So as always, I chose the book a long time ago and get approved to read it. I don't read the summary again so I am totally blind going in to read the...moreSo as always, I chose the book a long time ago and get approved to read it. I don't read the summary again so I am totally blind going in to read the book. Best way to do it. I was thrilled with Lia! She is a fabulous princess because she is so unlike a princess! She doesn't have the haughty airs of a royal at all and I'm pretty sure, from reading accounts of her previous adventures, she never had any. She is a born rebel! I thought she was a little reckless with her safety in the beginning but I believe it just came from growing up in a palace surrounded by people that constantly protected her. She wasn't aware of danger. It just didn't register with her like it did everyone else. Her enjoyment of her freedom is addictive. She finds the smallest things bringing her the greatest joy, things the townspeople ( and I) would take for granted- the colors of the shops, the smell of the air, the pleasure of a bath even in a cold stream. Her character just continues to grow throughout the story and I continued to love her. Oh, she could dish out the coldness when it needed to be. And toying with suspicions, metting out revenge, stoicism. I could go on. My admiration for Lia just continued to grow throughout the book and it ends on a very high note.
This story, what a crafty weaver of tales Ms. Pearson is! I was so hooked leading me along the merry path, thinking one thing, something I really didn't like. I actually discussed it with my husband told him how much I liked the book and all, except for this one thing. And then bam! Hit me right between the eyes and I had to go back and reread. I had assumed some things that were absolutely not true. Next day had to explain to my husband again about the book and how I was enjoying it so much more because of the same thing I hadn't liked the day before I had been wrong about it. A sharper reader might not have gotten fooled. I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer these days. But God did I love being wrong!!! (And my husband didn't fall asleep either night when I explained the book to him, miracles).
So here's what I think, there are a lot of "songs" in the beginnings of each chapter that refer to religious texts and tales from the gods. Not a lot is explained, it sort of slowly unfolds, but I wasn't completely clear. Lia does tell the tale about The Remnant so it is more or less explained but much is left to be told. That didn't bother me. Just skipped right over what I didn't know. I concentrated on what I did know. Lia, the people she knew, the countries that were allied, the "barbarians" and the action. There is so much going on that you really shouldn't get hung up or even have time to think about what you don't know. There are so many delicious little hints about what might be and I kept waiting for some things to happen that never did, but I just know they are coming. The only thing I hate is that it will be another year before the next book comes out. As excited as I am about Lia and this book, I hope I can remember my enthusiasm by the time the next book rolls out a year from now.
Recommended for lovers of fantasy, young adult, romance, strong female characters and a lot of action. I think I was tired after reading everything that happened. There is some violence and some crude sexual references, but nothing terrible. No sex, no bad words and no nudity.(less)
This is a novella but it packs a lot of "grab you" in such a small page count! A king with 12 daughters and one son. At his fifth birthday he is gifte...moreThis is a novella but it packs a lot of "grab you" in such a small page count! A king with 12 daughters and one son. At his fifth birthday he is gifted a sword with jewels and a sharp edge and because of a small misstep by the servant presenting it to him, the little boy becomes a barbaric image of his father in one small act. It is the last act that gives Leena the push to leave with her lover. She wanted to save her half brother, keep him from being like their father, but seeing no chance of it now, she and her lover plan their escape. As you can imagine, things aren't that simple.
It's a good story, Leena reminding me of a strong heroine from other stories. For some reason it feels like this setting is in the Far East, but there really isn't a reason I can say why. Just my idea. I thought at first with the twelve sisters this would be part of a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. No, not at all. There is the hint of political scheming going on, a barbaric and misogynistic ruler, and adventure. I've read the synopsis for the next full novel and I can't see how they are connected at all, but I am going to read it. The story is not unique, but it is compelling enough that I want to know what happens to Leena and what that next story has to do with her story.
If you enjoy fantasy, I think you'll enjoy this one. The world building has just begun but the palace, the place where Leena lives is the Gold kingdom and down it goes from there until the stone meets the ocean. I think this is going to be really good. And even the hint of dragons....I'm ready to read more. (less)
The Dragon's Egg jumps right in to the action as soon as you open the book. Evan, Claire and Dunkle, the imp, are still in Sagaas looking for Alamaz a...moreThe Dragon's Egg jumps right in to the action as soon as you open the book. Evan, Claire and Dunkle, the imp, are still in Sagaas looking for Alamaz and the missing relics. Everything starts coming together for me in this novel. The main characters, Evan and Claire are learning how to use their powers and spirit totems they gained in previous books. The worlds they encounter fascinated me, Camelot, Avalon, the Otherworld, meeting the Orchestra of the Dead so many worlds and magical beings and creatures. I love traveling through these places, some I've heard of, some I haven't, with Claire, Evan and company and experiencing everything they do. I also appreciate the author's imagination. The way she weaved the story in and out of different folk stories and myths, the fae, The Day of the Dead, and even a back story for how Evan and Claire are even able to enter Sagaas, the world between the Earth and The Land of the Gods. Things take an evil turn at the end of the novel when Evan and Claire find out who Alamaz really is and Ethan is captured. I can only imagine what will happen in the next book THE MUMMY'S AMULET.
