This was the second novel I've read by Lorraine Heath, and so far she's 2-0 in my playbook. It's irritating reading romances by the same author in qui...moreThis was the second novel I've read by Lorraine Heath, and so far she's 2-0 in my playbook. It's irritating reading romances by the same author in quick succession because the similarities between books detract from the story. All you see is the repetition of the same characters and plot-lines. In these there were similarities, but Always to Remember was every bit as unique and refreshing as Sweet Lullaby. Jake and Clayton are both beta-heroes, but each with his own fully developed personality and quirks. Both had tortured pasts and the patience and perseverance to put those past behind them, but beyond that the comparisons end. Of course, all that is irrelevant. The emphasis that needs to be made isn't how these books differ from one another, it's how they differ from other books in the genre. Jake and Clayton are not perfect in appearances or sexual prowess-- they are perfect in their hearts. They have a depth and strength of character that eludes most romantic heroes. So many times when I'm reading a romance novel I have to ask myself why in hell the heroine falls for the hero so quickly and with that oh-so-typical soul-shattering force. But with these heroes, it's not a question of how could they, it's the question of how could they not. The tables are turned. The women are not the gems being fortuitously plucked from the mud, the men are, and it makes all the difference when it comes to truly satisfying the reader. I'd recommend these books to anyone. In fact, I urge everyone to read them. (less)
The end of Fitz's journey is certainly a bittersweet one. Looking back on both of the trilogies that encompassed his character's life, I didn't see me...moreThe end of Fitz's journey is certainly a bittersweet one. Looking back on both of the trilogies that encompassed his character's life, I didn't see merely a fantasy story full of magic, dragons, and evil tyrants; I saw through to the fantasy of life that is universally filled with horrors and blessings for Six Dutchies and planet Earth denizens alike. Fitz's was the epic struggle to simply live life. Not all loose ends were tied, and many secrets were left forgotten. In the end, he wasn't known as a hero and his world wasn't suddenly a better place. But seasons changes, people married and had babies, and Fitz found peace.
Personally, I wanted more from Hobb than was given. In her efforts to keep Fitz's tale as an insufferably human one, he had to sacrifice everything, only to gain half of what he modestly wanted all along. After several thousand pages of Fitzchivalry Farseer, its awful for his story to come to an end. Of course, there are countless others to be told, and I'm just happy to be able to hold this one close to my heart.
Additional random musings: (spoilers) Okay, as a woman, I had a difficult time approving of any of Fitz's women. Especially his precious Molly. So, of course, the ending peeved me quite a bit. This is shameful to admit, but up until the end I kept hoping that the Fool was goin to pop out and be like "suprise! It dimples!" and she and Fitz would live happily ever after and have little fool's of there own. When it became apparent that it dangled, however, I still wanted Fitz to forget marriage and just be happy loving the Fool (without the bedding, of course). Not of that happened, and in addition he lost the Fool altogether. She ends the book by saying that a horse can only have one sadle, but I find that contradictory to what Fitz needed to learn. All his life, he had to choose. What he needed was compromise, and it never really happened.(less)
Poor Fitzy fitz. Just can't catch a break. Neither can I it seems. First George R.R. Martin, now Robin Hobb. Excellent (albeit very large) character d...morePoor Fitzy fitz. Just can't catch a break. Neither can I it seems. First George R.R. Martin, now Robin Hobb. Excellent (albeit very large) character drivin novels full of trial and trib....nope just trial. "See bad things happen to good people" they advertise. Why oh why do I keep reading them then?! It's likelucky charms with no marshmallows, or a love ballad with no lyrics. Yet somehow, bereft of all sweetness, the reader is left with something so much more satisfying than the regular, run of the mill 'good triumphs over evil' steriotype. I suppose, in the end, true heroism is defined by sacrifice not achievement.
