Tell Me More:For a story in which an entire race is at stake,Deep Blue is surprisingly light in tone and substance. As entertaining as some of the sce
Tell Me More: For a story in which an entire race is at stake, Deep Blue is surprisingly light in tone and substance. As entertaining as some of the scenes and jokes could be, they weren't quite enough to stir lasting emotions in me.
The way that Deep Blue was marketed made it seem like its core audience would be the older spectrum of YA readers. Serafina's voice was younger than I had expected it to be, and the writing style itself seemed geared towards kids starting out in the fantasy/paranormal genre. Puns are generously scattered throughout the story, but as much as I love a good pun, it didn't take long for them to grate at me.
"I was talking about the crown prince and his merlfriend," she said. "Well, his latest one." "His...his merlfriend?"
An excerpt from Walt Whitman's "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" leads into the intriguing prologue, but the story doesn't manage to sustain its own momentum. The first few chapters are burdened by exposition and history, weighing the reader down with facts and names before they can start to care about the characters they're meeting. I would have much rather watched Serafina struggle with her songspell than read about her gossiping court. Again, this would probably work better for younger readers, who may have more need to build the world in their head before they can get invested.
The mysterious quest that Serafina and Neela is interesting enough, but it never felt all that compelling. I read mostly for the interactions between the two girls and the emphasis on friendship and sisterhood, especially since the romance remains flat. There are few surprises and plot twists, and even the ones that are meant to be game-changers are predictable. At the end of the day, the mermaids in Deep Blue weren't captivating enough to hook me into the series.
As in previous novels, the bulk of Blood Promise shifts to a central location, in this case Russia/Siberia, and the change brings a new gravity to theAs in previous novels, the bulk of Blood Promise shifts to a central location, in this case Russia/Siberia, and the change brings a new gravity to the story. Rose's solitary journey to find Dimitri is peppered with new discoveries about the Moroi world, including the appearance of Sydney, a prickly Alchemist. The nature of Rose's trip also means a shift to Rose/Dimitri, and I found it a little harder to be completely invested because of that new focus. I greatly enjoyed the scenes where, through her bond with Lissa, Rose got glimpses of what was going on at St. Vladimir's. Despite my reluctance for Rose/Dimitri, I do think that seeing Lissa and Rose away from each other was good for both of them in the end, because it gives them perspective. Their friendship is still one of the strongest I've seen in YA, and Mead keeps it realistic even when it's not easy to read about. I would add a trigger warning for emotional abuse in the latter half of this novel--the escalation of certain events can leave readers feeling very overwhelmed.
I will say this for Mead: she is not afraid to raise the stakes (pun not intended) in every single book. Shadow Kiss created challenges for itself thaI will say this for Mead: she is not afraid to raise the stakes (pun not intended) in every single book. Shadow Kiss created challenges for itself that I was not sure it could take on, and it continued to surprise me in great ways. The Moroi society is placed under a magnifying glass, and Rose deals with the consequences of the lifestyle she was born into, consequences that she only begins to understand as she faces situations she hasn’t been trained to handle. I will say that I was not a fan of Rose’s choice at the end of the novel, but it did not surprise me. My discomfort with her choices did not take away from how much I liked the story, because it made sense for her character. Mead does not create conflict and then try to fit her characters into that conflict–they develop organically and those conflicts arise because of the kind of people they are. The reading experience becomes much more satisfying when characters and conflicts develop together, and Mead has made that work consistently.
Jumping straight into Frostbite was only natural after the amazing ride Vampire Academy gave me, and I didn’t regret a single moment. Richelle Mead paJumping straight into Frostbite was only natural after the amazing ride Vampire Academy gave me, and I didn’t regret a single moment. Richelle Mead paces her stories well, with one central location serving as the anchor for all the events in the book. The ski trip was an interesting and unexpected change of scenery, and I liked that she expanded the Moroi world beyond St. Vladimir’s Academy. The sense of danger is heightened now that Rose and her friends are outside of their school, and my only issue was that much of the action is crammed into the last half of the book. As it stands, it’s a pretty minor issue and did not detract from my enjoyment of the story. The Rose/Dimitri scenes did make me a little impatient, mostly because I am not emotionally invested in their romance, but again, I still found the story to be just as compelling as the first novel.
Tell Me More:McCormick Templeman's secondnovel is a story straight from the tradition of Angela Carter and other magic realists. But while it is chill
Tell Me More: McCormick Templeman's second novel is a story straight from the tradition of Angela Carter and other magic realists. But while it is chilling and suspenseful in parts, it doesn't quite manage to ground itself in an emotional core.
The narrative is the most interesting thing about The Glass Casket--it is unpredictable and dynamic, switching between points-of-view like a dragonfly on lily pads. The use of third-person points-of-view, both limited and omniscient, actually reminded me quite a bit of "A Company of Wolves." This comparison did not end there, as both the novel and Carter's short story share several similarities, though Glass Casket might have benefited from more pages.
As far as characterization, Templeman's cast is lackluster, and events seem to just happen to them with very little proactive action on their parts. The cover copy focuses on Rowan Rose, and yet she was one of the weaker characters, at least development-wise. There is far more weight placed on characters I thought were minor, and it did take me a while to adjust.
Thematically, The Glass Casket is quite ambitious, though it didn't manage to reach the heights it aspired for. In a village that interacts with the supernatural, there is very little that genuinely shocks or surprises the reader. Part of it might be how the characters never really seem to be all that shocked or surprised themselves, and the disconnect of it bleeds through. I would find myself forgetting what had happened in the previous chapter soon after starting a new one, and having to go back to reread became tedious.
The Final Say: Readers well versed in magic realism may not find much to consume in The Glass Casket, but there is definite potential for Templeman's future work, and I look forward to it.