Brilliant. I enjoyed the Scorpio Races, but this blows it away. Perfect voice, great characters, all of them compelling and sympathetic, plus some worBrilliant. I enjoyed the Scorpio Races, but this blows it away. Perfect voice, great characters, all of them compelling and sympathetic, plus some world-building so insane that you just have to believe it. Oh, and a quest of Holy Grail-ishly epic proportions. Can't lose!...more
The author of this book is clearly talented. She's a good writer, she had some interesting plot elements, and I think she had a unique approach to theThe author of this book is clearly talented. She's a good writer, she had some interesting plot elements, and I think she had a unique approach to the whole angel concept... Or at least a better thought-out approach than a lot of the other angel-books I've seen lately. And it was definitely better-written than some of the ones I (barely) squeaked through!
But there were a lot of YA cliches, for me... (CAUTION, MINOR SPOILERS/things you find out early on in story):
Dead mom Conveniently absent/oblivious father Supportive best girl friend with no other characteristics aside from being kind of oblivious too Love triangle between BFF and Hot New Guy Love relationships become a crux of the plot Abusive past that's completely glossed over without consideration (and may I just say, the face that the MC had an abusive past experience kind of made the oblivious dad more unbelievable? You'd think it would make him overprotective...) Super-special snowflake heroine
There were some elements I did like. For example, the main character actually trained in martial arts and worked out loads before she became an ass-kicking heroine. It was not just a magic transformation from couch-potato to badass! And I do like that the book didn't dwell for too long on the MC debating whether or not she believed in the whole angel story. As readers, we know the angels must be real, so it can get annoying when characters spend too long in denial. So I liked that aspect!
Overall, I do think this author has tons of potential, so I'd still read more from her!...more
Short review this time, because words cannot describe how much I loved this book. Tesla cannons, giant sea monsters, complex political situations, gorShort review this time, because words cannot describe how much I loved this book. Tesla cannons, giant sea monsters, complex political situations, gorgeous illustrations, a pitch-perfect portrait of the Ottoman Empire as it straddles the East and the West (or in this world, the Clankers and the Darwinists), and adorable pet monkey-esque things. Also, possible hints of LGBTQ-ness. And explosions. And did I mention the Tesla cannon?
READ THIS BOOK. Well, read Leviathan first if you haven't. THEN READ THIS ONE. So much love....more
This one started out a little slow for me, but by the end, I had really fallen in love with it. If you're a fan of fast hooks and speed-reads, this onThis one started out a little slow for me, but by the end, I had really fallen in love with it. If you're a fan of fast hooks and speed-reads, this one might not be for you. But if you enjoy a slow-building story, and complex characters, you'll love this book.
I was really impressed by how realistic Maggie Stiefvater made Thisby, the island where these mythical races take place. It felt gritty and wild and so real that, not going to lie, at one point I googled it to check if it existed. I also love the way she took tiny pieces of an obscure mythology (I mean, sea horses who eat people? I love me some mythos, but even I'd never heard that one before) and wove them into such a complex tale that it almost takes on a mythology of its own. The people of Thisby have a thousand tiny rituals that revolve around the horses and the Scorpio races, from the clothes they wear to the strange celebrations they hold, to the way they make wishes.
I also enjoyed that this book felt so timeless. Coming out of a string of YA novels that are very firmly set in a certain time period, I liked that you couldn't quite place when this one happens. I figured it was in the UK somewhere early on, just going by the Brit-speak in it. But you're never really sure if "the mainland" they constantly refer to is England, Scotland, Ireland maybe? The horse names were clearly Gaelic, but that doesn't really narrow it down. And I like that you never find out. I'd also been picturing it happening in a modern-day, kind of backwater technology-less town, until one of the reporters makes a comment like "were you inspired by the women's suffregettes?" to the main character, and then I thought maybe it was supposed to be earlier in the 20th century... But who knows!
