Jamie and Nia are attacked by a witch from another dimension.
If they want to find Danny and return him home, they must travel through the gate hidden in the lighthouse, to another world, Emanu. The world their mother came from, and a world they never knew existed. In this strange world filled with dark magic, they ask the help of the Council of Witches. But when the Council begins to suspect Nia is more than just a regular human, and begin to see her powers as the biggest threat of all, turning to them for help may not have been a good decision after all.
They have six days before the gate between worlds closes again. Six days to find Danny. And if they don’t, he’ll be stuck in Emanu forever.
The writing is great, and the characters each have their own, distinct voice. I liked Nia the most – I’ve no idea if that’s because she’s a girl, or just because she has a fun personality, but she’s pretty cool. Jamie is fun too, but Nia was my favorite. Considering the main character is a boy, but one of the most prominent characters is a girl, I’m sure this book will appeal to both boys and girls.
The plot had some original and fresh elements that managed to surprise me. I enjoyed how much the lines between good and evil were blurrred here. There is some romance, but it’s secondary to the overall plot, which was another bonus. While I found the political war in Emanu intriguing, I’m afraid not everyone may like that though, and some parts of it may be a bit too complicated for the audience the book is geared at.
However, all in all, this is an excellent read with fluent writing, intriguing characters, and an interesting plot. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy, you should definitely read The Six Days.(less)
eviewing Blood Moon is tough. When I was younger, I was in love with The Ravenscliff Series. I devoured the first two books, started rooting for main character Devon, and fell in love with the spooky, crumbling mansion, Ravenscliff Manor. Unfortunately, the wait between parts two and three was too long. While I loved the characters, setting, and adventures when I was twelve-thirteen years old, I no longer find them that enthralling now that I’m twenty-two. If a teenager or middle grader would read the books today, they’d probably love it, but I had to wait ten years for a third installment, and it ended up being a dissapointment.
In typical fashion for the Ravenscliff series, the book is filled with charismatic main characters, action, suspense, and a solid dose of horror. Mad sorceress Clarissa has returned to Ravenscliff, and forms a new threat for Devon. Unfortunately she’s not the only threat though, and Devon and his friends are once again forced to take a trip down the Staircase Into Time, to the Ravenscliff of thirty years ago.
The writing is great, the action is spot-on, but it reads a little juvenile. There are also some consistencies with the first two books that annoyed me, like how it used to be the east wing that was closed off, and now, all of the sudden, it’s the west wing. Wait, what? And why change that? Does it really make a difference?
Anyway, if you like stories that have tons of plot, tons of cliffhangers, and are suspenseful and entertaining, give this series a shot. Keep in mind though that it’s a good fit for its audience, but may sound too juvenile for older audiences.(less)
Summer’s Shadow is an interesting YA novel about courage, and a magical realm that sounds like an older and more mature version of Narnia. Main character Sierra witnesses a cord running from her soul to her body, while she watches her body plummet to its death. A boy named Valeck saves her life, and it’s the beginning of an adventure that will change Sierra’s life forever.
Valeck is an interesting love interest. I liked him from the start. He’s keeping secets, but that makes things interesting. He’s about as mysterious as they get, which is always a bonus. The realm Sierra stumbles upon, the Void, is dark and threatening, and there is the threat of an evil wizard named Maven, who wants to spread a rot through the Void, which destroys everything in its way. Maven wants to get Sierra’s cord, no matter what it takes.
Written in a clear, unique voice, with an amazing cast of characters and an intriguing plot, Summer’s Shadow is a must read for the YA crowd.(less)
Eclipse is the third and final installment in the Books of Ascension series, and it offers a satisfying ending to an interesting, thought-provoking series. Rather than going up the Mountain, this time around, Atreu, our main character, travels down. He’s miles away from the boy he was at the start of the series, and although enlightened, and with knowledge and power he never thought he had, he still has to complete one final task. Down below, at the foot of the mountain, the battle rages on, and the Nazir seem to be winning the battle, and it’s Atrue and Verlinden’s knowledge that may just save the world.
In a way, this book is a reversal of what happened in the first book. Rather than travelling up the mountain in search of enlightment, Atreu, now possessing knowledge he could’ve never imagined, travels down the mountain. He’s grown from a child into a man. Eclipse also gathers all loose threads and plot points into an epic finale that outshines the previous parts of the series in terms of complexity and epicness. The scales have never been higher, the fate of the world hanging in the balance.
