This one was weird for me. (view spoiler)[Dmitri as a Strigoi was super creepy, and I realize that he will most likely be "healed" of being a Strigoi...moreThis one was weird for me. (view spoiler)[Dmitri as a Strigoi was super creepy, and I realize that he will most likely be "healed" of being a Strigoi later in the series, but I have a hard time understanding how Rose could ever be with him again after her experience in Siberia. (hide spoiler)]
Still, I'm looking forward to the next one! I can't wait to see how all of this is resolved in Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice!["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm so proud of myself for reading this book. I didn't enjoy Vampire Academy. Rose really got under my skin, and I didn't connect with any of the othe...moreI'm so proud of myself for reading this book. I didn't enjoy Vampire Academy. Rose really got under my skin, and I didn't connect with any of the other characters. Nor did I much care for the plot or worldbuilding, which all culminated into a book that just wasn't for me.
However, I'd bought this entire series at one time, before ever reading the first one, because it was on sale. So when I finished Vampire Academy, I was depressed because I knew I had the others already and would have to read them at some point.
A lot of people told me the series got better, that I just needed to stick with it. This is a favorite series of SO many people, but I just didn't see why. Maybe I was too late to hop on board the Richelle Mead train? Vampires have never been my paranormal creature of choice, so maybe that was keeping me from liking the story?
I have no idea why I decided to pick up Frostbite when I did. I guess because I'm on a mission to plow through a lot of my physical copies of books instead of digital ones. But, you know, I actually kinda liked this one!
Rose is so much more tolerable in this book, I can't even. I wanted to shake her so many times in Vampire Academy, but she's actually interesting in Frostbite. She recognizes the fact that she has CRAZY urges to do crazy stuff, and she manages to curb a lot of her instincts. She also now knows that she's not the shiz, and she's humbled a LOT.
That made her so much more likeable! There was a lot of conflict inside her, trying to act more mature when all she wants to do is be immature. Looking back, I can see why the first book was needed, in terms of Rose's character development. But oy! it was hard to get through for me.
There's also a new character in this one that I really liked:
I feel like I've heard so much about him. I mean, he was in the YA Crush Tourney, for goodness' sake. And I think I know why. Because he wasn't in this book all that much, but I'm seeing a lot of potential! He's snarky and moody and flirty and rich, and all in all, he reminds me a lot of Chuck Bass.
Umm...and I adore Chuck Bass.
I'm definitely more inclined to pick up the third book now. I've heard it's the best, so I'm looking forward to reading it. I still don't ship Rose and Dmitri super hard, but I'm enjoying the way their relationship is progressing. Surprisingly, I'm not skeeved out at all by the fact that he's 24 and she's 17.
I probably should be, though.
I'm still not a rabid Vampire Academy fan, but I'm definitely warming up to the series as a whole! The way Richelle Mead portrays "feeding" on humans still freaks me out...umm...a lot, but there wasn't much feeding in this one, so that helped. Also, I felt like the big event at the end will change Rose even more, and I'm actually really looking forward to how she progresses throughout this series. I think she has a lot of potential to become a cool character by the end!
Did I...did I just say Rose Hathaway could be COOL?!
I should end this review before the apocalypse happens...(less)
Shadow Kiss seems to be most people's favorite book in this series. I was told that many times, by many different people while I was reading this. And...moreShadow Kiss seems to be most people's favorite book in this series. I was told that many times, by many different people while I was reading this. And I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say people loved it because of the end, which I'm sure was shocking...if you hadn't already been spoiled from reviews because you're reading the book five years late.
Everyone else when they read the bit about you-know-who after the battle:
Me, when I read it:
I feel like I totally missed out on a big thing. But whatever. I was looking forward to it the entire book, and while I didn't get the big shock, I still enjoyed it. And really, after those two were...you know...what else could have happened? There needed to be a separation to maintain any sort of romantic tension.
(Gosh, this is hard to talk about without spoiling anything. Sorry!)
Anyway, so big finale aside, Shadow Kiss was an enjoyable read. There are never any huge plotlines in Vampire Academy books, and I have no idea how Richelle Mead keeps our interest when there really isn't much going on. But she does, and Shadow Kiss was no exception. The plot meandered until the big climax, but at that point, I was enjoying all the drama between Christian and Lissa, Rose and Adrian, and Christian and Adrian. Really, these books are like Gossip Girl with vampires, that's all I'm saying.
