Elizabeth has always been a relatively normal teen. But lately she’s been having what she thinks are vision issues. It started small, just dots on peo...moreElizabeth has always been a relatively normal teen. But lately she’s been having what she thinks are vision issues. It started small, just dots on people. But later she starts seeing ropes extending from others, blobs attached to bodies, and streaming movies of everyone’s thoughts and feelings. She knows they’re not there, but she sees them anyway. Stranger yet, she is receiving strange letters in gold envelopes with mysterious poems and tarot cards. Convinced that she’s off gone off the deep end, her mother sends her to a psychiatric institute.
In the meantime, Richie Mac has become obsessed with Elizabeth ever since that one kiss they shared when they were ‘studying’. Bewilderingly, he has acquired some similar powers to Elizabeth and can read her mind no matter how far apart he is. Love and passion driving him, he helps Elizabeth break out of the hospital so that she can find her destiny.
I have very mixed feelings towards this book. I never heard of this book initially, didn’t know a thing about it. I saw it in the New Books/Arrivals section in my public library and decided to give it a go. Only after finishing the novel did I decide to Google the book and see what popped up. Apparently this book is being hailed as ‘the new Twilight’. While I am mostly indifferent to the Twilight series, I can tell you The Seven Rays is not a new Twilight sensation at all. When I read Twilight, I could, at least, understand what was happening. The Seven Rays’ plot is largely unexplained and leaves me unsatisfied and puzzled.
The premise sounded extremely fascinating and unique. And when I began reading, I actually really liked it. Granted, Elizabeth isn’t the most likeable protagonist ever as she has something of a condescending personality … but I did like the story. I thought it was heading in a good direction and there was plenty of intrigue to keep me reading, as well as fun word-play/word blending. Around the halfway point, I began to feel a bit frustrated because it was still all intrigue and no answers (I mean, by the halfway point, I’d like to at least understand what the point of the story is about). Elizabeth herself didn’t have any idea what was happening either. Characters don’t know what’s going on, reader doesn’t know what’s going on … sounds like a bad mix.
The ending felt extremely rushed and as a result, sloppy. It was as if all of the plot was crammed into the last twenty or thirty pages, and it ended in the most unsatisfying way possible. If I had questions during the course of the novel, they certainly have multipled tenfold by the ending. Why did Richie receive powers? Who is Nessa really and why does she help Elizabeth? How did Elizabeth’s mom come to be in the care of Elizabeth? What do they mean by Elizabeth going from Fool to Magician??? It felt like the author was trying to plan for a surprising ending or twist by withholding things, but it did not receive the desired effect. The ending felt cheap.
I have an inkling that, based on the way the story ended, that there may be a sequel of some sort, but it would be too late for me. I should get some feeling of finality from this book, even if there is a sequel planned; some sort of closure. I liked the premise and the way the story began, but this book is so shrouded in pseudo-mysteriousness that it’s not really worth navigating through.
Twelve year old Percy Jackson is about to be expelled from school again. Somehow he always gets in trouble at whichever boarding school his mom sends...moreTwelve year old Percy Jackson is about to be expelled from school again. Somehow he always gets in trouble at whichever boarding school his mom sends him to, and his ADHD and dyslexia doesn’t make things any easier. As hard as it is to believe, being expelled is the least of his worries. Lately the weather is acting strangely and creepy monsters seem to be following him. His best friend turns out to be a satyr, his mother disappears in a flash of light in a “car accident” and, oh by the way, he also finds out his father is Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas.
A lot of people compare this series to the Harry Potter series. There are definitely similarities, but the differences outweigh them greatly. For one, Harry Potter has a constant element of “seriousness” in it, whereas Percy Jackson & The Olympians is all humor and fun. The Lightning Thief stars an impulsive and somewhat cynical boy who gets thrown into a myriad of hilarious situations while trying to unfold a mystery: Someone has stolen Zeus’ master lightning bolt and is trying to frame Percy and Poseidon for it. In an effort to clear his own name, Percy embarks on a journey with his satyr best friend Grover and another demigod (or “half blood”), Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena, to the entrance of the Underworld (located in … Los Angelos!) to confront Hades, who they believe is the thief. Percy is a likable main character who almost always has something funny to say, although most of the time he isn’t trying to be intentionally funny. He’s extremely fluent in sarcasm.
