This series is the perfect antidote to Twilight, showing that teenagers in supernatural settings don’t have to be wimpy, obsessive, and extra broody. Inevitable comparisons aside, I found this book to be rich in world-building and filled with compelling twists. It’s a book to hand someone with the words, ‘Please enjoy’—something you can have fun with without having to think too much.
Who might enjoy it: People who enjoy fast-paced supernatural stories with a touch of southern USA
Who might not enjoy it: People who would rather just see the movie(less)
Despite being a compelling read, there was nothing new here in terms of the vampire mythos and, unfortunately, was somewhat predictable. However, these are small misgivings compared to Kagawa’s brilliant writing and ability to create characters we can sympathise with.
Who might enjoy it: Fans of the vampire and post-apocalyptic genres as well as The Hunger Games, minus the politics and the insufferable faux love triangle
Who might not enjoy it: Those looking for a new take on vampirism (though I’d advise them to stick with it—it’s really Allie’s growth as a character that makes the novel worthwhile)(less)
Marked has an interesting premise, but it’s let down by preachy writing, stilted dialogue and heavy-handed foreshadowing. (But it’s still not as bad as Twilight.)
The promising world building is overshadowed by the characters’ utter lack of charm—not just Zoey, but pretty much everyone in the book. The dialogue between Zoey and friends is painful to read. Zoey’s romance with Erik is pure fantasy. Okay, he’s the hottest guy in the world. But, Zoey, I want to tell her, he has zero personality!
The preachiness, the stereotypes—including the anti-stereotype stereotypes—and the lack of complexity permeate the narrative and the plot. The foreshadowing is none too subtle, which makes me interested enough to look up spoilers online, but not enough to actually read the next book.(less)
This is a page turner for science fiction readers who like a bit of romance, not the other way around.
There are romantic elements in Song of Scarabaeus, but not enough to call it a romance per se. This works well because we’re never in Finn’s point of view, and he remains a bit of a mystery throughout the book. The ending is optimistic, but you’ll need to read the next book to get a proper conclusion. That said, there’s no overt sequel baiting in this book—it’s satisfying enough on its own.
The world building is detailed, but you have to read closely to get the subtle nuances between different types of technology, the political issues and the factions involved. To Creasy’s credit, the exposition is done in context, and it’s unlikely to pull readers out of the story.
Who might enjoy it: Science fiction readers who like a bit of romance on the side
Who might not enjoy it: Science fiction readers who like their science to be rigorous (less)
Shadow Kin straddles urban fantasy and paranormal romance. If you’re not fussed about first person narrative and POV shifts, this book introduces a fresh voice in the genre that won’t have any trouble finding an audience.
Who might enjoy it: Readers who like an intricate plot
Who might not enjoy it: Those who refer to themselves in the third person(less)
The Elder Races series has become my BDB replacement. It’s totally cracktastic. Yes, the writing is sometimes mired in purple prose (‘broad mushroom head’—yes, it’s exactly what you think it is) and the kind of awkward language (‘I’ll pursue that comment later.’ Really? Do people talk like this?) that fans of paranormal romance readers regularly endure—perhaps even enjoy, because who am I to judge?— but Dragon Bound also embodies all that we love about the genre.
Who might enjoy it: Paranormal romance series fanatics Who might not enjoy it: People who expect paranormal romance characters to act like normal people(less)
De Pierres sets the story up beautifully, taking the reader on the same journey as the bewildered Retra, for whom Ixion requires a complete reassessment of everything she knows (or has been taught) thus far. But as the story progresses, De Pierres falls into the common trap of keeping details thin in order to maintain various mysteries of the world she’s creating. Retra’s naiveté also becomes irritating after a while, and it’s difficult to believe that she could survive for so long with so little knowledge.
What keeps the story interesting are the relationships that Retra develops. Her immediate circle is gradually filled with a mix of characters whose motivations are not always clear. De Pierres plays them against each other to good effect.
There’s something a little uncomfortable about the heightened sexuality that dominates much of the backdrop for this book. At the beginning of the story it emphasises Retra’s fear and isolation, but as the story progresses, the sexual imagery begins to feel almost forced. It’s also a tease because none of the scenes ever really become graphic. It’s all a bit of an anticlimax. (Heh.) So I’m categorising this as young adult fiction, but I get the feeling, from the language and the avoidance of anything too explicit, that it’s aimed at a younger audience.
Although the story can be lyrical, sensual and fascinating, the plot is disjointed and the world building vague. That said, I’m tempted to read the next book, just to see how everyone turns out.
A review copy of this book was generously provided by Random House Australia.(less)