Not a bad book but did make me realise how poorly written these books are. I love the story regardless but there's a lot lacking in the execution.. Oh...moreNot a bad book but did make me realise how poorly written these books are. I love the story regardless but there's a lot lacking in the execution.. Oh well, Morganville fo' life. <3
Well. Okay. So I was excited for The Rithmatist because it was Brandon Sanderson, then I really checked the premise.. chalk magic? What's that about?...moreWell. Okay. So I was excited for The Rithmatist because it was Brandon Sanderson, then I really checked the premise.. chalk magic? What's that about? And read a couple of reviews talking about the prominence of religion in the story and how Rithmatists are supposedly "chosen by the Master" and honestly.. I worried. But then I got in the mood for some young adult fantasy and gave it a go anyway. This is a Sanderson novel. That bizarre premise works because he is the master of what he does. Honestly feels like Harry Potter for the new generation but with one of Brandonbot's signature epic endings which left me desperately wanting to read on. As Xia said in his review, thank god for 'to be continued'.
A full review will be featured in Clockwork Summer, my blog's steampunk feature coming August.(less)
Fall of Night, Fall of Night.. not quite as bad as Bite Club, but no where near as good as Bitter Blood. In fact, thi...moreFirst posted to Once Upon A Time.
Fall of Night, Fall of Night.. not quite as bad as Bite Club, but no where near as good as Bitter Blood. In fact, this is a Morganville novel of two parts. The part where Claire is alone in this new town, and the part where everybody suddenly appears. The first part was just kind of boring.. sorry, but Morganville without Myrnin and Eve et al just isn't the same. But then the second part woke up and we have a Morganville book that is once again fast paced and unpredictable and that made up a bit for the first half.
The thing I love most about the Morganville books is how easy to read they are. No matter what mood you're in, how tired you are, they are easy, fun reads that are readable where many other books aren't at certain times and I will always love them for this.
At the end of Bitter Blood, Amelie releases Claire, allowing her to leave Morganville to seek out more at MIT. Oliver is exiled for the part he played in her potential downfall, despite him being under the control of Naomi at the time, and Shane is most definitely in Claire's bad books after seriously believing that she would cheat on him with Michael. I was pretty excited to see where all of this would lead in Fall of Night and I was under the impression that Shane would be going with Claire. I was wrong. She decided that she needed some space to get over the hurt he did her and somewhat teach him a lesson that she wasn't so weak as to just forgive him. I thought she was being a little bit stubborn but at the very least, she stood her ground. Good girl. Still, I found her whiny and ridiculous, more so than usual.
There's a whole host of new characters. Claire is to be roomates with her old best friend from high school, Liz. Though the moment we meet her, something is wrong. She's high maintenance and thus very difficult to be around for Claire, especially as she is trying to be something she evidently isn't, and seems to be very up and down with her moods. Claire can tell something has happened to this girl in the time Claire was in Morganville, and this guy stalking her isn't helping matters. There's the professor lady Claire's to be working with who was once an assistant of Myrnin's also. She seems pretty trustworthy, which let's face it, doesn't mean a thing in a Morganville book. Then there's Jesse and Pete who are an awesome pair of characters, who help professor lady and work in the same bar Shane does. Yeah, that's right. Shane ignored Claire's wishes and followed her to keep an eye on her. Kind of sweet, also kind of wrong. I'm still not sure what I think of this.
We start hearing talk about the Daylight Foundation, who I'm unsure about. Sure they are the ultimate bad guy for the vampires, but I don't think they'll be any where near as interesting as Bishop or the Draug in my honest opinion, though they're pretty ruthless.. which is in their favour as a bunch of scary bad guys. At the end of the day, this is the last Morganville book before the grand finale and even if it's not the best instalment so far, you absolutely must read it before Daylighters, which is going to be all kinds of epic if that massive cliffhanger at the end of Fall of Night reveals anything. Oh and what was with that vicious dog bite of Shane's? It's referred to throughout the book but nothing is ever really revealed about it. Is he a were-dog now? Some kind of super vamp killer? Was it just a rapid dog? What? I felt that storyline just kind of floundered, and sure, if it's going to be looked at later on but it needed something a little more in this book for all of the build it got.
