The title is a little silly. The cover could be more attractive. I enjoyed reading it though, and that's the important thing, right? I have to admit t...moreThe title is a little silly. The cover could be more attractive. I enjoyed reading it though, and that's the important thing, right? I have to admit that, as silly as it is, the title was part of the appeal for me. The five-year-old little girl in me wanted to read about princesses, and this book claims to contain a whole posse of them!
The plot is a bit predictable (and other reviews have summarized it quite well so I won't describe it here), but when reading about princesses and romance, one does not really need surprise plot twists so long as there is a happily ever after. Which there is. I'm sorry if that spoils it for you ;)
There are lots of princesses of all different kinds, and although the story does revolve around only one, Rhis, even the minor characters are well-drawn and believable.
My only quibble with the book is that it kind loses steam at the end. There's romantic tension and build-up and right when it seems there is going to be a resolution, the flow of the story is interrupted with a separation between the heroine and her hero during which they can only write one letter a year to each other for five years. I imagine a whole book could have been taken up with their letters to each other if there hadn't been this strange one letter a year rule that seemed very out of place.
Overall, it's a fun read if you like stories about princesses and sweet romances (as opposed to steamy romance novel romances). Technically I think it's considered a young adult fantasy, but the magic element is very minimal; it's incidental to the story. If you like your romantic fantasy to have lots of magic, this might not be the story for you.
I believe this story is set in the same world as Smith's Wren series (Wren to the Rescue (Wren Books), Wren's Quest (Wren Books), Wren's War (Wren Books)). Although set in that world, I think people who like Smith's Crown Duel (Crown Duel / Court Duel) duet, especially the second half (the Court Duel half), or Shannon Hale's Princess Academy, will really enjoy this book.(less)
It's possible I'm being more harsh on this book than I would have been if I hadn't read such glowing reviews before hand. Maybe my expectations were t...moreIt's possible I'm being more harsh on this book than I would have been if I hadn't read such glowing reviews before hand. Maybe my expectations were too high, so take everything I write in this review with a grain of salt.
Without giving away a major plot point, I'll just say that reading this book really made me want to hear the story of the Silver Phoenix.
The lead is a kick-butt female with a cool power.
Throughout the entire book, I didn't really get a sense of who the villain was and what the motivations for attacking Ai Ling throughout the book were; I didn't really feel like we got to know the villain(s) well enough to fear them. I know it's explicitly spelled out for us near the end, but that seemed too late. I think it could have helped tie together some of the events of the book so they seemed less like a series of episodes and more like a complete story.
Ai Ling's power seems to work a little too well for someone who is making it up as she goes along.
I wouldn't call this story romantic in any way. I read reviews that mentioned romance, and so was disappointed to find that though there are two people who have feelings for each other, that relationship is not really explored, and it's left unresolved at the end. I don't hold it against the book that it wasn't romantic, more against the reviews that mentioned a romance that isn't really a *romance.* Unresolved sexual tension? Yes. Romance? No.
All that being said, if a prequel is ever written about the Silver Phoenix I will definitely read it. If more is written about Ai Ling, I'll probably read that too. This book was a nice change of pace from the more euro-centric fantasies I generally read.(less)
**spoiler alert** This morning, I read Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, and I loved it. It's YA fantasy, and drew me in right away. It's the stor...more**spoiler alert** This morning, I read Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, and I loved it. It's YA fantasy, and drew me in right away. It's the story of Nimira, a girl who ran away from home, sailed across the sea to another land in the hopes of finding her fortune. It's also the story of a fairy prince, Erris, enchanted into the body of an automaton. With hints of Jane Eyre, the story really pulled me along to find out what happened next to the characters. Would Nimira be able to find a way to help Erris? Would they be discovered by those who would stop them? The ending is obviously just the beginning of their story, so in that way it's a frustrating ending, but at the same time, it hints at more to come, so I guess I'll just have to wait for the sequel to find out more!(less)
I really, really, really wanted to love this story because I'd read such great reviews of it. Don't get me wrong, I didn't dislike it, but it didn't p...moreI really, really, really wanted to love this story because I'd read such great reviews of it. Don't get me wrong, I didn't dislike it, but it didn't pull me in the way I expected it to based on reviews.
It's a novella, so one can't expect the sort of world building and scene setting that one gets in a full-length novel, but at the end of the story, I still didn't feel like I got a good concept of the world this story was set in. Markhat is something called a "finder," but I have no clue if that's a job title or something you just are (like an elf or a troll or a human being). I don't know what a finder does or is special about a finder or why it's important to know that Markhat is one. I didn't get a sense of the what kind of world this is - is it modern? it seemed like a contemporary setting, but I couldn't quite tell. I get that there's magic and trolls and maybe vampires? or whatever the half-dead are.
There were also just some things about the writing itself that bugged me, and I'm not sure if they were intentional stylistic choices or not. Either way, every time I came across an incomplete sentence (which was often), I got pushed out of the story. Every time there was a list with no comma in front of the "and," I got pushed out of the story (and I know it's not technically wrong, but when I read something that doesn't use the serial comma, it doesn't sound right in my head).
