Night School was easily one of my favourite reads of 2012, and although Legacy isn't quite as good, I still found myself loving it. Daugherty's writing is addictive as always, and you'll pass a large handful of hours reading this without even realising it. Upon starting, I immediately connected with the characters I loved so much again and it was like the year-long wait never existed.
When Allie Sheridan went back to London for the holidays, she didn't expect to be chased down by a group of Nathaniel's agents, or to be returning to Cimmeria Academy early to help repair fire damages caused by her brother, Christopher. At first, things seem to be going well. Allie and Carter are super adorable and sexy, and there's some funny awkward tiptoeing around Sylvain, since he saved her life post-rape attempt. Unfortunately, our smiles don't last for long as things quickly spiral out of control. The secrets, misunderstandings and total lack of communication are monumental in Legacy. As much as I love Allie and Carter, I don't know whether to bury my head in the sand in defeat or to run away screaming.
In this sequel, the plot thickens as Nathaniel's motives are explained, and as he takes bigger risks in order to get what he desires, the students at Cimmeria are put in unpredictable danger. As a result, Allie is admitted into Night School where the focus is now on self defence and they soon learn that there's a traitor amongst them. One of the members of Night School or staff is Nathaniel's inside spy and so the Night School students are forced to interview another member assigned to them in search of any inconsistencies, with lying leading to expulsion. It sounds simple enough....BUT OF COURSE NOT, THIS IS FICTION!
This leads us to the dirty, frustrating mess that is Allie and Carter's relationship. Not too far into Legacy, Carter transforms into an overprotective, controlling jerk who completely forbids Allie from seeing Sylvain. They can't be friends or even acquaintances. With Sylvain's past behaviour, I understand his concern but this was too much and clearly NOT just about her safety at all. Carter, come here so I can slap the stupid out of you! Unfortunately for us and Allie, everything snowballs from there. Allie's put in difficult situations with horrible timing, and absolutely nothing works out for her, with Carter or her non-Night School friends! My heart was an ugly little mess by the end of this novel. I feel so much for her, even though at times I felt she needed to be slapped too. Everything that happened with Allie was either wrong or unfair and it was horrible! #AngstWimp
As a character, I really did like Allie (for the most part). She does well in Night School, albeit with a shaky start, and tries her best to solve all of the mysteries around her while dodging Gabe who seems to be popping up everywhere. The small clues combined with the subtle foreshadowing and my halfway-there theories have me curious and desperately awaiting the next book. Legacy seems to pose more questions than answers, and I was a little let down that the plot development wasn't huge. I was hoping for a bit more to happen, for a few more answers to come our way, but sadly it looks like that'll have to wait for book three.
Despite all of the heartache Daugherty made me feel, she still managed to keep me laughing with her well-placed moments of wit and humour, and her captivating story will keep you wanting to know what will happen next. Legacy gives us more insight into some of the characters, especially Carter, while making us distrust others. This novel feels somewhat unresolved because of the sheer amount of unanswered questions, but filled with intrigue and dangerous charm, Legacy is an entertaining sequel which will hopefully pave the way to an explosive third book. I have no idea how things will end and I'm honestly a little afraid after these latest developments! (less)
Where do I even begin? Partials ruffled my feathers so much, I'm surprised I have any left. I can't even pinpoint what exactly made this book brilliant, but I do know that it kept me up until 4am since I couldn't bear to put it down. Kira Walker is a 16 year old intern in the maternity ward, who has yet to see a newborn live for longer than a few days. No one has for years. When her friend becomes pregnant, thanks to the Hope Act which makes it mandatory to conceive when you're 18, Kira makes it her mission to find an impossible cure for RM. How will she succeed when so many experts have tried and failed?
Partials is an exciting and action-packed sci-fi read that I fell in love with immediately. Some may say it's slow to start, due to the detailed explanations, but I loved the world development. 11 years after the Break, it's 2076 and there are only 40 000 humans left. A violent rebel group has been born in response to the barbaric Hope Act and the citizens live in fear of a partial attack. Partials were engineered years ago to fight the humans' war, stronger and smarter than any man, before they turned against their creators and almost wiped out the entire world. Add in the RM virus and its mysterious link to the partials and we have one hell of a story. Wells doesn't shy away from the scientific aspect of sci-fi and I can honestly say that this is one of the most exciting books I've ever read, with its plentiful and heart-racing twists!