At any rate, I found this second novel to be fantastic and depressing. See Fitz get his heart broken. See Fitz tortured and brutalized. See Fitz lose his humanity. See fitz die. How much worse can it get? I don't know, but I'm certain to find out. The farther the fall, the higher the bounce--right?(less)
I've often wondered if I was a sociopath, but after reading most of the novel I realize No, I'm not a sociopath, Nick is a sociopath. Then, steady you...moreI've often wondered if I was a sociopath, but after reading most of the novel I realize No, I'm not a sociopath, Nick is a sociopath. Then, steady yourself for this one, Nick's not a sociopath..he's a demon. And I'm back to square one. Well fuck. *I'm just kidding by the way, I definitely feel the powerful emotion of love for my dogs (and I'm working on people next)*
On a cheerier note, I liked this book. I liked the dynamics between Alan and Nick, though many of the characters (and by that I mean every character other than Alan and Nick) were woefully two-dimensional. Of course, good writing doesn't grow on trees. Ha! I think I made a pun. But overall, I just loved that this wasn't another of those Urban Fantasy novels were the protagonist flits about trying to "do the right thing." That got old the first dozen series I read. Nick is morally deficit, and I like it. I want it to stay that way. I want him to kill all kinds of little fuckers with his awesome magical powers. Is that so bad? No, I didn't think so.... (less)
Truly, the book gets more stars than it des...moreDrama, Vampires, High School, Adrian, Mysterious murders, Rival Alchemist, Cool Tatoos, Adrian, Witches???.
Truly, the book gets more stars than it deserves simply for entertainment value. I read it in one sitting if that's any indication of it's page-turning prowess. Other than that, it was as though this book had a plot simply for that sake of having one. It was nothing original or ground-breaking and was wrapped up so systematically in the end that it had a blockbuster movie feel to it. Too perfect for perfection.
I will give Mead props for the last line, however. The impending drama it foreshadows is a great enough cliff-hanger on it's own, without actually having to write a hanging ending. I put down the book satisfied, yet knowing I'll read the next one when it comes out. And no waiting in agony, thank goodness.
All in all, Vampire Academy fans will be thrilled. Read it.(less)
This was the most beautiful and fitting ending to one of the greatest trilogies I've ever read. These nove...morePhew, and I thought the first book was epic!
This was the most beautiful and fitting ending to one of the greatest trilogies I've ever read. These novels were pure, heart-felt magic.
I was apprehensive at first that this novel was set a whopping 10 years after the previous; but I should have know better. In the end it made no difference. Phedre and Joscelin are just so..so ..kick-ass. Who was I to think that would change?! I'll admit, it had lots of up's and downs. I was convinced my heart was going to break in Darsanga, but not even those horrors could best the duo. And much like them, I certainly didn't expect to fall in love with Imriel like I did. To me, that was the most beautiful touch to the story. The fact that they finally found a true family in the end, and all of the scars of the past they were able to simply wash away through love. I had hoped that Kushiel would release Phedre in the end, but hey, not everything in life can be wrapped up in a pretty bow.
Overall, the novel was brilliant. A little slow at the beginning, then half-way through BOOM! it became fabulous. Wonderful, dynamic characters. At one point I put my hands over my eyes and thanked God Phedre and Joscelin are pure fiction, because no couple that crazy need ever to walk the earth. A priest and whore...The makings of a truly good read. (less)
Not as much action as the first but still pretty good. I figured this one out by accident so the big mystery wasn't really a mystery. Ah well...Assyri...moreNot as much action as the first but still pretty good. I figured this one out by accident so the big mystery wasn't really a mystery. Ah well...Assyrian pirates were worth it. I actually cried during this one, which is something I haven't done in a long time and especially not over a damn book.
Of course, this is no simple book. This is the middle novel in one of the most planned out, epic adventures I've ever had the pleasure of reading. You fall head over heals for all of the characters, most especially Phedre. She is the ultimate female heroine. Beautiful, intelligent, lovable, and one of those characters that the reader can put their absolute trust in. Damn! I love these novels, they just take forever to read.
To me there is just one very big issue.... Melisande. I fell in love with Alcuin and Delauney in the first, then Fortun and Remy in the second. Each time she's responsible for their deaths, so It almost feels like a betrayal for Phedre still to be so conflicted over her. Just kill the bitch!! She's had several chances now and she didn't take them. If Phedre doesn't personally murder her in the next novel I'm going to be pissed. Enough said.
Anyway, to anyone who's started these novels-Keep Reading! I have a feeling this is a series I'm going to re-read many times in the future.(less)
...Actually one word isn't enough considering I just read a 1600 page novel. Yesterday, when I told my boyfriend that I had "naught to...moreOne word- Epic.
