To say that I started this book on the wrong footing would be an understatement.
1) For some peculiar reason (curiosity?), I decided to read the status updates of this review before I started. Very bad idea. -.- 2) I've also always been under the assumption that City of Glass would be the end of The Mortal Instruments, but well, you know, I guess not... 3) I read the last TMI book in 8th grade, which wasn't that long ago. It is, however, long enough for me to have read a ton of other books and realize that maybe this series wasn't that amazing after all.
My experience in a nutshell: It felt like Ms. Clare was grasping at straws in this book. I liked the first 3 books well enough, but City of Fallen Angels had a messy plot and a too convenient resolution. I will be gritting my teeth and finishing the entire series (which has now been extended to 6 books) since I always feel inclined to finish series that I've gotten into... Overall, enjoyable read.
There is a horse-drawn carriage rolling through a scenic meadow. The sun is shining; there ar...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
There is a horse-drawn carriage rolling through a scenic meadow. The sun is shining; there are delightful fragrances in the air. The only catch is the you are the sweaty and straining horse, and the carriage you were pulling happened to be occupied by three rather large sombrero-wearing rainbow-colored elephants.
I admit, the sombreros and colors were unnecessary, but you have a vivid mental image now, yes...?
OK, so you're struggling to haul three elephants behind you. But you keep going, because there might just be something satisfying greeting you at the end of the path. maybe some water, a nice cool shade, or a huge pile of oats and other delectable munchies. Instead, what greets you is the edge of a cliff. Apparently, the scenic route has suddenly decided to stop existing. Poof. Gone, just like that.
Thus was my experience while flipping through the pages of Pegasus. Robin McKinley is undeniably one of the best fantasy world-builders I have ever had the honor to read; but the pacing -- it was horrendously slow. I could not read more than two chapters without feeling the urge to bang my head against something hard.* This had to be stomached in small doses, which is why it took me a staggering total of 15 days to read. I had to stop periodically and read other, more frivolous books before plunging back into the story of a princess and her pegasus. This book is truly a test of patience.
Pegasus does redeem itself and earn an extra star for its setting and background history, and the writing style fits nicely with the type of story it is describing. The novel would be a great source for artists trying to paint a fantasy scene. But for readers who are looking for a plot? Not so much...
The ending makes the sequel (exp. publication date: 2012) almost mandatory. There was a slight build-up, and then the book just ended. The expression on my face would probably have scared a few children if I were reading this in public.
Tidbit of random: I want to taste some fwhfwhfwha, too.
*We were working on a rather annoying Chem lab when my dear friend -- always oh so helpful -- offered to print out the picture at the very top of the review for me. Seriously, what have I done to deserve such amazing friends like this? Sarcasm is the spice of life.
Animals are showing up dead in the woods with their throats ripped out and the rest of t...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Animals are showing up dead in the woods with their throats ripped out and the rest of their bodies untouched, and the residents of the little town of Mystic Falls are freaking out as they attribute the attacks to demonic activity. Through all this mayhem, there is Stefan, who's led a relatively simple life; until now, that is. The boy suddenly finds himself faced with an unexpected arranged marriage and an equally unexpected visitor -- alluring and orphaned Katherine Pierce. Needless to say, it is attraction at first sight, and when Stefan's brother Damon returns from the army and appears to be quite taken with the young Katherine as well, trouble begins to brew. Two brothers and a girl: there has to be a winner, and there has to be a loser.
Based off of the hit CW TV show Vampire Diaries, Origins describes Stefan, Damon, and Katherine’s mysterious back-story. There are countless differences between this book -- co-written by the two TV show producers instead of L.J. Smith -- and the original Vampire Diaries series. While both are enjoyable, I found Origins to be slightly superior plot-wise, and L.J. Smith’s original story to be better written and characterized.
One little quirk: we never really discover who the villain is because of the abrupt ending. A nice conclusion or revelation of some sort would have been cleaned the plot up nicely. Overall, the book was still appealing -- the latter half especially, as the story finally picks up pace.
Origins would be a great read for all die-hard fans of the Vampire Diaries series and TV show, as it presents an alternative view of the Vampire Diaries world and sheds light on the murkiness of Stefan and Damon’s past.