Unlike so many young adult books, Partials does not focus on the romance, nor does it try to create one in an obvious manner. Subtlety is key! In the beginning, Kira is already in an established relationship with Marcus Valencio and I enjoyed exploring their bond on multiple levels. I felt like I understood the two well as a couple, even in the short time that they were actually together. I loved Kira as a character! Just as a heroine should be, she's intelligent, brave, loyal and, dare I say, a little stubborn? I think many people will be impressed by the way she handles everything that's thrown at her in this book. Sure, she may sometimes rush into situations but you've got to admire her serious brains.
I'm going to be brief here because I don't want to spoil a single thing, but Kira takes it upon herself to kidnap a partial to study. They're terrifying creatures, as we know next to nothing about them, and I'm guessing I wasn't the only one who stopped breathing whenever Kira had to get close! The highlight of this book is definitely the partials themselves. They harbour many secrets and Kira's interaction with the one she catches is priceless. Don't even get me started on the crazy conspiracy theories that were flying around my head while reading! The partials constantly threw my feelings of disbelief, sympathy and excitement around in a tumble dryer, but there was always a stream of "OMG" looping through my mind.
I must reiterate how addictive the mysteries are throughout this book. Just when we think we've got it figured out, Wells hits us with another bombshell. Other times, we have many bits of information but just can't figure out how they all piece together! What's the key to solving the RM puzzle? Who are the true villains - the partials, the Voice or the government? Who can Kira trust? Partials is a genuine edge-of-your-seat read. Killer partials sneak around with their scary masks and had me screaming "RUN AWAY!" more than once! Wells is a genius and I am so looking forward to reading the sequel after the serious game-changing ending. A truly addictive read, Partials is not one to be missed! (less)
Although I failed to feel the urgency to continue reading until the last quarter of the novel, when the pace and intensity finally increased, Rise was still far better than Rift. Despite the slow and sometimes lacklustre read, I'm really glad I finished it because this is, mind-bogglingly, a great prequel series.
Rise begins where Rift left off as Ember and Barrow flee from Tearmunn, which has now been overrun by Eira and Bosque Mar. Alistair is their loyal solider and is still delusional in thinking that Ember returns his affections. While I wasn't glued to the book and desperate to continue reading, hence I was easily distracted and took an entire week to finish it, the plot was actually interesting and far better than that of Rift. We're exposed to the darkest parts of this world and finally Eira's actions are part of a bigger picture. Luckily for me, the annoyance I felt towards her in Rift wasn't present while reading this novel. Perhaps it was because we read from Alistair's perspective more than hers, but no matter, I'm very grateful. Alistair was terribly misguided and on such a wrong path that I felt like checking to see if his manhood was still in tact. Until he gets over Ember, he's a lovesick pup who wants approval and will do whatever he's told, especially if it means it'll get him Ember. The antagonists were a great part of this novel, however, and I enjoyed seeing the evil plans they conjured up throughout.
This time around, I felt that Ember wasn't as gung-ho warrior as she was in Rift, and was a little disappointed that she had somewhat reverted back to a 'girl' mentally, despite the things she said otherwise. I enjoyed the romance between her and Barrow and was pleased that it didn't dominate the story at all. The character development honestly wasn't the best - I don't think anyone grew significantly or let us know more about themselves - but I enjoyed having such a large and diverse group to pull from anyway, even though their roles were minor and undeveloped.
Within this book, there are loyal followers, rebels, traitors and moles. Both sides have their own agendas and ideas about how things should be run, and it's all a tense wait to see who will come out on top. Will the rebels against Bosque succeed in banishing the evil beings or is he already prepared with something much more sinister? Now this part, I loved. I was addicted by the end of the novel and it's here that I realised how great this prequel truly was. It wasn't until the end that I realised that the things we were learning were directly related to the original Nightshade series. Some were intended to be revealed at the end, but some were just so slow to register in my mind (cue facepalm). This last minute revelation hit me all at once, rather than naturally a hundred pages earlier, so my mind was a little blown and fangirl excited by that time. FEELINGS OVERLOAD.