With great writing, characters who go through such steady development readers can easily follow along on their journey, and an epic, engaging world, Dirk Strasser has weaved an intriguing fantasy series that is a must-read for all fans of epic fantasy.(less)
Add the Tudors and witchcraft, and I’m hooked. Seriously, from the moment I read the blurb, especially the part about how this book is The Secret Circle meets The Other Boleyn Girl, I had to read it. Witchstruck is set slightly after The Other Boleyn Girl. Elizabeth, and her half-sister Queen Mary, are some of the main characters. Elizabeth is imprisoned, by command of Queen Mary. Meg, the main character, and narrator of the book, has been sent out to help Elizabeth while she’s imprisoned.
But Meg hides a secret – she’s a witch. Tudor England is terrified of witches, and any witch caught will be burned at the stake. Meg’s secret doesn’t only endanger her, but Elizabeth as well.
Things get evne more complicated when witchfinder Marcus Dent wants to win Meg’s hand in marriage, and her own family starts conspiring against the English queen. To make things even worse, Meg starts falling for charismatic, handsome, young Spanish priest. Then Marcus decides that if he can’t have Meg, no one can, and he’s willing to execute her to prove his point.
A lot of things happen at once, and Witchstruck is definitely never boring. With so many things going on, there’s suspense creeping around every corner. The setting is amazing – Tudor court is always intriguing, but Victoria Lamb really makes England of the sixteenth century come to life. Meg, our main character, is a strong protagonist, who definitely has spine and courage. She’s very loyal to her friend, Elizabeth, and willing to do whatever it takes to get Elizabeth on the throne.
Alejandro is a good love interest. He’s charming and romantic, in his own way. Especially interesting was the whole part about how their relationship was forbidden – forbidden romance are a lot more intriguing, if you ask me. There’s tension from start to end, and the pacing is incredibly fast.
This book was a great read, and definitely recommended to anyone who loves historical fiction, witchcraft and young adult books.(less)
Last week, I reviewed the first book in the Books of Ascension series by Dirk Strasser, Zenith. You can read my review here. Today I’m tackling the second book, and I’ll get to the third book in April.
What Zenith seemed to lack in action for the first half of the book, is made up by Equinox. At the start, we learn about the fate of the Mountain, and how it’s endangered, and about how a dark force has ascended that allies with no one, not with the Maelir or the Faemir, and might unite them to fight against a common enemy, if they manage to set their differences aside.
Atreu and Verlinden try to uncover the power of the Atreu’s talisman, whereas his brother, always more fighter than than scholar, is locked up in a battle he can’t possibly win. Their only hope, and the hope of the world, can be found in the Book of Ascension.
There’s more action in this book, and Atrue goes through a tremendous amount of character developement. The Atreu we see at the end of this novel, is nowhere near the innocent lamb we encountered at the start of the first book. As the book draws closer to the end, the inevitable becomes clear, and each brother must continue down their own path, and fulfill their own destiny.(less)
This book was a little tough to get into, but once I got past the introductory scenes, and Atreu and Teyth set off on their journey, I couldn’t stay away from it. Atreu and Teyth are twins, which is rare, and which means they’re chosen to make a dangerous journey to the summit of the Mountain. If they survive, they’ll be witness to Zenith – and all secrets will be revealed to them. Until then, they must look down and avoid Zenith at all costs once that time of the day approaches, or soething terrible will happen. This journey is called the Ascent, and Atreu and Teyth each receive a talisman to lead them onto their path. But their paths lead them astray from the other, in opposite directions. In the mean time, a war is brewing in the land, and dark forces gather to steal the power of Zenith.
We follow Atreu for the most part, after he sets off on his solo-journey after saying goodbye to his brother. He’s a complex character to understand, and while not the most heroic of the two brothers, he has a strange form of courage in his heart, that may ultimately help him find his goal. Along the way, Atreu meets some individuals – some good, some bad, some helpful, some threatening – and learns a lot about life, the secrets of his world, and the secrets of his own heart.