As an angel-blood, Clara has a purpose in life—the sole reason she exists on earth in th...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
As an angel-blood, Clara has a purpose in life—the sole reason she exists on earth in the first place. With nothing to guide her but visions of a boy in a forest fire and the annoyingly confusing comments her angel mother tells her, Clara and her family move from sunny California to snowy Wyoming in an attempt to complete her purpose. It is there that Clara comes face to face with Christian, the boy in her dreams, and delves into the complicated world of high school love and Nephilim war. As circumstances become even more perplexing, Tucker appears in Clara’s life. Fun, normal, dimpled Tucker. Clara is the one who must make the decision, for who else can do so for her?
Cynthia Hand’s debut, Unearthly, was gorgeously written. She managed to depict an authentic teen voice without going overboard with the standard ALL CAPS to express emotion and the internet slang (ie. OMG, LOL, WTF) that has infused itself into the world of teenagers. To say that I flipped open this book with skepticism would be an understatement, since I’ve had almost traumatic experiences with YA angel books before. Surprisingly, Unearthly proved to be different from the rest. Unlike the clichés that are prevalent in other angel books—the dark and brooding fallen angel who falls in love with a human girl—this book delivers a unique twist that left me flipping the pages one after another deep into the night.
Of course, we also encounter the infamous love triangle here, but the author handled it well, and I thank her for not following the conventional route most other YA books do. There is actually a development in the boy and girl’s relationship—a concept often lacking in YA fiction. Instead of love at first sight, a steady build-up of attraction occurs that seems real instead of crafted. I especially adore the ending, oh how I grinned like a maniac at the book in my hands when Clara finally makes up her mind.
This is the beginning of a great series, and I will definitely be on the look-out for future works by Cynthia Hand.
A shy girl living a seemingly normal life? Check. A hot and mysterious guy appearing out...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
A shy girl living a seemingly normal life? Check. A hot and mysterious guy appearing out of nowhere? Check. Instant, unexplainable, and inevitable attraction blossoming as the two gaze at each other fatefully through a pane of glass? Check.
Haden/Mr. Dangerous-and-Brooding: Stay away from me, lamb.* I’m dangerous. Theia/Ms. Radiant-Sunshine: But I don’t want to. I think I’m in love with you! Check.
Does this sound just a teensy bit familiar yet…? Ugh, the first two-thirds of the book was a complete rehash of Twilight, albeit a better-written one. A solid 2 stars -- not horrible, and yet not horribly original. I had to roll my eyes a few times here and there. A couple of facepalms appeared, too.
What bumped the rating up to 2.5 stars was the last third of Falling Under. Told in the perspective of Haden instead of Theia, this portion of the book, titled Up is Down, is infinitely more interesting plot-wise and such a joy to read after the coughTwilightcough review we got before. If only the entire book was like the last part. Alas, it was not to be.
Overall, this book is worth it if you’re willing to wade through some clichés and overdone plot lines first. Falling Under’s invigorating ending certainly left me in need of the sequel.
*Seriously? Haden has to refer to Theia as his lamb, too? Please… -.-
In a gorgeous retelling of the Norse fairytale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, we follow...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
In a gorgeous retelling of the Norse fairytale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, we follow the little unnamed pika, or “the lass,” as she grows up in a tiny village forever plagued by harsh and never-ending winters. Life is simple, and the only worry the lass has to deal with is the possibility of being stolen by the troll-folk, who are known to be particularly fond of nameless children. But then an isbjorn appears in her life. The ice bear demands for the lass to accompany him to a palace and stay for a year in exchange for fame and wealth for her poor family. So, with her wolf Rollo and her brother’s snow-white parka with the mysterious markings, the lass leaves on the journey that would change her life forever. DUN-DUN-DUUUUN~
I know, so dramatic… I give you permission to roll your eyes.
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is written in marvelous prose and is filled with the lilting rhythm that poetry and music both possess. That is why this book and the story within its pages read like a beautiful song.
Speaking of beautiful things, this is a beautiful sculpture of the lass and the isbjorn by Forest Rogers. Isn’t it beautiful? How many times did I use the word beautiful in the past few sentences? Don't answer that.
I must confess: I have never even heard of the fairy tale the novel is based on before reading the book. Originally, I thought it was solely a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and had shamelessly declared to my Kindle, “Haha sucka, I’ve got you all figured out.” (I talk to my books/Kindle. I’m sure you do, too. Don’t deny it…)
Of course, the universe just loves to prove me wrong, and lo and behold, Jessica Day George threw a curve ball and turned the story into Beauty and the Beast and the Troll with Abnormally Long Noses and Breasts. Appealing title, huh? Well, it was still a brilliant story.