This prequel series is probably one of the best in terms of explaining the origins of things within the original series. While the story and characters certainly don't compare to those such as in The Infernal Devices, I enjoyed the insight I got from it and seeing how everything fit together. But as epic as the ending was, I'm left feeling a little empty because it was so open ended, and not in a good way where we can happily imagine things ourselves. Many threads are left loose and untied, and I still have questions! Basically, I have no idea what every character is up to. Are all the villains alive? How will Eira, Alistair and Bosque proceed? Did his plan work? What about the other members of the order? What about Ember and Barrow?! I'm just lost. I guess we have a very vague idea about some things with the knowledge we have from the Nightshade series, but I'm not entirely impressed with the lack of a proper ending here... An extra page, or paragraph even, would've done the trick!(less)
In the Scottish lowlands of 1404, a young girl named Ember Morrow is called upon to serve at Tearmann, after her mother was saved by one of the Conatus during a difficult childbirth 16 years ago. Although her friend Alistair returns with high hopes of a relationship between them once they're both there, he's shocked and unwilling to accept that she doesn't feel the same way. Even worse, she ends up falling for her mentor, Barrow. Although I enjoyed Ember and Barrow's scenes thoroughly, I found myself disappointed by others. A large portion of the novel is in the point of view of Eira, the antagonist, and for me her scenes were quite tiring and frustrating. While I usually enjoy reading from the perspective of the villain, something about Eira irked me…
I loved Ember as a character. She was strong and willing to learn, willing to abandon her family to do something she was passionate about. They saw her duty as a terrible punishment for a woman, but she revelled in her newfound knowledge and power. Her transition from a proper girl to a useful woman was a joy to watch, especially with Knight Barrow Hess to guide her along… His introduction in Rift is not one to be forgotten, besting the guards of Ember's father in a fight with ease. Being a strong character himself, his relationship with Ember is very dynamic. They go through the stages of properness, denial, lust and love, stubbornly butting heads one moment and lost in each other's gaze the next. Cremer has always written good love scenes, so major UST and swooning ahead!
As Eira becomes impatient with the other members of the Circle, who want to wait and plan before taking action against evil forces, she is lured to the dark side when she is offered the power to take action on her own, to make a difference for the better, or so she thinks. Predictably, this turns her into a ruthless evil, drunk on power. I can't put my finger on what was wrong with Eira, but I felt like abandoning the book every time I had to endure her. Annoyance aside, Cremer does a great job of building the mystery surrounding the seemingly random but dangerously linked events.
There were so many wonderful things about Rift that I could gush all day about. From Ember's beautiful stallion, Caber, to her impressive combat skills, I was enchanted. Rift revisits portal weaving and characters we've seen before from the Nightshade series, and introduces the history and other elements of this world we haven't seen before. Cremer was able to get me flustered, enraged and giddy multiple times throughout this book and had me clutching desperately at the pages by the final chapters. There's an intensity we're not used to seeing from Cremer in this book and I loved it. As usual, the ending doesn't disappoint and has me 110% ready for the sequel!(less)
I've always loved reading books with male narrators. Men are fascinating creatures and it's a breath of fresh air to step away from the usual swooning female leads - not that Meghan ever swooned. With Kagawa's decision to allow us into Ash's mind, we're finally able to understand a whole lot more about his behaviour and his past. Maybe we can finally unravel the puzzle that is Prince Ash?
If it's even possible, I fell even more in love with Ash after reading The Iron Knight. He was never fully open with Meghan and always had some sort of secret locked away in his heart. It was magnificent to see, first hand, how he lives his life and what he goes through every day. He torments himself in his mind and has many vulnerabilities, unbeknownst to others. Despite how much he thinks otherwise, Ash has a beautiful soul, and he proves it during his dangerous journey to the ends of the earth. Meghan is now the Queen of the Iron Realm, a place Ash can't step foot into as a faery. His love for her is so strong that he's willing to give up his entire being. He's going to become a human. If you ever wondered about the extent of his feelings for Meghan, he'll leave nothing to question after this book!
The perfect Iron Fey book would have Ash, Puck and Grimalkin in the same scene. The Iron Knight is filled with these. Three vastly different personalities clash and the characters play off each other in such entertaining ways, whether it be humorous or dangerous. Ash has yet to follow through with his promise to kill Puck and he has plenty of opportunities throughout the book. I loved spending time with these characters for the very last time. Away from the petty quarrels in their Courts, they're bare to our scrutiny and faced with many situations of life and death. They discover what's important to them and what they're willing to sacrifice for friendship and love. My heart? Spasming.
At times, this book was slow, but only because a lot of the story was happening in Ash's mind. The action doesn't really begin until the gang reaches the mysterious Testing Grounds, a place no one's ever come back out of before, but it's all very worth it. The Iron Knight is truly an epic journey, fueled by Ash's strength, determination and loyalty to Meghan. To become human, he's tested in the most vicious ways - few of them physically - that we worry about whether his state of mind will ever recover. Will he be able to cope with being human? Will his love for Meghan withstand the test of time and torture? Is he strong enough to handle any obstacle that's thrown at him? Although cruel, Ash is forced to examine who he really is and everything just gets mindblowingly personal.