I highly recommend this series for lovers of fantasy, middle grade readers and above. Their are budding romances, lots of references to various mythologies, Celtic, Atlantis, Native American, Greek, just to name a few. It's a well written series with various creatures from fae to unicorns to imps. Impressive powers are bestowed upon Claire and Evan, sister and brother and a strong bond is shown between them. Family is important as well as friendships, despite what those friends are, magical beings or animals. It's a really enjoyable series.
I received a copy of this novel from the tour coordinator in exchange for my review. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are my own. (less)
This is a novel that starts out as one thing, a boy being suppressed by his family to the point that he can't even buy his own clothes at the age of f...moreThis is a novel that starts out as one thing, a boy being suppressed by his family to the point that he can't even buy his own clothes at the age of fourteen and then becomes a novel about growing up and falling in love for the first time. About no longer allowing himself to be controlled by his family and about taking back his life while still hanging on to his Armenian family with both hands.
Characters- Alek- A fourteen year old boy who has had tennis taken away from him, the one thing he loved, and his summer usurped by his parents who have decided to send him to summer school to improve his grades so he can get into the Honors track next year. He suffers in silence for the most part, but has a sarcastic wit that can't help coming out from time to time to make his embarrassing family a bit more bearable.
Becky- Alek's best friend. She is obessed with movies, Diet Dr. Pepper and roller blades. She and Alek have certain rituals that make their friendship unique. It is with Becky's help that Alek discovers that he likes boys. She is so matter of fact about things that it leaves room for no doubt. They have a couple of rough weeks in the beginning, but she will not be ignored, even if Alek has a boyfriend.
Ethan- Alek's first boyfriend. He shows Alek the world. Helps him loosen up and become more comfortable with himself. He guides Alek in love, how to be free and how to handle himself in a world where people may or may not accept him.
Alek's Family- Family plays an important role in Alek's life. He comes from an Armenian family who stick very close to their roots and believe in their traditions and customs. With all of these rules ingrained in Alek since he was a little boy, it's hard for him to be comfortable with himself and with others. Especially his family. But they love him and want only what is best for him.
World/Setting- Present day NJ and NYC, high school
The Story- An uptight rule abiding boy who doesn't get who he is or where his place is comes to find out the answers to those questions over the course of a summer when he is forced to go to summer school.
My Take- I loved this story. Alek is funny and a very believable character. His mother is overbearing but doesn't realize it. He is treated like he's eight instead of fourteen. All his decisions are made for him. He and his older brother Nik are in constant battle to be the favored son. I loved how family played such a big part in the story, how Alek loved his family and didn't want to shut them out, even after he understood his relational preference. Instead of being afraid of coming out, he asked for advice about it. Alek didn't want to keep it a secret. I loved that about him. He felt secure enough to want to tell his family.
In the end, this is a novel about self discovery, growing up and a romance. Ethan is nothing like Alek and yet Alek discovers he is everything Alek needs in his life. The two are a perfect mix and it's such a great summer romance. Not too heavy on the life lessons, and plenty of humor, lots of romance, perfect for the beach!(less)
**spoiler alert** **********SPOILERS IF YOU HAVE NOT READ DUALED****************************************************
Divided picks up a few weeks or so...more**spoiler alert** **********SPOILERS IF YOU HAVE NOT READ DUALED****************************************************
Divided picks up a few weeks or so after Dualed. Life is back to "normal" for West and Chord. They are in a routine and things are good. From there, the novel is completely different from Dualed.
We find out the origins of Kresh, who created it and why. Who created the Alt. system, why it exists. So many things are answered about the world that you might have had when you read Dualed. Completes are expected to serve time guarding the Surround which we learn about from Chord and a friend of West's. We learn more about the Alt code and how it works in the body. It is just an entirely different book.
West is conscripted into service by someone to do some dirty work. She trusts in the system and believes that some of the Alts she killed before may have been "worthy" so she wants to even up the score. She accepts the job against better judgement, against what her body is screaming at her, and against what she knows everyone else would say, all because she feels a need to make up for those Alts she killed when she was a Striker. What if they were the stronger ones and she has left the city vulnerable?
This novel is more of a head game. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of action, but a lot of it has to do with West and her conscience and what she can and can't live with. Again, I was stunned often to be reading something gritty and then have an almost poetic scene of beauty described in the midst of it. Maybe it's to show that there is something to live for in this almost impossibly violent and unsure world West lives in, when any moment someone she loves could be killed as an Alt fights with their other half.
I loved Dualed, the first novel in this series, but I think I loved this one even more. There was more strategy, more psychology, more action even than before. And yet, though the ending is complete, there is room for another book in the series. We have no idea what's on the outside. And what we discover about Kersh makes it even more interesting to know what's on the outside. I hope Ms. Chapman decides to write a third book in the series.
I highly recommend this one. There is a lot of violence as in Dualed. Use your own judgement about whether you can handle graphic descriptions of injuries, blood and death. It is an excellent book!
Thank you to the publishers for an E-ARC for review through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.(less)