A lot of places (such as my local library) have this book in the Young Adults section, but I seriously think it’s more of a children’s book (age 10+ maybe). I’ve never seen the movie, but the trailer makes the story appear to be “serious”. It’s not. The plot is charmingly juvenile in many ways; for example, the scene where Percy and his friends walk into a water-bed shop only to be captured by the crazy salesman who ties them to the water-beds and tries stretch their bodies to the exact length of the bed. It’s something a younger person would find funny (I found it amusing, probably because I’m a kid at heart but I know some people will probably just roll their eyes). Anyway, the plot is funny and is intended to be silly (at least, I think so) and moves at a decently brisk pace.
If you like Greek mythology, and don’t mind the idea of ‘modernizing’ them (think Ares on a motorcycle, or Poseidon dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and carrying a fishing pole), then you’ll probably like this book. Greek mythology isn’t all togas and white pillars and people sitting around on clouds in the sky in this series. I found this book to be a fun, fast read and I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.
Nick Quinn is absolutely devastated when he finds his wife Julia dead, shot in the face, in their home. Worse yet, he gets hauled away by the police b...moreNick Quinn is absolutely devastated when he finds his wife Julia dead, shot in the face, in their home. Worse yet, he gets hauled away by the police because they found the murder weapon with his fingerprints on it! Nick loves Julia more than his own life, and would do anything if it only meant she can be alive. Enter a mysterious European stranger, who hands him an antique gold watch, telling him that it will give him the power to go back in time, allowing Nick to attempt to solve the mystery of who killed his wife and why, as well as attempting to prevent it.
Time travel isn’t ‘straight-forward’ in this novel (if time travel can ever be thought of as a straight forward matter). The watch only allows Nick to go back one hour in time, for one hour; then he will go two hours back in time, stay there for one hour; then three hours … etc. (For example, it is 6:00PM, he goes back in time to 5:00PM. When it reaches 6:00 again, he goes back to 4:00. When it reaches 5:00, he goes back to 3:00, and so on and so forth). There aren’t “multiple copies” of Nick in time; when he goes back in time, that becomes the present time (so he doesn’t have to worry about running into himself from the past or anything like that).
Anyway, I thought this was an interesting take on time travel, although at first I wondered how much of the mystery he can really solve if he only has an hour at a time. While at first Nick doesn’t get much accomplished because he’s no detective and has no clue where to start, as he travels back further and further in time, he uncovers some startling corruption. Once he got on the ball, he was on a roll, although his actions sometimes — or rather, often — have unintentional consequences and many a time, Nick becomes frustrated that he messed things up to become even worse than they were before (for example, he gets other people killed. Whoopsie, Nick?) Sometimes I got a little mad at Nick and wanted to yell at him through the pages, “Why would you do that?”, hahaha.
I truly enjoyed reading this novel. It is hard to put down because every time you flip the page, Nick discovers something new, or does something that makes you wonder how it can affect the future, so I just had to keep reading to find out what the effects are. I personally just love books that deal with time manipulation. It really has a way of keeping you in suspense. In many ways, I think of this book as a mystery as well. Nick starts off not knowing a thing about his wife’s murder, only that she was obviously targeted, and somehow, he unravels the truth which has its roots pretty far down and away from what this normal suburban couple could possibly be involved in. It is also a fast paced book, which I deeply appreciated because I really dislike slow-moving plots. Reading this novel was like a refreshing breeze.
Of course, nothing is perfect. I found the author’s writing to be a little “philosophical” at times. He runs off into small tangents about the morality of time manipulation, or love (but mostly about time manipulation). This occurred a little too frequently for my liking, but it is usually short. The characters are all flat, one dimensional characters, but that didn’t really bother me too much since this is more about the plot than it is about characters. Another thing (which I feel is always a very important part of any novel … for obvious reasons) is the ending. While I was not unsatisfied by it, it just seemed to lack a bit of oomph. We have this fast, intriguing, clever plot … then the end just seems a bit anticlimactic. I don’t think the ending sucks exactly, just that it could have been better.
But with all that said and done, I really did find this novel to be exciting and entertaining. I would definitely read other/future works by this author!