As always, there are twists and shocks that change what we've believed for so long. The majority of the book is heartbreaking and will make you feel the most anxious you've ever felt. You scream for the characters to just HOLD ON for a while because it will have to get better eventually. This series has taken me to hell and back, and my heart ached when I turned the final page. I experienced this series in one continuous week of reading and I don't know what I would've done, had I been forced to wait between books like most fans. The ending of The Iron Knight was one of the best moments of the series and, again, my heart ballooned. You know that sickly happy feeling you sometimes get? Oh dear. I need to sit down. (less)
After being exiled from Nevernever for choosing to remain in their forbidden relationship, Ash and Meghan prepare to return to Meghan's home, with Ash prepared to change his life in whatever way to be with her. He'll go to school, move with her to a big city and even marry her… “You might have to teach me a little about the human world, but I’m willing to learn if it means being close to you.” Melting yet? It's such a shame that these nice plans are foiled by the fey! What's the iron king up to now?
Once again, the characters are thrown into the deep end and left to flounder. They discover secrets about each other that will make or break their relationships and everyone seems to be in a mean and stubborn mood for a while. I mean, Puck isn't afraid to flaunt the fact that he's planted his lips on Ash's girl! *gasp* However, the most romantic moment in this entire series, and maybe EVEERRRR, occurs in The Iron Queen. I fainted. And squealed. Giggled for a little while before rereading and repeating the entire process all over again. If you weren't sold on Ash before (seriously?) you definitely will be now……
This series is built on an accumulation of dramatic events and puzzling mysteries. Everything comes to a climax when suddenly all of the pieces fall together and things happen at the right place and the right time. The Iron Queen has the most action out of the four books and I loved seeing the two Courts unite to defeat the common enemy, an iron villain who threatens to suffocate Nevernever with his greed. Meghan is forced to take the front seat in this monumental battle and from an invisible teen to a fierce leader, she really has come a long way.
I was kept guessing about something or rather until the last minute. Kagawa even begins to get riddly on us and I've now decided that countdowns of any sort are EVIL. The action and mystery of this book was addicting and intense, earning cries of victory from me when things worked in Meghan's favour. The ending of this book took me by surprise and sort of rammed into me like a mack truck. It's the epic finale - physically, emotionally and spiritually - you always imagine and I felt that it was so fitting for the series. Kagawa left me craving more and I was very excited about getting one more spin with these characters. What a cliffhanger!(less)
Bare with me here. I have a lot of excess excitement to offload. Was I impressed by The Immortal Rules? Yes, and that would be a severe understatement!! This was my first Julie Kagawa book and she simply blew me away with her fascinating mythology, strong characters and never-ending plot twists that quite literally stopped me from putting the book down. Indeed I read this 450 page book in one sitting, in one night, and immediately had to fight the urge to re-read it again. I'll just say it now: Julie Kagawa is the QUEEN of vampires. Way to make such an overused supernatural creature outstanding!
I admit, I went into The Immortal Rules a little warily, firstly because of the whole vampire aspect but mostly because the book sounded so plot-heavy and out of this world. Vampire city? Blood craze? Rabids?! Well let me tell you, it's not that complicated and is constructed so perfectly that you will have no trouble at all acclimating to the story. Allison Sekemoto from Sector 4 of New Covington is an Unregistered, 60 years after the plague, living outside of the Inner City where the vampires now dictate and have full control over their slaves. Being Unregistered means you're off the system and don't have to subject yourself to monthly bloodletting, but it also means that you're without food tickets and that you can simply vanish (read: be killed by a vampire) without anyone being the wiser. As soon as the book begins we see the full effects of the vampire hierarchy on society. The Unregistered scavenge for morsels of food and are executed if they're caught. Confined by the hours of night, step outside when it's dark and it'll be your own fault if you don't come back! Kagawa's vampires are fierce, powerful and frightening, using their physical abilities to their very full advantage. What's worse than wild vampires? Organised ones. There's an entire chain of command filled with sires and pets that you will love discovering all about. There was no info-dumping whatsoever, with Kagawa cleverly dispersing them throughout many points of the book. What more can we ask for?
