Cammie Morgan is a student at The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. To the outside world, this is a school for rich young heiresses, elitCammie Morgan is a student at The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. To the outside world, this is a school for rich young heiresses, elite and snobby young girls. But the truth is, the Academy is a school for training secrets agents -- spies.
Cammie's mother is the headmistress and her family (as most other girls' families at this school) have a long history with working for the CIA, MI6, Interpol, etc. Cammie's entire life has revolved around training to become a spy. She's not an ordinary girl, she lives no ordinary life, and she knows that.
During an exam in the field where she and her classmates must tail one of their teachers, Cammie is shocked to have a civilian boy named Josh who notices her and tries to talk to her. She's not supposed to be noticed when she's on a mission, she's supposed to totally blend in! At first, she and her classmates are freaked out that this and begin utilizing their secret agent knowledge to dig up all sorts of information about him. Is he working for someone sinister and trying to use Cammie in some way, especially since she is the headmistress' daughter??
But no ... actually, it turns out he is a very ordinary person. He talked to Cammie because he thought she was cute and wanted to ask her out! Cammie is suddenly in a completely new world -- boys? Dating? She has no idea what she's supposed to do, but decides to try out this new relationship anyway. Everything seems to be going well until she realizes she can never ever tell Josh that she's a secret agent in training, and not only because it, well, wouldn't make her a very good secret agent but because Josh and the rest of his friends hate the girls who attend the Gallagher Academy.
I randomly read book three years ago, when I didn't realize it was a part of a series. I don't really remember what happened in that book, but I think I liked it. Anyway, I recently acquired the entire series in paperback format so I'm going to read them all in order this time. I'm determined to read the entire series because I have re-fallen in love with Ally Carter's Heist Society series and wanted to read her other YA book series. To that end, I am a tad disappointed in this first book for the Gallagher Girls because I simply do not think it is anywhere as good as her Heist Society series. However, I liked it enough that I will definitely keep reading it (especially since I jumped the gun and bought all 6 books already ...)
It's marketed more for young teenagers, and I thought the story was perfect for its age group (guess I'm a young teen at heart, hahaha). It was a very solid story that was fun to read, and funny to boot. Whizzed through it pretty quick! This was a very cute story. I think cute is the right word for it. It is fairly short, it has a very simple story and concludes well. The characters all have their own personalities. Overall, I liked the story. The thing is, I'm not particularly impressed or in awe or whatever over any part of the story. Nothing really stuck out. At the same time, I don't have anything serious to complain about it either.
Well, this isn't really a complaint per se, but the book can be rather unbelievable. Not that I ever thought a secret spy school for teenagers was in the realm of reality, but sometimes it was really hard to believe these were 15 and 16 year old genius IQ girls who could take down a full grown man but can't handle socializing with a teenage boy. I think I aged them up in my mind. Anyway, have to go into this with an open mind and almost think of this story as a cartoon....more
So, I misread and thought this was a re-telling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood story. Actually, what the synopsis-thingy says is that it is insSo, I misread and thought this was a re-telling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood story. Actually, what the synopsis-thingy says is that it is inspired. Not a re-telling! I must say though, it's pretty loosely inspired. Like, really really really loosely. Which was slightly disappointing only because nobody ever does retellings/inspirations based on LRRH (usually it's Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast or something). However, this is really a very nice novel on its own.
CRIMSON BOUND has a very unique world which I will attempt to explain but probably won't do it justice. The story centers on a teenaged girl named Rachelle, who is training to be a woodwife. A woodwife is a person who makes charms and simple things like that to ward against evil. In the world Rachelle lives in, there is this place called the Forest (with a capital F, mind you). It is both a physical location as well as a sort of evil force that is everywhere. For example, you could be standing in your living room and see glimpses of the Forest. Anyway, the Forest is home to all sorts of nasty creatures, woodspawn and forestborn and stuff, who go on a Great Hunt from time to time and basically hunt down humans for sport. The master of the Forest is called the Devourer, who has no real form (I guess the Devourer is the wolf from LRRH?)
When Rachelle was younger and being trained by her Aunt Leonie to become a woodwife, she accidentally strays from a forest path and becomes marked by the Forest. Once marked, a human has three days to kill another human. If you kill another human, you will live as a bloodbound (supernatural human) for a few years or so, then the Forest will claim you and you become a forestborn (non human, immortal Forest creature). If you don't kill someone in three days, well, then you die instead. Rachelle, in her desperate desire for survival, chooses to kill someone.