In terms of characters, Adrian is still my favorite, but he didn't play that huge of a role in this book. I wanted him to show up more, but sadly, he's pretty much in the background. (Boo!)
I also like Christian, who's grown on me a lot since book one. He's hotheaded and sarcastic, just like Rose, but there's an added edge to his sarcasm that I find more amusing. And his jealousy with Adrian also caused a lot of good drama.
Okay, now I'm about to say something I never thought I'd say: I actually like Rose Hathaway.
I KNOW! I DON'T BELIEVE IT EITHER! (Especially after I totally ranted about her after I read the first book...)
She's really come a long way throughout this series, and I've come to enjoy her as a character. She's still brash and impulsive, but her impulsiveness no longer rules her. She's matured a considerable amount, and she's learned to become a good guardian and a good person. And...and I think she's actually become one of my favorite kickbutt heroines in YA. Somehow. I don't know how...
Yeah...it confuses me too.
Anywhosies, I breezed through this one pretty quickly, especially considering it's a lot longer than the first two. I'm not a fan of the way the last four are so much longer. (I mean, Blood Promise is like 500 pages. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!)
But I've made it through 3 books.
3 more to go in my Vampire Academy readathon.
*Note: I totes used Misha Collins GIFs in this review because I DON'T KNOW CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS THAT'S WHAT DMITRI LOOKS LIKE IN MY HEAD. But umm...with longer hair. And younger. You know, like his "24"-evil-terrorist-Alexis-Drazen-days.
That's right - I just gave this book 1 star. That's kind of huge for me. I mean, I don't give 1-star ratings, like...ever. I can think of maybe 2 book...moreThat's right - I just gave this book 1 star. That's kind of huge for me. I mean, I don't give 1-star ratings, like...ever. I can think of maybe 2 books that I've ever reviewed on my blog that got 1 star. It just sort of hurts my heart to give a book that low of a rating. But I'm sorry, y'all. I just really, really disliked this book.
And most of you are probably shocked right now because this is one of the most beloved YA series out there. The books are crazy popular, and Richelle Mead has made a lot of money on them. So don't feel like you have to agree with me here; this is just my little opinion.
First, I'll say what I DID like:
The Writing Richelle Mead is a good writer. Her prose is easy to read - it's smooth and mature. It's not going to make your jaw drop with its beauty like Laini Taylor's or Maggie Stiefvater's, but I think it fit really well with her genre. This is urban fantasy, so all we really want is something clean.
The Pacing This is a pretty quick-paced book, which I liked. There's not a lot of lag-time. Unfortunately, the quick pacing wasn't enough to keep me interested.
Now, here are the CONS:
Rose Essentially, this was my main issue with the book. I couldn't stand Rose. At all. Everything about her annoyed me to the -enth degree. I'm not a violent person, y'all, but I wanted to reach into the book and stab her. Why? Because she is the single most selfish, insecure character I've ever read. She also suffers horribly from a syndrome I like to call "I'm a Kickbutt Girl, So You Must Love Me."
Let me explain.
I've complained a lot about kickbutt heroines. I'm not opposed to them in principle. But I really hate it when we're presented with a character that we're SUPPOSED to like just because he/she is tough. This happens more often with girls IMHO because authors often play upon feminist sensibilities, trying to "empower" young women.
Look, if a girl can kick my butt yet has the emotional maturity of a two-year-old, I am not empowered.
But maybe I could have gotten over Rose's fighting skills and lack of personality if I hadn't been so vehemently opposed to a theme that the book preached, which was namely, that girls can only be strong if they have masculine qualities. Example:
Rose's friend Mason defends her when two boys are about to beat her up. He then makes fun of them for "beating up on a girl," to which Rose responds:
"I didn't need your help."
"Sure. You were doing just fine on your own."
"They caught me off guard, that's all. I could have dealt with them eventually."
"Look, don't take being pissed off at them out on me."
"I just don't like being treated like...a girl."
"You are a girl. And I was just trying to help."