Well…here I go with my TEAM ALLIE shirt. One wrong decision left her vulnerable and surrounded by a group of hungry, savage rabids. They tore her apart and would've killed her, had it not been for a mysterious vampire who offered to turn her. She'll be dead both ways but Allison desperately wants to be alive to see the world change…so she says yes. With the help of her mentor, Kanin, Allison learns the ropes of being a vampire and strengthens herself for survival. The hunted has now become the predator and it was a stunning transformation. A good half of the book is spent with Allison alone and damn was it the best decision Kagawa ever made. Developing this character to such high levels before bringing in the large cast of others was what made this book spectacular. I was so overjoyed to find an author that understood getting characters right, especially the main ones. Allison is officially my favourite YA heroine of all-time. She never has a problem depending on herself, is so determined to be a good vampire, although chances are slim, and oh my goodness she has a sense of humour! A wicked and sharp one that will make you laugh and grin in all of the right places. Unbelievable, I know, but get used to being surprised in this book. Kanin is a favourite character of mine and he provides 90% of the twists. You don't even expect them because they're not part of the main plot. But shock after shock, Kagawa will leave you absolutely reeling and wondering what else we haven't fully dissected and thought through!! Kanin MUST be related to Allie because his sense of humour is just as good. Prepare yourself for an endless supply of his face-palming and exasperated sighs at Allie. I'm being completely serious...
While I could continue raving about the goodness that is Allison and Kanin, I'm sure you want to know about everyone else… After being forced out alone into the outside world, Allison picks a direction and wonders if other cities exist without the rule of vampires. After painful and long days of walking, she stumbles onto a group of wanderers and is coerced by a boy named Zeke into joining them. It's never a good idea to make friends and enemies with so many people when all you can think about is sinking your fangs into their jugulars, especially when you're trying to keep up the illusion of being a human! Even though these secondary characters did not individually play a huge part of the story, together the group formed many levels of tension and complication for Allison. She's the mystery who came from a big vampire city and is tagging along to aid in their search for Eden. You'll meet jealous girls, sweet children, mean leaders and delusional old ladies too. Zeke's not who you'd expect Allison's love interest to be but in some ways I think he's just perfect. Kind-hearted and loyal, Zeke's sweetness will touch your heart from the word go. There is such a push and pull between the two because of their sparking chemistry and you just know they'll be a brilliant couple. They're almost polar opposites and ignite something so passionate in each other that I almost lost my mind! Kagawa supplies us with an abundant amount of scenes where you can appropriately scream, cry, swoon and laugh. Once again, she just nails the characters. I dare you to find a fault.
With her katana in hand and gang in tow, Allison travels across the country in search of Eden, which may or may not exist. Her relationships and struggle as a new vampire are the leading focuses in The Immortal Rules, and is all developed through the amazing troubles they face with vengeful vampires and stalker gangs. You'll love the fast action sequences that leave nothing to be desired and the wonderful blend of everything else. Kagawa isn't afraid to kill her characters so be warned and prepared early on… Think you can find the cure for rabidism and save a friend while you're at it? Run along and join this battle between the forces and try not to fall in love with Zeke along the way! This book will torture you in the very best ways and keep you on the edge of your seat for its entirety. There is not an existing adjective that can describe how good this book was. Magtastawezingful? I know you'll attack Kagawa on Twitter as soon as you finish this, pleading for the next book.. How can you not after that ending?!(less)
I was very eager to return to this series, excited at the prospect of spending more time in Nevernever after The Iron King's eventful ending. The Iron Daughter is very much about exploring the threats of the iron fey and the growing divide between the faerie Courts, as well as Meghan's personal identity. She's always thought of herself as a human but things have obviously changed and she's beginning to make the transition! The Iron Daughter will please fans who are looking forward to further developing the issues present in the first.
After we fell in love with Ash and Meghan as a potential couple in The Iron King, Puck declares himself a serious contender for his best friend's heart. While I absolutely adore him as a character and would take him as a BFF any day, there's no way he can beat Ash in the smoking hot and emotionally intense department. With Puck, Meghan would have a carefree and fun relationship without having to jump through any hoops or hurdles, whereas being with Ash is like going against the whole world. Somehow, it's all worth it.