As I said on here when I finished reading Fall of Night, and I quote, "Hmm. The first half wasn't as good as usual but then it all started happening and it got pretty intense and.. blam. I just. CLIFFHANGER. Gah."(less)
The Masque of the Red Death had been on my radar for a long time. I couldn't tell you if it was th...moreOriginally posted on my book blog, Once Upon A Time.
The Masque of the Red Death had been on my radar for a long time. I couldn't tell you if it was the idea of a Poe retelling, a Victoriana dystopian story, a few fantastic reviews or a combination of all three that initially drew me to it but needless to say, it was on my radar. And then Gollancz Geeks sent over a copy with the new UK cover for review! I almost immediately started it and more or less read the entire novel in one sitting.
The story focuses on Araby, daughter of the most important scientist in Masque's world. The man who created the livesaving porcelain masks people wear to ward off the Weeping Sickness. However, he's kept on a tight leash by the mad Prince Prospero who monopolises the masks and thus only the very wealthy can afford to own them. The reason he can do this? Once a mask has been worn, only that person can use it. Araby spends her time seeking oblivion from a life she feels she doesn't deserve until she meets Will who shows her there is more to life than the privilege of drink and drugs. And then Elliott who seeks to rebel against Prince Prospero, his uncle, to create a fairer society. She becomes swept up by events out of her control with one very sure realisation: she doesn't want to die.
I wasn't sure what I thought about Araby and her friend April at first. They're clearly part of the privileged class, travelling to a night out through the poorer distract in April's expensive, flashy steam carriage, while being held up by the body collectors and a young woman unwilling to part with her clearly dead child. It's a tense and dark scene which shows us that Araby, at the very least, cares about other human beings.. but she's quite whiny in the beginning. She seems to think she's worthless and doesn't deserve to be alive so she visits the Debauchery Club with April, drinking and taking drugs to make her forget who she is for a while.. so yes, there's a bit of angst, but it goes away when we meet Will and Elliott because she finally finds something to fight for.
And from there I was lost to the world because of this beautifully gothic dystopian novel. I stopped comparing it to Poe's short story of the same name because whilst I can see where Bethany got her inspiration, it really stops there. The two stories are separate entities. Bethany Griffin's version has such a dark atmosphere and much foreboding that I often pictured night-time in a dark red haze with cloaked figures and leering old men looming around every corner. Everybody has their secrets and you do not know who you can trust. Even now I'm not entirely sure - bring on book two!
Not a fan of love triangles? Don't worry. Me neither. This one didn't bother me at all, in fact, I'm positive you'll find yourself rooting for one or the other boy. Bored of YA dystopias? The Masque of the Red Death doesn't feel like the rest. No, really. I promise you that if a girl who is more or less bored of YA finds this one so unputdownable, it's definitely worth a read. The writing is so fantastic that regardless of whether you think the story is unique or not, you will absolutely love it. It is so easy to find yourself swept up in the narrative. Give The Masque of the Red Death a chance! Yes, this is one of those books I'll be rereading and forcing on others.(less)
While I thought this one tailed off a little at the ending - I guess that's the trouble when the magic of a tail resides on its' mystery - The Night C...moreWhile I thought this one tailed off a little at the ending - I guess that's the trouble when the magic of a tail resides on its' mystery - The Night Circus is a solid and fantastically dreamlike read that I recommend to EVERYBODY. Some might not like it, and that's okay, but at least try it. Please.
