Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves onto the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with sacrifice is the real test.
Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves onto the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with sacrifice is the real test.
Stormdancer is a richly detailed Japanese-inspired, steampunk fantasy, with splendidly real characters and a gripping plot that will keep you in its claws until the very last page. Jay Kristoff has written a debut like no other; I’m craving to return and venture across his wonderfully imagined Shima Isles and uncover more about The Lotus War with Yukiko and the arashitora – thunder-tiger – Buruu. You’ll be rereading Stormdancer before you’re even finished – and that’s the truth! Fans of Alison Goodman and Christopher Paolini will have another favourite to bow down to.
「何？」’What?’ you say.
And so I continue to sell Stormdancer to you by bedazzling you with my words and judgements (though I’m pretty sure you have already been sold on the premise and the covers). I am sure Benzaiten is looking down on me, making sure that I write this review the best I can with dedication and passion while venerating Jay and his debut Stormdancer. Jay Kristoff: The Newest Shinto Deity.
Yoritomo-no-miya, Seii Taishogun of the Shima Isles, woke up one morning and demanded a griffin. And yet thunder-tigers are extinct are they not, like the giant sea dragons and the yokai beasts? Extinct from the lotus fumes that poison the land? But when a Lord has a dream, a vision, it’s always precisely accurate isn’t it?
‘I have seen myself riding amongst the thunderclaps astride a great arashitora, leading my armies to war overseas against the round-eye gaijin hordes. Like the Stormdancers of legend. A vision sent from mighty Hachiman, the God of War himself.’
Masaru, leader of the Kitsune (Fox) Clan and the hunt master, is ordered to go find and capture a thunder-tiger; even he believes they are alive no more. His daughter Yukiko journeys along with him. With determination and strength they capture an arashitora, but it all goes terribly wrong when their skyship sets aflame and hurtles to the ground. And what Yukiko does sets the wheels of this complex story in motion.
I’m struggling to find the right words to perfectly detail everything I loved about Stormdancer – even with Benzaiten, Shinto Goddess of words and “everything that flows” watching down on me. Not even saying, ‘I disliked not one thing!’ will be sufficient enough.
There are many stars in Stormdancer, but the main one is our heroine Yuikiko. There’s not one thing wrong with her… as in: she is totally flawed and real – as are all the characters. She yearns for answers when things don’t look right. And although she hates her father for his drinking problems and blames him for leaving her mother as well as practically everything that goes wrong, she still longs for the day to be reunited with him when they separate from the skyship disaster, even if he’s dead. She has a past that haunts her, a past that has made her stronger and ever more determined to make things right in every domain possible: on a personal level as well as for all things living. Her tenacity is one to admire. Then you get to her friendship with the arashitora, in which she names Buruu after her long gone dog.
She remembered the wolf coming down from the mountain with a belly full of hunger, so many winters ago. She remembered the friend who rose to defend her, to save her life without having ever been asked. The sense of safety she felt when he was nearby. Her protector. Her brother. Her friend. ’Then I will call you Buruu.’
This relationship is important and it’s the most real relationship between man and beast that I have ever come across, far more superior – in my eyes – than Eragon and Sapphira. You long for a relationship like it, regardless if it involves an animal or not. The connection between Yukiko and Buruu is unique: at first Buruu talks short and sharp, in single words or concrete nouns like all toddlers do in their earlier times. But as the story goes on and Yukiko and Buruu grow and mature together, his speech becomes more logically complex as well as Yukiko receiving primal and bestial thoughts from Buruu, as if they were one. At first their interaction is wounded due to moments that occur on the skyship. Yet there was one special moment when they’re in a cave trying to get some rest that begins the bond between the two – and it is awww-worthy to the nth degree.
