I loved "His Face All Red" when I read it online, and the rest of the stories don't disappoint. "My Friend Janna" was particularly creepy, and I probaI loved "His Face All Red" when I read it online, and the rest of the stories don't disappoint. "My Friend Janna" was particularly creepy, and I probably should not have read it just before going to sleep....more
Tell Me More:WhenThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Bankswas first published, E. Lockhart was praised for the delightful cleverness of her proTell Me More: When The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks was first published, E. Lockhart was praised for the delightful cleverness of her protagonist. Frankie tore up expectations and all sense of propriety & predictability, and did it all while being a girl. Lockhart returns to those same themes in the gut-punching We Were Liars, and it changes the landscape of YA literature.
Perception is everything to the Sinclairs, Cadence notes so astutely, so the reader receives a lilting description of the family right off the bat. The details are carefully chose, the points at which they are revealed perfectly time for greatest impact. This is a porcelain family, sitting quietly on the shelf to be admired. They are reminiscent of the Wingfield family, those fragile, selfish souls that inhabit Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie," in their inability to face unpleasantness head-on. Instead, they skirt around it, veil it with jokes and passive-aggressive barbs and careful manipulation. Picking a side is not important to the reader--understanding each side, however, is key.
Cadence is a Liar, she states quite matter-of-factly, one of the group of four formed by her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and their friend Gat. But she also asks the reader: is she just a plain liar too? Nothing is safe and secure in Cadence's world--likewise, the reader is never sure if what she's saying is the truth. It's an amazing and daring leap that Lockhart asks her readers to make, since it would be all too easy to simply side with the protagonist. Not being able to trust Cadence challenges the reader to consider everything carefully, and this is a book that rewards those who take the time to reread.
The Final Say: Few readers will be able to resist the delicious test that We Were Liars presents in its tale of a family perfect in every way that doesn't count. E. Lockhart is a lightning bolt of an author, rare and commanding in her prose.
Tell Me More:Here is a story of unbearable pain and regret, told in musical prose and by a character whose sadness is hazy but still visible in everyTell Me More: Here is a story of unbearable pain and regret, told in musical prose and by a character whose sadness is hazy but still visible in every sentence. Ava Lavender and her tragic, luminous family are some of the most memorable characters I've ever encountered in fiction, and Leslye Walton tells their stories in short bursts, letting their strength carry the words forward.
Sorrows is not an easy book to read. The narrative follows a rough timeline, and Ava begins with the story of her great-great grandmother, with the reader trusting that this history will contribute to Ava's own tale. Other than that, it meanders, taking breaks every now and then to share a tidbit, visit an old friend, ponder the meaning of past events. Readers who want a clear-cut story with obvious conflicts and villains won't find that here, or at least not for a good long while.
In addition, Sorrows is a magic realism novel, with girls turning into canaries and ghosts silently watching their siblings live. Unlike a lot of speculative fiction, there's no obvious logic to the magic in Sorrows. Ava, like her aunts and uncles before her, deals with her inexplicable wings with the help of her family, and they keep her sane. Walton's writing style complements the tone of the story beautifully--she has a gift for picking the right word to make her sentences sing, and they will haunt you. I particularly admired how Walton handles Emilienne's story, as it stretches from her arrival in Manhatine(as her father calls it) to the warping of her family's quiet existence. Readers need an anchor, and while the story is told through Ava's eyes, it is Emilienne who grounds it in her tragedy and strength.
Female characters outnumber males in Sorrows, and while the story doesn't quite make a statement about feminism, it does make a statement about abuses committed in the name of love, highlighting the way women are used, discarded and forgotten by men. Emilienne and Viviane give their hearts to men, trusting in that love, and they are treated cruelly, rejected because of their eagerness to love. Ava is more cautious, and suffers for it anyway. There are reminders of the original "The Little Mermaid": both stories are about girls who try to go after their dreams and are punished for wanting more than what they have. Emilienne, Viviane and Ava face men who are used to getting what they want, and they all recognize that entitlement too late to save themselves in the moment that it hurts them. But they don't lose themselves in the end. More than determination, I think that Sorrows reminds its readers that having the will to survive can carry you through the worst moments of your life. And maybe it's too hard to muster up that will in your darkest times, and that is when you let someone else carry you for a while.
The Final Say: Leslye Walton is an astonishing new voice in YA fiction, much like her unforgettable Ava Lavender. Her Strange and Beautiful Sorrows will stay with you past the last page.
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.
Spent most of my time wondering when I would finally feel the wonder and awe that so many readers experience while reading this book, and got to the eSpent most of my time wondering when I would finally feel the wonder and awe that so many readers experience while reading this book, and got to the end without ever really feeling those things. Winter's Tale is not a bad book, but it isn't easy and I'm not sure the payoff is worth the long journey....more