The current story takes place three years after Rachelle killed someone. She is a bloodbound, kept by the King. Usually humans want to kill bloodbounds but the King keeps some around because supernatural humans make excellent bodyguards and hey, when the time comes for them to be reclaimed by the Forest, the humans will kill the bloodbound then. In my opinion I am not sure that is the safest idea but whatever. Rachelle and another fellow bloodbound, Erec, work for the King, protecting humans from woodspawn and stuff.
Erec is completely resigned to his fate and actually looks forward to becoming an immortal being; if he has to work for a completely soulless evil creature, then so be it. Rachelle, on the other hand, is desperate to fight her destiny. She still carries immense guilt from having killed another human three years ago. Her only hope is to find the legendary sword, Joyeuse, one of two swords said to be able to defeat the Devourer. Furthermore, time is running out, as nights stretch longer and day time hours shrink. The Endless Night approaches. But it's all only legends, right?
Rachelle's quest to find Joyeuse is thrown in a loop though when the King assigns her to be the bodyguard for one of his (many) bastard sons, Armand. Armand is his current favourite, a teenage boy who was marked by the Forest but refused to kill another human being. Somehow, he survived and all he lost were his hands. Initially Rachelle hates Armand as she thinks he's totally lying about being marked and surviving -- that has NEVER happened before -- but she later realizes Armand is instrumental in locating Joyeuse.
This book's strengths: First of all, I think the story world is incredibly unique. I probably butchered my explanation of how the Forest works and you're thinking, "What the hell is she talking about?" but I love the Forest. I love how its sort of everywhere, and sort of isn't. It's an evil force and also a physical place. I just imagine an enchanted forest with creepy animals, monsters and twisted human creatures with antlers and stuff, blowing their horns and going on their hunts for humans. I like forests in general so maybe that's why I'm particularly fond of this concept, haha. Also, the whole idea of being marked and having to kill a person in 3 days or die yourself is pretty unique curse, in an angsty kind of way.
Another great strength of this book is the writing. Rosamund Hodge has a sort of whimsical/enchanted way of writing especially with the chapters explaining the Joyeuse legend (which is spread out throughout the novel). She's a great YA writer, I think, which is kind of rare 'cause there's a lot of shitty YA writers ...
And of course, I loved the plot of the story. It's kind of predictable and you kind of figure out very early on that, duh, the legends are all true (sorry if that spoils things for you, but it's kind of obvious to me), but I still wanted to see how it would all play out.
As for the characters, I think that's the weaker part of the novel. Okay, Rachelle and Armand are not particularly interesting characters. Rachelle is really angsty. Like, really really angsty. Which may be other people's cup of tea but it really wasn't mine. I get why she feels that way, but still. And Armand was just bleh. And for reasons I do not really understand, they fall in love. I hated how it was an AHA! lightbulb moment of realization too. Rachelle just goes, "Oh hey! I just realized I'm in love with you!" It was honestly kind of lame and I expected better, considering how the rest of the novel seems to be so awesome.
Oh and the one person I DO like -- Erec -- well, turns out I really shouldn't be liking him. Rachelle totally feels the same way, haha. I know, I know, Erec's totally evil and all that, but you gotta admire a guy who is utterly devoted to a girl. I mean, he never once turned on her (well, not completely anyway). Plus he's supposed to be swoon-worthy so of course I imagined Erec as the hottest guy ever. That's probably why he was my favourite.
Yeah, there's kind of a love triangle in this book, and a lot of people are burned out by love triangles in YA novels, but I think it was totally fine in this book. It's not forced like it is in some other books. Okay, well, it's a little teensy bit forced, but I thought it all fit the story nicely in this particularly book.
Anyway, I rambled long enough. Bottom line is, this is not really an LRRH book so if you want to read it ONLY because you think it's some sort of LRRH retelling, don't, because it's not. But if you want a good solid, YA fantasy novel, this is your ticket!...more
I'm totally guilty of picking up books based on their cover art, and this book has a gorgeous cover. I fell in love immediately! Plus, it was only likI'm totally guilty of picking up books based on their cover art, and this book has a gorgeous cover. I fell in love immediately! Plus, it was only like, $5 on my Kobo e-reader app, so I decided to read it. Luckily, I felt the story lived up to my expectations. Overall I had a wonderful time reading this novel and I'm so excited to read book two, FIRE FALLING (also $5 only!)