Occasionally, he would glance over at her and watch her curled in her miserable little knot, shivering uncontrollably. … At last, he drew one great, deep breath and sighed; a bellows that sent the dry leaves skittering across the cave floor. Yukiko watched as he wordlessly lifted his wing, inviting her closer. She blinked and stared for a long moment, meeting the even gaze of those bottomless eyes. Crawling across the stone, she snuggled down beside him, wrapped in the tremendous heat radiating from his body. He folded his wing about her, a blanket of down and sweet warmth tinged with the scent of lightning, the smell of blood. She could hear his heartbeat beneath inches of pale, velvet fur. ’Thank you, Buruu.’ ‘QUIET NOW, MONKEY-CHILD. DREAM.’
Isn’t that just so effing adorable and touching? I wish there were arashitora’s at the pet store. I would so purchase one no matter the price just so that I could have this same moment that Yukiko had. And with this bond comes an extra pair of eyes and sense when it comes to Yukiko’s feelings and affection towards the two love interests: Kin, a Lotus Guildsman/Artificer, and Hiro, an Iron Samurai with ’sea-green eyes.’ I fell completely in love with both relationships: one is slow to evolve and develop, with that “one” being timid to express his feelings, and the other is quite the opposite – both as real as any relationship in reality. You will not be able to choose between the two; it’s fact. (view spoiler)[But be wise! They’re sure to make your smiles turn into frowns, your swooning sounds into screams of fury. (hide spoiler)]
I forgot to mention: Buruu even gets a chapter to himself. YES! How incredibly awesome is that?
Don’t want to say much on him, but Yoritoro is such a twisted villain that you are going to love and despise at the same time. One of the greatest villains I have come across in YA or not (Stormdancer is being published by an adult imprint (Thomas Dunne Books) in the US).
The Shima Isles, The Shima Imperium and The Lotus Guild are all characters in and of themselves. They create the setting: the red skies, the lotus-covered land that goes on and on and on, the smoky atmosphere, and the smell and taste of 血 (chi – ‘blood’ in Japanese) and 鉄 (tetsu – iron) in the air. You have the oppressed population, victims to the “toxic” fumes of the lotus, and the ones doing the oppressing, the Guildsman and higher citizens who wear the robotic suits to protect themselves every second. Such a spectacular demonstration of an imbalance of power in society. I can go on and on and on about the setting and the Japanese culture and inclusion of the Shinto Deities which is richly detailed, but you should just experience Jay’s words and imagination yourself. Knowing that I have two more books, two more times to be thrown into this world, I am beyond euphoric – maybe we can demand for more stories in this world. Stormdancer is up their with my absolute favourite fantasies; I prefer this over Eragon (although Inheritance Cycle is not one of my absolute favourites). There’s so much action and adventure that you’ll not want it to stop for fear that it will be the last moment in the book. First-class read with first-class and compelling writing.
Something I like very very very much is that THERE IS NO CLIFFHANGER! It is a well-rounded individual book that so happens to have two books to follow continuing Yukiko and Buruu’s legacy. Stormdancer concludes with a fist to the air – literally. It is resolved and I respect Jay highly for doing this. I loathe cliffhangers (well not if they’re done properly and are necessary). Jay’s picture has now been plastered to my wall so that every morning when I wake up I can flatten up against the wall and pretend to be giving him a great big bear-hug. Or a peck on the forehead.
I am sure there is a lot more quotes and details I can include in this review, but have I bedazzled you enough yet? I could keep on going but I’m aching all over – I’m having so much fun writing this review. I want to say EVERYTHING! But there’s still three more months to go until Stormdancer is published and I want you to experience the sheer wonder of it as much as I did. Looking forward to hearing all your thoughts on Stormdancer and hopefully we can together get on our knees until the sequential books come out. So while I wait, I will be happily rereading and marking every page from beginning to end like a passionate English or Literature student at school. Jay what have you made of me????
OH YEAH! AND SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME A CHAINKATANA ALONG WITH THE THUNDER-TIGER?! Yours sincerely, Braiden. God of Nothing.