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow was a lyrical read, with wonderful characters and lovely storytelling. My only complaint is the slow beginning, which subtracted from the overall appeal of the novel. It is never a good sign to feel like you have to force yourself through a book, even if it is only a tiny portion.
Maybe I'll go read East of the Sun, West of the Moon one of these days.
Even though I am fairly new to the adult PNR/urban-fantasy genre, I have read my fair share of vampire novels. Blood Song turned out to be an enjoyable read with a unique twist on traditional vampirism. The protagonist Celia is the usual kick-ass 20-/30-something heroine with multiple guys pursuing her as Celia herself remains clueless to the attention. In this reality, however, the entire world knows of the existence of preternatural beings. Some humans have even uncovered their own hidden powers.
The first half of the book was slightly hard to get through, and the plot felt almost random at times. There were some characters who felt kind of... unnecessary, I suppose. The ending is not overly cliffhanger-ish, but does connect to the second book, Siren Song, which I will read one of these days...
This is the story of a boy and a girl, a brother and a sister, who woke up every morning...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
This is the story of a boy and a girl, a brother and a sister, who woke up every morning to neglect and were shoved the responsibilities of parenthood. This is the story of their love.
Despite the controversial subject that Forbidden explores, I found myself rooting for Locchan and Maya as they struggled with the reality of society's view on their relationship. Yes, I did feel twinges of disgust -- perhaps I'm not as open-minded as I thought I was, although I guess this situation isn't really about open-mindedness at all. But the way Suzuma described the two, through changing perspectives of first person, immerses the reader completely and justifies the main characters' actions somehow.
Although why. Just why oh why oh why, Ms. Suzuma. Why did you... Couldn't you have somehow...
Forbidden is going to leave you feeling kind of hollow inside.
Across the Universe was certainly an unique read, and I, being one of those guilty people who...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Across the Universe was certainly an unique read, and I, being one of those guilty people who often judge books by their covers, started reading with a sky-high stack of expectations. These obviously stemmed not just from the gorgeous cover, but also from the praises YA bloggers were singing to the heavens about the book.
I liked it, but the feeling was laced with disappointment. I had to constantly stifle the urge to yell insults at Elder throughout, since he acted like an idiot most of the time. I do get that he was raised that way and is still in the process of escaping from Eldest's clutches, but couldn't Elder have, oh I dunno, grown a spine faster? Since he is one of the central characters. It seemed as if Amy was the one doing all the work while Elder drifted along and just happened to appear at crucial moments and learn important pieces of information to contribute.
The descriptions of The Season was, like others before me have mentioned, quite disturbing. They were repeated, too, as if to remind the reader that, hey look, there's another couple going at it over there, you know, in case you forgot. It succeeded in increasing the believability of the novel, but was it really necessary? In a YA novel, too.
And alas, the ending, or lack of. The climax of the novel seemed to be nonexistent. I was excitedly flipping the pages, wondering what sort of argument or revelation was going to occur and end the novel with a bang. Well, the bang never came. There was no real resolution, either, which bothered me to no end. I guess I prefer stories that are tied up with nice little polka-dotted bows.
The world Beth Revis created was likable, and the sci-fi elements were nicely done, but the plot just fell flat for me. I would still recommend the book, though.
This is quite possible my favorite PNR series, although truthfully, that isn't saying much, since I haven't read that many... Blood Bound is action-packed from beginning to end, and the interactions between Mercy and Adam/Sam/Stefan are just too adorable. I think this series would make a great TV show, actually. Much more so than the Sookie series. Will read the rest of the Mercy series sometime in the near future!
The past year has been beyond life-altering for Meghan Chase. Suddenly thrust into the world...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
The past year has been beyond life-altering for Meghan Chase. Suddenly thrust into the world of Faerie and the rivalries between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, Meghan realizes her importance in this beautiful yet cruel world, a world that has silently existed alongside hers ever since she was born. To complicate matters further, the Seelie and Unseelie have become threatened by a new kind of Faerie—the Iron Fey, brought to life by the ever-increasing reliance humans have of technology. Meghan, with the aid of the Unseelie prince Ash and childhood friend, the Faerie Puck, has already defeated the first Iron King and successfully retrieved a stolen scepter in time to stop a Faerie war. Meghan thought she was never going back, especially since she and Ash had been banished from the Faerie world together—a punishment for their forbidden love. But the rise of a second Iron King changes all that, and Meghan finds herself once again in the complicated world of Faerie, on a quest to save the entire Faerie race.