...Actually one word isn't enough considering I just read a 1600 page novel. Yesterday, when I told my boyfriend that I had "naught to do with it" and recieved a half-mocking, half-incredulous glare, I realized that perhaps I should have divested the novel through a few more sittings rather that devour it through every waking moment for three straight days! And during final exams week, nonetheless.
Despite this, I have mixed feelings. Part of me couldn't put it down, but another (weaker) part of me found it to be tedious and much too detailed to keep reading. In the beginning, I couldn't keep all the names together and was a complete loss politically. Emotions are easy enough to understand usually, but even those Carey made immensly complex. However, as fantastical as this novel is, I would consider it to be more human and realistically written than most of the garbage I read. It is a beautiful world and story, regardless of the fact that I seriously doubt the ancient world in which the novel was set was anything like it.
This book probably has the most unlikely couple of all time-- a whore and a priest. How inventive. Of course, the romance aspect was a little lacking anyway. Plenty of death, politics, S&M, and intricate plots...but no true romance. Perhaps it will bud in the later novels. All I know is that I have to find out. And soon. Whatever Melisande has up her sleeve this time I'm ready to find out.
*One final note* I give this book props for containing the most disturbing scene I've ever read. I didn't think old Selig had it in him. Ugghh...I'm cringing just thinking about it. (less)
My first review was very harsh, then I got to comparing this novel to a few that I read following this novel, and found a new appreciation for it. It...moreMy first review was very harsh, then I got to comparing this novel to a few that I read following this novel, and found a new appreciation for it. It could be dull in places, but for the most part it was excellent. Action, love, mystery...one of the greatest actual romances (Jamie/Claire) that I've ever read. Fantastic character development.
I don’t like to show sentimentality very often, but for this one I’ll make an exception. This book had me at the prologue. My heart did a little flipp...moreI don’t like to show sentimentality very often, but for this one I’ll make an exception. This book had me at the prologue. My heart did a little flippy-floppy and I had to set the book aside while I labored to suppress a huge grin. Sure, it had relatively no action, but what it did have was heart. It was more of a deep exploration of the characters than anything but that’s what makes it such a gem. Everyone is vibrant and pure in a way that doesn’t seem juvenile or sappy. Elegantly romantic, you could say. And Will… Ah Will… I love the 180°. (less)
**spoiler alert** So after reading the first two novels I expected two things to happen in the last book. One, the capital would be overthrown and the...more**spoiler alert** So after reading the first two novels I expected two things to happen in the last book. One, the capital would be overthrown and the book's ending would be peaceful and serene. Two, Peeta and Katniss would certainly survive but everyone else was up for grabs. Well now that I'm finished, I give the series itself 5 stars but I'm only giving the resolution 2. And unfortunately, my predictions were only half correct.
So it doesn't take long to recognize that President Coin is nearly as flawed as Snow himself. As the book progressed I could only slip further and further into despair. Things were avalanching, but towards what? Just another oppressive regime? Peeta, the only redeeming character in the novel, loses himself. And Katniss stays in a drugged-up stupor most of the novel unable to comprehend most of what's happening until way after the fact. I'll say this is one of the most depressing novels I've ever read, and just think the only other novel I'm reading right now is American Pastoral by Roth! Anyway, so I can't find anyway to justify Prim's death. She is how the whole thing got set into motion, with her name being chosen at the reaping. For her to die in the end anyway almost negates all the effort Katniss puts into bringing down the capital. I'm sure some would say that her death was the catalyst for Katniss's assination of Coin, but wouldn't blowing up children in general have been good enough? Also, I was pleased that she and Peeta ended up together in the end, even if it was a very unfufilling reunion. But I hated that Gale just threw away their friendship. Katniss may not have hated him in the end, but I did.
Finally, no the the ending was not peaceful and serene, more like deranged and bittersweet. But both Katniss and Peeta were alive, and yes they had children who never had to face the reaping. Woot, woot. But seriously, was so much tradgedy really necessary? Poor Finnick, Cinna, Prim, and countless others that jumbled together that I can't even recall their deaths.(And yes that is true love when someone tries to kill you multiple times and you marry them anyway Peeta)
Anyway, I give my praise to one of the bloodiest novels in children's literature. I'll enjoy my nightmares, and so should you.(less)