You do not want to not read this book. It’s the next best thing, sure to be a NYT Bestseller!
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‘Everything is about to end, isn’t it?’ I asked Lincoln stroked my hair and ran his hands down my arms before kissing me – just a light kiss on my lip
‘Everything is about to end, isn’t it?’ I asked Lincoln stroked my hair and ran his hands down my arms before kissing me – just a light kiss on my lips, but one heavy with his love and I soaked it up. ‘Not us, Vi. Everything else may end, but not us. What we have ... We’re endless.’
With a title such as ‘Endless’ you would expect that this would be the final stop for Violet, but as Jessica has informed me many times before, there will be another two books in the Violet Eden Chapters... because after the concluding pages of Endless, how can there not be more books to come? Why would Jessica shatter your already broken heart and leave you to mend it all by yourself after the effort she has put in to make you, the reader, emotionally involved and invested in Violet’s story, her struggles, and her triumphs through four books. Why? Sure, Jessica might like torturing us, but she will never leave us with an ending such as that; anyway, if that was the ending – and if I hadn’t known there were more books to come – I would have been content based upon the character growth I saw in Violet through the duration of this book, even within those final pages. It showed her with a maturity beyond her years. Violet Eden is a heroine that I believe teenage girls should strive to embody – embody her decisions and the way she conducts herself as a person for others.
This fourth instalment continues on from the third, Emblaze. Endless felt like a part two and resolution for the events in Emblaze; the events in and plot of Endless had me completely immersed from beginning to end. There was not a moment when I questioned anything that happened; I had no time to. And besides, why would I? Endless captivated me. That is all that matters, right? Violet is accused of confiding in and conspiring with Phoenix in summoning Lilith by the Grigori Academy, most notably Josephine, the Head, who in Emblaze had a negative perception of Violet from the get go. Violet and co. journey to the Academy in New York to attempt to abolish these allegations and to prove that Violet is a Grigori – one of them.
Enter the kidnapping and disappearance of young children. This presents an opportunity for Violet to prove herself as a “Grigori” on top of the training and tests she must undergo at the Academy to satisfy the Grigori Elders. The choices Violet makes don’t sit well with Lincoln and the Academy, but it is what she believes in and what she must do. Violet decides to discover who is kidnapping these children and to try and save them – this becomes her greatest priority. But her affinity with Lincoln creates some of its own problems, as does that particular bond she has with Phoenix. Endless is perfect and Violet is what makes it such.
There was a moment in Endless where I thought, ‘How much more can Jess harness upon Violet? That girl is indestructible. That girl is extraordinary. That girl is a machine. I want to call her mine. And mine only.’ It was a moment where Violet’s identity as the heroine of this series jumped from black and white to living colour; I realised Violet’s worth, her purpose and everything she stands for. It was an inspiring moment for me personally. Book five and six have got to hold instant death in order to defeat what occurred at this said moment. I’m not sure anything can beat it. And then you get to some of the final moments of the book, and although your heart is ripped and crippled and burned many times over, you continue to appreciate and admire Violet’s character throughout everything that happens.
This series, especially Endless, makes me wonder why I haven’t found that special someone yet. Darn you Jess for these horrible and haunting thoughts! Give me Violet and I will finally feel satisfied.
Endless is a trap for all you hopeless romantics. But a perfect book is one that has you emotionally involved and invested in the characters, and Jessica Shirvington has written an instalment that makes it just that: a perfect book. Books five and six have some tough competition.
Having read Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn back-to-back, I could not have experienced and read these wonders any other way. I was glad I waited out the year since I got Froi – everyone’s desperation for Quintana became common knowledge considering its ending, so I turned to logic and logic won out. Froi of the Exiles was amazing; but Quintana of Charyn was perfect, unforgettable… beautiful.
