I highly recommend the audio of this and I don't normally like audiobooks very much. The narrators were brilliant and I could fully imagine them as thI highly recommend the audio of this and I don't normally like audiobooks very much. The narrators were brilliant and I could fully imagine them as their characters. The personalities were in their voices (the accents!) and it really added to the story and made it come to life....more
The Scorpio Races is a very slow and subtle story. Maggie Stiefvater has said that she will sacrifice many things in her story to make readers feel soThe Scorpio Races is a very slow and subtle story. Maggie Stiefvater has said that she will sacrifice many things in her story to make readers feel something and it shows. Contrary to what the title may imply this is not an action packed racing story, and I feel like that may be why so many of the reviews are all over the place, because readers came into the story expecting something different. It’s not that the negative reviews citing lack of action are wrong, that’s all a matter of personal preference and this book is not something I’d recommend to someone who prefers a lot of action, but I would hate to see people turned away from this story because they think it might be boring. It’s certainly not as action packed as the title implies, true. If a book with very little action that spends most of its time detailing every sight, smell, and minor character is not for you then definitely look elsewhere, because I can see how the pacing would not appeal to every reader. The actual race is a very small part of this book but I wasn’t at all bored by all of the rich character development and world building.
What Maggie excels at here is transporting you to this little Island town. You can feel the tension on the beach, easily picture the beautiful and dangerous water horses, and almost hear the waves as Puck and Sean sit atop the cliffs. Even the minor characters on the island easily come to life; from tough Peg to Finn and his struggles with OCD, to the three quirky Maud sisters who own a shop in town. I think that Maggie is one of the more poetic and evocative YA writers that I’ve come across. While I easily prefer this to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, both works showcase Maggie’s obvious ability to write a lovely phrase, and pull her readers into a story headfirst. I think that The Scorpio Races rises above The Wolves of Mercy Falls due to the originality of the story and the subtlety of the romance.
Romance actually plays a very, very tiny part in this story so those who need a lot of romance in their books beware. The romance here is barely there and yet it is probably my favorite pairing in the entire YA genre. It is slow to develop and only beginning once we reach the conclusion of the story. I think a quote from Puck’s (Kate’s) perspective really explains what I love so much about the couple in this story.
"I think every now and then about Sean’s thumb pressed against my wrist and daydream about him touching me again. But mostly I think about the way he looks at me – with respect – and I think that’s probably worth more than anything."
The friendship and budding romance here is built upon a mutual love of horses and respect. That’s worth much more to me than any overly grand love story of the Romeo and Juliet variety. The main love story here was between horses and their masters. Sean and Corr and Puck and Dove were the true shining pairings of this novel.
I also enjoyed both narrators individually. Sean’s love for the monstrous horses, his fierce loyalty and protectiveness of them, and capability to tame them as much as they could be tamed, endeared me to him. I also loved that Puck was a woman entering a race for men who wasn’t trying to make a statement, but was just doing what she needed to do to survive, and didn’t see how her gender should stop her from doing that. I also liked her lack of tact and prickly personality.
"My mother always said that I was born out of a bottle of vinegar instead of born from a womb and that she and my father bathed me in sugar for three days to wash it off. I try to behave, but I always go back to the vinegar. When my Dad was in one of his rare, fanciful moods, he told guests that the pixies left me on the doorstep because I bit their fingers too often. My favorite was always when Mum said that before I was born, it rained for seven days and seven nights solid, and when she went out into the yard to ask the sky what it was weeping for, I dropped out of the clouds at her feet and the sun came out. I always liked the idea of being such a bother that I affected even the weather."
Having grown up near the ocean and as someone who has always dreamed of owning a horse this story was perfect for me. It was original, sweet and a breath of fresh salty-ocean-filled-with-monstrous-but-gorgeous-horses air and I enjoyed it cover to cover. ...more
My only review for this book is this: Why haven't you read it yet?
Ok, maybe I'll say a bit more. When I first started reading this I was a little undMy only review for this book is this: Why haven't you read it yet?
Ok, maybe I'll say a bit more. When I first started reading this I was a little underwhelmed. There is something about Melina's writing style that takes getting used to, and the interactions between the characters seemed off to me. But the more and more I read I was surprised to find that I was growing so attached to these characters I was unsure about at first.