AIR AWAKENS takes place in a high fantasy setting, where the Solaris Empire is at war with some of its neighbors and is pretty much winning, conquering everyone. To be honest I don't really remember the names of the various kingdoms and cities, but that's not really that important. Anyway, our main character is Vhalla, a 17-almost-18 year old library apprentice who works in the palace. What does a library apprentice do in the Imperial library? They read, they organize books, they catalog new books that the Empire takes from the conquered nations, they re-bind and fix up old books, etc. It's a rather scholarly profession to be in. Vhalla loves books and reading and is very happy to be a library apprentice.
One day, Prince Aldrik returns from the warfront gravely injured. Vhalla, mistakenly thinking that it was Prince Baldair that was injured (she secretly crushes on him), frantically searches through the library for the books that lead to the clerics being able to cure the poison in his body. Unknowingly, Vhalla saves Aldrik's life, which is the beginning of her troubles ...
Saving Aldrik's life leads to the Tower of Sorcerers becoming very interested in Vhalla. The notes she took from the books to find the cure for the poison have little elements of magic clinging to them, which is how the sorcerers find Vhalla. Aldrik, a sorcerer himself, becomes interested in Vhalla and reveals to her that she is a sorcerer. Because she is a sorcerer and saved his life, they are now Bonded. However, she is no ordinary sorcerer -- she is a Windwalker, a sorcerer that specializes in manipulating the wind and air. And there hasn't been one in nearly 150 years.
Vhalla is conflicted because sorcery is something most common people fear. She doesn't want to be a sorcerer. She just wants to be an ordinary girl, work in the library, maybe marry a nice guy some day ... However, she is also curious about her magical side. The arrogant and "jerk" Prince Aldrik reluctantly finds himself mentoring Vhalla on her newfound abilities. Unexpectedly for the both of them, the two find themselves growing closer, though due to their vast difference in status, they are both very conscious of becoming too friendly with one another.
Vhalla must decide if she wants to pursue magical learning or not, or have herself Eradicated -- that is, to have all her magical inclinations removed and be a normal human being. At the same time, she cannot have anyone else find out that she is such a rare sorcerer, as Windwalkers are greatly feared for their power and the Empire may want to use her for their own purpose ...
If you watch anime or read manga, then you'll probably enjoy this book a lot. The story, the characters and the scenes in this book are all very reminiscent of anime/manga. Not that that's a bad thing -- I'm just saying, it's clearly influenced. For example, Vhalla seems like a very typical shoujo manga heroine (naive and cute) and Prince Aldrik the handsome, misunderstood jerk who secretly is really nice. Some of the scenes are very dramatic in typical anime/manga fashion. I personally rather enjoy anime and manga from time to time so I really enjoyed this novel. So, I guess, no this isn't a particularly deep story but it's definitely fun to read.
The characters aren't particularly complex, but I do love Vhalla and Aldrik's relationship. Okay, let's face it -- they're totally going to end up a couple. And that's okay. What I love about their relationship is that it's not like a lot of YA relationships where there's instant love and they can't live without one another and they're glued at the hip. By the end of the novel, Vhalla and Aldrik still haven't admitted to one another that they clearly like one another. They haven't kissed at all. They kind of hugged, which is probably the most intimacy they have in the whole novel. They feel like their relationship is up in the air. And I love this ambiguity the characters feel about their relationship because a lot of YA novels tend to rush the romance which cheapens it. This relationship between Vhalla and Aldrik progresses at a more natural pace and therefore, feels more genuine. As the reader, I feel more emotionally invested in their characters and their relationship because of it.
The story is pretty good. It's not a story that's particularly unique or anything, but it's fun and I'm left eager to read the second book, so that's something. The thing with the story is that the pacing isn't the greatest. The beginning is pretty sluggish. Then there's some really fun scenes, followed by some more slow plot-moving. Then some fun scenes again. Anyway, it alternates. I mean, overall, I enjoyed the story, but I think it could have been improved a little. For example, there's a short paragraph near the end of the book where it's just describing how Vhalla is brushing her hair -- I mean, seriously? Do I care how she's brushing her hair? Or the paragraphs describing clothing and room decorations in great detail. Maybe some people like that stuff, but I just need a general idea to be satisfied with descriptions; I really don't need to know how Aldrik's outfit looks like exactly, down to each button or whatever.
My overall impression is that this is a solid fantasy novel. I've already got book two downloaded onto my e-reader app and I'm pretty excited to find out what happens next. If you like YA fantasy, YA romance, anime or manga, then I think you will find AIR AWAKENS to be a great read....more
Um, so, this is one of those weird situations where I'm done reading the book and I thought it was just okay. Then I go on Goodreads and see everyoneUm, so, this is one of those weird situations where I'm done reading the book and I thought it was just okay. Then I go on Goodreads and see everyone and their mom and dog LOVES this novel and has given it 4 or 5 stars. Everyone's reviews are just gushing about how this book is the best thing since sliced bread. It has won freaking awards! And I just thought it was okay??? I mean, did we read the same novel? I usually have the same opinion as the masses (not really a hipster or anything), so I don't know what happened here. But I wasn't really as impressed as everyone else.