I’ve been meaning to read this forever, but never got around to it. I’m glad that I finally did, however, because this book is amazing, romantic and e...moreI’ve been meaning to read this forever, but never got around to it. I’m glad that I finally did, however, because this book is amazing, romantic and enchanting; I regret it took me this long to discover this gem.
The story is about the relationship between a woman named Clare Abshire and a man named Henry DeTamble. Henry meets Clare when he is 28 and she is 20, but Clare has known Henry all her life. She met him when she was 6 and Henry was in his thirties or forties. How can this be? Henry has a rare genetic disease that causes him to become displaced in time involuntarily. He is a time traveler, and the Henry that Clare met was a future version of him.
The concept sounded fascinating to me. Personally, I find this to be a very unique and interesting take on time travel. Henry can’t help when he time travels, and he can’t help where he ends up or in what period. When he time travels, only he is transported, so any clothes or items on him are left behind; thus he always shows up naked. He teaches himself how to steal, pick locks and other survival skills in order to remain inconspicuous in whatever time period he ends up.
The story is primarily told from Clare’s present time, with past, present and future Henry’s walking in and out of her life. Before she met the “real” Henry in present time, she was always waiting and wondering when a future version of Henry would appear. After she met the “real” Henry, she was always worrying when he disappeared and waiting for him to return to present time. Indeed, the flow of time in this book can be confusing at first but after a few chapters in, I understood Henry’s time traveling and how he was affecting his past and future selves by doing so.
I found this book really refreshing, from the time travel concept to this relationship style Clare and Henry have. It’s something I never seen or read about before and I was constantly intrigued by it. I think many women can relate to Clare, myself included: the idea of waiting and not knowing what your significant other is doing. (Maybe males too, but from my own personal experiences, it’s a female thing, hahaha). The characters are fantastic. I could tell there is something really, truly special between Clare and Henry; their relationship was sweet and bitter at the same time, and affected me so much I could not stop turning the pages of the book.
Things I noticed were that Niffenegger’s writing is very point-blank and simple. She writes very matter-of-factly, like “She opened the fridge then poured herself some orange juice. She sat down and thought about Henry.” (I made that one up). Very simple sentences, yet when they are all strung together to create this story, they have a powerful impact. A second thing about the story is that, while the romance is very touching, it is rather cliche and overly dramatic at times. While Henry and Clare’s particular situation may be new and exciting, their romance in general is classic and not that new. The idea of a woman waiting faithfully, patiently for her lover to return to her — and the lover yearning for his wife back home — has been around for eons. The thing with this book is that it takes this age old concept of romantic love and makes us look at it from a different angle, a very refreshing and different angle, and that is what makes this book so wonderful to read. I definitely recommend this novel to everyone to read.
A lot of people are raving about this book and giving it great reviews. On the flip side, a lot of people are also giving it bad reviews and calling i...moreA lot of people are raving about this book and giving it great reviews. On the flip side, a lot of people are also giving it bad reviews and calling it a total Twilight rip-off. I was curious as to which camp I would fall into, and how big of a rip-off this book could be, so I picked it up when I saw it available at the library. Now that I’ve finished reading it, I can conclude that 1) I side with the readers who feel this book is a big disappointment and 2) it is so, so incredibly obvious that it’s a Twilight rip-off, or at least trying to ride on Twilight’s high. The list of similarities is uncannily long, but I won’t list them all here in this post.
Basically, if you know anything about Twilight, you already know the story behind Hush Hush, just replace vampires with fallen angels. Nora Grey meets mysterious new student Patch in her biology class and is forcefully assigned to be his partner for a biology project. Patch is ridiculously good looking, but has a hard, icy personality. They don’t get along very well and Nora decides she doesn’t like Patch, yet mysteriously feels attracted to him anyway. The more Nora tries to stay away from Patch, the more intrigued she is by him. Meanwhile, at the same time, Nora feels she is being stalked by a man in a black ski mask and believing it may be Patch, she starts trying to dig into his past, but comes up empty handed each time. Only when she sees the scars on Patch’s back, she Googles ‘fallen angels’ and realizes that Patch must be one, and possibly trying to use Nora as a sacrifice so that he may obtain a human body.