3.5-4 stars. There was something lacking in this one, it didn't have the BOOM ending that I've come to expect from Soul Screamers books. Sure it had a...more3.5-4 stars. There was something lacking in this one, it didn't have the BOOM ending that I've come to expect from Soul Screamers books. Sure it had a good ending, but it didn't grab me like others have. Did make me cry though, but not sure if that's because I was already a bit emotional.
It just didn't feel like very much happened. And I really got bored of certain things being lightly skipped over purely to build suspense. And so often.
Spoiler Warning: The following review and/or blurb may contain or does contain spoilers for previous books in the series.
What happens when just about...moreSpoiler Warning: The following review and/or blurb may contain or does contain spoilers for previous books in the series.
What happens when just about every enemy that cowed the vampires has been defeated and as your last act, you piss them off? Well of course you lose favour with the most powerful vampire in Morganville and go back to square one, but worse. Living in fear of what lurks in the dark. And the light. See, Eve and Michael's marriage at the end of Black Dawn didn't just annoy the vampire population who see a human rising above her station but also the human population who see a human resorting to the lowest thing possible. Siding with them. So once again, the residents of the Glass House have a problem, and as a result Bitter Blood is non-stop. So much happened in this book it was impossible to put it down. We have mayoral elections, chipped ID cards, free hunting passes for vampires, a ghost hunting show in town at the wrong time, and an almost bearable Monica who is running for mayor alongside a new Captain Obvious. Oy. "Only Monica could think Vote for me or I'll break your leg is a decent campaign slogan." Morganville has become a distinctly darker place and it's better than ever.. for us at least.
We still see the story through the different character's viewpoints which, while handled much better than in Bite Club, I'm still unsure about. I did enjoy seeing inside the mind of Myrnin and really seeing how crazy he is and a little bit of why, but I don't know. I suppose I like to be kept guessing about some things. Still, Bitter Blood is fantastically written and I don't exactly fault it for its' different viewpoints I'm just a little bemused as to why Claire's narrative is in third person and everybody else's in the first.
Yet again, a fantastic Morganville installment. I know I keep saying this, and I might say it for Fall of Night too, but Bitter Blood really is the best yet. By the time I'd finished reading I just couldn't read anything else.(less)
Just a short story following Sophie, Kaylee's cousin around. I won't reveal the plot because of spoilers but glad I read it before Before I Wake as an...moreJust a short story following Sophie, Kaylee's cousin around. I won't reveal the plot because of spoilers but glad I read it before Before I Wake as an eye opener.(less)
Before I Wake is book six of the Soul Screamers series and I will be talking about major spoilers from...moreOriginally posted to my blog, Once Upon A Time.
Before I Wake is book six of the Soul Screamers series and I will be talking about major spoilers from previous books as they kind of set the scene for this book. So if you haven't read If I Die - run now!
Anyway, so Before I Wake is the novel about Kaylee's adjustment from being an alive banshee to a not-so-alive banshee. Having been offered a job as an 'extractor' at the end of If I Die, Kaylee is still with us. And enjoying her whirlwind romance with Tod while trying to reassure everybody not in the know that she isn't dead and continuing at school. She didn't have to.. she is dead. But she has some unfinished business to take care of and the school seems to be the place she is most likely to find it.
I love novels about people becoming part of a new species and coming to terms with their new selves. This is one of the things I really liked about Before I Wake because while we are six books into the series and the idea of "dead but still with us" characters is nothing new, we experience Kaylee's becoming an extractor through her eyes. An extractor is more-or-less somebody who deals with stolen souls and the like and recovers them to their rightful place. As Kaylee is a banshee, this makes her the ideal candidate plus, the extraction department has a staff shortage and somebody is stealing souls. The trouble is, when she's on her own during this adjustment period, she forgets how to be human and we have to deal with these depressingly low areas of the novel which makes it difficult to enjoy in places. Sure the series has been getting a little darker but depression is something else entirely and I didn't feel like it was dealt with very well because the only way she feels able to turn this off is to be with Tod who teaches her how to live with being able to make herself as corporeal or incorporeal as she likes.