What I don't like about this is the fact that Rose is putting down the fact that she's a girl. She doesn't like being treated like a "weak girl." She doesn't like being treated like a "girl," as if being a girl is something to be ashamed of. So to counter her femininity, she acts tough and fights hard. Umm...that's not okay.
If you want to fight because you want to protect someone. Or because it's your goal/aspiration/whatever, that's cool. It's your choice. More power to you! But if you want to be tough because you're ashamed of your gender, uhh...WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE IS THAT?!
Being a "strong" woman isn't only about physical strength. It could be. But it could also mean being emotionally or mentally strong.
There was also the issue that Rose is crazy selfish. And so insecure it sort of shocked me. She literally lies to a guy that likes her best friend because she's jealous that the friend is spending more time with him than he is with her.
Like...WHAT?! Who DOES that?!
I just couldn't take how possessive she is of Lissa. I get that they have a bond or whatever. But her protectiveness was unnatural. Or sorta creepy. I'm pretty sure if I were Lissa, I would get a restraining order.
The Romance All the Dmitri fans are about to poison me. Sorry, ladies, but he just didn't do a thing for me. I mean, I liked how nice he was. That was refreshing. I also think he made some good decisions at the end of the book - props to him for that.
But I'm just not into the "mysterious" hero who also has the "I'm tough and have no personality" syndrome. Maybe I'll like him more later on in the series, but right now, he's just sort of meh for me. And I really have no idea what he sees in Rose. I sorta wanted him to just knife her during training. Now THAT would have been interesting.
I've seen lots of people talking about how Jennifer L. Armentrout ripped off Richelle Mead, that Half-Blood is basically Vampire Academy with some mythology thrown in. Well, I'm here to say that I'm definitely Team Jennifer. They wrote similar books, but Jen did it so much better.
I'm going to be continuing this series if only because I have ALL the books. *sigh* I've also heard that some of the ones in the middle are better. I hope so. Because if they're not, this is going to be a longgggggg series...(less)
- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa - The Hunt by Andrea Fukuda - Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London
?...moreUmm...isn't this like the exactly same plot as...
- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa - The Hunt by Andrea Fukuda - Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London
I mean, don't get me wrong. I still want to read it. It's got Holly Black's name on it and a KILLER title. I guess I'm just confused as to why this would release so soon after the three aforementioned books.(less)
Although Balthazar is a companion novel that comes after the Evernight series, this was my first Claudia Gray book. And even though I wish I'd read Evernight first since I now know some plot spoilers, I still really enjoyed it!
In all honesty, Balthazar is like a retelling of Twilight, squished into one book, but with a different ending. Let's whip out a comparison list of what both books share...
1. Vampire boy in love with human girl 2. Human girl has vampires chasing after her 3. Vampire boy is brooding and gorgeous 4. Vampire boy also has a hero complex 5. Human girl doesn't seem to care that falling for said vampire boy is a bad idea 6. Human girl is faced with the decision to become a vampire or not 7. Vampire boy "watches over" human girl at her house
Really, it also has a Twilight feel to it, even though the characters are a lot different. I was actually sort of surprised that Claudia Gray could get away with a plot that was so similar. But I think what makes Balthazar different was the way Gray handled the same subject matter and how our heroine, Skye responds to the conflict.
Skye is a strong female character with a good head on her shoulders. Although she's completely smitten with Balthazar, she never goes crazy or veers into Bella Swan Syndrome, which was much appreciated by this reader.
I also really liked Balthazar, even if he was brooding. He wasn't as much of a stalker as Edward Cullen (notice I say "as much," because he does sorta follow Skye around, though she's aware of it). But I liked that the book was actually more about him than Skye. We get to see a lot of scenes from his past that were interesting, and his Puritan heritage was unique. And it was sort of precious that he was a bit of prude at heart because of how he was raised.
Claudia Gray's writing really sucked me in, and I think that's what sold me on the book as a whole. The story was good and the characters were all right, but there was just something real and appealing about Gray's writing that pretty much has me going to read anything she writes (which is good, since I have 3 more sitting on my shelf to be read!).
I'll definitely be reading the Evernight series after finishing this one! Also, I'd like to thank Claudia Gray for pulling me out of my reading slump. Hats off to you, ma'am! :)(less)
I'm going through a rather odd time in my reading life right now, in which I've decided that I basically refuse to read any books I don't know I'll enjoy. I mean, sure, I'll take a chance sometimes; but that blurb is going to have to totally rock my world for me to pick up a book by an author I don't know.