Now that I have read its sequel I think that book blows this one out of the water, but I'll always have a fondness for this book, which is the start to Finnikin's story, and the set up for the stories of so many more wonderful characters....more
While I am still working on the fourth book in this series I can safely say, without a doubt, that this is my favorite book of the four thus far. It' While I am still working on the fourth book in this series I can safely say, without a doubt, that this is my favorite book of the four thus far. It's hard to say what calls to me here. It could be the way I relate to Cassie and all of her darkest wants and needs. It could be the creaky old house that is reminiscent of so many great gothic settings that have come before. It could be the overarching theme that all anyone truly wants is to belong and to spend every waking moment feeling wine in their bones, bare arms swirling in the cool moonlight, the safety of a homemade family, and a kiss on their lips after midnight... preferably by someone who is not the stoic homicidal maniac that they appear to be. This book is intoxicating with its freedoms and dreams.
Before the story gets interesting, things start off by focusing a bit on Cassie and Sam to allow us to see how their relationship has grown since the events of In the Woods. Sure, Sam is about as interesting as a golden retriever* (so far anyway, where's his book that details all of his mental shortcomings, French?) but I am not in the camp that believes Rob and Cassie should have ended up together at the end of In the Woods. Sure, Rob's phone call to Cassie was heartbreaking, but I hoped that she really did leave the phone on for vengeance because I am kind of a vindictive bitch when scorned, and it pleases me to see my fictional counterparts doing the same and standing up for themselves. Maybe Rob and Cassie are meant to be (whatever that means), but perhaps not now, and I think that's ok. Rob treated Cassie poorly and abused the connection that they had. He has no one to blame but himself and it's certainly not Sam's fault for falling in love with her and treating her better. I read in an interview of French's that she has considered going back to Rob and Cassie's story some day, and that suits me just fine. I think it makes sense that Rob might get a better grip on his demons, Cassie might get a better grip on hers, and those crazy kids might just work it out yet. Patience, doves.
"And God the taste of undercover on my tongue again, the brush of it down the little hairs on my arms. I'd thought I remembered what it was like, every detail, but I'd been wrong: memories are nothing, soft as gauze against the ruthless razor-fineness of that edge, beautiful and lethal, one tiny slip and it'll slice to the bone."
Have you ever wanted to step into the shoes of someone else's life and just stop being you for awhile? Then the basic set up here will appeal to you. The set up will also appeal to you if you've ever dreamed of giving up your routine job and living in a house with peace-loving-manic-pixie-hippies. Is that a dream that anyone has? I bet it is, and you just don't know it, because I have to say I was jealous of the life that Cassie got to live undercover. As jealous as she was of Lexie. I also don't care if the plot that led her there is entirely implausible and something that would never happen because this isn't The Twilight Zone. This is fiction. I also don't believe a wizard named Dumbledore with a long beard is going to be knocking down my door to invite me to a secret wizarding school in England** but that's never stopped me from falling in love.
"In all my life I had seldom wanted anything as wildly as I wanted to be in there, get this gun and this phone off me, drink and dance until a fuse blew in my brain and there was nothing left in the world except the music and the blaze of lights and the four of them surrounding me, laughing, dazzling, untouchable."
You see that sentence there? I've never felt more put on paper. I know that feeling, and this is why Tana French's writing is so good. It feels like you're reading about yourself. I mean, granted, that's probably only if you're like me and partially mentally unstable, but be honest, you are, aren't you? I also know the feeling of a friendship so close and co-dependent that at its best it's the most wonderful feeling in the world because it feels like home, and at its worst it's murderous and leaking poison until it blurs your entire world. The writing and the characters are painfully raw and honest, and French is very good at making us all question our basic morals and beliefs. I would go so far as to say that this book was the most beautifully written of her Dublin Murder Squad collection. The mystery was subtle and the only one of the first three books where I can honestly say I didn't know how it would end. I would say that even if you didn't like or love In the Woods you should give this book a shot before writing off French completely. She may just surprise you yet.
*But Golden retrievers are fucking awesome, ok, those muther fuckers are so devoted to fetch they deserve a medal. ** Yes, I actually do believe that, and your attempts to disillusion me will be met with disgust and derision. ...more
In my heart of hearts (somewhere in that deep dark black soul I seem to have sometimes when reviewing books I've vehemently disliked) I don't know4.5
In my heart of hearts (somewhere in that deep dark black soul I seem to have sometimes when reviewing books I've vehemently disliked) I don't know if this is a full five stars for me, and yet, it feels inaccurate to even think of giving it a four. I've got a rule with books to follow my heart and not my head. If a book demands my attention and the characters worm their way into my good graces and I'm worried for them, or I cry for them, then yeah, that book is getting those five shiny stars. But let's not get distracted by the shiny things like wayward Dory fish. This novel isn't without its flaws.