Okay, so what is MORE THAN THIS about? Well, this is the kind of novel where I can't tell you too much about what it's about because it'll actually probably just ruin the story. 99% of the fun of this book is finding out, little by little, what the heck is happening. Still, I will make an attempt. A boy wakes up in a seemingly random location. He has very little memory as to what has happened to him and he's pretty much naked. The only thing he knows for sure is that his name is Seth.
Seth wanders around this strange world that doesn't have anybody else in it. He seems to be the only person alive in the whole world. And the world seems like it has gone through an apocalypse or something; everything abandoned and dusty. He gets flashbacks of his life, his regular life, where he lived with his mom, dad and brother Owen in America. He remembers his friends and how they pulled stupid pranks together. But he doesn't know where he is now or what's happening. He begins to suspect that he's in hell, that this is the world after death. But surely there's more to this world than this endless wandering?
My first Patrick Ness novel was his most recent, THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE. I also thought that was just ok. I decided to try this one specifically because it got so many rave reviews. You see, I really want to like Patrick Ness' novels. I've heard so many great things about him, I want to join in on the fun! What the heck happened? Did something go whoosh over my head? I don't know. I totally understand the story, I don't think it's a matter of me not "getting" anything. People say this book is moving. But I didn't feel anything even close to being moved at all.
For the first third of the novel or something, Seth is literally alone. And don't get me wrong, Patrick Ness is a terrific writer, absolutely! However, the first third was pretty dull. I did like slowly discovering the world with Seth, but to be honest, he discovered everything a bit too slow for my tastes. The book later got interesting when the other characters entered the plot. Then there was the discovery of what's really happening (hint hint, it's kind of like The Matrix) and that got more interesting. But when I reached the end of the novel, I was just like, "That's it? This is the novel that got so many people in love with it?" I understand the story, but I don't get why people love it.
I think there's supposed to be something inspirational and hopeful about this story. But because it's science fiction and the fact that I didn't find the Matrix-style plot all that relateable, I guess the effect was lost on me.
I guess for the majority of the book, I kept thinking that there will be 'more than this' to MORE THAN THIS, hahaha. Lame jokes. It's not that this was a bad book. I guess I just got way too hyped up over it, and you know, I don't think this kind of novel is my cup of tea at all.
Should I just give up on Patrick Ness?? Maybe he and I just don't mesh. I don't know. We'll see ......more
I love the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella (even though I haven't read them all, and the ones I have read, I read out of order, haha). So, when II love the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella (even though I haven't read them all, and the ones I have read, I read out of order, haha). So, when I saw this YA book by Sophie Kinsella, I was very interested in giving it a try. I ended up loving this book, though I am glad it is a stand-alone novel because I feel the story is stronger that way.
What is this story about? It is about a young teen named Audrey. Audrey has a diagnosed anxiety disorder. It all happened after an "event" happened at school. The book is in first person, and Audrey never feels comfortable enough to explain what the "event" was that triggered this anxiety; however, she provides enough hints and clues that you get a vague idea that she was bullied and humiliated in school. I really wish the book would just explain exactly what happened so I'm not left just guessing, but I guess since it is narrated by Audrey, it makes sense that she wouldn't want to talk about it.
Audrey has temporarily withdrawn from school and spends the vast majority of her time at home, venturing out only for her therapy sessions. She constantly wears a pair of sunglasses/dark shades, as the darkness makes it easier for her to cope with people. She has switched schools and will be re-doing her previous grade, since she has missed so much school. Audrey feels safe at home with her family, who are a collection of memorable characters themselves. Her mother is a bit of a helicopter parent but does her best to care for Audrey; her father kind of just does whatever the mom tells him to do and her brother, Frank, mostly keeps to himself but still cares about Audrey in his own way.
Audrey's brother, Frank, is a video gamer who is planning to enter a video game competition (the game he is playing is called Land of Conquerors or something like that, but it all sounds an awful lot like the game League of Legends, heh). It's a team computer game, and Frank invites his teammate Linus over to their house to practice the game. Audrey is initially freaked out about Linus being in their house. Linus is curious about Frank's sister, who is constantly hiding and wear dark shades over her eyes all the time. Carefully, he reaches out to her and gets to know her. Audrey finds herself wanting to see Linus more and more, but her anxiety prevents her from having a normal relationship.