What irked me was Patch and Nora’s relationship. Even if I forget the whole idea of it being the same situation as Bella and Edward (Edward wants to kill and drink Bella’s blood for his own benefit; Patch wants to kill and sacrifice Nora for his own benefit), it’s just a really shallow and nonsensical relationship built on intimidation. I did not understand how or why Nora would start falling in love with Patch and vice versa. She is frightened of him and seems to dislike him and after standing a little too close to Patch, she suddenly decides she secretly is lusting after him. It’s so incredibly hyporcritical; there’s several points in the story where Nora believes Patch is a real danger to her life, and at the exact same time, she also believes Patch would never harm her. I don’t understand this at all. She switches back and forth on her stance on Patch every other page, it would seem. Not to mention that it’s so disturbing that her supposed love for him is based on fear; she finds him dangerous and that is attractive to her so she continues to hang around him despite believing he has the power to kill her. So unsettling. Nora is an incredibly weak minded and shallow girl.
Patch is worse, he gives no hints that he likes Nora at all, and suddenly it is revealed near the end that he is in love with her; no explanation why he would choose her. I mean, Nora doesn’t exactly have a stellar personality or drop dead gorgeous looks from what I can tell. I can see no reason why a fallen angel would find her irresistibly alluring. I don’t find him to be a likable character at all. Also, the author’s repeated use of the word ‘smiling’ when describing Patch got on my nerves. He was smiling like he knew a secret. His eyes smiled. I could feel him smiling. You get the idea.
While eerily similar to Twilight’s, I didn’t think the plot was unbearable. The overall plot actually is okay (hence my pity half star below …). What I found silly was the author’s portrayal of teenagers and high school. It’s just so out of touch with what real teenagers or real teachers would behave like. Anyway, it’s pretty obvious that I didn’t really like this book, but I admit I’m kind of curious about the sequel because I want to see if it’s going to continue shadowing Twilight’s plot (and like I said, plot-wise, it isn’t that terrible, it’s really the characters that drag this book down). As far as recommendations go, I don’t recommend reading Hush Hush.
I normally don’t go for creepy horror stories, but I remember seeing this book on somebody’s blog and reading a good review about it, so when I spotte...moreI normally don’t go for creepy horror stories, but I remember seeing this book on somebody’s blog and reading a good review about it, so when I spotted it at the library, I decided to give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised by it. I had a great time reading it, and was glad it wasn’t too scary, although that may be because I finished reading it in the afternoon, in broad daylight. Anyway, it’s a paranormal YA novel that doesn’t involve romance as a focal point! A rare book indeed in today’s times, hahaha!
Alexis (Lexi) is a pink-haired, friendless outsider of a high schooler. Her interests involve photography, saving the environment and being as anti-cheerleader as possible. Her sister, Kasey, isn’t too popular at school either and is a bit of an outcast as well. Having a creepy doll collection doesn’t really help either. At home, the two sisters are often neglected by their working parents. Needless to say, the two sisters’ situation is rather depressing.
Alexis is strong-willed and doesn’t really care what others think, so she gets by, but Kasey is more meek and shy, and so, often tries to cling onto her big sister. Alexis, for the most part, tries to be her friend but lately, Kasey is not herself. In fact, Kasey seems to have made a new “friend” and states she doesn’t need Alexis to be her friend any more, spending more and more time with her creepy dolls. On top of this strange new attitude of her sister’s, their house is acting up too: doors opening and closing on their own, strange lights, and the temperature dropping to super cold. Alexis must (reluctantly) befriend an unlikely classmate in order to unravel the mystery of what is happening at her house.
There is definitely a paranormal element to this story, although I would call this novel more of a mystery. In an effort to save her sister from whoever or whatever it is that’s possessing Kasey, Alexis has to solve a mystery — what happened in her house before she lived there? It’s not really a complex mystery, but it’s fun to read and there were definitely some twists that I didn’t expect. The story starts off a bit slow — I feel a lot of it is was devoted to establishing Alexis and Kasey’s relationship, and Alexis’ position in the school hierarchy of students — but around the halfway point, things become more exciting as she realizes there’s a real-to-honest ghost or something haunting the house and controlling her sister! That’s when the mystery unraveling part begins.