What's more, Nash and Sabine are being their usual selfish selves. I still can't understand why Kaylee sticks around them when they treat her like dirt, it really reminds me of an abusive relationship with Sabine tagging along expecting everything to go her way. Nash very much goes into whiny-little-teenage-boy mode in Before I Wake. He's still in love with Kaylee but she's moved on to Tod now and Nash is left with Sabine. He still has his addiction to cope with and after Kaylee framed him for her murder, he blames her for his little stint in prison too. As if she had a choice. Nothing makes me shout at a book more than frustrating characters and Nash and Sabine have to be some of the worst for this. What's worse? Kaylee goes with it! "I couldn't blame Nash for hating me." Yes, you can! You were murdered and having your best friend and family threatened. Don't be such a doormat! Sorry, getting into rant mode. This drives me mad and somewhat ruins the series for me.
However, it is saved by Vincent's magnificent storytelling. Even when I only kind of like the main story in the novel (I'm just bored of Avari and the hellions by now), I still find myself invested in what happens to our characters. Yes, even Nash and Sabine. But most of all Tod, Alex, Emma, and Kaylee's dad. Despite him abandoning her for most of her life and just deciding to be back in it one day, I like him. He clearly realises what a huge mistake he made and he loves his daughter. And Tod.. while I'd like to see Kaylee stand up on her own a little more without being selfish and reckless (and yes I consider her bouts of self sacrifice selfish), I do love the way Tod treats her. He tells her how amazing and wonderful she is when Nash would have treated her like a naive little girl. He lets her make her own decisions where Nash would have tried to stop her. And he tells her how wrong Nash is when Kaylee starts agreeing with the nasty things he says to her. He also makes me laugh, which is a bit of comic relief very much needed when you consider how dark this series has been getting.
So far, the book was maybe getting a 3 star rating. I liked it, but it wasn't the best thing I'd ever read and didn't quite live up to If I Die. Then we're struck with that ending. Those of you who have already read Before I Wake will know what I mean but.. oh my god. When Rachel Vincent wants to break your heart and leave you gasping for more, she bloody well means it. The ending of Before I Wake is so superb and shocking that I had to raise my rating by a whole star. It was that good. Before I Wake is an overall enjoyable Soul Screamers installment.(less)
Howl's Moving Castle was a gift from Dan when he went into town and I had decided to stay home. A really lovely gesture! So when I was bumming around...moreHowl's Moving Castle was a gift from Dan when he went into town and I had decided to stay home. A really lovely gesture! So when I was bumming around complaining that I didn't know what to read and Dan said, "read Howl's Moving Castle." I did just that.
For the first chunk of the novel, it is pretty much exactly like the Studio Ghibli movie of the same name, it wasn't until a little later on when something I entirely didn't expect happened and then the events of the novel went off on a completely different tangent. I think I personally prefer the Ghibli adaptation to the novel's story of events, however, it is an absolute delight to read and I adored it all the same.
I know there are two others after this one but I honestly think Howl's Moving Castle was wrapped up well enough that you can get away with only reading the one.(less)
When looking at Fairy Metal Thunder, you can tell what to expect from looking at the cover art. Obviously it's a young adult novel about fairies. We f...moreWhen looking at Fairy Metal Thunder, you can tell what to expect from looking at the cover art. Obviously it's a young adult novel about fairies. We follow the human protagonist: Jason. He's just a regular teenage guy in a garage band with a crush, that is until the goblin steals his mother's necklace and he races off into the night to get it back and ends up following him into the land of Fairy where mortals are strictly forbidden. This is where it gets colourful and oh my god it's so vivid. It's like.. that first room Willy Wonka takes the kids into in the original film. While following Grizlemor, our resident goblin, Jason spots a group of fairies and other types playing the most ethereal music and while humans dance along, entranced. So he does what any failing musician would do. He steals their instruments when they go on a break and the story explodes from there, taking the colour and life of Fairy with it.