"What are these men doing in an army?"
Let me first gush over Ness' theme here: War. All of the ways in which he explores it. The Spackle scene most notably, a scene that made me feel physically ill and watered my eyes, the same way I'd feel after hearing stories of a similar nature on the non-fiction news. Because it's so true. It's so applicable to everything. Do you know how many Americans I've heard throw out slurs against people from the Middle East without batting an eyelash? Unnecessary wars and the terrorist acts of a few made it this way. It put weapons in the hands of boys and girls who, like Todd, had to accept the consequences of wielding them. It put hateful words in the mouths of people who wouldn't have ever called themselves racists. This book explores the lies we're told and how hard some people cling to them. How hard otherwise good people can cling to their hate when they've known nothing else.When their leaders and parents have told them this is how they should feel; and their loved ones have been sent to die at the hands of people who weren't the enemy. When people have written songs of putting boots in asses and how, don't you know, that's the American way? Making monsters of men.
"Somehow preaching became a movement and a movement became a war."
Let's talk about a brighter point. Manchee the talking dog. Manchee Manchee Manchee. I love him. Oh wait, that's not a brighter point. I hate this book. Why am I reviewing it? I better move past this point before I take away stars. Emotional manipulation is no one's friend, Ness. Cheap shot.
Viola Viola Viola. If you care for her at all, you'll read her short story: The New World. Lady badass with snarky intelligence and a good heart who not only rescues but is rescued. I like her friendship with Todd too. Particularly when he tells the sexist camp that she's not his but her own and when he realizes he can read her too. Orphans who make their own family. My poor heart.
My main issue with this novel is the ending. There isn't one. This book was basically one long chase scene with bad guys everywhere and for all Ness' preaching about Hope there wasn't an ounce of it in his novel. There wasn't, I swear, I looked.
I also want to mention that it took me some time to get into this book and I ended up putting it aside. It wasn't until I read the prequel that my interest was piqued and I had to know what happened. If you've put this book aside before I recommend reading that so you know more about Viola and it might give you the push you need to continue too.
"War is a monster. War is the devil. It starts and it consumes and it grows and grows. And otherwise normal men become monsters too."...more
I want to knock off some points for the injustice of Giddon and Bitterblue not being a thing. Maybe later. I kind of like that she didn't have to e4.5
I want to knock off some points for the injustice of Giddon and Bitterblue not being a thing. Maybe later. I kind of like that she didn't have to end up with anyone in her story. There HAS to be more books. There's so much to explore here, such a wide variety of characters and worlds and relationships, that for this series it actually doesn't feel like overkill or like they're just trying to sell more books. Each of these stories is important. Imagine that, huh?
The Fault In Our Stars took its rightful place as my first (and so far only) five star book of the year. I am actually not a hardcore John Green fan.The Fault In Our Stars took its rightful place as my first (and so far only) five star book of the year. I am actually not a hardcore John Green fan. I read Looking for Alaska and fell in love with it. I count it among my favorite books. I always meant to pick up more of his work but for some reason I never did, until now. With all of the hype surrounding the book I felt caught up in the excitement. It was extremely cool of John to sign so many (150,000!) copies of the book. I was also aware of special copies that had fish or yeti's drawn in them. I went on a spontaneous scavenger hunt for the drawings (no luck though!) and I can assure you that the people at the book store thought I was borderline certifiable. I was the only one in the store at Booksamillion at night, so they were staring at me as I searched through the books on the display and I said "I am just looking for a fish. He drew fish in some of them." which resulted in some side eyes and polite nodding. Personally, book scavenger hunts are the best scavenger hunts. I don't know who wouldn't want to participate.
Now, on to the book. From reading the synopsis I was fairly certain that The Fault In Our Stars was going to be a big downer. There is nothing wrong with that, the subject matter is hard, and important. However, imagine my surprise when the opposite was true! Leave it to John Green to take a book about death and make me laugh out loud and smile all the way through. I was wrong from the start. This book isn't about death. It's about life. Sad, beautiful, ugly, infuriating, fake, wonderful, crazy, spontaneous, short, long... life. Though that isn't to say I didn't cry. I definitely did.