Alexis is a spunky character. I don’t like her that much, but I don’t dislike her either (I don’t know, I just don’t really like the whole high school outcast teenager thing, I feel it’s kind of overused). I had a hard time understanding or relating to Kasey, probably because she was possessed most of the book so you don’t really have the chance to get to know her character. I found the character of the ghost (who it is, I won’t spoil) interesting as she had a very well thought out back story to go with her, so it wasn’t just some random ghost haunting a house.
As for the writing, it is written in first-person (it seems 99% of YA novels these days are written in first person), from the viewpoint of Alexis. I personally am not the biggest fan of first-person writing, especially not in the viewpoint of a high school teenager because high school teenagers kind of irk me in general, but luckily Alexis isn’t annoying or whiny to listen to. It’s not bad for the author’s first novel. Overall, this novel is a job well done, and I definitely liked it!
If it isn’t obvious by now, I am a huge, huge Diana Wynne Jones fan. I mean, she brought us Howl. And Chrestomanci. So I was extremely happy to have b...moreIf it isn’t obvious by now, I am a huge, huge Diana Wynne Jones fan. I mean, she brought us Howl. And Chrestomanci. So I was extremely happy to have been able to find myself a copy of her latest work, Enchanted Glass.
The story begins with Andrew, a thirty year old scholar with a doctorate (that causes everyone to mistake him for a university professor) who inherits his magician grandfather’s house and lands after his death, with the expectation that Andrew will watch over the ‘field-of-care’. As Andrew settles into his new home and becomes accustomed to the house’s two bossy, fussy servants (Mr Stock the gardener and Mrs Stock the housekeeper, both of no relation to each other), a mysterious boy pops up at the house one day in need for a place to stay. His name is Aidan, and he had run away from his foster family because he was being pursued by some shadowy Stalkers. Andrew decides to let him stay because he feels a strong connection with him. When Andrew and Aidan take a walk around the ‘field-of-care’ Andrew has inherited, they discover that Andrew’s neighbour Mr Brown is slowly trying to take over his lands!
I am extremely sad to say that this book kind of disappointed me. It did not seem as magical or humorous as her past works have been. Maybe I’ve come to expect too much amazing-ness from Jones, I don’t know. I feel kind of let down. While the characters are likeable enough, the story is none too engaging. In fact, it was confusing. “Field-of-care” was a term tossed around a lot without any explanation as to what it was (I am still on the assumption it’s a plot of land). The whole situation with “counterparts” or dopplegangers of characters was not explained; I didn’t know why there were dopplegangers of characters and what purpose they served. I didn’t understand where Shakespeares’ Midsummer’s Night’s Dream characters figured in this. King Oberon is the one hunting down Aidan and that is why he is constantly sending the Puck around to find Aidan but I just didn’t … understand. I was expecting some sort of parallel to the Shakespearean play perhaps, but it seems like they were chosen at random to cameo in this unrelated story or something.
As for the “enchanted glass” of the title, it seems to play a big and small part at the exact same time. It is often mentioned as mysterious glass that no one knows anything about throughout the story, and only at the very end does Andrew realize the bigger role the glass plays. Yet after that realization, it goes back to being rarely mentioned. The ending of the novel also felt unimportant and glanced over. I am not particularly fond of endings where it all ends with, “Oops, made a mistake. Guess all that was for nothing!”
It’s not a bad book, but if you’ve read previous works by Diana Wynne Jones, this one may be a let down. It certainly felt that way for me. She has a way of being mysterious in her writing and not plainly explaining everything, leaving it up to the reader to decipher the story themselves, which is actually normally okay and works great with her other books, but with this particular story, it just didn’t work out that way. The magical element in this story was minute and it was just altogether unimpressive. Her stories like Howl’s Moving Castle or The Lives of Christopher Chant remain strong in my memory after reading them; this one, I can see myself forgetting all about it in a few days.
Side note: While most sites ’round the web still classify this novel as a children’s book, my local library has this shelved in the Young Adults section. I imagine it’s because there’s an inappropriate word in there (“bitch”), which I was kind of surprised to see.
What if you woke up one day and discovered that you had the perfect life?
Lexi Smart (who is very reminiscent of Becky Bloomwood from Shopaholic) remem...moreWhat if you woke up one day and discovered that you had the perfect life?