This third installment of Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series does not disappoint and continues the momentum of the two previous novels. There were barely any dull moments, and the trio is always on the move. I did find the apparent helplessness of Meghan a bit annoying at times—every time they meet an enemy, it was Ash and Puck protecting her while she screamed or fainted—but the girl did mature emotionally throughout the book. I adore the twist at the ending and applaud Meghan for her courage and sense of responsibility. This trilogy-turned-saga will end with The Iron Knight, told from Ash’s perspective. I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the next book and would recommend this series to fans of fantasy and faerie novels.
It’s possible that I harbor a sort of morbid curiosity toward angst of any kind, given t...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
It’s possible that I harbor a sort of morbid curiosity toward angst of any kind, given the surprising amount of love I felt for this novel. Because I am not kidding when I say that the entire book is one humongous angst-fest. There’s Adam’s heartache and Mia’s barely hidden heartache and just pain and this awful sense of detachment from every other person around them.
And I loved every single page of it.
If Adam had been a stereotypical male from the YA genre, we would doubtlessly have been treated to paragraph upon paragraph of whining and pining after Mia. Oh, I miss the way her hair smells, the feel of her skin on mine, her beautiful lips like bright red cherries blah blah blah… But Adam is stronger and just plain better than that, even if he himself doesn’t think so. Yes, he wrote emo songs to vent his frustration at Mia’s departure. Yes, he was basically kind of catatonic for a year afterward. But he did something about his pain. He made it a sort of productive pain, if that makes any sense. Adam did not sit around and stare into space; he became a national rock sensation instead.
I confess, I had originally put off reading Where She Went because If I Stay wasn’t phenomenal for me. Perhaps I was put off by the feeling of stasis -- the total lack of overall change -- that pervades the first novel. Well, Where She Went manages to retain the emotional rollercoaster from If I Stay and adds a lot more movement and development to the characters since Mia is, you know, no longer in a coma.
Sigh... An author’s ability to turn something simple into something so engaging and extraordinary: this is why I read.
Book Source: ARC from Penguin Young Readers Group via NetGalley(less)
Life has finally settled down after the violence and uncertainty of the Force of Sheep rebell...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Life has finally settled down after the violence and uncertainty of the Force of Sheep rebellion. Trella, the famous Queen of the Pipes, now knows her place in this new version of Inside, and it is definitely not as the leader of 22,509 people. After endorsing a Committee of nine uppers, nine scrubs, and an extra member to prevent voting ties, Trella intends to fade away into obscurity and distance herself from the agenda and messy politics of Inside -- tedious tasks such as organizing work schedules and deal with the enemies and traitors of the rebellion.
Trella soon discovers that it is actually quite difficult to disentangle from this sticky web. Peace has not yet been achieved. Complaints of the people precede deadly bomb attacks that are, in actuality, distractions and/or clues in disguise. So Trella returns to her pipes, and the sneaking around begins yet again. There are consequences for every action, though. So be careful before you decide to stick your nose where you don’t belong.
Maria V. Snyder once again pens a story filled with action and suspense. It is quite an accomplishment, being able to master two different genres of writing -- the Middle Age fantasy setting like her debut, Poison Study, and the futuristic science fiction like Outside In. There are lush details (ie. believable techie gadgets and slang common in sci-fi novels), and since the world-building has been pretty much completed in the first book, Inside Out, the reader is plunged straight into Trella’s post-rebellion life.
At first, I had my doubts, as the story seemed complete with the conclusion of Inside Out, but Snyder seamlessly introduces new elements into the plot, weaving them in one delicate thread at a time. The surprising plot twists that occur throughout are also another one of Snyder’s fortes and greatly increase the unputdownable quality of the novel. Every once in a while I would utter a string of unintelligent sounds as another complication is revealed. Feelings of delight, incredulity, and outrage were frequent.
Snyder is a great writer who knows exactly what to do to grab the reader’s attention. I am looking forward to the next installment of the story of Trella and Riley and, of course, Sheepy the stuffed animal.
Book Source: ARC from Harlequin via NetGalley(less)