Hazel comes across as a very real teenager. So do her cohorts, Isaac and Augustus. All three suffer from some form of cancer, but they don't become caricatures, they aren't defined by their disease. We all know books that tend to do that. Allow the characters to become the disease. To be defined by it. In fact, people are even guilty of this in real life. I am pleased to say that John Green handles the characters beautifully. It all feels real, and the ugly moments aren't glossed over. Hazel and Augustus would be most pleased with this.
The romance here feels 100% true. It doesn't feel like a necessary addition to the plot added in only for the sake of having a romance. It doesn't conform to any color by numbers chart. It doesn't try to be dramatic just for the sake of the drama. It just feels... honest. What can I say about this book other than the fact that it's honest? That I felt like it contained so many of the thoughts in my head? Or that the characters reminded me of me or the people that I know? John Green gave such life to these characters that it hardly feels like fiction at all. Though, as we know from the front of the book, it most definitely is.
This book is extremely quotable. You know how you lay in bed at night and tons of wonderful ideas and sentences pour into your head and you promise yourself that you will write them down in the morning? John Green makes books out of his. Every word of this book feels like a near dream.
"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."
Recommendation: Everyone. It's a book that probably every one could relate to.
There will be spoilers for the first book in the series: Unearthly.
I'm going to be very vague in my review because I don't want to spoil anyone. If IThere will be spoilers for the first book in the series: Unearthly.
I'm going to be very vague in my review because I don't want to spoil anyone. If I were to write what I really wanted to about this book it would probably look something like this:
#$(#($(LIKE(#$(@#)@WHAT@(#(STOP IT CHRISTIAN@#(@TUCKERRRRRRR@((@#$(#NOOO JEFFREYYYYY@#*!*! and end with me riding off into the sunset with Tucker on the back of Midas in a blaze of Glory.
...thankfully for you, I'm going to write something else and try to make it somewhat composed.
Hallowed is Cynthia Hand's middle child and I liked it even more than her first. Sure, it's got classic middle child syndrome. It doesn't really further the plot along (though there are several new developments) and it ends as a very clear set up for the next book. The story still isn't the most original or groundbreaking thing in the world. There's still a love triangle with a heroine at the middle who is just special and shiny enough to make two men fall desperately in love with her. Yet, I loved this book. I laughed. I cried. I got angry. I worried. I stayed up all night with these characters. What kind of book deserves five stars if one that can make me do all of those things does not? I'm not here to be a professional judge of literary merit. Even so, it's like Cynthia Hand said to other authors "Look, you want to include the cliche high-school experience in your story and have a heroine who is being forced to choose between an attractive supernatural being and the boy next door? You can write that story but THIS is how you do it."
As stated in my review of Unearthly I was a little fearful of where book two was going to go. At the start of the book (and random moments throughout) I was worried that the story was going to be taken somewhere very cliche with the love triangle and fall in on itself. It's like I was standing at the edge of a cliff with Cynthia Hand behind me just begging me to trust her and I was saying "But Cynthia, those rocks down there look awfully sharp and I think I see Christian down there trying to give himself Edward Cullen hair..." and she was like "Shut up. I've got this all under control. And you've got to admit his wings are pretty." and guess what? Cynthia Hand never pushed me off that cliff. Although I'm pretty sure I saw her nudge Tucker a few times.
I don't like love triangles. There's usually a very clear winner and the girl ends up with the slightly abusive bad boy, while both boys stand around salivating over her like she's prime rib, and it's sickening. That is not so here. Well, for the most part. Cynthia Hand develops her characters so well that even if you came away from the first book solidly on the Team Tucker side (not that I would, um, ever, ya know, be on a team or anything... cough) that you will likely come to empathize with Clara and the reasons she is drawn to Christian as well. The thing is, Clara never casts Tucker aside. She doesn't look at Christian and say "Oh, but I cannot fight his charms! Look at his dark and smoky features!" and turn into mush in his presence. Though the boys have their cave man moments, they come out of it and apologize and they treat Clara with respect. They treat her as a person who can make her own decisions and don't try to force her hand. As a result, you feel something for everyone involved in the situation. It doesn't feel like a plot device. The love triangle makes sense as part of Clara's story. Clara is a creature with a destiny but she is also a creature with free will and the love triangle was a great way to explore that and help Clara grow.
