"The Raven King" was a really great finish to Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle Series. Out of the four books this one is definitely my favorite!
TRK fel"The Raven King" was a really great finish to Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle Series. Out of the four books this one is definitely my favorite!
TRK felt to me very much like a "coming together" book. And I don't just mean literal getting-together for the couples, but just that it felt like everything that had happened in the three previous books was finally coming together in the way it should (but not always does) at the end of every series.
I loved all the main characters in these books but my special favorites were always Adam and Ronan, and so seeing them grow and mature, as well as seeing them grow closer and their relationship develop to the point where they actually became a couple, was wonderful. There was individual development for both of them, and then there were also so many moments with them together that actually made my heart skip a beat or two because it was so wildly romantic.
"His feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he'd let them overflow and now there wasn't a damn place in the ocean that wouldn't catch fire if he dropped a match."
"When Adam kissed him, it was every mile per hour Ronan had ever gone over the speed limit. It was every window-down, goose-bumps on skin, teeth-chattering-cold night drive. It was Adam's ribs under Ronan's hands and Adam's mouth on his mouth, again and again and again."
I dare you not to swoon when reading passages like that!
Beyond that, what I really liked about this book - as well as the ones before it - was that there was so much focus on friendships and familial relationships rathern than romance. Yes, there are two different love stories that thread through the entire story, but those were always just a part of the whole rather than the primary focus of the story. Don't get me wrong here, I love me some good romance, but it was still nice to see a series like this that put so much focus on friendships and other non-romantic relationships.
Having now finished this series I have to say that I was loath to let go of Adam, Ronan, Blue, Gansey, Noah, and the others - and I kinda hope that perhaps Maggie Stiefvater will decide to revisit Henrietta and its inhabitants again a few years down the road....more
I took me a while to really get into the story but when I did (around the half-mark) I loved it! The characters are absolutely wonderful and I'm alreaI took me a while to really get into the story but when I did (around the half-mark) I loved it! The characters are absolutely wonderful and I'm already looking forward to getting to know them better - and seeing the relationships between them develop - in the next few books!...more
I really had to think about how I would rate this book. If I could I'd give it 3.5 stars but since that's not possible I'm giving it 4 star rating sinI really had to think about how I would rate this book. If I could I'd give it 3.5 stars but since that's not possible I'm giving it 4 star rating since that feels more right than giving it only 3 stars. "Carry On" is divided into several parts, and I'll be honest - I did *not* really like the first part (= first 150 pages which are full of long-winded but not very interesting explanations and Simon running around looking for Baz).
The second part starts with the arrival of Baz, and who would have thought that one character could make the story as a whole so much better? Don't get me wrong - I *liked* Simon and Penny. But I didn't *love* them like I did Baz, and I didn't find them as interesting as him either. Baz's POV definitely was the most intriguing, and the one that spoke to me the most.
The story itself is interesting enough, though the mystery wasn't really very mysterious, and I had the whole thing - well, most of it, anyway - figured out looooong before Simon, Baz and Penny. But it was really Baz's POV and the romance between him and Simon that made the book good for me (well, minus the first part).
I gotta say though - I'd totally buy a sequel to this book because I'd really like to see more of Baz and Simon!
I just finished reading “The Land Of Stories: The Enchantress Returns” and I still have a smile on my face! I really, really loved this book, and thorI just finished reading “The Land Of Stories: The Enchantress Returns” and I still have a smile on my face! I really, really loved this book, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Following I’ll share my thoughts with you – there are a few *very* minor spoilers in this review, but nothing I would consider to be especially plot-relevant!
About the story:
It’s been a year since twins Alex and Conner Bailey were magically transported into the Land Of Stories and went on a quest to put together the Wishing Spell to find a way back to their own world. A year since they found out that they are children of both worlds, and that their grandmother is the one and only Fairy Godmother.
But adventure awaits the Bailey twins again when their mother is kidnapped and taken to the fairytale world by an evil enchantress who wants to rule over all the kingdoms – and more. Together they travel back to the Land Of Stories, where they soon find out that another quest is in order. Only this time, they’re not alone! They are joined by an unlikely quartet, and together this group must find a number of hard-to-collect items in hopes of putting together the Wand of Wonderment – the one thing that might help them defeat the enchantress and save the world!
Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed the first book in the series, “The Wishing Spell”, and thought it was good – but I also felt that it still left room for improvement (as is often the case with books by first time authors). Naturally I was excited for the sequel, “The Enchantress Returns”, and the book did not disappoint! In fact, I have to admit I actually liked this one better than the first one … :o)
Chris Colfer has really taken leaps and bounds as an author. I mean, he was a good writer and storyteller to begin with, but I feel that his writing has still improved quite a bit since his first book (“The Enchantress Returns” is actually his third one, with the YA novel “Struck by Lightning: The Carson Philips Journal” – based on his own screenplay – being the second).
The story is more well-rounded, the pacing and plotting tighter, the writing itself smoother, there’s more depth to both story and characters, and he manages to effortlessly interweave various subplots and tie them all up neatly in the end. While I felt that the story was a bit slow in the beginning, it soon picked up pace and once Alex and Conner were back in the Land Of Stories there was not a dull moment to be found.
Chris Colfer’s vivid imagination and knack for drawing readers into his stories continues to amaze me! His writing is incredibly descriptive and imaginative, and just like with the first book, this one too felt like I was watching a movie in my head (and on that note I have to say that both TLOS books would make really awesome movies!).
He is good at writing scenes for Alex and Conner, but where he is really at his best is when writing his fairytale characters, and especially when creating their back stories. He takes these stories and characters we all know and adds a whole bunch of new layers (and a lot more depth) to them. And more than that – he makes them feel so real they seem to leap off the pages!
There is plenty of humor and witty banter in this book! Mother Goose – or should I say “Mother Booze”? – is hilarious, and I have to say I love Chris for basically forcing Red and Goldilocks to spend the majority of the story in close quarters – their constant open animosity makes for some of the book’s most funniest moments! In fact, those two might just be my favorite characters in the series … :o)
It is really good to see Chris continuously improve as a writer, and honestly? If the three novels he has published so far are any indication then we can expect some really big things from him in the future!
To sum this up, “The Enchantress Returns” is a wonderful and well-written book not just for children – or adults – who love fairytales and fantastical stories, but for anyone who enjoys reading about adventures full of magic, wit and humor. I really hope that there will be more books in the series because I’m definitely not ready to say goodbye to Alex, Conner, and all the fairytale characters yet!
About the audio book: I read the hardcover book first and then listened to it after that. I’m not generally a fan of audio books but Chris Colfer always narrates them himself – and that is an absolute treat! He always manages to give every character a unique voice of their own, and I found his narration to be funny, engaging and often endearing! ...more
Actor, Golden Globe winner, 2-time Emmy nominee, one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, singer, screen writer, producer ...Actor, Golden Globe winner, 2-time Emmy nominee, one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, singer, screen writer, producer ... and now author? And all of that at just 22 years old? I understand how some people might be a bit skeptical in regards to Chris Colfer's actual writing talents, but the truth is - the guy just seems to be a natural-born storyteller, and it doesn't matter which medium he uses for it.
His first novel, "The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell", is the first book in what will become a series of novels about twins Alex and Conner Bailey.
For their twelfth birthday the twins' grandmother gives them a book that has been in the family for a long time - a collection of fairytales called "The Land of Stories". But as Conner and Alex soon find out - this is no ordinary book! When Alex accidentally falls into the book and Conner jumps after her, the twins find themselves in a world that is at once familiar and foreign - familiar, because they've grown up reading stories about the kingdoms of this fairytale world; and foreign because suddenly they are faced with the aftermath of "Happily Ever After": Goldilocks is a wanted fugitive; the big bad wolf may be dead but his pack is very much alive and hellbent on revenge; and the evil queen that almost succeeded in murdering Snow White has escaped from her prison.
Desperately trying to find their way home the twins start gathering a number of magical items in the hopes of successfully performing "The Wishing Spell". On their journey they meet many of the characters they've known since childhood along with numerous magical creatures. But Alex and Conner are not the only ones looking for the ingredients for the Wishing Spell, and what started out as a kind of scavenger hunt quickly turns into a race against time ...
Chris Colfer has a very vivid and descriptive style of writing that I personally liked very much. Whether he was describing castles, quaint villages or the dungeons of the Troll and Goblin Territory - it all came to life right before my eyes, and I could see every scene like a movie in my mind.
Conner and Alex were both likable and endearing lead characters. Where Alex is a too-smart-for-her-own-good bookworm, Conner is full of sarcasm. Despite their differences and their constant bickering and bantering - which makes for quite a few funny moments - it is clear that they have a close relationship and would never leave the other behind. But the twins are really just two out of a very large cast of characters, many of whom are of course already known to us from various fairytales. Personally, I have to admit I really liked Goldilocks - the girl kicked ass, so to speak ... ;o)
Children will absolutely love this book - in fact, they might want to live in it! - but that doesn't mean that it is only suitable for children. If you enjoy imaginative and fantastical stories full of magic, humor and adventure then you will probably adore TLOS! It really is a wonderful story for anyone who has ever loved fairytales ... and everyone who has remained young at heart!
