I'll admit, I was hooked in by the words "cyborg" and "deadly plague." Because of that, I didn't really know what to expect. Cinder is an amazing mix oI'll admit, I was hooked in by the words "cyborg" and "deadly plague." Because of that, I didn't really know what to expect. Cinder is an amazing mix of science fiction, dystopian, and it even has a classic fairy tale thrown in. I'm crazy about anything sci-fi and I really think Cinder hits the mark with putting the right amount in it without being overly weird for those who don't particularly like sci-fi.
Cinder, our cyborg Cinderella, didn't really make a lasting impression on me. I think she's a great character and I enjoyed reading about her, but something was missing that could have made the connection better. Cinder didn't annoy me at all, she didn't whine, didn't do incredibly stupid things, honestly, Cinder is the epitome of what I wish every female character could be. Cinder is the kind of character you feel for. She makes you ache, makes you hurt. Her struggle with being a cyborg is heartbreaking, not only because she is a cyborg, but because of how cyborgs are treated- less than human, just because of mechanical parts. Our Prince Kai is drool worthy as well. I'm glad, for once, there is a love interest who is not mean. Doesn't say nasty things and snatch and grab on the heroine. Thank you Marissa Meyer for making him a gentleman!
As for characters I can't stand, it would be, hands down, Adri. Adri is Cinder's wicked stepmother. I have absolutely no nice feelings for the woman. Just reading about her made me want to pull out my hair! Her meanness to Cinder was astounding and I can see why Cinder was so desperate to escape.
I'm deeply in love with the world that has been created. A world of plague, a world where medical technology can create cyborgs, a world that has people that live up on the moon; it's not the dream world someone would want to live in, but for story-telling purposes it really makes you think. I do think the main part of the story was a little obvious, I figured out what was going on early in the story and it was very easy to jump to the right conclusions. That said, it didn't take any of the joy I felt reading away.
We are left with a major cliffhanger (!) and it's a long wait until 2013, when Scarlet is set to publish. Definitely add this one to your list for the new year and be prepared to swept up in romance and deception....more
Fasten your seat belts, because Taken by Storm is going to throw you for a loop! Yes, that's my advice, definitely go in prepared for this one.
As youFasten your seat belts, because Taken by Storm is going to throw you for a loop! Yes, that's my advice, definitely go in prepared for this one.
As you all should know, I'm a huge fan of Jennifer. I devoured the first two books of the Raised by Wolves series like I was starved. Taken by Storm delivers in so many ways that the other books didn't (for me that is). So, I'm telling you now, if you haven't read this series, or you've been putting it off- stop! Go read it, now. And just know that when you do and you're on the edge of your seat, remember I'm the one pushed you into reading awesomeness. You can thank me later.
Our Bryn grows up tremendously, she was already well on her way in Trial by Fire, but the weight pressing on her shoulders really turns her into a character you love. I can say, hands down, she's one of my favourite characters ever. She reminds me a little bit of Katniss at the end and if you read it, you'll know why. I still think Chase was just there for the say-so, he becomes a place in plot that was just meant to be Bryn's stepping stone. I just do not feel the connection there between them. My hunk Callum, though, I feel it everywhere. I'll have you know my favourite character gets plenty of face time. With a few semi-new characters, Taken by Storm becomes my favourite in the series.
I had complained in the previous reviews that tension would build and then ultimately get resolved in an anticlimactic way. Boy, I feel as though TbS was written just for me. Not only was the conflict built up as high as it could go, but it delivered. Honestly, delivered. I don't know how I read what I did, but I sat there open mouth reading the last half. Hats off to you, Ms. Jennifer Lynn Barnes. You have impressed me, shocked me, and overall, I love you. Thank you for doing the unthinkable.
The only thing that irked me was the ending. To some, it'll be ideal. It's very open ended, but the last scene was something I had been waiting on since the first book. I was disappointed it hadn't be elaborated on because when I went to touch the screen to change to the next page- it wouldn't. I thought my Nook was broken!
I'm not getting my hopes up for a fourth book, but Taken by Storm ends the series with a bang that will leave you sighing for days....more
I'm incredibly shocked at how much I loved Pandemonium. This is coming from a person who very much disliked Delirium. Book number two completely blowsI'm incredibly shocked at how much I loved Pandemonium. This is coming from a person who very much disliked Delirium. Book number two completely blows the first one out of the water. This is how a sequel is done!