It also isn't the focus of the whole book. I absolutely loved that Clara's relationship with her family is so developed. I like that the mother gets to have her own story. Too often in YA the adults aren't fleshed out at all and it's often a missed opportunity. Maggie is just as developed as Clara and I love Cynthia Hand for that. I would love to see Hand expand on Maggie's past even further. I also really enjoyed watching Jeffrey's story unfold.
I mentioned in my review of Unearthly that I really appreciate Cynthia Hand's sense of humor. That continues here. Which is good, because without Clara's voice, this book would have been very dark indeed. Clara pokes fun at her life and herself and the situations she finds herself in and it adds a necessary lightness to the story.
I'm glad I stood at that cliff with Cynthia Hand. Though, based on the ending I'm even more concerned for book three. I don't know why, because it's become clear that I should trust her. She has proven herself to be a great storyteller who treats her characters with respect.
Recommendation: If you liked Unearthly I think you should move right on to Hallowed. The same humor and suspense can be found in this second installment. Just don't come here looking for the plot to move forward a hell of a lot. This book focuses a great deal of its time on relationships (not just romantic ones) and character development. I wish there had been a little bit more resolved (particularly with Angela - you know something is going on there!) but I don't think fans of book one will be very disappointed.
(view spoiler)[So was Clara stealing Jeffrey's purpose not the most awkward moment between siblings in all of the world? What if Jeffrey could have carried Midas too and Midas only survived because he is some sort of demon who is now plotting to kill Clara for making him run for days through a huge fire? I've clearly just figured out the plot for book three.
For the (possibly) upcoming CW series based on these books Midas will now be played by the horse Shadowmere from the game Skyrim. Because he also never dies.
I'm a little worried that the television show will mess up my casting of the guy who plays Hoyt on True Blood as Tucker though. Can we just hire him and Deborah Ann Woll and call it a day?
Someone should hire me, obviously. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
“I remember being born, in fact, I remember a time before that. There was no light, but there was music: joints creaking, blood rushing, the heart’s staccato lullaby, a rich symphony of indigestion. Sound enfolded me, and I was safe. Then my world split open, and I was thrust into a cold and silent brightness. I tried to fill the emptiness with my screams, but the space was too vast. I raged, but there was no going back.” [ARC]
Rachel Hartman has come into the fantasy genre with a beautiful debut, a book filled with lovely paragraphs such as the one above, and intricate but enjoyable world building. She takes a different approach to dragons; the dragons shift into human form but mostly remain emotionally detached and incredibly intellectual. This idea pays off and creates a very interesting dynamic between humans and dragons that I really enjoyed reading about.
One of the most heartwarming relationships between dragon and someone with human emotions in the novel is between Seraphina and Orma. I really loved watching how they navigated their bond to each other, as Orma struggled with acting more like a human companion, and Seraphina attempted to learn how to accept loving someone who didn’t know how to love her back in ways she could understand. A struggle for Seraphina was to learn to accept that she loved and was bonded to someone who could not legally show affection for her without the threat of having his memories erased.
“What if our mothers were not the fools we had taken them for? What was love really worth? A hundred thousand wars?” [ARC]
Seraphina’s own personal journey was an emotional one. I think most of us can relate to having a part of ourselves that we are afraid for people to see. She reminded me of one of my favorite literary characters, Fire, and her occasional hatred for the monster that she was. There is also a moment that touches on self-harm that I thought was nice to include, especially since this is being marketed as a YA novel, and I know it is a subject that a lot of teens deal with. That being said, I’m not really sure why this is being marketed as YA. The only part of the novel that strikes me as YA at all is the romance, and that’s not a very large part of the book. I’m not sure how much the politics will appeal to most younger readers, or how many of them will take the time to deal with a slew of made up words, and the more advanced language used throughout the novel. I would hate to see adult readers who don’t typically read YA but are fantasy fans miss out on the story because of how it is marketed or the smaller YA elements.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my absolute favorite part of this novel: Seraphina’s garden of grotesques inside of her mind and the role they end up playing in the story. They gave the book something extra and completely original that I loved. I can’t wait to meet more of the characters from the garden. Another favorite of mine in this story was Hartman’s descriptions of Seraphina’s music. You can tell that Hartman is a lover and player of music herself because the descriptions are incredibly intimate and lovely.
Definitely a book worth checking out if you’re a lover of fantasy.
