"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!
Okay, so the story in "Illusions of Fate" is really simple and the plot almost non-existent, but I actually enjoyed it despite that. Why? Because theOkay, so the story in "Illusions of Fate" is really simple and the plot almost non-existent, but I actually enjoyed it despite that. Why? Because the characters were so wonderfully witty and charming - Jessamin, Finn and especially Eleanor (who became my favorite pretty much the moment she appeared). Not what I would call a *great* book but definitely a cute and entertaining little story....more
Really good and atmospheric follow-up to "Shipwrecked", and while I did figure out one big thing (who exactly was possessed by Hortense) quite some tiReally good and atmospheric follow-up to "Shipwrecked", and while I did figure out one big thing (who exactly was possessed by Hortense) quite some time before the end the book did still throw me a curveball by throwing out another plot twist in the final pages. I'm definitely intrigued as to how this story will continue!...more
I picked this book up on a whim and ended up enjoying it very much! It was exactly what I expected: mindless but fun entertainment. All the charactersI picked this book up on a whim and ended up enjoying it very much! It was exactly what I expected: mindless but fun entertainment. All the characters are fairly black and white - one half of the group that's stranded on the island consists of nice characters who are really good people, and the other half consists of mean girls and not-too-bright jocks. I liked the characters I was supposed to like, and spent sufficient time rolling my eyes at the others. There is a romance in there too, but it's more of a side story and not the main focus of the book.
The story is quickly told: A group of teenagers gets stranded on a strange deserted island, inexplicable and creepy things start to happen, and there's a mystery to be solved. The good thing is that it never gets boring, and I found myself always wanting to know what would happen next. The book ends right at the height of the story, and I actually ended up buying the sequel as soon as I finished this first book in the series because now I really have to know how the rest of the story is going to unfold ... :o)...more
I read a lot of very negative reviews about this book but decided to pick it up anyway. That'll teach me! I have certainly read worse books than "StarI read a lot of very negative reviews about this book but decided to pick it up anyway. That'll teach me! I have certainly read worse books than "Starcrossed" (*cough* Breaking Dawn *cough* ) but this one still does rank pretty high on my "Wish I hadn't wasted time on this" list.
And, you know, the thing is that the basic idea of the story had potential. I could totally see this becoming an interesting story. Unfortunately, a good idea does not necessarily make a good book. It always depends on what the writer makes of the idea, and while I applaud Ms. Angelini for picking something other than vampires, angels or werewolves for her story, it has to be said that she isn't a great writer (yet).
The first roughly 100 or so pages of "Starcrossed" were bad. Ridiculously, cringeworthy, eyeroll-inducingly bad. Nothing in those pages made sense, the characters were completely flat and all behaved very immature, and I did at some point wonder whether this book was written by a 12-year-old. And yet I kept reading because it was so bad it was actually entertaining. It was like driving by an accident - you know you don't want to see it, but you can't stop yourself from looking, either.
Anyway, it got better after that. Marginally. See, it seems that after those 100 or so pages Ms. Angelini finally remembered that characterization should actually be part of a book. Any book. So she tried to give her characters more depth - which worked to a degree. I was able to relate to the characters a little more but they still did remain pretty one-dimensional throughout the entire book.
The main protagonist in "Starcrossed" is a teenage girl named Helen Hamilton who lives with her father on the beautiful island of Nantucket. She's tall, blonde, and very beautiful. Over the course of the beginning of the book we find out that Helen has quite a few abilities - she's super strong and super fast, she has incredible hearing, she can fly, she can generate lightning ... oh, and did I mention that she can't be hurt by *any* weapon??? Really, it was just a *little* too much for my taste.
Now with all those abilities you'd think Helen would be one tough, confident, kick-ass girl, but no --- she's actually weak and childish and full of insecurities.I didn't dislike her exactly, but I didn't really like her, either. In fact, half the time I just found her really annoying. She is also very accepting of anything and everything. Whether it's the fact that she is stronger and faster than everybody she knows, or that she can fly, or that she is one of the Scions --- descendants of the mythological Greek gods - she always simply accepts everything as reality without so much as the bat of an eyelash. There is barely a moment of disbelief or anything. Unfortunately it's like that for the entire book - she almost never questions anything that she is told or that happens to her!
Helen is also a very impassive character. For example, when Cassandra tries to kill her because that's what she saw herself doing in one of her visions, all Helen thinks is that if Cassandra foresaw her death then there would be no point in fighting back or resisting anyway. So she does nothing. Really? Seriously? She just sits there while she waits for Cassandra to behead her with a sword? Any normal person would have panicked and run away or fought back ... or at least thought about running or fighting back. But Helen goes for "sacrificial lamb" instead.
Then there's the male lead character - Lucas Delos, a gorgeous boy who has just moved to the island with his family. The first time Helen sees Lucas she starts feeling uncontrollable hate, runs towards him and tries to throttle him or something like that. When she meets him again for the next time near his family's home she barrels right into him as soon as she sees him and they start fighting. Again, she never questions the instant hate she feels toward Lucas and the other members of the Delos family, or the "Why" behind the fact that she wants to kill him. Somewhere around page 100 or so they suddenly stop hating each other - no real explanation for this is given by the author. I guess she expects her readers to be like Helen and just - can you guess? - accept it ...!
