I’d say this was a good introduction to Otsuichi’s work, a nice teaser for what’s to come. It’s low-investment; you can finish both of these stories pretty quickly, and there’s an appeal to a wide age range, since they’re rather YA-oriented but still creepy and nuanced enough to appeal to adults who want to feel a quick tingle down their spine. It’s worth a real if you’re curious about the kind of ghost stories that can come out of Japan, and, if like me, you want to read more books written by people whose native language isn’t English....more
Otherbound is a book that isn’t making as many waves as it ought to. I hadn’t even heard of it before seeing it mentioned on Our Words. It has good representation of disability, good representation of bisexuality, good representation of so much that it’s amazing to me that it slipped under my radar. I enjoyed it so much. There were some plot threads that I felt could have been expanded upon (or thrown in without much reason or purpose), but aside from that, really, it was a phenomenal book, and I think fans of YA fantasy and urban fantasy will eat this up just as much as I did. This leaves my hands highly recommended, and I look forward to seeing more of what Duyvis will do in the future....more
I flat-out adore the world that Meadows created here, with its rich unique cultures and language and clothing styles. I want to read more things set in it, to spend more time there with characters I’ve grown to know and appreciate. The story is phenomenal, a brilliant fantasy with fascinating characters and an overarching plot that’s full of action and intrigue and the world being on a precipice, on the knife-edge of revolution while the reader sits on the revolutionaries’ shoulders. Meadows is on par with the modern fantasy greats here, and this is a spectacular novel that you can’t afford to miss....more
This is the kind of book that opens up a wider world, even if it’s often a dark and painful one, to those who are willing to go into it with the understanding that they may read things that aren’t comfy and pleasant all the time. It’s a phenomenal collection of experience, of pain and triumph, suffering and success, and it’s one I fully intend to reread in the future, because Hurley has plenty to say that deserves more than a single look. Break out of your comfort zone with this highly-recommended set of essays! You’ll be a better person for it, in the end....more
Long story short, if you enjoyed the previous books in the series, you’re going to enjoy In the Labyrinth of Drakes just as much. It has everything I’ve come to expect from the series, Isabella’s wonderful wit and commentary, the thrill of discovery, and all set in a world that’s familiar and new at the same time. It’s a series that I don’t want to see end, because I always get the feeling that new discoveries are just around the corner, and I want to be right by Isabella’s side as she changes the world....more
I’m going to start this off by saying that so far as I’m concerned, there’s really only one good thing about this book: that it’s a YA fantasy, which I’m going to start this off by saying that so far as I’m concerned, there’s really only one good thing about this book: that it’s a YA fantasy, which is far less common than YA sci-fi or YA urban fantasy. Other than that, I really cannot see, for the life of me, what all the hype is about.
Your main character is Celaena, an 18-year-old assassin who has been freed from her imprisonment at the salt mines and given the option to compete to become the King’s Champion. If she wins a competition against over a dozen others, she’ll have to serve a king she hates for 4 years, then will be given her freedom. Since that’s better than dying by inches in the mines, she takes the chance. Only all isn’t as it seems, because potential Champions keep dying horribly, and Celaena might be next on the list.
True to YA stereotypes, we have a love triangle in the mix. Celaena finds both the crown prince Dorian and Captain of the Guard Chaol to be attractive. They both like her. Dorian’s a bit of a womanizer, and Chaol has almost no personality to speak of, but hey, they’re both attractive, and they both feel protective of her, and that’s apparently enough. (Chaol is also a Captain of the Guard at age 20, has apparently never killed anyone before despite being a guard for a king who likes taking over entire nations by force, and no, the position is not ceremonial. Which makes me wonder how on earth he rose through the ranks to get it in the first place.)
I’m not sure how Celaena managed to become an assassin, either. More to the point, she’s apparently the best assassin around, a feared legend. Only we don’t see anything about how she managed that except by a bit of skill a certain weapons, and she certainly doesn’t have the mind for it. Not long after getting tested in identifying poisons (and discovering at the end of the test that the most deadly one there leaves no colour, taste, or smell), she discovers a bag of candy on her pillow, left as a gift by some unknown-at-the-time person, and her first reaction is to literally shove a handful in her mouth.
Though in fairness, that might have actually be the author forgetting about the poison test to begin with. It wouldn’t be the first time something was established and then utterly ignored. Celaena adjusts the hinges on her door so that they squeak whenever it’s opened, and yet at least half a dozen times somebody enters her room completely silently and scares her with their presence. It felt a lot like the author wanted to establish Celaena’s level of care and concern for her own safety, habits drilled into her over the years, and then forgot that such a subtle and appropriate line was ever even written.
To her credit, Maas does do some things right. Mention is made of how prolonged starvation and weight loss can cause a woman to stop menstruating. How you can’t be starved and then eat a lot without horrible stomach/gut problems. Good stuff to put in. Celaena’s sympathy and guilt when she sees slaves, since she spent a year being a slave herself and now is living in a palace. But the longer the book went on, the less that level of detail existed. Fine detail was abandoned for broad strokes. It was an okay book, but it had plenty of problems, and it for me, it really wasn’t the wonderful epic YA fantasy that I’ve seen people declaring it to be. It has potential, to be sure, but really, if I weren’t reading the series as a discussion piece with a friend, I probably wouldn’t be interested enough to keep going....more
In a nutshell, this book wrecked me. Wrung me out and left me a brand new shape, because it touched on so many personal fears and experiences and dreams; there’s no way I could have read this and been left untouched. It’s one of those rare books that inspired me in ways that few other books have accomplished, rekindling embers and making me believe that yes, there is hope for my dreams, and this book shows it. It will appeal to the artist, it will appeal to those who love dark fantasy, and it will appeal to those looking for something a bit different in their reading. This isn’t your average fairy tale. The fairies here have teeth, will cheerfully hurt you, and you’ll turn the page and let them do it again because you know that the further you go, the more you read, the better it will be in the end....more
Saint’s Blood remains the fun epic adventure that the previous books in the series were. I’m fairly hooked on Falcio’s adventures and misadventures, I adore the dialogue, and the humour in the book is top notch. This is the kind of series that takes the epic adventures that children want and scales it up for adults, and it’s rewarding and unfailingly entertaining. De Castell is a master of adventure, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next!...more
Overall, I’d say this was a fantastic collection of short stories, and one that’s absolutely worth reading, even if mental health issues aren’t a pet passion of yours. The publisher donates a portion of the profits from this book’s sales to mental health initiatives, too, which is a wonderful bonus, and it makes me doubly glad that I was able to get my hands on this and be able to spread the word about it a little bit more. It’s an important collection, a great one to dive into, and that uplifting thread of hope that ran strong was, to be perfectly honest, what I needed during a stressful time. Definitely check this one out if you can; it’s worth it, and you won’t be disappointed....more