For me, the book picked up around the middle, when the two main characters finally start to interact and train for the races. Before that, although the prose was gorgeous and the characters all interesting, the plot sort of slacked for me. I think my biggest problem with the book was that I could not understand why Puck/Kate, the main female character, was entering these deadly races. So I was having a hard time connecting to her in the beginning. That's sort of remedied later on, though, because she acknowledges that she doesn't know why she's doing it either, so maybe it's not really a problem. Could just be me!
At any rate, this one is definitely worth a read! And I've only read half of Shiver, so don't take me too seriously on this, but I get the feeling it's very different from that series....more
I remember reading Laini Taylor's Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, and loving her crazy, unique imagination. I felt the same when I began DaughterI remember reading Laini Taylor's Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, and loving her crazy, unique imagination. I felt the same when I began Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but on a new level. This book has a perfect real-world setting: Prague (with some romps into other countries along the way). It introduces sarcastic, snappy, interesting characters in Karou and her best friend, Zuzana. It creates a whole new mythology in Brimstone and his fellow shop-workers. I fell in love with this book from page 1. The prose is strange and poignant, the voice a perfect blend of teenager and old soul. But then, about halfway through part one, the fallen angel showed up. And as unique and dark and scary as Laini Taylor makes her angel mythology in this book... I couldn't help but be disappointed. Her descriptions are still unique and memorable, but we've seen it before -- bad-boy hottie with tortured, troubled past, suddenly falls madly and inexplicably for heroine, who also falls for him in spite of the dangers involved... Yes, we're eventually given the reason he falls for her, and vice versa. I guess I just wanted something truly different, in every way. And plot-wise, this book does not quite live up to the rest of its elements. Nevertheless, if you have not read any fallen angel/vampire/devil/substitute-your-bad-boy-fantasy-character-here books, READ THIS ONE. And if you aren't sick of the genre yet, READ THIS ONE. And if you have read a ton of them, you should still read the first half of this one! And the last quarter is pretty great too. Though reading that might be hard to do without the middle, hmm... Anyway, consensus: Laini Taylor is an incredibly talented writer, and I hope this book becomes crazy popular just so that we can see more from her crazy awesome imagination!...more
This story has a very The Lovely Bones/If I Stay-type premise. The writing is good, and I did come to sympathize with the main character... But it hasThis story has a very The Lovely Bones/If I Stay-type premise. The writing is good, and I did come to sympathize with the main character... But it has one of those endings that you guess from page 4 or 5. This may have been on purpose -- I'm not entirely sure, so I'm not trying to completely knock it? It just felt a little heavy-handed with the message (alcohol and drugs are bad, bullying sucks), and made me wonder if it should have been written for adults instead. On the bright side, all of the characters were well-rounded, even the ones you think look like cardboard cutouts of bullies at first eventually get enough backstory and delicate treatment that you come to understand their actions, even if you disagree with them. The book was a bit on the long side, but if you really loved Before I Fall/If I Stay/The Lovely Bones, you might want to pick this one up :)...more
LOVE this book so hard. Not gonna lie, I stayed up until 2 in the morning on a school/work night to finish. I hit page 420 or so and couldn't stop. I eLOVE this book so hard. Not gonna lie, I stayed up until 2 in the morning on a school/work night to finish. I hit page 420 or so and couldn't stop. I enjoyed that the MC, Tris, was different from the usual "I'm an uber-badass girl, mwahaha." We were given reasons for her toughness. There were consequences if she was not tough. There were consequences BECAUSE she was so tough. She made mistakes and did bad things, and did not always have goody-two-shoes regret over it. I liked that. I didn't always like "her," but the story is addictive enough, and you have enough attachment to her voice that I felt like that was a good thing. It made her feel real. Because let's face it, in real life, we don't always agree with other people or their choices. But we can still care about them. There were a couple parts near the very end where I lost some of the character motivation... I wasn't sure exactly "why" she did certain things (won't say what, so as not to spoil!), especially when it seemed like there were other, less extreme options available. But in the end, I found this a fast-paced, well-plotted, addictive read. Definitely recommend it to any dystopian fans!...more