Lucas and Helen are supposed to be these tragic starcrossed lovers, but really ... there was nothing in the book that made me think "Oh yeah, those two are meant to be together ...". They go from instant hate (at the beginning of the book) to instant attraction (a little later). There is no base or reason for their love, though. You know how some books have really beautiful love stories that make you smile and sigh and basically make your toes curl? This isn't one of them.
And, you know, talk about sending mixed signals! After they get over their initial hatred for each other Lucas constantly holds Helen's hand or hugs her, he gives her smoldering glances ... there is one occasion where he lies with her IN HER BED (her under the covers, him on top ... sound familiar?), and he's holding her and kissing her neck ... but basically the moment she tries to touch him he says "We can't" ... while still nuzzling her neck, of course. In another situations she tells him that she's mad at him for leading him on (which he did) and then he gets mad at her for saying that ... Hello?
Let's move on to Helen's best friend Claire - her reaction when Helen tells her that she can fly (and do other stuff) is absolutely ridiculous! So we're supposed to believe that Claire has know about all of this for a good 10 years and never mentioned it to anyone - even Helen herself? That a 7-year-old girl would push her best friend of a roof and try to cut her with a knife simply to prove her theories?
The Delos family itself had a few mildly interesting characters but they did remind me a little too much of the Cullen family in "Twilight". Halfway through the book I realized that the character I liked best of everyone in this story was actually Lucas' psychotic cousin Hector. Well, he was really only psychotic in the beginning. But really, after a while I noticed that he was really the only one with a good head on his shoulders, the only one whose thoughts went in a reasonable direction.
I hate it when YA paranormal romance books automatically get compared to "Twilight" but in this case there is really no avoiding it. Did Ms. Angelini get inspired (read: steal) from the "Twilight" series? You bet she did. There are too many parallels for it to be otherwise. She merely exchanged vampires and werewolves for Greek mythology and the descendants of Greek Gods. _________________________________________
Here are some examples of the writing and my thoughts while I was reading the book:
"One of the terrible side effects of feeling as if she somehow already knew Lucas was that she was starting to idealize him, making him more perfect than was humanly possible." ... followed by ... "Which was uncomfortable because she also still wanted to kill him." --- Why does she feel like she already knows him? And why does she want to kill him? She has only seem him twice and hasn't even talked to him yet!
"You just helped me, and I'm grateful. But I still really, really want to kill you." ... and then he says "This is hard for me, too, you know" --- No, why should she know? They don't know each other at all, after all ...!
"Lucas was like her. The thought made her stomach heave. How could she be anything like someone she hated so desperately?" --- Ah, right. And how does she know she's like him again? For that matter, how does she know what he's like anyway?
Imagine Lucas saying this *right* after he and Helen had been fighting to the death: "Damn it. They can't find you here or you're dead. Go!" --- Wait, a moment ago he wanted to kill her, and now he wants her to run away so she *doesn't* get killed? Make up your mind, already ...
"The furies wanted her to kill Lucas, that was clear ..." --- Really? Why is that clear? And why isn't she the least bit bothered by the thought of killing someone she doesn't even know?
"Helen had no doubt he (Lucas) wanted to kill her ..." and a little later "An ancient, supernatural force ewas compelling her to kill Lucas." --- And yet she never even asks herself why ... personally, I would have demanded quite a few answers from someone at some point ...
"If paper could cut her but a spear couldn't, could you make a spear out of paper and kill her?" --- Need I comment this one? A spear made out of paper ... right ...
This coming from Helen after hovering in front of her best friend's bedroom window and thus "coming out" to her with her new ability: "I just flew in your window. Why aren't you more surprised?" ... followed by Claire saying "I've known you could fly since we were kids. I even pushed you off your roof once to make sure." --- Really? I don't even know what to say to that one ... ________________________________________
Basically, I quickly lost track of how often I raised my eyebrows and asked myself "But WHY???" - it happened a few times on every page! Anyway, like I said, it wasn't the worst book ever, but it wasn't good, either.