Because of this, I've recently been drawn to a lot of books by authors I know I like or books published by my favorite imprints (hello, anything published by Harper Collins!) or, in the case of Evernight, both.
I got to meet Claudia Gray in the winter of this year, and she was basically made of awesome. In preparation for the signing, I read an ARC of Balthazar which I really enjoyed (my review which can be read here), so I was really excited to read the finished copy of Evernight that Harper sent me.
First, let me say one thing: I'm not a huge vampire fan. They're just sort of meh for me. Yeah, I enjoyed Twilight (that book is like crack!), and I'm dying to read Vampire Academy (because of all the hype), so basically vampires don't float my boat. But Claudia Gray somehow manages to make them compelling when she's writing in a genre and in a way that is so full of tropes and cliches at this point that I can't believe I can get past page 50.
There are a LOT of things about this book that have become cliche in YA since Evernight's publication:
1. Vampires 2. Insta-love 3. Vampire insta-love 4. Forbidden vampire insta-love 5. Forbidden vampire insta-love in which only one of the characters is super special
And yet, there's something really fresh about Evernight that stands out among the others, I think. I can't really put my finger on it; maybe it's just that I enjoy Claudia Gray's writing style.
I also loved, loved, LOVED that Bianca is an unreliable narrator. I don't want to spoil anything, but the turning point in which she's finally honest to the reader - umm...wow! That's something really difficult to find in YA, and I can honestly only think of a few: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, Liar by Justine Larbalestier, and this one. This was very cool!
I'm also 100% in love with Balthazar. No, seriously. Every time I saw his name on the page, I would get all giggly and be like...
And I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not that I read his book first so I know what happens to him.
At the signing, Claudia Gray said that Lucas was Bianca's man, but Balthazar was hers (as in Claudia's). I think I might have to fight her for him, but we'll see. :)
All in all, this is an enjoyable book. Not earth-shattering or groundbreaking, but it's definitely worth a read, especially if you're into vampires, unreliable narrators, or a sexy secondary character who will steal your heart.(less)
This was an interesting read for me. There were bits that I liked a lot, then some that didn't really impress me. Maybe I'm sick of vampires. Or dystopians. Or both. But I was a little disappointed with this one.
First things that I did like: the setting and worldbuilding. Honestly, that was my favorite part of the book. I liked the world that the "J.A. London" crafted here, with vampires pretty much ruling the world and humans trying to survive. I also liked that our heroine, Dawn, is the delegate that interacts with the vampires. The interactions between her and Valentine were actually my favorite parts of the story - Valentine was a really interesting character, and I loved that he wanted everyone to dress and act like it was still Victorian times.
In terms of other characters, I wasn't really invested in any of them. They weren't badly written, I just didn't connect with them. I didn't feel like I knew much about Victor, and Dawn was so quiet and level-headed that she didn't that many qualities that made her stand out. Her boyfriend Michael was really the only one that I felt had a clear character motivation, but he was just a supporting character.
The romance was pretty standard. There's no insta-love, though, so that's good. But they fall for each other at a pretty remarkable pace, anyway, especially considering she has a boyfriend. And I never really felt any sparks between them. I didn't feel anything. It all just played out in the book, and I wasn't all that interested in them getting together or not.
Now, the pacing of this book is sorta slow up until like page 200. I was getting bored with the book, ready to start skimming, but then it really picks up. I liked the last 100 or so pages a lot, and they almost made up for the slow beginning. Although I figured one of the big twists at the end, another one surprised me (in a good way). I think it set up really well for a sequel!
Just a warning, though: it's a serious cliffhanger. I mean, like, ending right in the middle of a scene. Now, it's not as bad of a cliffhanger as, say, Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel. But it's still pretty intense.