We entered Melina Marchetta’s Skuldenore and the world of the ‘Lumatere Chronicles’ through Finnikin of the Rock. It was breathtakingly real and raw, albeit fantasy. We were first introduced to characters such as Finnikin and Isaboe, and developed a strong love for them. We met Froi, too, among others. Finnikin was an introduction – this book established the world and gave us insight into the rift between Lumatere and Charyn, presenting us with a dark, hopeless and war-torn continent, its people ambivalent as to what the future may hold. Finnikin was the beginning of a spellbinding journey, which then continued in Froi of the Exiles. Melina Marchetta took us further into the darkness of this world; more notably into Froi’s unknown past, the key to understanding the hope for the future. Froi hooked himself into our hearts, and slowly with understanding, Quintana did too. I was invested more in the story in Froi than I was Finnikin, most probably since I was familiar with the characters and I was desperate to learn more about them and soak up any bit of detail there was to them.
Then finally we came to Quintana of Charyn. After following the developments of the characters and knowing them as much as I know myself, I did not want to leave them; I did not want to forget them; and I did not want to stop reading about them. Quintana contained a number of memorable moments where each character found their home, found safety and comfort, and most importantly, found hope. All that because they found each other.
Ending books on cliffhangers are tricky as it is uncertain as to how they would be received. However, how the ending of Froi played out was necessary in transitioning us to the final chapter of this story. With haste, Melina Marchetta pulls the reader back into the struggles of Quintana and Froi. Froi was being nursed by Arjuro after the fatal injuries he received a few weeks earlier and constantly on his mind was the safety of Quintana – a safety which he could not give her considering his circumstances. Once mended, along with his parents Gargarin and Lirah he goes in search for Quintana, who has appeared in the valley between Lumatere and Charyn, in search of someone that could give her the safety that Froi is not able to provide her with. And with her carrying their baby, every second is crucial to their survival and their ambivalent future.
Simultaneously, Isaboe and Finnikin contemplate whether Froi has done his job that he was sent to do, as no one has heard or seen him since he left Lumatere to assassinate Quintana. Isaboe and Finnikin are also expecting, and Finnikin ponders whether he is good enough to be the father of a Lumateran King as well as the husband of Isaboe – not a King; just her consort. This is addressed when Finnikin and Froi come together after a few hiccups in their honesty and friendship concerning the role that Isaboe plays in each of their lives.
‘I have an equally strong bond with you, my friend,’ Froi said. ‘It’s not that I desire one of you over the other. It’s that I want what you have together. I know that despite everything . . . it must eat at your heart that you’re her consort and not her king . . .’ Finnikin shook his head again. ‘It’s not about having power over her,’ Finnikin explained. ‘If I was the King, I could take care of her. I could keep her free from the troubles of Lumatere, which seems endless. And so trite. Honestly, Froi, ours are such ungrateful people at times. Despite our hard work, all we hear are complaints and woe and who suffered most and whose soil deserves more. Why can’t they just be happy with what we’ve got? We have our kingdom back, but no one seems truly happy, and I’m frightened that it’s now in our blood. That we’ll pass on that dissatisfaction to our children and our children’s children and that we’ll be the ancients one day and our descendants will say, “Ah yes, a melancholy dour lot.”’
Before I move further into my review for Quintana of Charyn I just want to share a quote in the book that I adore, as it encompasses what the meaning of life is all about. We can’t all be kings and queens and witness our dreams come true, but if we make do with what we have and live life to the best that we can then it will be a good life and that’s all you really need. I find after reading Quintana that what Isaboe says is relevant to twists later on, if not foreshadows those events.
‘…In the games of queens and kings,’ she said to Froi, ‘we leave our dreams at the door and we make do with what we have. Sometimes if we’re fortunate, we still manage to have a good life.’
Then to enhance what Isaboe says to Froi, Lirah says this which is equally as inspirational:
‘You said to me once that you weren’t what I dreamed of. You were right. You surpass everything I dreamed of. Even the rot in you that’s caused you to do shameful things. Some men let the rot and guilt fester into something ugly beyond words. Few men can turn it into worth and substance. If you’re gods’ blessed for no other reason, it’s for that.’