We're introduced to many new characters and learn more about those we've heard of before. Ash's brothers are cunningly cruel and Meghan has to firm up her protective shell in order to survive in the cutthroat society of the Unseelie Court. I loved the growth of her character throughout the book. While it isn't as drastic as the changes that come later, she definitely matures. With the Scepter of the Seasons stolen by a secret party, the Courts are at war and Meghan's right in the middle of it. She's able to make level-headed and smart decisions, prepared to do things others aren't willing to. Furthermore, it becomes increasingly obvious that she's now linked to the iron world…
The Iron Daughter is full of angst. Ash is still torn up about Ariella so there's a constant pink elephant into the room. Meghan's walking around on eggshells but pushing Ash for more at the same time, and the misunderstandings between them will have you ripping out your hair! Oh, and let's not forget Puck's little corner of this love triangle. Don't you just wish you could tell characters what to do sometimes? Things would be so much easier! The book is filled with betrayals from both sides and the twists are just as shocking. I felt that the pacing of the book was quite slow, but the action scenes we did get were engaging and thrilling. You never know who's going to win, lose and…die?
As always, Kagawa shocks us with her cliffhanger and makes me thank the heavens that I had the next book on hand. There was so much anticipation, adrenaline and plain shock in the final few chapters. How will the story continue now? What's going to happen next?! Even though The Iron Daughter wasn't a favourite of mine, I still felt compelled to continue and see how the story would end! (less)
Team Human caught me by real surprise. After my initial hesitation at reading a vampire book that sounded heavy on the romance, I realised it was actually a parody of the paranormal insta-love that's not unusual to find in YA these days! We've all seen them before… And you know those awful books which try to be funny but fail? Well, Team Human certainly doesn't fall into that group. It had me in stitches and I was shocked by how witty Mel was! Full credit must go to the authors for providing me with such entertainment and I now know that I'll happily read more from them both in the future!
Mel Duan is the vampire-hating, rude and unsympathetic best friend of Cathy, a typical teenage girl who's fallen head over heels in love with Francis Suvarney. He's over 150 years old, silent, brooding, mysterious and chivalrous. Hmm, right... How very unique of him! Let's not forget that he's easily scandalised by the forward behaviour of modern females too! Cue the eye rolls now because Cathy and Francis get sickeningly sweet from here on out. Mel obviously feels the same, as she tries relentlessly to discourage their affections for each other but to no avail . Although Mel is overbearing at times, she has good intentions and it eventually became humorous and very justified. I love her! Brennan and Larbalestier do a wonderful job at poking fun at the over the top human/vamp relationship and were able to show us the not so ideal and glamorous side of it.
I really enjoyed the mysteries found in Team Human. The vampires in this book are traditional for the most part but there are a few fun changes that play an important part in the events that occur. As well as preventing Cathy from turning into a vampire (RISKY!), Mel's busy investigating the whereabouts of the principal's ex-husband. He supposedly ran away to be with a hot vamp but…what if that's not the case at all? Mel also thinks Francis is up to something shady, so many aspects of this book do overlap and we're left to wonder how they all relate to each other! The action amps up during the final section of the book but I found it to be too short-lived and the resolution too simple! However, it can be forgiven because of everything else that's great about the book.
During one of her stalk sessions, Mel finds herself in Francis's house and meets Kit, a human boy who was raised by vampires after being abandoned by his real parents and left for dead. His "mother" Camille is a badass cop and this trio of characters were my favourite to watch together. They had an amusing yet sweet bond with each other and the male banter…where do I start? For all that she preaches, Mel is completely oblivious to Kit's affection for her. I must have 'aww'ed a million times at his cuteness. He smiles whenever she giggles and always looks to please her. I obviously liked this pair, despite the fact that there was never really a romance shown between them in the book. Team Human doesn't focus on the romances themselves very much but the ending definitely leaves things open for interpretation! ;)
Overall, these two authors make a wonderful team and write extremely well together. I would've liked to have explored Mel and Cathy's friendship more, as well as between them and the boys, but Team Human isn't a book to take too seriously. It's hysterically funny and will put a smile on your face in the short amount of time it'll take you to fly through it! I bow down to the authors for their bottomless pit of jokes and willingness to create some seriously kooky characters, while still providing some heart-warming and more serious moments too. The book covers all the bases! (less)
After I fell in love with Gabriel in the first book of the Elemental series, I was ecstatic when I discovered that Spark would be focusing on the hottest Merrick of the bunch. While Storm was entertainment in it's purest form as we're first introduced to the world and characters, Spark takes on a much darker tone as we delve into Gabriel's mind; a word of warning, it's frightening in there. Luckily for him, he's got a nice girl to keep him distracted and boy was this romance incredible! As spellbinding as you would imagine it to be, Spark is an absolute must-read!