This book is short, and I found it to be a very fast and very fun read. Despite the seriousness of having an anxiety disorder, this book is also very humorous because of Audrey's mother. Omigawd, Audrey's mother is something else ... Hopefully you have heard of the term helicopter parent, because that is what she is. Sophie Kinsella has really got the overbearing parent character down pat. Honestly, with a mom like that, it's not that surprising that Audrey is having a hard time dealing with her anxiety, because her mom babies her and treats Audrey like glass. Her mom is also a little gulliable/naive; Audrey points out that her mother believes everything she reads, which leads to some big fights in the house (for example, Audrey's mom thinks screens (cellphones, TV, computers, etc) are killing their brains and tries to ban them, which Frank, obviously, will not tolerate). Audrey's mom is a terribly annoying character, but in a good, well written way.
The other character that I want to give some kudos to is Linus. Or maybe I mean Linus and Audrey together. Linus is a lot like your typical teenage boy at first, but when he is around Audrey, he is just so darn nice and patient with her. I can totally see why Audrey would start liking him (which causes all sorts of internal strife for poor Audrey). And the way Linus gave Audrey her "first kiss" and said his first "I love you" was SO cute, my heart wanted to explode. I don't want to give away what happens in those scenes but it was so stupidly cute.
The thing I don't really understand as well is why the heck does Linus like Audrey? I totally see why Audrey would like Linus, but what Linus sees in Audrey, at least when they initially meet, is never understood by me. She's a reclusive young girl who constantly wears sunglasses indoors and scurries away whenever she sees Linus. Is that ... attractive to him? Who knows?
I loved this book a lot and definitely recommend it, especially if you are looking for something light and easy to speed through ;)...more
I was kind of avoiding this book at first because it's not really by Stieg Larsson (who has passed away, sadly). I know this book was written based ofI was kind of avoiding this book at first because it's not really by Stieg Larsson (who has passed away, sadly). I know this book was written based off of Larsson's extensive notes for future books in the series, so it's sort of by him, but not really. I don't know. Then one day, I saw it in the bookstore. I just decided, whatever. I'm going to read it anyway.
So in this fourth book, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander are baaaack. Sort of. Not together though. For like 99% of the book, they don't actually meet up, but they are in contact with one another.
Blomkvist gets a phone call one night from Frans Balder, a man who claims to have very important, scandalous information regarding a recent hacking job done to the American NSA organization. What makes Blomkvist interested is that the mysterious hacker sounds an awful lot like his old pal Lisbeth. But just as Blomkvist arrives at Balder's house, Balder is brutally murdered. The only witness is Balder's young son August, who was spared because he's autistic and mute. The murderer figures such a child is not going to be able to be a witness for the police anyway, and as the murderer does not really want to kill a child, he leaves him be.
Unbeknownst to the murderer, August is a savant. He has incredible photographic memory and is able to draw perfect, masterful drawings of scenes he has seen. Somehow, this information gets back around to the murderer, who is now understandably regretful that he let August live, as the police are now trying to get August to draw the murderer. It's up to Blomkvist and Lisbeth to step in and protect August, while at the same time figure out what it is that Balder wanted to expose about the NSA.
This book wasn't bad at all. I think this author tried very hard to mimic Stieg Larsson's writing and storytelling style, and in my opinion, he did a pretty good job. I didn't feel like any of the characters were "off" from the original or anything. Blomkvist felt like Blomkvist; Lisbeth was as badass as ever.
With the above said, this fourth book wasn't as great as the first three. I can't really pinpoint why. I mean, the story was interesting and since it was written based off of Stieg Larsson's notes, this story certainly felt like it belonged in the Millennium world. But I don't know if it's the fact that I know it's not written by Larsson or what (which I know is very unfair to this author). It just didn't captivate me in the same way the first three books did.
Maybe it's because Lisbeth seemed like a ... minor character in this book. I mean, it says right on the cover, A LISBETH SALANDER NOVEL. And yet, she's actually more a side character. Maybe that's why I didn't feel like this book lived up to the first three.
Anyway, it was a decent novel over all. It didn't have the power oomph that the first three did, but I liked it....more
This book has probably one of the most unique ideas I've come across. You know how in a lot of teen novels, the main character(s) are the 'chosen onesThis book has probably one of the most unique ideas I've come across. You know how in a lot of teen novels, the main character(s) are the 'chosen ones' to put an end to a terrible evil? Or they are the special snowflakes (female characters specifically) who get caught in cheesy love triangles and the girl just doesn't realize how beautiful and special she is? And so on ... Well, this is a book not about those main characters. Yes, they are in this book, saving the world and falling in love with impossibly handsome boys, but this book is about the peripheral characters. You know, just random people who the main characters might have seen on a bus ride or something. The characters who just live in that world.