You get to the end of some trilogies and series and you feel as though there could be another book or that there is more to the story that the author has not shared. The Lumatere Chronicles is not one of those. I feel as though Melina Marchetta has poured every ounce of her experience and storytelling abilities into this story, especially in this third and final book, to the point that fatigue consumes you. All the characters ended in positions that they were happy to be in, and if they are content as is the author, then I am too. Skuldenore, although still with subtle rivalries and problems, has returned to the peaceful state that it once was, because of the actions of our heroes and our heroines, the major and minor. What I need to do is to reread all three books again, and I am sure I will learn a helluva lot more than I did the first time.
These characters will never be forgotten. The Lumatere Chronicles is so well received because of the characters; they’re flawed human beings with dark pasts and uncertain futures, living their present with caution and a desire to see better days in the world that they live in. Because of how much I adored Froi and Quintana after Froi of the Exiles, I had trouble finding that same devotion for Isaboe and Finnikin at the beginning of Quintana of Charyn. But as the novel progressed and Isaboe and Finnikin understood Froi’s situation and the role Quintana has to it, that was when I admired this quartet – they complemented each other. They are different in every way, bringing about an influx of dynamics that would not have occurred if these characters were any other way. Gargarin, Lirah, Arjuro, Phaedra, Tesadora and a few others make this story ever so richer with their own stories to tell. I will miss them all, each and every single one of them.
Quintana of Charyn is now a favourite, and once the rest of the world has their opportunity to indulge in the beauty of this book there’s going to be a fanfare with the words ‘Queen’ and ‘Melina’ sung throughout....more
A storm is approaching and Zeraphina and Rodden know why. The death of the Lharmellin leader caused a disturbance in Lharmell, sparking an uproar thatA storm is approaching and Zeraphina and Rodden know why. The death of the Lharmellin leader caused a disturbance in Lharmell, sparking an uproar that could not be ignored. After a string of murders are made known to them, our duo set out to discover what the Lharmellins are up to and who leads them in their quest to infiltrate and take over Amentia. While on this journey, Zeraphina and Rodden cross the lands, the deserts, and seas in search for components of a weapon that are lethal to the Lharmellins – but there is much more to this adventure. With further revelations of one another and the powers they have, can Zeraphina and Rodden calm the storm before all is too late for the Kingdom of Pergamia? But what of themselves?
Rhiannon Hart has written a tempest of a sequel. More of this fantasy world is unleashed upon us; whether it’s sailing on a ship with a group of piratey-sailory-men, travelling in the desert accompanied by Jarbins, or flying on brants (giant birds), the plot keeps on rolling as incidents occur to prod Zeraphina and Rodden ever closer – ever slowly – towards their destination and ultimate goal. Seeing more of the world was a highlight of the book; we encounter different cultures and groups of people. And even learn snippets/phrases of the Jarbin language through Zeraphina. Rhiannon has provided more depth to this world however shallow some thought of Blood Song.
Princess Zeraphina? HAH! Forget that title. Zeraphina is Zeraphina and no title or mother or blood is going to weigh her down, plan out her life, and make choices for her. Phina really comes into her own in Blood Storm. She accepts that she’s half-Lharmellin and harnesses the abilities she has to do good unto the world. There’s no denying that she is as vulnerable and as real as the rest of us. She clashes with her mother Renata much more in this book; this time there are realistic reasons making Phina a bit more wild and rebellious. One: Renata paints Rodden as a monster, which we learn is not true at all. Two: she’s determined to marry Zeraphina off to a Prince, whom is a f***ing ass (I wanted to grab him by the collar and give him a good ol’ beating myself, but lucky I didn’t have to because he got much worse). Three: she doesn’t accept her past wrongs and suppresses the truth, and this suppression brings about reasons one and two. The banter between this mother and daughter was ever so entertaining and I hope there is more of this in book three, Blood Queen… The rebellious teen and her authoritarian mother (whom fails at being authoritative).