Reading this book reminded me of how much I loved escaping into the world of books as a kid! Back then I would forget everything around me and just dive into different worlds to have amazing adventures. I could be a princess, a pirate or a rebel; I could travel the world, discover hidden treasures, or solve huge mysteries. In short - I could do or be anything I wanted!
I still love reading books but somehow I now often find it much harder to lose myself completely in a story like I used to do. But this particular book gave me back that feeling I remembered from my childhood - a sense of something magical! It would hold a special place in my heart for that alone, even if it wasn't as good as it actually is!
One thing I also liked was that Chris managed to tuck a few valuable lessons into his story, and he did so in a subtle way that never comes across as preachy. The message that he wants to give his readers is simple and yet so important: There is nothing wrong with just being yourself; don't try to mold yourself into something you're not comfortable with just to please other people; and don't disregard your own talents and capabilities just because they might not be the same as those of others.
Is TLOS a perfect book? No. Nor is it the best book I have ever read. But what it is is a wonderfully imaginative and fast-paced adventure that is very entertaining and definitely fun to read. It is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed, and will certainly pick up and read again. The story has a good flow to it, I was never bored for even a moment, and I chuckled to myself (or even laughed out loud) more often than I can count. Yes, some of the scenes could have been elaborated a bit or fleshed out more, and yes - there were a few moments where I felt like the twins got away a little bit too easily, but those are just the little bumps that almost any novel by a first-time author has.
As for predictability - well, sure ... there were a few things that I guessed at pretty early on, but I have to say that there were quite a few surprising twists and turns in the final chapters that I definitely did not see coming! In fact, I think the last 100 or so pages were my favorite part of the book, and it felt like Chris really hit his stride as a writer the further into the story he got - something that certainly makes me excited for the sequel ... :o)
This book definitely proves that Chris Colfer is indeed a talented writer with a wonderful imagination whose storytelling ability will most likely only get better with age, and I for one cannot wait for all the other stories that will surely come out of his creative mind in the coming years!
So to sum this up .... what did I love most about TLOS? Well, I'd say its unique story and humor, the interesting characters - and the magical feeling it left me with ... :o)
Last but not least, one note about the audiobook:
It is read by Chris Colfer himself, and what a treat that is! He really has a unique voice - both literally and figuratively speaking - and his narrative is utterly engaging. He truly manages to give every character their own voice and personality (and that's no small feat considering the large number of characters in this book!), and I must say that I almost loved the audiobook a bit more than the actual printed book (which I read first) - and that means a lot coming from me since I'm not normally a fan of audiobooks at all ....!
3.5 stars! This book has an interesting concept and I liked the main characters. However, it was also very lengthy at times and the author described e3.5 stars! This book has an interesting concept and I liked the main characters. However, it was also very lengthy at times and the author described everything in way too much detail. Don't get me wrong - normally I'd say detailed writing is good, but there is such a thing as "too much". I didn't need to know every single position Diana gets into during her yoga lessons; and when she enters a room, do we really need to have every little detail in that room described, right down to a piece of paper under a stack of books on a table in the corner?
Ms. Harkness has written an intelligent novel, but one that is bogged down by details and unnecessary descriptions.
Not sure whether I'll be reading the sequel....more
OMG! This series just keeps getting better and better. "Shadow Kiss" was such a great book --- emotional, powerful, and absolutely heartbreaking!!! IOMG! This series just keeps getting better and better. "Shadow Kiss" was such a great book --- emotional, powerful, and absolutely heartbreaking!!! I really hope that Rose and Dimitri will somehow get their happy end eventually, even though it seems quite impossible right now ......more
I admit I just really wanted to know what all the hype was about ... ;o) ... And I was a bit apprehensive because I have been disappointed by severalI admit I just really wanted to know what all the hype was about ... ;o) ... And I was a bit apprehensive because I have been disappointed by several of the hyped-up series of YA PNR.
BUT ... I'm glad to say that this time around I *get it* ... !!! With this book the writing was actually good, the characters really grew on me (especially Rose and Dimitri) and there was an actual plot which works perfectly to set up the next books in the series.
I really enjoyed "Vampire Academy" and can't wait to start reading the next one ... :o)...more