Gabriel Merrick. Gabe. Gabe. Gabe. Gabe. Gabe. How can you not love this gorgeous, witty bad-boy? In the previous book, he was perceived as someone who was easy-going and didn't have things too tough. He seemed to have his life under control and wasn't lacking much at all. After reading Spark…… I can say that we were all terribly wrong. The main issue that's explored within this novel is Gabriel's relationship with his family and how he sees himself. Although it wasn't obvious until now, he's the black sheep of the family, the brother who's always expected to make mistakes and do the wrong thing. Further and further, he and his brothers drift apart, especially him and his twin, Nick. Kemmerer will have you clutching at your heart with this book. The amount of sympathy and frustration I felt at the unfairness of EVERYTHING was indescribable. Gabriel's such a good person with a big, vulnerable heart who didn't deserve a single bit of hurt he was smacked in the face with. What makes it harder as a reader is that many of the conflicts could have been avoided and were caused by a lack of good communication, whether it be Gabriel's unwillingness to explain himself (because he couldn't believe that he even had to) or his brothers' complete lack of faith in him! You can expect this sequel to be full of angst, which just builds and builds. I'm a total wimp with these things but I got through it. Somehow. I'm still recovering, I think.
While Spark doesn't go much into the Elementals/Guides storyline that was set up in the first book, there is some development in the way of Gabriel's powers. Although as a pure Elemental his powers are strong, there are still limitations with what he can do; while he can manipulate fire with great precision, he can't create it himself. In his attempts to remedy this, he causes a fire or two and winds up going into a few house fires too! This allows him to save people and gain more control, but it also brings a lot of heat onto him from his family and the police. Someone else is starting these fires with an unknown agenda and it's not a good thing for him to be at the scene of every crime. I will say though, that the bromance which formed between him and Hunter as a result of these rescues was great. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER?
Now you've all been waiting to hear about it…the romance. Firstly, I have to say that Layne Forrest is one of the coolest people ever. Her character was so refreshing amongst the stream of "average-nothing-special" YA girls we're used to seeing who have no reason to be suddenly noticed by the hot guy. She's smart, conservative, horse-loving and…a social outcast. Even though she's been rejected by her mother for not being perfect, ignored by her father and ostracised from her peers for being "weird", she stands by what she believes in and even has a kind heart to boot. The first time she and Gabriel meet..it's not friendly but you just know that the romance will be unbelievably good. Layne does the sweetest thing in the history of sweet things and I still go into mushy mode when I think about it. It's no wonder that Gabe couldn't help but fall for her eventually! She understands him and doesn't confine him to being a good-for-nothing guy like everyone else. Their road to happiness isn't easy in the slightest, what with both of their secrets, but wow. Amazing. Layne's deaf brother, Simon, and her secret, which I won't spoil, made their relationship unique and gave Gabriel many opportunities to make us SWOON.
I want to see the Merrick family back together as one so badly, and with the developments at the end of this book, I think they're on their way. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Elementals/Guides plot plays out in Spirit, and it should be interesting with the switch to Hunter's POV. We won't be seeing the Merricks from an insider's perspective anymore but I've always loved Hunter so I don't mind at all! Kemmerer has really stepped it up and taken this series to another level with Spark. I can't wait to see what she offers up next.(less)
Quest-wise, Tiger's Voyage is just as brilliant as the previous book, if not better. To break the third stage of the tiger's curse in order to give Ren and Kishan 18 human hours, the three must outwit and outsmart five sneaky dragons, all with different personalities and agendas. Relationship-wise, this book made me an emotional wreck and shoved splinters all through my heart! But if you're a fan of this series, you're bound to love this book even with its frightening mood swings ;) Grab a soft teddy and you're set!
After the end of Tiger's Quest, Kelsey finally saves Ren from Lokesh's evil clutches, only to find that she had been erased from his memory. *crickets chirp* I know. It was horrible. Wicked. Cruel. Houck was obviously feeling a little nasty that day! If you're expecting Kelsey to wake up and discover it's all a dream, you're out of luck because she's a complete stranger to Ren now and even being in her presence causes him physical pain. (Boo, no kisses?) He's forgotten that he used to choose peach ice-cream over peanut butter chocolate for her, that socks aren't a romantic present and so much more. All of their intimate memories and inside jokes…gone. Ren's utterly unpredictable and unlike himself. This complication stays at the forefront of the novel's focus, a rough road with miscommunications, small hopes and great devastation. Houck tugs at our heartstrings expertly and I just loved it, as horrible as that sounds! Throw in Kishan, who she can't deny her growing feelings for, and a flirty Texan diving instructor who gets both boys fuming.... Well. Looks like there's interesting times ahead!