Lexi Smart (who is very reminiscent of Becky Bloomwood from Shopaholic) remembers herself having frizzy hair, crooked teeth, wonderful friends but a crappy boyfriend and being somewhere between middle-class and poor. When she wakes up, she’s in a hospital bed, but quickly discovers that she is a millionaire’s wife, looks like a model and is head of the department she used to work in!
The story sounded really interesting to me, which is why I picked it up. I mean, I’m sure we have all desperately wished at one point or another that our lives can just magically become better (please don’t tell me only I wish that, hahaha), whether it’s wishing to win the lottery or finding the perfect dream boyfriend/girlfriend. And at first, everything seems to be just perfect and wonderful and fantastic for Lexi. Her husband looks like an Armani model. She drives an open top Mercedes convertible. She’s a boss. She’s rich. She’s got a walk-in closet that’s bigger than the apartment she used to live in.
Of course, there is always a catch. Lexi’s life didn’t magically become this way. She got into a car accident and traumatized her brain pretty bad. She cannot remember anything from the past three years, so it was a mighty shock when the doctor informs her that it’s not 2004, but rather, 2007 now. She doesn’t remember how she got so beautiful, who her husband is, or how she suddenly became the boss. Worse yet, she doesn’t understand why her old friends are snubbing her and who this Jon person is who claims that she and him are lovers. It sounds really depressing, and it sort of is, but it’s also the perfect set-up for a comedy to happen. Admittedly, the flavor of humor in this book is more aimed towards the female population than male, but I think if a guy reads this book, they can appreciate some of the funny parts too! (Maybe not the parts where she’s flipping out over her Louis Vuitton bags or things like that … but I found the part where she’s hollering “There’s a SIXTH Harry Potter book now?!” pretty hilarious).
This book is loads of fun to read, it’s one of those kinds of books where once you start you can’t really stop. I mean, the plot isn’t actually that interesting on paper — she’s basically just trying to recover her memories and reconstruct the missing three years of her life — but it’s the little events that happen along the way that make this book exciting. The characters are all generally likeable, though I did not particularly feel attached to anyone. Lexi really reminds me strongly of Becky from Shopaholic, though not quite an airhead. This is only my second Kinsella book that’s not Shopaholic related, so I am not sure if Kinsella has a “typical” protagonist, but at this point, it seems like it. I’m not really that bothered though. I totally understand some people find airhead females annoying characters, but luckily I am usually okay with it, unless it goes overboard. Anyway, Lexi is really not that big of an airhead, just very reminiscent of Becky.
If you’ve read any of Kinsella’s books before, then you already know what kind of writing to expect. It’s in first person, and written in the same way someone might narrate a chick-movie. So no, it’s not amazing literature, but I found the personality in the writing fun. Actually, it felt like I wasn’t even reading at some points, but more like the novel was talking to me one-on-one, which I kind of liked.
I was in the mood for something fantasy-ish and plucked this book off the library bookshelf without knowing anything about the story or author (or rea...moreI was in the mood for something fantasy-ish and plucked this book off the library bookshelf without knowing anything about the story or author (or realizing that it’s a series). All I knew was that it was a story about assassins, based on the cover art, and I thought I could really go for an assassin-story (I also feel like pointing out that the Spanish book cover is a hundred times cooler; it’s a shame I can’t read a lick of Spanish).
I was correct — it was a story about assassins. The story starts with our main character, eleven year old Azoth scavenging for loose change under a tavern. Azoth lives in what I envisioned to be a slum-like area, called the Warrens, and he is on the lowest rung of the social ladder. He is a part of the Black Dragon guild and must pay his guild dues every week to the guild Fist (the guy who beats up anybody who doesn’t have money to pay), Rat, who is vile and trying to become the new guild leader. Azoth also has to pay his friend Doll Girl’s share because she is only eight, mute and doesn’t know how to find money. His other friend, Jarl, wants to help Azoth rise out of the guild, out of the slums, and one day, gives Azoth a sack of money he’s been secretly saving for years, telling him to become Durzo Blint’s apprentice. Durzo Blint is the city’s most skilled assassin, or ‘wetboy’, and an idol of Azoth’s (and there aren’t many people to idolize in Azoth’s world). He is a man that can walk through the Warrens casually and nobody would dare try to mug him. After much stalking, begging and a round of brutal initiation, Blint reluctantly takes Azoth in as his apprentice.