Something paranormal is happening in the world, with the Immortals capturing human vessels in an attempt to take over the earth. The indie kids are all wrapped up in the latest plot, trying to save the world. But for non indie kids like Mikey, Mel, Jared and Henna, their biggest problem is not trying to overthrow the Queen of Immortals, but rather, dealing with the reality of finally graduating high school and going their separate ways after.
This is a story about the problems of humans without supernatural abilities ... i.e. everyone else. Mikey is in love with Henna but doesn't know how to tell her. He and his best friend Jared are planning to attend separate colleges two states away. His mom is running for a political position and not really paying enough attention to her children while Mikey's dad is a semi-functioning alcoholic. The stress of everything is triggering Mikey's obsessive-compulsive behaviours to return, a demon he thought he defeated long ago. He's washing his hands repeatedly again, until his skin is cracked and bleeding. He's meticulously counting objects. He's constantly checking and rechecking that he locked the door properly, although he couldn't tell you what 'properly' means to him. He feels like he's falling apart.
And yes, in the mean time, indie kids are dying and traveling between worlds to overthrow the Immortals, which are probably bigger problems, but these are Mikey's problems and this is his reality.
I have to admit, I was initially very confused by this book. I made it to chapter 6 or something like that before I felt I had to go online and do some minor research into this book. Afterwards, I restarted the book and everything made sense again. I didn't know what the book meant by 'indie' kids initially (I thought indie = independent?? But the book's definition is basically 'special snowflake'). And each chapter started with a short paragraph on what the indie kids were up to in their quest to defeat the Immortals, but I didn't realize that that's what the chapter openers were about so I was just puzzled. Once you understand the structure though, it all makes sense.
I've heard of lots of great things about Patrick Ness and I think I have a whole bunch of his books on my mental "I want to read" list. This is the very first Patrick Ness book I actually got around to reading though, probably because it's his newest and was easiest to find at bookstores at this point in time.
The book is very much a coming-of-age novel and I loved the unique spin on the characters by making them "minor characters". It's understanding that, yeah, there are bigger problems in the world out there, but my problems are my reality and this is what I'm trying to deal with. 'Ordinary people' problems, if you will. Mikey and the rest of his friends all felt so genuine and young and innocent. It's a book that I think young adults/teenagers will easily feel related to.
While I did enjoy reading this book, at the same time, it did not wow me. I mean, we are talking about the mundane problems of teenagers here. After I finished reading this book, I skimmed through some reviews and some people felt this was not the greatest "first Patrick Ness novel" to be introduced to. I'm inclined to agree, probably; but I am sure I will continue trying other books of this author's....more
The entire story was really juvenile, the characters were inconsistent and (to me), implausible (who makes a 20 year old CAPTAIN of the royal guard? TThe entire story was really juvenile, the characters were inconsistent and (to me), implausible (who makes a 20 year old CAPTAIN of the royal guard? The best assassin in the world is an 18 year old teenager? Etc. The story in this world is essentially ran by kids).
I later found out the author originally wrote it when she was 16, which explained a lot. I thought about finishing it anyway, but then decided I'd rather move on....more
I'm kind of conflicted about how I feel about this book. On the one hand, I really wanted to like it; on the other hand, it didn't blow me awa2.5 / 5
I'm kind of conflicted about how I feel about this book. On the one hand, I really wanted to like it; on the other hand, it didn't blow me away and was pretty unoriginal and predictable. Yet, when I finished, I wanted to read more. What?
Here's the lowdown: Mare Barrow is a Red -- an ordinary human who bleeds red blood. She lives in her little village called the Stilts, serving the noble Silvers, who are extraordinary humans with unique abilities (controlling fire, water, metal, reading minds, incredible strength, etc.) and they bleed silver blood. Mare despises the power imbalance between the Reds and Silvers. Especially with the never-ending war going on between their kingdom of Norta and other kingdoms, Reds are getting slaughtered by the thousands on the fields while Silvers command, safely far away from the battlefield.
Mare finds out she is going to be conscripted to the army soon. Desperate to get out of this predicament, she tries to get some smugglers to, you know, smuggle her out of the country. However, the price is very, very expensive. Mare doesn't have that much money. Her life is suddenly turned around though, when a chance meeting with a stranger winds up with her having a cushy (relatively speaking) job at the palace serving the royal family.