I’ve come to accept endings like this as I am quite used to them, so when such things happen I drop the book and applaud to no end (I did this with another book I recently read as they were similar with how the characters ended in the book – but not the plot). And that is all I will say. LIPS. ARE. ZIPPED. AND. LOCKED. Zeraphina has the keys. Fight her for them. You might get your Rodden too. *tick* Times are wasting. *tick* *tick*
Blood Storm was a surprisingly brilliant lead-up to the yet-to-come end of Zeraphina and Rodden’s journey. When finished you will automatically reach for pitchforks and torches, not because you might be upset about how it ends, but because the final book must hold everything and give us an ending that will have us submitting our wrists to Phina’s mouth with intent of feeding her our blood. Rhiannon: pressure much? *snicker* Blood Storm is a sequel which will have you screaming LHARMELLINS!!!! for more....more
Wonderfully written story that is different, twisted and full of humour, but is still serious with the issues at hand (ECT and mental illnesses).
-----Wonderfully written story that is different, twisted and full of humour, but is still serious with the issues at hand (ECT and mental illnesses).
What is there for me to say about this book without repeating myself due to its brilliance? This review is quite hard to write as it’s one of those books that gives you an appreciation for many things. As I am studying Psychology and have looked into mental illnesses and know how it’s like and how someone can act and experienced it children with them first-hand, it just makes this less of a review but more so praise for Doug MacLeod – for writing a story directed at young adults, dealing with such a difficult subject as this. And Doug does it with such skill that you don’t find yourself reading from the perspective of someone who is depressed, or has anorexia, or a development disorder. You read it as though they’re like every other normal person with big dreams, hopes, and ambitions – just with an unlucky streak. Reading The Shiny Guys is a breather from the shelves of and countless other young adult books today.
Now, don’t think this book is a ‘breather’ literally. Colin our main character does not give you much of a chance to take a breath with his never-ending playful jokes and his witty and jesting narration, even through the highs and lows, the dips and falls, in the book. Although Colin has had a traumatic experience not long ago (which you will learn of when you read) and finds himself in this psychiatric ward Ward 44, and surrounded by all these other patients – some he likes and some he despises – he doesn’t stop with the jokes, even in his one-on-one meetings with his psychiatrist/doctor. This is another reason why I could praise Doug MacLeod to no end (and it’s very hard to explain why right now so I’m just going to sit on this and think about it more, so that I can put it in a meaningful and comprehendible sentence). But a passage I thought could encapsulate what I could want to say is:
That night, I feel uplifted by the new focus in my life. When we are all gathered in the dining room, I tell everyone that before we eat I would like to say grace. Patients look surprised. Val thinks this is a lovely idea. I close my eyes, clasp my hands and recite with quiet dignity: ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night All seated on the grass, The angel of the Lord came down And kicked them up the arse. Amen.’ Mango and Anthea burst out laughing. Even apologetic Jill cracks a smile. Val and Len, who sit together, are clearly not amused. Val tells me that there will be a day of judgement, and I won’t let be let into heaven. This is fine by me. The place is probably full of reformed alcoholics. [p.111-112]
Now this may not be funny, but it sure does show how much Colin loves to joke around and make fun of those patients he doesn’t enjoy being around – Val is one of them, a woman who is heavily religious but is an alcoholic. There’s your background information .
Every now and then though we also get a type of Q&A between Anthea – the young girl with anorexia – and her doctor, giving us a path to fully recognise and learn Anthea’s predicament, and also we get a couple chapters from Mango’s point-of-view that are expressed differently. Mango’s narration is full of spelling mistakes as if it’s that way he would spell it, and although he is around the same age as both Anthea and Colin, he has developmental problems which affects the way in which he communicates and deals with the world around him and the people who he is with. These chapters could be the ‘breathers’ from Colin’s.