But wait! There is more to this story than a simple tale of an poor orphan rising to become a skilled assassin over years. Azoth (now twenty) forsakes his past and becomes Kyler Stern, a poor noble by day but an assassin-in-training by night (well, I’m sure he practices during the day too, but you get the idea). But his friendship with the noble Logan slowly begins to stand in the way of some of his ‘jobs’ — or maybe his ‘jobs’ are standing in the way of his friendship. Not to mention the fact that his master Blint is actually trying to use Azoth to find a power magical artifact and will not hesitate to kill Azoth if need be. Oh, and also a prophet appears and tells Azoth that he’s soon to be mixed up in some heavy politics and possibly war, which is avoidable if he kills his master. And above all this, Azoth is reunited with Doll Girl, now Elene, from his past, whom he has been in love with ever since, but as an assassin, he cannot love or it will be his weakness.
As you can tell, there’s a LOT of plot packed into these six hundred pages. I was really engrossed in the story in the beginning half, even though I didn’t really understand some of the terms like Sa’kage and Shinga at first (although as you continue reading, it sort of all starts to come together). The last half I didn’t feel as interested in, although I don’t want anyone to misunderstand and think I didn’t like it. I did, I just didn’t feel as if the last half was as interesting as the first. A lot of funky coincidences and twists that I feel the author planned too hard for occur and the story lost a bit of the charm it had. It also got kind of too cheesy, what with the whole “love is a weakness” and “know the difference between mercy, vengeance and justice” and various other one-line assassin philosophies. Maybe cheesy isn’t the right word, but it was driven into my head over and over again, I was a little tired of it …
But overall, it was alright. I really do like fantasy with magic and complicated plots and I feel this book satisfied me quite well in those departments. Complicated enough that the story world felt immense and vast, but not too much that I got confused. I can’t say I liked it enough that I want to read books two and three, unfortunately. There are a lot of loose ends in book one that I’d like to find out what happens in the next books, but I’m afraid I wasn’t that captivated by the story.
Last but not least, I actually really liked reading the acknowledgements in the back of the book. He wrote it in such a way that you get a nice picture of the author’s personality and how much work and effort he poured into the novel. It was fun reading it!
Fourteen year old Zanna is “banished” to live with her father and twin brother, Martin, in Last Chance, Alberta while her father the professor conduct...moreFourteen year old Zanna is “banished” to live with her father and twin brother, Martin, in Last Chance, Alberta while her father the professor conducts research on ice fields and glaciers. Her mother felt that Zanna’s newfound boyfriend Zane was controlling her, not to mention that she was furious over Zanna’s strawberry tattoo she got without permission, and hopes that a change of scenery will change Zanna’s perspective on things.
For Zanna, this is the worst summer vacation that could ever happen to her. Except to me, it’s really not that bad — most of the bad things that happen to Zanna are situations she created herself (such as her dumb decision to wade into the rapids and then getting swept away by the icy water, or deliberately ignoring her mother’s e-mails only to later realize that her mother was asking her to come to Paris, and then Zanna had the audacity to complain that it’s her mother’s fault that she missed the airplane seat sale). Zanna is a perfect representation of what a fourteen year old adolescent is like; unfortunately, this means she is self centered, incredibly whiny and very hard to like. She’s also seems to suffer from the delusion that she and her boyfriend of a few weeks will last ‘forever’. Anyway, I did not like Zanna or her special snowflake name.
For a young adult novel, I expected more than bare and minimal writing, but as it is right now, I’ve read children’s novels with more complex writing than this book. I was also not fond of the story. It was, for lack of better words, incredibly boring. The reason it took me so long to finish a mere 200 pages is because I did not like it and had to force myself to finish it, something that I could not do all in one sitting.
Things are supposed to pick up a bit more when Zanna finds the “puppy” under her deck and meets Tyler the park ranger (who she obviously starts liking; this novel is incredibly predictable), but it didn’t really. The climax of the novel is when Martin disappears, leaving Zanna and Tyler to search for him in the wild. That part was a little more interesting in comparison to the rest of the novel, but it was still the dullest search and rescue story I’ve ever read. At the end of the novel, Zanna is supposed to have experienced a change and see herself differently, but the ONLY realizations she makes is that her boyfriend is a jerk and her mom sucks being a mom; not exactly life-changing.