Time travel stories are tricky. A Thousand Pieces of You isn’t a time travel story, though.This review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Time travel stories are tricky. A Thousand Pieces of You isn’t a time travel story, though. When this first book was first released, though, several people told me they loved it as a time travel story. As anyone who has read Harry Potter or Outlander knows, time travel stories are notoriously tricky. So I passed.
As such, let’s get this part out of the way up front: A Thousand Pieces of You isn’t a time travel story. It’s about five times more complicated, but told in a way that’s utterly clear, straightforward, and unputdownable. Read this sucker!
Claudia Gray takes some of the tenets of time travel books—the fear about what may happen in the present—and rolls them in with key pieces of portal fantasy (something I don’t typically read much of), science fiction, and romance. The finished product is fantastic. In the Firebird series, there are unending parallel universes to ours. There is another version of us there (as long as your parents in that universe ended up together at some point), and their lives could be very similar or very different. Marguerite’s family are geniuses. We’re talking they—along with their two grad students who are like family—invented a way to travel between the dimensions. Marguerite has never been interested in all that—she’s far too right-brained—but when her father is murdered and the man responsible takes off to another dimension, she’s determined to catch him.
There are some nice twists in this novel, which make writing a spoiler-free review tricky. It’s a good problem for this reviewer to have. The visuals of each location Marguerite travels to, trying to understand who she is in each world and what it means for that world’s Marguerite while she’s inhabiting her body are pure highlights. The romance gets sticky, and most certainly has a love triangle element. While I was initially wary of a situation of guy A versus guy B, the plot reveals dictate much of this and it worked for me.
Claudia Gray has crafted another must read. Once we start hopping through dimensions, there is no way to put this novel down. I had to know what happened next, and I bet you will, too. Plus, hot Russian dudes play a part and I’m never going to say no to that....more
Silver Shadows is the darkest book in the Bloodlines series to date. It’s also the best. RichelThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Silver Shadows is the darkest book in the Bloodlines series to date. It’s also the best. Richelle Mead has deftly woven painful, deep scenes with breaths of warmth, light and hope.
Longtime fans of Mead’s work will know she tends to go for the gut punch and the tears on the emotional roller coaster. I’ve never been one to really complain about that. However, the balance of light and dark in this novel is, simply, better. Part of that comes from the shift of this series to dual points of view. Adrian, who so long has been besieged by his own demons and the depression brought on by his spirit use, becomes a point of light this time. His chapters are the scenes that let us breathe in this book, and even when he makes mistakes he’s nothing short of a source of hope.
The ending of The Fiery Heart was wicked. If you thought we would escape seeing Sydney in re-education camp, you’d be wrong. She’s in solitary confinement when the novel begins, and her torture—both mental and physical—continues for chapters and chapters. It’s heavy, and painful, but her love for Adrian keeps her whole. She is strong and has become a character you can’t help but admire. She’s grown so much over the last five novels, and you’ll want to rally behind her as she does her best for others even in the midst of Hell.
Adrian has his own struggles, but his top goal is saving Sydney. I didn’t think I could be more in love with Adrian Ivashkov, but Silver Shadows did it. It doesn’t matter that this novel has scenes of torture; it’s a romance through and through. The power of love is a big deal here. It helps us grounded and centered and provides the hope that we can survive.
I “one more chapter”-ed the last 150 pages of this novel. You will, too.
Still really conflicted about this book. I loved the first 90% and it yanked at my emotions like I expected, but the ending left me unsated. There's aStill really conflicted about this book. I loved the first 90% and it yanked at my emotions like I expected, but the ending left me unsated. There's a twist (no spoilers!), but that isn't where my issue lies. Regardless, still a strong outing from Kresley Cole.
Full review to come, but in short: Cover-to-cover amazing. Definitely will end up on my Best of 2013 list. Love in dark places. Angst. Complications.Full review to come, but in short: Cover-to-cover amazing. Definitely will end up on my Best of 2013 list. Love in dark places. Angst. Complications. Sympathy for characters you didn't originally want to love. Just... stunning....more
Every time I finish one of Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines novels, I clamor for the next one. The FieThis review was originally posted on Vampire Book Club
Every time I finish one of Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines novels, I clamor for the next one. The Fiery Heart isn’t an exception. No, for those who read the Vampire Academy series, I say: Remember when you finished Shadow Kiss and you needed Blood Promise in your hands with every fiber of your being? Yeah, that’s the end of The Fiery Heart.