Lena is incredibly strong this time around. She's a little wishy-washy at times, true, but if you compare her character before and after, this Lena is much more relatable. I actually like her. This may also be because I didn't like Alex (Yes, I said it!) and I got to read her character without all the lovesickness. We do have a whole new cast of characters and I'm happy to say I pretty much enjoyed them all. Especially Julian. Julian is the son of the founder of the DFA or Deliria-Free America. (You can imagine the trouble Lena gets into with him, seeing as she's in the resistance.) His character surprised me. Seeing as how I didn't like Alex, I was sure I wasn't going to like Julian. But no, I really, really, like him. He's like a cute puppy that has been kicked. You can't help but want to cuddle him and make sure nothing bad ever happens to him again. I wish I could say more about him, but almost everything involving his character would be spoiling you on what's to come.
I did find the chapters to be a tad confusing. They switch between "Now" and "Then" telling about the Lena now and the Lena that was surviving in the Wilds. It does make the flow information weird. As long as you read the chapter headings you shouldn't get too confused. All in all, I wasn't too fond of the chapters being set up like that. I would almost say that the "Then" chapters weren't needed. Sure, a few things needed to be explained, but the "Now" chapters were so much more interesting!
I found the curse words to be a little misplaced. They popped up randomly and I pretty much cringed every time I saw one. Not that there are lots of them, in fact there are very few, but they are so out of place that it throws you off what you were reading about. Many times I stopped and thought, "Was this really needed?" Being that the book is mostly tame (very tame, I should say) having these curse words appear just didn't mesh.
The story was awesome and kept me at the edge of my seat. There's a lot of survival battles and death compared to the previous book- which is a good thing.
We do get a major cliffhanger. By major, I mean wet your pants major, CPR major, and allover, oh no she didn't major. Do not, I repeat, do not flip to the last page unless you wish to be spoiled. I made that mistake and felt like beating my head against the wall.
Now, if only Requiem wasn't a year away... ...more
I really loved the beginning of Switched, it was interesting and it got me hooked...until the story all but stopped moving.
Prepare for vagueness: AsI really loved the beginning of Switched, it was interesting and it got me hooked...until the story all but stopped moving.
Prepare for vagueness: As far as characters goes, Wendy is pretty wishy-washy. At times, all she can do is tremble and nod her head, and at others she actually says something worthwhile. When she goes back to where her 'real' family is she knows NOTHING. No one tells her anything and while she wants to know what is going on, she still goes along with everything. It really bothered me how she complained and said how much she hated where she was staying and never did anything about it. She's bratty, everyone hates her at school (it's an automatic thing, she gets kicked out of one school and at the next one she goes to everyone hates her), she thinks the new guy is weird until all of a sudden, he's hot- really, she's just a character that you can't get genuinely interested in or feel sorry for. As for Finn, he's better than Wendy, but he puts on the "I don't like you. You're only the job." type act. It gets old fast. The only character that I really liked was Rhys and I can't say much about him other than he's like a cute puppy, otherwise, I'd be done spoiled you big time.
The whole idea of a changeling is pretty neat, but come on. You switch your kid out for them to get a better education and then when they come home you swindle money from their foster family. On top of that, your say that your education system is bad (one of the reasons that changelings exist) and yet, YOU HAVE ALL THAT MONEY? Can you not hire better teachers or are you just using your kids to fund your extravagant lifestyle? Also, I just can't believe the tier system when it comes to people. Human kids are pretty much treated like crap. Sure, you get everything you want, but love from your parents? Usually not. Babied by nannies? Absolutely. Talked down to? Not worthy of being in the same room as the higher ups? Check and check. I have to roll my eyes at this. *eye roll*
The story is interesting... When Wendy finally moves to where her 'real' family is, I thought the excitement would pick up. Instead, I got to read about how Wendy didn't like her mom, or about her wanting to be with Finn, or about her wanting to kiss him. The excitement from the beginning just faded. She had very few moments that made me smile and it was until near the end that it picked up. Or should I say, the pause button was pressed and we had finally gotten to the point where the play button was suddenly relevant again. Also, the ending, we're told rather than shown. I felt it was pretty cheap to skip the part with Rhys, and seriously, I can't believe that the security is so lacking that what happened happened. Incredibly vague, I know.
Overall, it's not terrible. It doesn't make me want to go out and buy the sequel and it doesn't make me want to reread it again. I definitely recommend borrowing this one from the library before buying it....more
Bitterblue was my most anticipated read of 2012. Graceling and Fire had me practically salivating, I loved both of those, devoured them, and I'm sorryBitterblue was my most anticipated read of 2012. Graceling and Fire had me practically salivating, I loved both of those, devoured them, and I'm sorry to say Bitterblue did not live up to the previous books.