Overall, this was just an okay book for me. The end made it worth reading, but I'm not dying to read the next one. I think the topic just wasn't for me - I've never been a huge dystopian or vampire fan, so the mixing of the two didn't get me all excited. But people who enjoy either of those genres should like it more than I did!(less)
I really wanted this to be better. I love Julie's Iron Fey books - it's one of my favorite series ever. I'm not usually drawn to vampire books OR dyst...moreI really wanted this to be better. I love Julie's Iron Fey books - it's one of my favorite series ever. I'm not usually drawn to vampire books OR dystopian books, so when you put them together, I'm definitely not interested. But when I heard about this book, I thought, "Well, it's Julie Kagawa. It has to be awesome, right?" And while it wasn't bad, it definitely wasn't my thing.
First and foremost, this book is sorta creepy. And it's definitely supposed to be. It reminded me a lot of the movie/book "I Am Legend," with this zombie/rabid population that feeds on humans at night and the possibility of a cure that the MC will do anything to find.
In her review, my Goodreads pal Stephanie from Cuddlebuggery likened this book to the lovechild of "Underworld" and The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I think she's very right! Unfortunately, I didn't much care for either of those. I don't like scary things. They, well, scare me. I can handle creepy stuff in books better than in movies, but this book still sorta freaked me out. The rabids were too similar to zombies, and I don't do zombies. Like, ever.
Also, I thought the beginning was REALLY slow. Like...wow. I understand why she included so much of it, but I still felt like it dragged until at least the 50% mark. But if you can wait that long, I felt like the story really picked up once Allie teamed up with the human group looking for Eden.
As far as characters go, I was just sorta ambivalent about all of them. Allie suffered a little from I'm-tough-with-no-personality syndrome, but she was a vampire, so I could maybe overlook some of her unrealistic kickbutt skills. Zeke was sweet, which I appreciated, but he didn't strike any cords with me. I'm still waiting for Julie to create another Puck or Ash for us all to fall for, and maybe Zeke will end up becoming a character we all love, but he isn't now.
My favorite character was probably Kanin, Allie's sire. Mostly because he's so shrouded in mystery. And he's a vampire with a conscious, like Allie. I found him really interesting, and until the whole vampire family dynamics were brought up at the beginning, I was hoping that he was young and could be a potential love interest. (I don't think his age is every described in the book.)
Probably my favorite part of the book was the integration of Biblical themes. I thought this was done REALLY well. Julie drops a lot of Christian references and themes, and even Bible verses, but it never felt overbearing. These characters are genuinely questioning faith and whether God has abandoned their world or not. I also loved how the group of humans looking for Eden (the almost-mythical city where no vampires or rabids live) are almost described as the Children of Israel, on their way to the Promised Land. The symbolism was really great, especially considering (view spoiler)[ in the Bible, Moses (the original leader) never makes it to Canaan, and Jeb (the leader of the humans in the book) doesn't either. (hide spoiler)] Was that on purpose, mayhaps? I don't know, but I appreciated the connection nonetheless.
Even though this book was totally not something I normally like, I felt like Julie wrote a book that was still enjoyable. She kept me interested the second half, and I'm debating whether I want to read the next one or not (whereas I'm definitely not reading any of the sequels to other vampire dystopians I've read).
And on a side note, the cover is terrible. That girl is totally not Japanese. Just saying.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I loved the art in this book! I actually got to do a project on this volume for my Graphic Novel class in college and discovered that this type of art...moreI loved the art in this book! I actually got to do a project on this volume for my Graphic Novel class in college and discovered that this type of art is called "manwha," which is the Korean version of "manga." It's gorgeous!
This book really doesn't add anything to the Twilight story arc. It's maybe 1/8 of the actual words from the books. Everything rests on the artist here, so I'm not sure why Stephenie Meyer should get the credit as the author. I guess because she came up with the original story.
Probably my favorite part of the art was the fact that it's almost totally in black-and-white, with a few green or blue hues. It's very drag, reflecting the rain and snow of Washington, which Bella hates so much. But there are a few pages that are in gorgeous full-color, specifically the meadow scene.
The characters have an androgynous look, but that's just the style. It was a little weird for me at first, but you get used to it. Edward specifically looks rather feminine, but then again, doesn't Robert Pattinson in the movie? I would also like to say that this Bella is a lot prettier than Kristen Stewart. I'm just saying.
I enjoy a good graphic novel, so I really liked this book. I can see why a lot of people aren't interested because it really doesn't add to the story. But if you enjoyed Twilight or just like a well-illustrated GN, I would definitely recommend this volume! Can't wait to read the next one!(less)