An Egalley was provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review....more
When Cinder first came to my attention I was completely enamored with the idea for the book, and even more so for the concept of the entire quartet, wWhen Cinder first came to my attention I was completely enamored with the idea for the book, and even more so for the concept of the entire quartet, which will also focus on other fairytale heroines. After finishing Cinder's first story I am happy to say that my expectations for this series were more than met.
Cinder is a cyborg. This was such an interesting spin on the story of Cinderella that I was captured by her character from the very beginning. I think fairytale retellings need to find a way to leave their own mark, to find a way to differentiate themselves entirely from the original story. Cinder certainly did that. I haven't read too many retellings prior to Cinder, Ash by Malinda Lo comes to mind, and while I more than appreciated Malinda's attempt to modernize the character of Cinderella (More LGBT characters in literature, please!) I felt that the rest of the story fell flat and failed to deliver anything exciting or new to the tale. Where Ash failed for me Cinder rose above and beyond. Cyborgs, robots, and aliens from the moon brought life and twists to this classic story.
Cinder herself is tough, amusing, and full of heart. She is a first class mechanic and highly intelligent. She will fight to protect those she cares about even if she has to do it without one of her feet. She dreams big dreams and is haunted by her past. Together with her robot sidekick, Iko, she was a pleasure to read about. I enjoyed her relationship with her sister Peony as well; it was nice to see Cinder have a true friend in the house aside from Iko. Cinder's relationship with her stepmother was nothing new but was made even more horrifying by the fact that Cinder was a cyborg. The evil stepmother was given more opportunity to be cruel in new and imaginative ways; she could hold Cinder's body parts hostage! I also enjoyed Cinder's relationship with Kai. It was slow to develop and realistic. Neither character was willing to put aside important things for the other and throw everything away for "love" as some YA characters do nowadays. Cinder and Kai both know that there are more important things than a budding romance; like survival, a kingdom, and family.
I did feel that a certain "twist" was so obvious from the early pages of the story and wish it had been a bit more subtle. It didn't bother me until we reached the ending. The ending seemed rather anti-climatic because it relied so heavily upon the reveal of a secret many of us had seen coming from the beginning. The story did feel a little incomplete and unresolved. I would have rather seen Cinder's story end in this book and had the other books in the quartet focus on the other heroines being introduced. I don't think this is only because I am growing so tired of cliffhangers and series in general, but also because it would have served the story better. Focusing on a new heroine each time would give plenty of time to give new life to the classic characters, instead of spending so much focus on just one. I wish the YA market would start going in the direction of companion novels (like Kristin Cashore's Seven Kingdoms Series) which would allow us to visit the same worlds again but also let us read about new and interesting characters, instead of dragging out the stories of the same characters over and over.
I would definitely recommend Cinder to others. It's a fun book that stands out amongst the other debut novels of the year. We need more Science Fiction (non-dystopian) on our shelves. More cyborgs and robots too.
There will be spoilers for book one of the series: Cold Magic. To see my review of Cold Magic instead read it here.
After Cold Magic got off to such aThere will be spoilers for book one of the series: Cold Magic. To see my review of Cold Magic instead read it here.
After Cold Magic got off to such a rocky start for me, I was very much hoping that the sequel would not go down the same path. Delightfully, it did not. Cold Fire picks up where Cold Magic left off. While the first half of Cold Magic was weighed down by awkward amounts of exposition, Cold Fire doesn't suffer the same fate. Since much of the detailed world Kate Elliott was building was already set up in Cold Magic, we are allowed in this installment to focus more on the characters and the action. New characters and magic are introduced but I did not feel that it was too much, or find it confusing. We are thrown right along with Cat on to an island inhabited by zombies and fire mages. I found the new storyline to be exciting and never dull.
I liked Cat and Bee in the first book but I must say I absolutely fell in love with them here. They're very strong women. It's nice to see females who can be both romantic and gullible but also strong and logical too. I think too often female characters get written as too much one or the other, falling into a certain role, instead of standing on their own two feet. We watch Cat make mistakes. We watch her get drunk and act in ways she'd like to forget. We watch her swing a sword like a genuine badass and approach situations rationally. It's wonderful...
"He said nothing. Yes, he was physically handsome, and attractive in some other intangible way. After those first disastrous days, he had made an effort to help me. His kiss had certainly pleased me in a most startling manner. But I did not love him. How could I? I didn't even know him. And whatever he might think, he did not truly know me. He only believed he did."