Everything you fell in love with in the previous books will be found in this one. I was taken away by the breathtaking imagery, exotic locations, heart pounding adventures and puzzling riddles. From negotiating with tricky collectors to navigating across dangerous islands with armed hunters on their tails, the trio have their arms full with the dragons they must overcome as a united front. Even with the angst, this book was somehow fun, exciting and extremely refreshing! The scenery becomes more magical and complex, stunning beyond belief. Houck has grown so much as a writer and I couldn't be happier! Every single character has undergone a tremendous transformation and what a sight it is to see. We see them grow to astonishing heights and I think we'll all be sad to see them go once the series is over. Luckily, there's still another two books until then!
Once again, Lokesh makes a pest of himself, terrorising the group in order to get his hands on another Amulet piece. He also wants Kelsey for personal reasons and it couldn't be any more disturbing. All the more reason to run away.... If you want more snuggling with tigers, mystical journeys and complicated relationships, Tiger's Voyage delivers all that and more. Colleen has outdone herself and I can't wait for the fourth book, especially after that cliffhanger! Granted, it's not as shocking as Ren's memory loss but it's certainly still a game changer. I can taste the badassery already. This book made me laugh, cry and almost wet my pants in fear (SHARKS!) but gosh was it worth it. Another wonderful installment of a brilliant series!(less)
At the end of the first book, Ren and Kelsey's relationship is on the rocks, as she's convinced that he'll want to look for "better" girls now that he can be a gorgeous human for 6 hours a day. She settles back into her mundane life in Oregon, going to university and even going on a few dates, but none of the boys compare to her Tiger Prince. It's hard to believe but Tiger's Quest is even more compelling than Tiger's Curse, ratcheting up the adventure and fast-paced storytelling! If the first book didn't convince you of its greatness, all of your doubts will be banished in this one. What a smashing effort by Colleen Houck - this series has got to be at the top of your TBR pile!
While Kelsey's character was somewhat aggravating with her over-the-top descriptions in the first book, Houck's writing improves by leaps and bounds. I loved getting to know Kelsey more in a real-life setting, seeing her take care of herself and doing that bit of growing she missed out on while dealing with the curse. When she meets a boy named Li, who's all kinds of wonderful, she's faced with a very difficult decision. Will she hold onto her complicated relationship with Ren or leave that piece of her behind to start something with someone who completely adores her? I have to admit, Li was charming. In any other book, I would've been waving my Team Li flag around like a crazy person but unfortunately Ren's just unbeatable...especially when he comes to his senses and chases after her...and moves in next door. Amazing, tense, bury-your-face-in-your-pillow-and-scream things follow and well…. You can guess what happens next.
To break the next part of the curse, which will give Ren and Kishan 12 human hours a day, the gang will be dealing with the element of air. It seems like it'll be another Tiger's Curse adventure but suddenly, tragedy strikes and Ren life is in grave danger. Reluctantly teaming up with his wolfish brother, Kishan, Kelsey journeys into the Himalayas, faced with the task of climbing Mt Everest in search of the spirit world. I won't spoil all of the fun riddles for you but I will say that they're grander and more breathtaking than those in the first book. Houck's world-building is stellar and it was a joy to continually learn new things about the supernatural! Kelsey even begins developing a lightning-like power, able to shock things from distances away. Did or did the story not just get a thousand times cooler? The adventure was thrilling in so many ways and I'm killing myself by not going into extreme detail about it. I want you to experience all of the excitement and twists that I did in full!
So if you've read the first book, you'll know that Kishan doesn't hesistate to flirt with his brother's girlfriend. An inevitable love triangle forms and it will leave you torn! While Kelsey's still fiercely loyal to Ren and constantly bats away Kishan's teasing kisses, it becomes obvious to us (eventually) that he's a serious and fair contender for her heart. Their relationship grows very unexpectedly but again, it's something you'll really enjoy. Even with Ren being out of the action, their palpable love at the beginning of the book will be enough to sustain you until the end. Just wait until you read the third book! History is repeating itself, with the brothers fighting over one girl... Who will come out on top?
Unlike Tiger's Curse, I don't have any complaints about this book. All of the characters are well-developed and Houck proves to us that she's able to see this ambitious plot through to the end. The cliffhanger at the end of the book left me devastated and shocked. I haven't seen it happen in YA before and...just trust me when I say that you'll have to have the third book before you read this one. Immediate continuance is necessary because you won't want to stop in between books!(less)