During the Queenstrial, in which the heir to the throne, Prince Cal, is to select his future wife, an accident happens in which Mare finds herself thrust into the spotlight in front of the most royal and noble Silver families in the kingdom, and she unleashes lightning and electric abilities she never knew she had. This is absolutely shocking to everyone because she's a Red and Reds aren't supposed to have any special abilities.
The royal family freaks out and makes up a cover story for Mare, saying she's a long lost Silver noble who has lived her entire life thinking she is a Red. For some reason, they decide she should be betrothed to the younger Prince, Maven (something about keeping a close eye on her)? Mare now is trying to live amongst the Silvers as one of their own. During all this, a rebellion called the Scarlet Guard is becoming a threat to the kingdom and of course, Mare finds herself caught up in that mess as well.
This book is like a mixture of a bunch of other books, and thus, I did not find anything original in it. We have some Hunger Games vibes, what with Mare shaping up to be the face of the rebellion a la Mockingjay style; some Pokemon or X-Men style abilities; Game of Thrones kind of world; and though I've never read Red Rising, I heard it's almost exactly the same story; and The Selection with their way of choosing a Queen. This story has NOTHING original about it. It's all bits and pieces of other stories sewn together. That's probably why it felt like there's some gaping plot-holes in the story.
The characters are very one-dimensional and suffer from a few overused YA tropes. Mare is a Special Snowflake, the "chosen one" to end a rebellion in an oppresive society -- definitely seen that before. There's also nothing likable about her -- she's stubborn, rude and not a nice person -- yet boys are falling for her left, right and center. Of course. We have the male leads who are all coincidentally gorgeous and perfect. And all the villains are absolutely villain-y. Like, are they even real people? They're always smirking and cackling with laughter that their evil schemes are going as planned. You know, evil people generally don't know they're evil ... Everyone in this book was just so cartoonish.
Despite all my complaints and whinings, I kind of look forward to the next book. Seriously, I don't know why. Well, maybe I know why. I love all the elements of other books I mentioned above like Game of Thrones and whatnot. I like the pieces. I'm just not sure I like the way they were put together in Red Queen. But I want to keep reading, which is kind of weird. I'm pretty sure I'll know how the rest of this series will pan out though, because Red Queen is severely lacking in originality. Bet next book, which will slow down a lot in terms of pace, they're going to delve deeper in the Scarlet Guard organization and hunker down in the SG headquarters plotting stuff, and it'll be in the third book when they actually do anything.
Anyway, I'm not eagerly awaiting for the sequel, but I am awaiting it, haha....more
I don't normally read memoirs or biography type books. In fact, I don't really read non-fiction at all. I don't dislike non-fiction, but it's just thaI don't normally read memoirs or biography type books. In fact, I don't really read non-fiction at all. I don't dislike non-fiction, but it's just that when I read, I tend to drift towards the fantasy and sci-fi and those are usually made up stories.
I decided to pick up this book because I really like Mindy Kaling. Loved her character in The Office TV show, and also really love her show The Mindy Project. So, why not?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. I read this book during my breaks at work, which it was perfect for, because work is super stressful at times and this book was so light and easy to read. And of course, it had a humor element to it, which definitely was great in helping me de-stress during break times.
Reading this book is not really your typical reading experience. What I liked about this book was that it felt like Mindy was talking to you. We were engaged in a conversation, despite me not actually talking to her (and the fact she doesn't actually know me, of course, haha). And it felt like real talk, like dealing with haters and work stress, etc. as well as real stories from her life, such as having someone who she thought was her BFF suddenly abandon her because the friend felt Mindy didn't fit in her life anymore. Who would do that to Mindy? I don't know, their loss!
Since it's Mindy, there are, of course, several chapters that are just full on, fictional humor pieces. It was fun to have a few silly stories thrown in as well. Such as, Mindy's life in an alternate world where she is a school teacher.
By the end of this book, I loved Mindy even more. She just seems like such a fun person to be around! You know, I should really pick up her first book too, and hopefully she'll write more in the future! ...more
Rachel Chu is an ordinary Chinese-American 30-something woman, a professor of economics at a New York University. For the past two years, she has beenRachel Chu is an ordinary Chinese-American 30-something woman, a professor of economics at a New York University. For the past two years, she has been dating Nicholas Young, a fellow professor at her university. Their relationship has been fantastic. Now, Nick has invited her to attend the wedding of his best friend Colin in Singapore. Rachel is a tad hesitant at first, because traveling to Singapore certainly means meeting all of Nick's family as well -- but hey, maybe it's about time she did. And anyway, what could possibly happen, really?
