This review may well contain spoilers for the Soul Screamers series up to book 2.
My Soul to Save continues almost two months after where My Soul to Take left off and I found it even more unputdownable. I'm not sure exactly why. Perhaps it's because we now know Kaylee and Nash, we've been through Kaylee's discovery of her bean sidhe powers, and now we're able to follow the stories and properly connect with the characters. You don't just want to know what happens next, you need to know.
We find out a little more about the Netherworld and even see a little of it. This is something I'd been looking forward to and was not disappointed. It's chilling and entirely nightmarish, and I fell a little bit in love with it. The creatures within are creepy, the landscape is like something from a Salvador Dali painting, and even the plant life is scary! It is not a place to venture into lightly.
There are more interesting characters in My Soul to Save, as well. We met a few in My Soul to Take, such as Tod, but they are built upon further in this book. Tod we know to be Nash's dead bean sidhe brother, but we start to see his human side which didn't really show so much before. He becomes a more solid part of the Soul Screamers series as opposed to simply a side character and I really like that. His personality is fun to read as he continually causes mischief to keep himself entertained. We also meet Addy, Tod's ex girlfriend who happens to have sold her soul for fame and fortune, unknowingly condemning herself to eternal damnation by demand of Dekker media. The thing I loved the most about this particular storyline was how big a pop at Disney it was! It really made me giggle until it was revealed exactly how dark it really was. Libby the 3,000 year old reaper was also pretty awesome. Despite not meeting her too much, she still made quite an impact on me which is definitely something worth mentioning. And I still like Nash.
Considering how difficult it was for me to put this series down for just a little while during March, I am very much looking forward to picking back up with My Soul to Keep!(less)
Surrender was never released in the UK and as such, we Brits had to accept that our Haunting Emma collections wo...moreOriginally posted to Once Upon A Time.
Surrender was never released in the UK and as such, we Brits had to accept that our Haunting Emma collections would look something like this:
Thankfully, it is a trilogy worth making do with mismatched covers as it’s a delight to read. And I did spend a fair while making bets with myself over the colour of book three. I think I went with orange but I guess we’ll never know!
It had been a long while since I’d read Betrayal, book two of the trilogy, and so it took me a while to work out who was who, who was where, and what was going on and get back into the narrative style all over again and I didn’t feel as though previous events were re-explained very well so I do think this series works much better if you read all three in one sitting. I also found it funny reading this as I was in more of an adult chick lit mood, whereas reading the first two I was in the mood for this kind of series so the teenage angst bothered me so much more this time around but it’s still a good read.
Aside from the masses of angst and the assumption that you have a photographic memory, I also noticed an awful lot of moments in which the characters proved themselves to be glaringly oblivious. There were things that had me screaming at the book in a, “They’re behind you you dolt!” kind of style. But I felt that the fun of reading Surrender overrode my annoyances.
The Haunting Emma trilogy is the kind of series you read when you don’t want to think. You want to sit and enjoy your fantasy world and have a well resolved ending. It feels comfortable to read, the battles are fast-paced and just a little epic, and the characters are loveable and fun. It is certainly worth reading even if just the once.(less)
Hal goes through life tormented by apparitions that nobody but him sees. As a youth, his grandiosity is d...moreDestined for greatness, tormented by demons..
Hal goes through life tormented by apparitions that nobody but him sees. As a youth, his grandiosity is dazzling, during the height of his prowess as a warrior he is bold and inspiring, only to drop off later in life after a near-fatal accident renders him unable to be as active as he once was only for him to become a sad shell of his former self.. This is the life story of Henry VIII.
Well this book was amazing. From the very beginning we are greeted with the nightmareish visions Hal sees and these only worsen throughout his lifetime. He lives his life in fear and to take his mind off of it he keeps himself busy training in the tiltyards, hunting and gambling. The writing is atmospheric and clear and his voice is perfect. By the end I was left with goosebumps. Hal’s emotions are clearly evident in the language used. His fear, his excitement, his pride. And towards the end, as the reader, you become increasingly horrified by his dark nature. He is a very strong character. Castor also explores his relationships between his family, lovers, and friends which are all portrayed exceedingly well. VIII makes you understand why Henry was the way he was by showing you what he could very possibly have gone through in his life.
I personally thought VIII was lacking something, it needed more either as a two-part series or even just a few more pages or so because during the last half of the book many of the events in his life felt rushed over. It just dropped off a little. Sure, the older he got, the more relevant it became as his mental health seemed to deteriorate drastically and through a first person perspective it made perfect sense but certain things left me thinking, “Huh? Why was that never explored more fully?” However, the ending fully made up for any misgivings I may have had. I had of course thought about it myself but even so I didn’t think of it and found myself rambling about how unexpected it was. My poor boyfriend always gets the brunt of my bookish excitement.
VIII will be loved by fans of strongly character driven and psychological fiction. If you enjoy young adult historical fiction and the Tudor period, VIII is definitely a must read, though I thoroughly believe that this book will appeal even to those of you who aren’t big fans of historical fiction.(less)
I really enjoyed reading Flying Blind. I adore dragons and shapeshifters alike so a book about dragon shapeshift...moreOriginally posted on Once Upon A Time.