We then have to deal with Grizlemor living under Jason's bed after failing to fix the problem he's to blame for by stealing back the instruments, and even giving Jason advice on how not to cause havoc with them. Jason and his band tear down buildings and whip up a frenzy amongst their listeners. "The music wasn't just entrancing, it was addictive, and everybody who heard it seemed to lose their minds a little." And, of course, the poor fairy band try desperately to regain their instruments with the help of an elf and his unicorns. I have to say: I did not see that coming!
However this is not a perfect novel. Sometimes I felt a little awkward around the dialogue and relationships between characters, as well as a small lack of character development, but it didn't feel as though it mattered quite as much with the style of the novel being so fun and quirky, if that makes sense. Fairy Metal Thunder, flaws and all, is a quick and whimsical read that would be perfect to read on a sunny afternoon or for some light relief after a long day.
My first thought when I’d heard about this book back when Victoria first followed me on Twitter was: Oh god I need this book in my life! I love the Tu...moreMy first thought when I’d heard about this book back when Victoria first followed me on Twitter was: Oh god I need this book in my life! I love the Tudor history period, and I love Witchy things. Combine the two and you have a book that is more or less designed for my personal enjoyment. Seconded? Then you perhaps don’t need to read any more before going straight off to your chosen book store to purchase.
Witchstruck follows the first person narrative of a young witch called Meg Lytton as she goes into service as maid to the Princess Elizabeth while she remains imprisoned within the ruined palace of Woodstock. The first thing I noticed in this book was Elizabeth being somehow involved in the witchcraft, not on an active level, but she’s definitely interested which is a dangerous stance for an imprisoned royal to take. It immediately added a sense of impending danger to the novel which makes you want to keep reading. The second thing was the atmosphere Victoria has created. It’s immersive and the only way I can really describe it is kind of like a dark fog creating a sense of mystery and foreboding. I felt as though I was well within my comfort zone reading Witchstruck and I loved that about it.
I have to admit to not enjoying the ending as much as the beginning and I can’t even put my finger on why, it just fell flat for me. It could be because, after all, this is a young adult novel and I usually prefer adult fiction, or maybe because I was only able to read it in small chunks while my dad was visiting and would have read a lot better in one sitting. I don’t really know but it’s worth making your own mind up. I also noticed a couple of inconsistencies throughout though they didn’t affect my enjoyment of Witchstruck at all because at the end of the day it’s a historical fantasy, but I don’t believe Tudor witches would have known who Hecate was with her being an ancient Greek goddess, and “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” wasn’t in the Bible until the 1600′s when the King James Bible came into being.
Even so, there is a lot going on so the novel doesn’t get boring, there’s a lot of foreboding as danger is constantly imminent and Victoria has done a fantastic job of portraying how dark these times were. Not just for accused witches but also for non-Catholics and rebels to the crown. She has encaptured the spirit of this alternate history fantastically and I urge you to give Witchstruck a read.(less)
The UK finally get The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland! I’ve been pining after this book sinc...moreThis review was originally posted to Once Upon A Time.
The UK finally get The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland! I’ve been pining after this book since it was just a young ARC in the US so when Constable & Robinson contacted me offering a review copy I may have jumped up and down waving my hands in the air going, “Ooh! Ooh! Yes please! *kisses feet*” And by golly it didn’t disappoint. It’s as bizarre and fantastic as the blurb and cover art leads you to believe.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland (in a Ship of Her Own Making) is an utterly nonsensical, charming, and of course, brilliant book with possibly the longest title I have ever seen. The characters are utterly bursting with colour, there are little things throughout that had me giggling and at one point almost in tears, and Fairyland itself.. wow. Fairyland is a fantasy world that is entirely conscious of what it is: a fairy tale world. And while knowing this, lovingly stroking it like a precious cat. It is charming and fantastic, simultaneously it’s dark and terrifying. September, the protagonist, I didn’t entirely love but that was most likely because I was way too busy loving everything else in the book. Catherynne M. Valente has such imagination that you are able to completely lose yourself in Fairyland.