It took me 9 days to finish Bitterblue. I picked it up, I put it down, I read a few chapters, I read one page. At times I would be gripped and not be able to put the book down and other times, I couldn't bear to pick it up. I went in expecting to love it and I came out just liking it. What happened? Why did Bitterblue not keep me interested? Read on.
My first impression of Bitterblue was that I wasn't feeling it. The beginning pages really threw me off and I had a hard time connecting to the story. I loved Graceling and I loved Fire even more, so to have such a start really worried me. Do yourself a favor and reread Graceling and Fire before tackling Bitterblue, it will save you lots of frustration (or it could be just be only me that is very forgetful). Like I said, I had a hard time getting into it until Queen Bitterblue starts sneaking out of the castle and meets Saf- which honestly is just a few chapters in. Before that, the story just seems kind of stagnant and uninteresting and you really just have to push through it. I take that back, there are a lot of parts in Bitterblue that are stagnant and uninteresting, but there are also parts that are very interesting. I'm afraid I found more parts uninteresting than interesting and I'm very disappointed.
I'll get to Saf in a minute but one of my main reasons for not liking Bitterblue was because of, well, Queen Bitterblue. She is a very whiny character. Selfish, whiny, naive, and did I mention whiny? I also think at times she's rather dumb. Let me state that I never wanted to strangle her like some characters, but she has her moments where you just think, "How can she be queen?" At times, I did like Queen Bitterblue, like when she was with Po or with Death and some times with Saf. But for the story to be about her, I just didn't feel for her the way I did Katsa or Fire.
My second reason for not liking Bitterblue was Saf. Don't get me wrong, I like Saf. But instead of one of the main characters, he felt like a character that had been pushed to the side. There, but no really there. He is supposed to play Bitterblue's love interest that takes hundreds of pages to even develop. I honestly do not know why the two are even together. Saf is hardly ever around and I just can't believe that either character fell in love with one another. Don't even get me started with that intimate scene that was so out of place that even now I still side-eye it. Honestly, honestly (I'm using that word a lot. HA!), I felt Queen Bitterblue had more of a relationship with Giddon than with Saf. I was just waiting for a love triangle to start. There was definitely better development between Giddon than Saf and I'm sad that after over 500 pages, he's left without a love interest.
My third and final reason was the confusion. Confusion over parts that were written. Confusion over the storyline. Confusion over the characters. The characters would talk and I'd wonder what kind of secret I was left out of. I'd even go back and reread and still not get it or understand. To me, it seems like I was supposed to have prior knowledge of what they were talking about, or it would be explained like I was part of the group and supposed to have known what happened. Honestly, Bitterblue and Po would talk and I'd have no idea what in the hell they were talking about. Maybe I just didn't read well enough, but I love this series, so I'm pretty sure that's not the case. Even the storyline I didn't follow all the way because at times Queen Bitterblue would be thinking about some thing that happened and the next thing you know we're on a totally different subject. It was annoying and it made reading uncomfortable. It just seemed as though for Queen Bitterblue to be trying to find the answers to her puzzle pieces there wouldn't be so many pieces that didn't fit or make enough sense. It was just awkward and crazy.
A slight edit: I forgot to include my thoughts on the gay characters that appear in Bitterblue. While I'm all for people loving whomever they want, Bitterblue struck me as odd. Seeing that I don't remember any mention of gay characters in the previous books, it felt weird that all of a sudden two characters were gay and then, not too long after, there are more gay characters mentioned in Bitterblue. Why did I need to know that two extremely minor characters were gay? What was the purpose other than to say I have gay characters in my book? My personal feelings on this was that it didn't work for me.
For one of the things I loved it would be the banter. I loved hearing Po, Katsa, Giddon, Bitterblue, Saf, Teddy and everyone else bickering. I loved it! What I did't like is Po being overly depressed and Katsa just being...well, overly emotional. They just didn't seem like themselves so even I wasn't too thrilled to see them back again. But almost every time the group would gather they would bring a smile to my face.
The best new character is Death, the librarian. Seriously, his snarky attitude was to die for. "Lady Queen," the librarian said. "As Your Majesty's request was disobligingly unspecific, I thought it best to deliver a range of maps, to increase the odds that one pleases you. It's my fervent wish to return to my work uninterrupted by your little people." I loved every sentence I read about him.