Zenith is a mix of fantasy, mysticism, spiritualism, and action. It takes a while to get used to the pace, which seems to go slow at first, but picks up after Atreu starts his own solo-journey, and to the whole mysticism-vibe that lingers above the book. The writing is solid, and it’s a good set up for what’s to come next, in the sequel.(less)
Mara tells the story of a group of teenagers, Unusuals, who’ve just begun to learn about their powers and abilities. Mara is the main character, and other notable characters are Miyuki, Chris, Alex and Miles. Mara’s past is riddled with dark mysteries, from how she escaped her home to how she fled away from her brother. She’s a little on the dark side as far as teenagers go – she’s tough, not afraid to fight anyone who stands in her way, but she’s also quite depressed, and blames herself for a lot of things that happened to her. She hasn’t had the easiest childhood, and the effects of the abuse follow her today.
It was hard to sympathize with Mara at first. I thought she’d gone through something bad in her childhood, but had no idea was. It was only when it was made clear, that I began to truly feel sorry for her.
Mara and her friends each control and element. Mara’s element is fire. She’s spent her whole life hiding her abilities, but when the other members of her group tell her they have similar abilities, she begins to realize she’s not the only one with certain powers. But when a loner is forced to work together, things start to get hectic fast, and Mara has to fight against her own nature and learn to work with others. Especially when some people, led by a mysterious fellow named The Stranger, are out to get them. When her brother returns to town, Mara will have to overcome her fears fast, before he damages her even more than he already has.
I mentioned before how hard it was to like Mara at the start, but her bad girl – attitude grew on me as the book progressed. By the end, I liked her more than all the others. She’s not afraid in the face of a challenge, and she won’t go down without a fight, two qualities I like about people. The secondary characters were okay as well. Mara’s brother was evil, but still very intriguing. The Stranger is still a mystery, and I’m eager to read more about him and find out who he is. Miyuki was okay, although she did act arrogant at times. Chris and Miles were okay, but they didn’t leave a lasting impression.
Overall, this book was a great read. The plot had a few original elements that I enjoyed, and the characters were overall quite enjoyable. A good start for this series of young adult fantasy novellas.(less)
In "Miyuki", the sequel to "Mara", our two heroines and their friends have it even tougher than in the first book. Now they all know they have some kind of super power – Alex’s is lightning, Mara has fire, and Miyuki has water – but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible. With The Stranger still hunting Unusuals, and with some of the other Unusuals turning against their own, they have their work carved out for them if they want to survive.
Mara is convinced her brother is still hanging around, and in fact, working with The Stranger. The others aren’t convinced of her idea, causing another division between the Unusuals. Then something terrible happens, ripping them apart even more. When they get captured by The Stranger and his cronies, they’ll have to fight for their lives once again. The stakes have never been higher.
I liked Mara even more in this book. It’s obvious that she’s struggling between her tendency to be a loner, and to do everything on her own, and working together with the group, but she’s trying to protect them regardless. She even puts her neck out for Miyuki, even though it’s obvious the two of them have several issues they still need to sort out.
Miyuki was okay. I still don’t like her as much as I like Mara, and she still comes across as arrogant some of the time. As a character, she’s great, because she’s deeply flawed, and hard to get along with. But I still don’t find her very likeable. Miles and Chris play a larger role here, which was good, since we didn’t get to know them very well in the first book.
With a great dose of suspense and action, an enjoyable writing style, and an eclectic mix of characters, this book is a great read for fans of young adult (less)
I received a copy from this book in exchange for an honest review.
In Sins of the Fallen, Max’s life turns completely upside down when he and his best friend, Jones, go to a house party at Anthony’s place. The twin sisters they brought along on a date turn out to have less than noble intentions. One of them kidnaps Max, reveals she’s a succubus, and he’s somehow their target.
As his life is turned upside down, Max finds out things he never thought possible, not just about himself, but also about his family and friends. Nothing is as it seems.
Slowly, he finds out more about who he is, and why he’s that way. But the clock is ticking as demons pursue him, and target the people he loves…
I liked Sins of the Fallen mostly because for once, it shows us a book from the POV of a boy. And Max is very much a boy. He’s falls in love, he feels attracted to girls he shouldn’t, sometimes he doesn’t really think with his brain (if you know what I’m getting at) and he does stupid stuff, like dressing up like a girl at the start of the book. But in general, he’s a good kid.
There was plenty of action and a dash of romance. I’m sure young adult readers, especially boys, will enjoy this book.(less)