How did this book ever make it past an editor??? That was my first thought after I finished it. And I still can't believe that I *did* indeed finish iHow did this book ever make it past an editor??? That was my first thought after I finished it. And I still can't believe that I *did* indeed finish it --- if it hadn't been for the fact that I got it through Amazon Vine I probably would have quit less than halfway-through. This book made me want to rant and rave. It is just so utterly, ridiculously, laughably bad!!! Anyway, here is my review:
Imagine the following scene:
Ms. Moss spends a cozy evening in front of the television watching a double episode of "The Vampire Diaries". At some point she thinks to herself "Hmmm ... I could probably write something like that! I'll just change the name of the town from Mystic Falls to Winter Mill. And my protagonist will be called Faye instead of Elena.She should be a brunette, too, and she could live with her aunt --- just like Elena. Faye's mother could be dead and her father ... oh, I know --- he's an archeologist who's travelling all over the world all the time. That way he'll be out of the picture, too. And how about I make the mother of Faye's best friend the town sheriff? No, wait, that's what they did on "The Vampire Diaries". Okay, I'll just make the best friend's father the sheriff then ... Oh, and there have to be two boys who have just moved to town. One should be confident and extroverted ... kind of a flirt. And the other should be more quiet and mysterious. Now, what could I call them? Damon and Stefan? Nah, Lucas and Finn are much better. They can't be vampires, though ... that would be a little too obvious. Maybe werewolves --- at least one of them, and I'll figure out something for the other one, too. Of course there has got to be some mysterious connection between them ... oh, and they both have to fall in love with Elena ... no, wait ... Faye. Oooh, and how about I write the story so that Elena ... ugh, no ... Faye looks *exactly* like Katherine ... no, damn .. Eve --- the former girlfriend of Stefan? Shoot, Finn I meant ...."
What I mean by this is that Alice Moss certainly "borrowed" a little from the first season of the tv-show "The Vampire Diaries". Now, I realize that in this genre most authors do not exactly bring anything new to the table so that alone wouldn't have been so bad. And, you know, Ms. Moss did try to put a few ideas of her own into this book ... they just weren't all that good ...
The style of writing is very simple and predictable --- there are no surprises, and not a hint of complexity or anything like that. The dialogue often seemed a little wooden and not very believable.
Throughout the book things happen that the reader is led to believe will have an import on the story ... only to then never be mentioned again. For example, a dead body is found in the woods at the beginning of the story. The police warns everyone not to go into the forest, and there's a lot of talk about it all. Then, suddenly, the body is never mentioned again --- apparently it doesn't matter anymore who he was or why and how he died. Okay, whatever. And there are lots of things just like this one.
Then there is the way Faye's aunt Pam reacts after being told that werewolves and various creatures from hell really do exist. I mean, there are dozens of possible reactions to something like that, right? Wild laughter, crying, screaming, fainting ... possibly just total disbelief. But aunt Pam simply says something like "Oh, imagine something like that coming to our sleepy little town" ... Say what? Somehow I don't think that would be a very probable reaction ...
Ooooh, and let's not forget that Darth-Vader-Luke-Skywalker-I-am-your-father-type-moment around page 240 or so ... at that point I seriously considered quitting right there and then. But some bit of morbid curiosity made me read on ... and let's just say that the rest of the book wasn't any better than what came before. In fact, it might have gotten worse --- hard to say, really.
Let's move on to characterization. Or, rather, that's what I would say if there had actually *been* any measure of characterization. Unfortunately, there is not. Faye, Liz, Lucas, Finn --- all of them stay shallow and lifeless, and except for Finn maybe I didn't find any of them to be particularly likable. In fact, I really disliked Liz --- she's childish and immature and very annoying. There is one scene where she throws a tantrum and yells at Faye because she dared talk to Lucas at a party (Liz accuses her of flirting with Lucas who - by the way - is not her boyfriend or anything!) --- after Liz had asked her that *very same day* to be nicer to Lucas. Speaking of Lucas, he comes across as spoiled and arrogant in the first half of the book, although I have to admit it gets a little better during the second half. Then there's quiet and rather introverted Finn. You see, I can't really say much about the characters because there just isn't much to say beyond the fact that all of them had me rolling my eyes more than once.
The author doesn't really waste any words on trying to tell (or show) her readers *why* her characters think or do the things they think or do. And believe me, some of those things were so stupid or downright-dumb that I wanted to smack their heads together or shake some sense into them. That's probably one of the reasons why they stayed so flat and one-dimensional. I really don't have any tolerance for brainless characters ...
Liz and Faye spend large parts of the story thinking about clothes and make-up, they go shopping or get ready for parties. Sure, normal things for teenage girls to do. BUT ... if that is suddenly more important than the fact that more and more people around them are behaving strangely, or the disappearance of one of their friends then that doesn't ring true for me. Hey, my dad's walking around like a zombie and our friend has just disappeared without a trace, but you know what? Let's get ready for the band festival first ...! Seriously, there are scenes where the two of them talk about something strange or bad that has happened, and then suddenly they change the subject to the cute shirt one of them wants to buy.
There are some books by first-time authors that are so well-written and engaging that it's hard to believe they haven't written at least a dozen books before. And then there are books like "Mortal Kiss" where it is painfully obvious from start to finish that the author lacks writing experience. I also sometimes thought that Ms. Moss couldn't really decide what kind of a story she wanted to tell. I'm sure it all made perfect sense in her head, but it didn't make all that much sense to me ...
To be honest, "Mortal Kiss" felt to me a little like a first draft of a book that could have had potential --- after it had been corrected by an editor and then thorougly overhauled by the author.
I really can't give this book more than a 1-star-rating. I'm sure there are people out there who will like "Mortal Kiss" but I'm not one of them. A few "borrowed" ideas combined with a slightly interesting myth and wrapped up in mediocre writing and implausible dialogue ... that's just not enough for me! ...more