I really enjoyed reading Flying Blind. I adore dragons and shapeshifters alike so a book about dragon shapeshifters was sure to be a recipe for success. It was a joy to read with such a comfortable writing style and I'm sure that if I had had a little more time in the past couple of weeks to read, it would only have taken me a couple of nights to finish. Ooh and I didn't realise until I was grabbing the blurb from Goodreads that this is actually a series set a little further on from a previous series (Dragonfire) by Deborah Cooke which is an adult series that focuses on the parents (Quinn and Sara) of one of the characters' around Zoë's age, I shall definitely be getting hold of those when I can!
Zoë was a pretty well-rounded character, all in all. She's your typical 15 year old high school girl. Desperate to start puberty, and whilst she would never tell her best friend Meagan, hoping that puberty will finally bring with it her Wyvern powers. She seems to get crushes on any boy who pays her the slightest bit of attention which can be a little odd but not far-fetched for a hormonal teenage girl. And she's pretty big on protecting her friends and the people she cares for, which in my eyes makes her a loveable character with appropriate flaws. I also have to give an honourable mention to Jared who I particularly liked. He's good to Zoë and just a little bit yummy.
While I loved the familiar writing style that felt as though Zoë was talking to you, it also came with a couple of flaws. There were a few instances in which something said didn't make sense to me. Sometimes I can put this down to my own tiredness but not when there are more than one or two. They didn't take away from the story as a whole but they were a little jarring as I had to go back to re-read and make sure I knew what was going on. I also found the story became fairly linear towards the end. My favourite novels interweave plotlines and side stories with such intricacy that you feel as though the story is happening to you because they feel real, but Flying Blind didn't really have that and it took away from my enjoyment a little bit as one plot would be unveiled and dealt with, then another, and another..
However, that being said I still loved reading about the Pyr and following their story throughout Flying Blind. Whilst this is definitely a young adult novel that I might not recommend to folk who are exceedingly picky about their young adult fiction, I would definitely recommend it to everybody else, particularly dragon fans because Flying Blind is, as expected, very juicy on the dragons. Love it!(less)
The Iron Witch is based upon a piece of folklore sometimes called the ‘Girl With Silver Hands’ or the ‘Armless Maiden’, among many other names, in whi...moreThe Iron Witch is based upon a piece of folklore sometimes called the ‘Girl With Silver Hands’ or the ‘Armless Maiden’, among many other names, in which the girl’s hands are severely damaged and replaced with silver, though the details surrounding that change from story to story. Mahoney’s story follows a teenage girl called Donna Underwood who is not your ordinary teenager. Kicked out of high school, she is home schooled in the art of alchemy. Born into a secret order, she isn’t given much choice in the matter. She has to wear long gloves to avoid drawing attention to the silvery-iron intricate tattoos that her hands and lower arms are made up of. The story begins with her best and only friend Navin dragging her to a party full of people from her past at Ironbridge High, she doesn’t want to be there and so escapes to an empty room and finds her way to the roof where she meets Xan.
Initially, I wasn’t all that impressed by this novel. It took what felt like half of the book to get anywhere and it’s lucky that I’m so adamant on not dropping books unless I really can’t stand them because then I might not have got to the part that was a joy to read. Sadly, this really was too much of the book to salvage the rating, if the entire book was as good as the last half, it could easily have been a 3.5. I found throughout that a lot of the plot points were glaringly obvious to the reader while the characters remained ignorant, which was a little frustrating, and a lot of the dialogue felt forced and unnatural – mostly that between Donna and Nav.
The story itself, although a little slow going and could have used a few more twists, is excellent. As mentioned, Donna is born into a secret alchemical order sworn to protect the secret of immortality and guard the mortal world from that of the fae, who are pretty darn sinister. I wasn’t actually expecting alchemy in this book, I thought it was a faerie based paranormal novel when I picked it up for some reason, but I was pleasantly surprised. Since watching Full Metal Alchemist I’ve been intrigued by stories based on or including alchemy, so it was a nice read. While there was a romance in it, it didn’t feel quite so bad. There were no mystical powers drawing them together, no love at first sight, just your usual budding teenage romance.. as usual as a paranormal based romance might be. It was awkward and a little shy, and that’s great, that’s how it is. In fact, it was the times that Donna was with her love interest that her voice was the strongest in my honest opinion.
Throughout the book I found myself thinking that it would really have benefitted from being written in a first person narrative because Donna’s voice is so strong, we are seeing the world through her eyes. Her voice just works as a narrative because she comes across as any other teenage girl, having the same thoughts and feelings that any of us would have felt in her position, and in the process she does her darndest to keep away from the self pity. It’s a shame that it wasn’t a first person narrative. The imagery in The Iron Witch is brilliant. Mahoney really makes the world come to life.
While I didn’t find it amazing personally, I would definitely recommend it to young adult paranormal fans.(less)