Exquisite. Unique and vibrant and messy, the fantasy world vividly comes to life like no other fantasy world I have visited before (in my reading travExquisite. Unique and vibrant and messy, the fantasy world vividly comes to life like no other fantasy world I have visited before (in my reading travels, haha). Laini Taylor is a born story-teller, and this story is complicated, romantic, haunting and altogether unexpected. Brilliant, imaginative and stunning ~ Strange the Dreamer was worth the wait. I'm so excited for everyone to read it!...more
I really liked the premise of this (a flawed, villianously conflicted MC) and loved being back in the Sevenwaters world. However, this took me foreverI really liked the premise of this (a flawed, villianously conflicted MC) and loved being back in the Sevenwaters world. However, this took me forever to read. At times I just felt it dragged on and not much at all happened, then suddenly major! exciting! events would unfold and then it would fall back into a lull again. Maybe it's just me not being that great at fantasy (I can be an impatient reader at times and this book requires settling in for the long haul). Or maybe this book needed a good hundred or so pages cut out? haha. Either way, Marillier is a gifted writer and I am hopeful I'll enjoy the next book in the series a little more than this one. Really only a 2.5 stars if we're going off enjoyment......more
Last year, I fell in love with Rhiannon Hart's debut, Blood Song. Guys, she was only warming up. Rhiannon Hart completely bypasses the dreaded curse oLast year, I fell in love with Rhiannon Hart's debut, Blood Song. Guys, she was only warming up. Rhiannon Hart completely bypasses the dreaded curse of the second book in a series to deliver a completely addictive, twisty, dangerous and (more than) satisfying sequel. Where Blood Song introduced us to the world of Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden, Blood Storm takes us way deeper into their world.
A list of so many things I loved about Blood Storm:
That it is easy to read*. I struggle with high fantasy, yet the world of Lharmell is so seductively easy to curl up into. The landscape of Blood Storm is huge: from small haunted towns, to cities, to danger on the high seas and nomads in the desert. It's the ultimate road trip.
Hart is some kind of genius at creating questions in the reader, leaving me hanging out just the right tantalising amount, and then delivering revelations that had me 1. reeling, 2. aching, and 3. more addicted to her characters and world.
I loved that my heart was ripped out more than once. I love a good ache-y read and this one got me 100%. Rodden. My gosh. I am still reeling from it. Talk about haunting.
That, while the first half was clipping along at a steady, comfortable pace, the second half grabbed me and would not let me go. Reading past midnight because a book has captured me is the absolute best feeling.
I love that Hart is unafraid to take the story to some dark (seriously dark) places, yet lightens the mood with such a likeable narrator. Zeraphina is gutsy and bold but vulnerable in all the right places. I love how she comes into her own . More certain of who she is even as she is discovering more about herself and her powers.
Speaking of main characters: Rodden is intriguingly unreadable and seemingly unsympathetic at times, which makes his moments of unexpected sweetness even more swoon-worthy. He is the perfect brooding, tortured soul and his chemistry with Zeraphina dances a fine line: quietly understated and then moments of perfect zing. LOVE. I did not expect to feel so drawn to him as I did, especially as some of his secrets are made known.
Hart lushly draws the reader into her world without drowning us in description (thank you!). A few carefully coined phrases had me feeling like I was travelling right alongside our hero and heroine: sights, sounds, smells and a great sense of history oozing from the pages.
Likewise, the action scenes are riveting, they played out in my head seamlessly.
I found Blood Storm to be unpredictable (always a good good thing). Things are not always as they seem. Hart took me on a wild journey yet kept me grounded the whole way.
There's an absolute killer cliffhanger, yet for some reason, I was not frustrated. I was so reeling and exhilarated form the climax that I was ready to forgive Hart anything. I have no doubt she will deliver above and beyond in the third and final book in the trilogy.
* 'Easy reading is damn hard writing' Nathaniel Hawthorn ...more
It is easy for me to see why this is a beloved book for so many people. It is intelligent, clever, twist-y, tightly written and has many gasp-did-thatIt is easy for me to see why this is a beloved book for so many people. It is intelligent, clever, twist-y, tightly written and has many gasp-did-that-just-happen moments. It also has strong, admirable characters and a tortured, brave hero in Gen. It's the kind of fantasy not just written for teens, but smart enough to stand outside the YA genre on it's own.
As for me, I have the lowest rating out of all my friends on here O.o
What can I say? It's a book worthy of 5 stars, for sure. But I never rate the book, per se (it's hard enough rating as it is sometimes. I am often in a quandary over the whole star rating thing). My star ratings are an indication of my love/enjoyment of the book.
Here, my three stars say I liked it: I could see it's quiet brilliance but it just (sadly, weirdly) didn't do much for me. I enjoyed my time with it but it didn't capture me (or bewitch me) as it seems to have done for everyone else.