If you haven’t read this yet, whatever your reading preferences may be, I suggest you do so. Recommend your local libraries order copies in and tell every book worm you know that this is a great book for young and old readers. It’s a modern fairy tale reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz with just a dab of darkness at its’ heart, just enough to rock your emotions. It is exactly the kind of book that if you don’t put down quickly, you won’t at all and it ends in such a way that everything is well wrapped up and you’re a happy reader, but it leaves a way in for a sequel. I only wish there were more books like this one!(less)
My Soul to Steal is bloody awesome. No, really. It took me a while to get back to reading this series but when I finally picked up My Soul to Steal I...moreMy Soul to Steal is bloody awesome. No, really. It took me a while to get back to reading this series but when I finally picked up My Soul to Steal I could not put it down.
Rachel Vincent introduces a new character into the fray in My Soul to Steal, Sabine. A living nightmare. Literally. And Nash’s ex-girlfriend. Just what Kaylee needs when she’s trying to overcome her and Nash’s problems from My Soul to Keep, right? Wrong. Sabine is one of those characters that you love to hate. She’s so… UGH! Frustrating. She’s a single-minded girl, which isn’t always a good thing, and she’s most certainly not afraid of hurting people in getting what she wants if they get in her way and she really makes me want to slap her something silly. And the fact that Nash spends so much time with her when Kaylee is clearly uncomfortable with this and he is trying to get her back.. well.. *facepalm* The boy’s an idiot. What can I say. After only a couple of weeks, Sabine and Nash expect Kaylee to go back to trusting and loving Nash, or to leave him. Relationships are not that simple and Kaylee has definitely not had enough time or space to forgive Nash.
Rant Warning. I’ve read a lot since my review of My Soul to Keep from people who really like Nash and can’t understand why people don’t like him and I have to reiterate my feelings on this. He had sex with Kaylee when a hellion was possessing Kaylee’s body and she had no control over herself or her actions and no knowledge that she was anything but asleep, and a part of him knew that, he was just too high to care. He tried to influence her into having sex with him when she wasn’t ready and not consenting. When she shook it off and told him no, he insulted her. In what twisted world is that okay? If somebody is not consenting to sex, it is rape. You can’t blame Kaylee for his Frost addiction, she made a mistake, a horrible one, yes, but she hardly held him down and released Demon’s Breath in his face, did she? It wasn’t her fault, and there’s really no excuse for what Nash did. It’s up to her if she chooses to forgive him, but she’s struggling with that and I 100% understand why she struggles to trust him. Perhaps she should have visited him when he was coming off Frost, but it’s understandable why she’s so uncomfortable after the things he did to her and the way he treated her. Rant Over.
Saying all of that, I love that the Soul Screamers series has me thinking so much about the characters, their relationships and how they deal with everything. I love that it makes me feel so passionately. Rachel Vincent has done an amazing job of creating three dimensional characters that you care about and you hate and hell, at times, I don’t mind Sabine. I want Kaylee to be okay, and Emma, and Tod, and even Nash, because they aren’t perfect. It’s so hard to create characters with imperfections that readers still care about and Ms. Vincent has done this perfectly.
Seriously, why hasn’t Soul Screamers been optioned for the screen yet? Can you imagine the Netherworld on the big screen or even the little one? It would be amazing.(less)
It took me a little bit to really get into the book after reading so much adult fiction. I spent a while noticing faults that I might not have noticed...moreIt took me a little bit to really get into the book after reading so much adult fiction. I spent a while noticing faults that I might not have noticed before. However, it is a fantastic story and I really hope to see Kaylee progressing more in the next few books. :)