All that being said, I wanted to learn more about the world and the character of Markhat, so I'll read the other Markhat stories to see if any of my questions get answered. (less)
I would consider this a short story rather than a novella. I enjoyed it slightly more than the previous novella, but still was not blown away, and I s...moreI would consider this a short story rather than a novella. I enjoyed it slightly more than the previous novella, but still was not blown away, and I still felt like the world building wasn't enough to really bring me into the story and make me feel like I knew what was going on.
I really enjoyed the Misters (Mister Smith, Mister Jones, and Mister Chin), three trolls who hire Markhat to get back their cousin's head from a vampire. I'm still not 100% sure what a finder is, but it seems like maybe a private eye/finder of lost things? Except that in the first story, he isn't finding anything, he's trying to protect an old lady and understand why her dead husband is back from the grave, and in this story, the Misters know that this vampire has their cousin's head, they just want Markhat to go and fetch it for them...not exactly detective work.
There are further references to the War in this story and you get hints that the curfew that is in play is because of the War, but not really who the war was between trolls and vampires? How do humans fit in? What really is the purpose of the curfew and who enforces it? Why?
Anyway, a decent read, some of the same issues as in Dead Man's Rain, but I'm interested enough to continue reading more about Markhat(less)
This is the first novel-length story about Markhat, and I think that helped it out. A lot of the stuff I wondered about from the first two stories sti...moreThis is the first novel-length story about Markhat, and I think that helped it out. A lot of the stuff I wondered about from the first two stories still isn't explained in this one, but the story itself was more involved. It was a missing person type mystery, and that part of the story really pulled me along. Markhat also gets a love interest in this one, although that's not really developed as well as I was hoping. Still, it was an enjoyable read. I'll be reading the fourth book too.(less)
Finally! This novella opened the way the first story should have (in my opinion). We finally get an explanation of what exactly a finder is (someone w...moreFinally! This novella opened the way the first story should have (in my opinion). We finally get an explanation of what exactly a finder is (someone who is paid to find things, not a magical skill, just a job title) and a little background on Markhat. I'm interested in this world and this character, but so far, the stories just aren't pulling me in, and I'm not really sure why. Even four stories into this world with these same characters, I don't feel like I really know any of them. I haven't gotten to see into any of their heads, know their motivations, know their feelings, etc. Markhat is a smartass, which is fun, but...I still don't know him.
I'd like to see some more background for this world - what is the War, why is there a curfew, etc.
Also, something bothered me a lot about this book - there is no mention whatsoever of Darla from the previous book. It's a pet peeve of mine when the "hero" of a series of books gets a different girl in each book with no mention of the previous one(s). Not that Markhat is some ladies man - he has no love interest at all in the first two stories, and there's not really one in this either, although there's some flirting and a date at the end. This might not bother other people.
Still...I'd really give this store more of a 2.5...inching towards 3 than a solid 2 because I did feel like it improved in some of the areas that bothered me about the previous Markhat stories.(less)
I went in to this book with no expectations about it other than I know people who rave about this series, and I'm glad to say I really enjoyed it. I'm...moreI went in to this book with no expectations about it other than I know people who rave about this series, and I'm glad to say I really enjoyed it. I'm not a huge fan of first person stories, so that jarred me a few times, but overall, the story was fast-paced, and I really liked the characters. The ending was also a surprise to me which isn't often the case. I'm not sure if I just wasn't paying attention, or if Turner was just really good at letting just the right amount of information through that readers won't guess but also won't feel like the ending came out of the blue. I look forward to reading the rest of the series!(less)
This series has a subtlty that may make it seem boring to some, but it kept me glued to the (virtual electronic) page. If you don't like reading about...moreThis series has a subtlty that may make it seem boring to some, but it kept me glued to the (virtual electronic) page. If you don't like reading about strategy and political intrigue, this probably isn't the book for you, but all of the political maneuvering and strategic twists and turns are what kept me interested. The story definitely surprised me at times and went in unexpected directions. Some of it I'm not sure is believable, but I will definitely be reading on in the series to see if Turner can change my mind about that.
While the first book is told completely in first person from Gen's POV, this book is third person and shifts between the POVs of Gen, the Queen of Eddis, and the Queen of Attolia. I liked getting to see into all three of their heads.(less)
This was a relatively quick read, but the story just never really grabbed me or made me really care all that much about the characters. The premise is...moreThis was a relatively quick read, but the story just never really grabbed me or made me really care all that much about the characters. The premise is that Bug's grandfather traded his soul to the devil for a car. When he died though, he managed to evade "capture," leaving his co-signer (aka. Bug) to have her soul claimed in his place.
I liked Bug's friend, Pesto, more than I liked Bug, and the situations all just seemed a little bit too convenient. (less)
This was a really cute MG/younger YA novel about Prunella Bogthistle, a bog-witch who just can't seem to get her curses to work correctly, and Barnaby...moreThis was a really cute MG/younger YA novel about Prunella Bogthistle, a bog-witch who just can't seem to get her curses to work correctly, and Barnaby Bagby, a thief trying to make good. I found the story a tiny bit uneven in places, and you definitely get whacked on the head with the moral(s) of the story at the end (it's important to get both sides of a story, because the story you know may not be the true story; it's important to be true to yourself and not do things just because others expect you to), but still a cute, fun read that I'd definitely recommend to those who like this sort of book.
I think it might make a fun Halloween read-aloud, and I have a lot of ideas now for cute, bog-witch-themed snacks. How cute would toadstool cupcakes be? Seriously?(less)