Instead of an ordinary vacation, Rachel is wholly unprepared for the world of crazy rich Asian people. Turns out Nick comes from an extremely wealthy, multi-billionaire family. They are very old money and can trace their family tree back generations. Nick doesn't think it's a big deal, but Rachel is stunned. The wedding they're going to? The biggest, fanciest wedding in the Asian world, covered by magazines and newspapers! To make matters difficult, Nick's entire family, excluding a select few, are incredibly snobby towards Rachel. Rachel isn't rich and "doesn't come from a good family". The family plots to break up Nick and Rachel, while at the same time, Nick falls deeper in love with his girlfriend and plans to propose soon.
As an Asian person myself, it was so fun reading this book. I did not think any of it was offensive. Actually, it's clear the author really understands what very traditional Asian elders are like! This is not a book about "regular" rich Asian people. This is a book about the extremely, extremely wealthy, the kind who are just bordering on royalty; the old money types who look down on the nouveau riche. It's a crazy, humorous take on the super elite of the Asian world, with a culture that prizes sons and family names. If you've ever watched an Asian TV drama, this is sort of like that, with a lot of stinking rich people and brand names thrown around.
Though I found the story very entertaining, I did have a few qualms with the book. Now, I didn't expect any deep and profound characters or anything like that, especially since this book is classified as humor (?), but I really didn't feel much between Rachel and Nick. They're happy and in love, I am told, but I didn't feel like they were. Everybody else, I don't care, but since they are the main characters this story was revolving around, I did expect their love to feel more ... genuine? This may have something to do with the fact that for a lot of the story, the characters are not actually with one another (physically, not emotionally).
The thing I disliked the most was the ending. What kind of ending was that?! Absolutely nothing was resolved; in fact, there were several cliffhanger-type endings. It was all rather abrupt and left me very unsatisfied.
Regardless, I quite enjoyed this book and am glad that there is a sequel. Actually, that's probably why the ending was so sudden -- it'll all be continued in the next book, I bet....more
I'm a huge Song of Ice & Fire/Game of Thrones fan, but I never read the novellas that went along with this series because they were originally pubI'm a huge Song of Ice & Fire/Game of Thrones fan, but I never read the novellas that went along with this series because they were originally published separately in various anthologies and I wasn't going to go hunt down/buy three anthology books just to read one story from each. But! At last! The Dunk & Egg novellas are bundled together for the first time, complete with gorgeous illustrations!
The three stories in this book follow the adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall, a hedge knight, who, through a series of events, ends up having the child Prince Aegon as his squire. All these stories take place about 90 years before the events of A Game of Thrones. You don't have to have read the Song of Ice & Fire series to read this book, though I personally think it makes A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms more interesting if you have.
The first story, The Hedge Knight, is about how Dunk became a hedge knight and how he met Egg/Aegon. He competes in the Ashford Meadow tournament where unfortunately, Dunk is accused of unjustly harming Prince Aerion. Dunk must battle in a trial-by-combat to prove that he was in the right.
In the second story, The Sworn Sword, Dunk is taken into the service of Ser Eustace Osgrey, an old knight. Dunk tries to stand up for Ser Eustace against his neighbour, Lady Rohanne, who has built a dam on her lands preventing the flow of a river into Ser Eustace's land. Dunk's loyalty is put to the test when he realizes Ser Eustace has not been completely honest with him.
In the third story, The Mystery Knight, Dunk and Egg attend a Butterwell-Frey wedding where he decides to join the tourney as a mystery knight named The Gallows Knight. To their surprise, they realize the entire wedding/tourney is actually a part of a treasonous plot against the King.
I loved all the stories in this book. I'm so glad these stories were finally bundled together, because I could read them back to back and enjoy the continuity. While you could read them separately as well, the three stories flow together very well so I think reading them all at once is the best. Plus, they were great stories that really illustrated what it meant to be chivalrous and loyal.
And of course, since I am such a big fan of A Song of Ice & Fire, it was great having new reading material come out of Westeros, even if it wasn't directly related to the present Game of Thrones time period. It was really neat to read about Westeros during the reign of Targaryen rule.
Lastly the illustrations were fantastic and made me wish all novels are accompanied by drawings!
I heard Mr. Martin plans to write several more Dunk & Egg novellas in the future and I am so excited for them. Though naturally, I want him to finish The Winds of Winter first .... ! ...more