The Fiery Heart indulges in the connection between in Adrian and Sydney. Hell, it relishes in it. As a reader, I found myself damn-near languid after their interactions and yearning for their stolen moments. They finally admitted their feelings for one another in The Indigo Spell. But with Sydney’s little sister moving in and bringing along piles of Sage and Alchemist baggage, it’s difficult for the two to enjoy their relationship. Their meetings are stolen moments. They text on special cell phones. And they are so in love it hurts.
Why am I harping on the romance angle? Other than the fact it’s smoking hot and just—gah—so good? Fine. This is the first time I’ve read a book by Mead (and I’ve read them all) that read like a romance novel. The main focus of The Fiery Heart is Adrian and Sydney’s relationship and the goal of them being together. To make this even clearer, we spend half the novel in Adrian’s head. His points of view were brilliant and insightful. He continue to struggle with the consequences his spirit use, but wants to be a better man for Sydney. Look, the short story here is you’re going to swoon. And maybe cry. Mostly swoon, though.
The book isn’t all steaminess between these two. We also have big progress on the magical front, on working to break the tattoos that force Alchemists to behave and even on the spirit use against Strigoi. Pretty big strides there, but I just can’t spoil that for you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t admit the ending is wicked. Good wicked. It’s what needs to happen for this journey to move forward correctly. There are so many possibilities as to what might happen next and I need answers. In the meantime, I’ll be happy I devoured The Fiery Heart. It was by far my favorite book in the Bloodlines series and Vampire Academy fans will probably put it in the same league as Shadow Kiss, which is definitely an epic compliment.
I am in perpetual awe of Julie Kagawa. Every book I’ve read of hers is better than the last andThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
I am in perpetual awe of Julie Kagawa. Every book I’ve read of hers is better than the last and The Eternity Cure is no exception. She takes heroine Allie to some dark places in this latest book, but anything else would have cheapened the experience.
Allie’s character arc continues to develop beautifully as she truly understands what it means for her to be a vampire and fights to balance that with maintaining her humanity. Zeke continues to be her source of good here, and it isn’t just that he’s human, but that he sees the good in her. There’s a great juxtaposition between the way Allie behaves in reaction to Stick and her emotions when Zeke is with her. I’m not just talking about romance here, but about the way another’s faith in you can make you into a better person.
Characters are in real peril in this one, and as a reader I was never certain anyone would make it. The plot twists were devious enough to catch me off guard and the staging done well enough to make think, “Oh, God, she’s actually going to do…”
I adored The Immortal Rules, but I promise you The Eternity Cure is even more brilliant. It gave me what I really needed in this journey: huge emotional development, answers about the world Allie grew up in, down-and-dirty fight scenes and some of the most gorgeous prose I’ve read in some time.
I’ve been stingy with the five-star ratings of late (picky, picky, I know), but The Eternity Cure deserves a perfect score from me. Expect this one on my Best of 2013 list....more
There are few books I enjoy more than the ones that do something fresh. Despite the blurb on thThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
There are few books I enjoy more than the ones that do something fresh. Despite the blurb on the cover for The Hunt comparing it to The Hunger Games, Andrew Fukuda’s debut is remarkably creative and engaging.
The concept, when distilled sounds direct: Vampires are now the dominant species on Earth. Humans—called hepers—have been labeled extinct. They aren’t. The government has a few kept in secret to raise morale. They’ll employ a lottery system to see which lucky people get the honor of hunting down these kept hepers.
Make that more complicated by having the novel’s hero be human. He’s not one of the government’s hepers, but a human living in secret. He pretends to be a vampire (in the novel always just called “people”). He hides emotion. He shaves the hair from his arms, douses himself in hand sanitizer and the like. He takes on the tics of the vampires—neck cracking and wrist scratching. He fakes it. It’s worked, too. Only now there is going to be another heper hunt and he’s been picked to hunt down and kill his kind.
What elevates this novel for me is the brilliant way Fukuda makes his protagonist see himself and the world. He lives by these rules to fake being a vampire, to survive. He hates the vampires, but at the same time he’s been indoctrinated into their beliefs. Even when he sees the hepers kept in a secluded dome, he doesn’t feel immediate sympathy for them. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t equate them with himself at all. He’s free, a survivor. The vampires don’t use names, and we don’t learn the protagonist’s name until we’re far into the novel. There’s this slow, steady reveal of who the main character really is that drives the connection here.
Additionally, the plot throws enough curve balls to keep you surprised. I thought I had a couple key points and character motivations figured out. One of the few times I enjoy being wrong. While the start is a little slow plot-wise, the writing is spry and the story is an undeniable page-turner.
The only reason this book didn’t garner five stars from me is I found the romance angle weak. I didn’t really see any reason why the main character was infatuated with his love interest. That arc wasn’t as clear to me, and made me question some of his choices. However, I loved the writing and will make a point to start the sequel The Prey quickly.