(this review isn't so much a review as a reason for my (lower) rating. As I know many of you will wonder what went wrong, haha. Nothing, just not a "me book" (Although I tried to love it, I really did ~ also, I actually think I enjoyed #1 The Thief more, contrary to popular opinion)...more
I really wanted to love this more than I did. However, I could appreciate the talent and genius within this book ...
The writing feels tight and confidI really wanted to love this more than I did. However, I could appreciate the talent and genius within this book ...
The writing feels tight and confident. The world building is flawlessly minimal yet fully realised. I really liked that. I also enjoyed the occasional flash of wry humour. And Gen himself is an enigmatic (and charismatic in a rough kind of way) character <3
The story starts off at an intriguing point, yet I found myself waiting for the action/revelations to appear throughout most of the book. If I had not read so many encouraging reviews I am not sure I would have continued past the first half (which says more about me, probably, than the book. I tend to get bored in fantasies if I do not connect strongly with the characters).
The mythology is not my kind of thing (sorry) ~ while being important to the world/story, it always shook me out of the present day narrative.
The second half makes up for my listlessness while reading the first half. It was clever and suddenly (insanely) compelling. I wish the book didn't take so long to warm up to the good stuff.
If my library had #2, I'd definitely check it out. Alas, they don't... I am undecided about paying to continuing the series. Thoughts? ...more
Blood Song grabbed me from the start. The thing about this fantasy ~ is Hart writes in such a way that the reading experience was so effortless. Her wBlood Song grabbed me from the start. The thing about this fantasy ~ is Hart writes in such a way that the reading experience was so effortless. Her writing is tight, within pages you have a sense of the world and our heroine. Her world-building is all show (not tell) and Hart masterfully places the reader in the story alongside Zeraphina, letting the world-building evolve as we go along. I marvel at the way she handled it without employing the “awkward info dump” scenario that so often bogs down books in this genre.
I seriously *loved* Zeraphina (& from the first page). She’s spirited without being overly in-your-face-feisty, she’s confident even while aching and confused inside. She’s got a gorgeous persona ~ exactly the kind of character I would love to be friends with. She has a smart sense of humour and she fiercely, spectacularly loves her pets (her cat, Leap, and Griffin, her eagle)
[detouring here to say ~ Leap and Griffin are such fab characters to add to the cast, they’re brought to life with all the nuances of a 3D human character. <3]
The other thing you should absolutely know about this book is it is crazily original. The plot continually heats up and the villains (!) are insanely, genuinely creepy. I had chills even as I couldn’t look away ~ they are fascinating and dark and make for some completely vivid imagery. The stakes are raised and the truth is equal parts creative and horrifying.
Deep into the plot of the book, some of the imagery and scenery depicted reminded me of the way Marianne de Pierre’s crafted such an intense setting in her book Burn Bright. While in Lharmell, the setting was so strongly evoked: ashey and dark and mysterious and incredibly foreboding. There is a kind of cult-esque feel with the Lharmellins which I gave me tiny little sparks of horror (and raised my curiosity ten-fold). Absolutely-deliciously-cannot-look-away-creepy.
Apart from the all mystery and darkness, there's a lot of fun in the book (including balls, a wedding, and an archery tournament).
So you want to know about the swoon factor ;) ? YOU GUYS. *dies of the swoon* Zeraphina and Rodden have one of those relationships that keep me glued to the pages. Rodden’s 22 years old, dark, broody, effortlessly sexy and impossibly hard to read (oh-so-very-intriguing). He’s enigmatic, charismatic and utterly appealing. And, wow, how he and Zeraphina spar. They have an amazing chemistry even as (okay, especially as) they antagonise each other.
It is the first book in a series, and while it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, it provides a whole bunch of answers while psyching you up for the next installment.
I can feel my review growing with everything I want to say. But I am worried that the more I ramble on, the more you’ll skim and the less you’ll read ;) So to summarise the essence of my review: oh my gosh, I loved it so.
Recommended: Blood Song is written with astounding talent, stunning creativity and complete heart. It’s thrilling and mysterious and fun and creepy and dark, (with some sexy undertones). It’s on my favourites list, best of 2011 list and tops my list of fave fantasies. I had no idea I would love this so. I cannot wait to see it in stores (in Australia from Sept 1). I cannot wait for you guys to all read it and see what you think!
[bonus reviewer material ;): Me + this book: I went to bed around 11pm @ night and thought I’d check out the first chapter of Blood Song before turning out the light. Fast forward 290 pages later and it’s around 3am and I’ve devoured the book in one leaping go. I was so sucked in, so loving everything about this book that I didn’t want to put it down. I spent time over the following week re-reading my favourite passages as I was not ready to let the characters and story go. Just sitting down and writing my review has made me nostalgic all over again :)]...more