I like that above all else Cat stays loyal to her cousin Bee and that is not lost in this book. Having grown up together and relied upon each other through it all, Bee and Cat do not dump each other when it's convenient, or when they'd rather be with a man. They are not catty toward each other or in competition. Even if blood does not necessarily tie them together they never even dwell on it. They know family is not defined by blood and that's something I really respect. We also finally learn more about Cat's parents in this installment. I liked the twist.
My favorite thing about this book was probably the romance. I don't swoon too often. It takes a lot for a romance to impress me. I found myself deeply invested in Andevai and Cat's relationship. I thought it was passionate and respectful. Built upon something important. I liked that neither character sacrificed who they were or expected anything of the other that they did not want to give.
I am immensely glad that I stuck it out after the rough start of book one in the series, because the world Kate Elliott has built and the characters here are way too good to miss. Like Cold Magic, this book definitely isn't a light read, Kate Elliott's book are lengthy and detailed and full of heavy world building. This book was more fast paced than the first though and I hope that the third book is even more impressive.
Enjoyment wise probably closer to a three (for most of the book) but I'm rounding up because Pierce was ahead of her time and a gen-u-ine badass for wEnjoyment wise probably closer to a three (for most of the book) but I'm rounding up because Pierce was ahead of her time and a gen-u-ine badass for what she chooses to do with her characters. ...more
I was late to the Curse Workers series and read all three of the books in a hurry; read them in such a hurry in fact that I raced through them beforeI was late to the Curse Workers series and read all three of the books in a hurry; read them in such a hurry in fact that I raced through them before I wrote reviews for any of them. So I've written three mini reviews of each book and my final thoughts of the series as a whole. Read them here at my blog: The Night Bookmobile...more
N.K. Jemisin is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the fantasy genre. Her ability to craft an exciting and imaginative fantasy world is evidentN.K. Jemisin is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the fantasy genre. Her ability to craft an exciting and imaginative fantasy world is evident from the very first. The story of the gods is both unique and unpredictable. I would venture to say it is the most original use of gods in a story that I have ever seen. Jemisin's gods are everything you would imagine a god to be. They do not get weighed down by humanity because they are not human. I think this is one of the book's greatest strengths.
Another credit to Jemisin, and perhaps the biggest one, is her ability to write. This woman can write the pants off of many fantasy writers and many writers in general. Her phrases are lyrical and raw and inspiring. I immediately wanted to write them down and share them with others. The stream of consciousness style of writing was the novel's greatest strength and its greatest weakness. I thought it was strongest when Yeine's narrative was being overtaken by Enefa.
“I gather her body to mine and will all of creation to make her live again. We are not built for death. But nothing changes, nothing changes, there was a hell that I built long ago and it was a place where everything remained the same forever because I could imagine nothing more horrific, and now I am there Then others come, our children, and all react with equal horror in a child’s eyes, a mother is god but I can see nothing of their grief through the black mist of my own. I lay her body down but my hands are covered in her blood, our blood, sister lover pupil teacher friend otherself, and when I lift my head to scream out my fury, a million stars turn black and die. No one can see them, but they are my tears.”
I also found the stream of consciousness style to be frustrating and melodramatic at times. Yeine would often begin a story only to swear she'd come back to it later and start telling another one. While it certainly was a unique way to tell the story, it was also very distracting, and confusing for me as a reader.
While I think that this novel was beautifully crafted, and such an original addition to the fantasy genre, I didn't absolutely love it. In fact, I found myself uncaring about the outcome and the fates of the characters and the plot. I think this is because the characters never felt relatable to me, and I couldn't say that I truly liked any of them. Sieh seems to be a favorite among readers but I thought he was actually a little creepy and unpredictable. I suppose that's as it should be, since he is a god, and they live their lives in shades of gray. I think that it was just hard for me to get outside of my own head and view the gods as non-human creatures who clearly don't play by our rules. If I had been able to do so his behavior would not have seemed so odd to me.
Yeine was my favorite but there was something about her that always kept the reader at a distance and didn't allow for intimacy. Perhaps it was because she was slipping away? Characters seem to make or break novels for me. If you can make me care deeply for at least one character then you've got me, but if you can't, then it's going to be hard to grab my attention much at all.
I'd definitely recommend this to fans of the fantasy genre looking for something worthwhile and unique....more