I am disappointed that Leck was killed in Graceling. Being the character that, I think, really held together this series, I was disappointed to see him go. Though his presence haunts Bitterblue, it's nothing like the real villain. We do get into some nitty gritty truths about Leck. He's such disturbing character, you can't like him, but reading about what he did was fascinating. I almost wish there was a spin-off or novella recounting the horrors he committed. That's where I think most of my fascination with this series lies. Cashore writes beautifully, but it's when she's telling the horrors of the past that her writing grips me.
Overall, I still think it is an amazing series. Although Bitterblue has its hiccups and it can be quite crazy, I do hope that maybe there will be more stories to tell in the world of the Seven Kingdoms.
(view spoiler)[ Can you believe Fire came into Bitterblue as an old woman? It was mindblowing to realize more than 50 years was the difference between the Fire and Bitterblue storylines. I thought I had bumped my head when she was described as old. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I’ll be upfront with you, Sweet Evil reminds me of Hush, Hush and The Mortal Instruments. Is that a bad thing? No. Did it feel as though I have alreadI’ll be upfront with you, Sweet Evil reminds me of Hush, Hush and The Mortal Instruments. Is that a bad thing? No. Did it feel as though I have already read it before? Definitely no. Sometimes books have a way of overlapping in my mind. I may be reading a werewolf book and then switch over to another series about werewolves- and guess what usually happens? I start thinking, “Well, where is so-and-so?” I’ll rake my brain and try to find him and then be like, “Oh. Duh. Wrong series.” With Sweet Evil, there is no chance you will get a series confused (I may just be in that category by myself). What I’m getting at, is that Sweet Evil has enough of its own special thing that there’s no way you would think you were reading Hush, Hush or any other. That is what I LOVE about this book.
There is so much to be discovered with Sweet Evil. From demons, angels, spirits, guardian angels, to extra sensitive senses and everything in-between. I really loved how the author explained things. The word for it would be… addicting. I was often disappointed because parts of the explainations were saved for later when I wanted them right now. That’s honestly a personal problem though and nothing to do with the book itself, just my impatience.
I was a little worried about Anna and the covenant- the way religion would be explained and come into play. I like my books to be pretty neutral on religion, again, that is a personal preference, but Sweet Evil did a pretty good job at keeping religion part of the storyline and nothing more. You really can’t avoid religion with a subject like angels anyhow. I did like that the author was constant with Anna praying and whatnot- it made me glad it wasn’t a fly by night idea where, “Hey, my character prayed once so now I don’t have to ever talk about it again” type thing.
Speaking of Anna, she’s a steadfast character. She continually struggles with the bad side of her nature. Not once does she flip the magical switch that suddenly makes her immune to dangerous impulses. That is what I love about Anna, she struggles, makes mistakes, wants to do better, and at times, fails. The only bad thing about Anna is her infatuation with Kai. It comes to the point where she’s just another girl wanting to stick her paws on him and inevitably falls into the, “I love him, but we can’t be together, he thinks he’s so bad for me. I’ll just take a Bella moment and cry for a few months, too bad I don’t have a best friend named Jacob” category. I do give her credit for trying to resist him and failing.
As for Kai, being the son of lust, you can just imagine the sexy times he gets into. Even though he was trying to act as though they were bad for each other and just saying the absolutely wrong things (I totally would have beat him to a pulp, just saying) he is probably my one of my favourite lead male characters. I like that Anna eventually strips him down of his bad boy exterior and we get to see the real Kai. As for our our minor characters, there is not one character I dislike. Well, I think that’s a lie, I have a few characters I don’t like for obvious reasons such as being the bad guy or what not. I do have a grip about Anna’s father “Jonathan LaGray” and their relationship. I had a real hard time believing what I read when they first met. I know I sure don’t treat every Sargum Sam (woo-hoo southern slang!) like that when we first meet. Heck, I don’t even treat distant family members like that. I just can’t imagine living everyday of my life with anger and then it burning out at the drop of a hat.
Besides the storyline being set in the south, I really have no idea why she’s described as being a southern girl- because she is sweet? (Sweet and southern don’t always go together, y’all.) The south and being southern really had no purpose other than to put distance between her and her father. Which is a little disappointing.
Even though I have some nitpicks with Sweet Evil, I enjoyed reading it and I didn’t want to stop (I admit I stopped several times to try and make the book last longer- it didn’t work). I only hope that the sequel will come out soon and solve all of those mysterious questions I have burning on my tongue....more