Within Ward 44 we see a crush develop into a severe infatuation which doesn’t turn out the way Mango had wanted it to. We see evil cockroaches – the shiny guys – inhabit Colin’s reality and his quest by the human-sized cockroaches called Nestorians to eradicate them. And we see Anthea try and defeat those shadows lurking near her, within her. All in all, it’s about discovering the truth and not hiding behind your own self-created lies. Something we must all learn in ourselves and which many people with disabilities of all kinds can do so much better at than those that don’t.
Shadows by Paula Weston might be just another angel or nephilim book on the shelf, but there’s something identifiably different that sets it apart froShadows by Paula Weston might be just another angel or nephilim book on the shelf, but there’s something identifiably different that sets it apart from the rest: it’s Australian, with a vivid Aussie atmosphere/setting and fantastic Aussie characters that you can’t help but smile or feel or be connected with as they’re so close to home (well, for those of us who are Aussie that is). Fans in need of another angel series after finishing Lauren Kate’s Fallen series will devour Shadows, eager for the next books in the Rephaim series; there’s a heroine—Gaby—to get behind, a boy—Rafa—to fall in love with, as well as the many sides fighting to win you over (just don’t decide too early).
Gaby thought her life was absolutely normal—besides those dreams she’s having involving hellions—but when she meets a guy in the bar who looks awfully like someone in those dreams and is also being pursued by a group of unknowns, everything that she believed and the facts about her own life becomes a lie; a life made up to cover up the truth about what really happened before she and her twin brother Jude had a car crash—was it even a car crash at all? Did Jude really die? These are the questions that Gaby aims to discover in this book, even questioning herself and where she stands in everything that is happening around her and the relations to those that are intruding her life.
Shadows was fast-paced and I flew through the book in a matter of hours, wanting to know more about certain characters and how things will be resolved. I could however credit the short sentences and succinct phrases for the pacing—even if the structure did get a bit too repetitive and rigid as the book went on. Weston has written an angst-ridden, suspenseful and mysterious debut novel, with surprises that trickle until the very last page.
What I loved most about Shadows was the characterization, especially those of the Australians, such as the slightly minor characters of the Butler brothers: these boys are your typical redneck Australians, and with their guns, their speech, and their actions you’ll laugh at how true to the stereotype they are. Besides those distinctly Aussie characters, the description of the angels—with how prim and proper they are down to their clothes, especially Daniel—was well executed, producing a contrast between characters. To keep it short: Weston has written a great cast. I’m looking forward to learning more about Gaby’s life and about the Rephaim in future books....more
If the plot’s journey doesn’t do it for you, then the characters most definitely will.
If you have read Beatle Meets Destiny you would know that GaIf the plot’s journey doesn’t do it for you, then the characters most definitely will.
If you have read Beatle Meets Destiny you would know that Gab Williams knows how to find that perfect voice for her characters. In The Reluctant Hallelujah Dodie is given this distinct voice that changes over the course of the book, which becomes influenced by the decisions and actions she has to make and commit to while on this quest and road-trip. Of course you’re going to be frantic and stressed when you’re final Year 12 exams are just a couple of days away. In addition to this, you’re going to feel like you’ve been run over by a truck ten times over when you discover that your parents have been hiding a family secret right under your nose and you have to move this “secret” to Sydney days before your exams in which you’ve barely studied for, you have to care for your sister which you hardly like to spend time with, drive a car without a license with a couple of guys you know nothing about, and all you have on your mind is being convicted as a criminal and sent to jail when you’re just doing a job you’ve been urged and told to do – fated to do.
What a life – rather mad few days – Dodie has to plow through. Oh and don’t forget when she becomes a hot, emotional wreck once she falls for one of those guys – just another load of weight packed onto the cross she already struggles to pull along. (Who likes my analogy? I sure do!) Obviously you can understand where I’m coming from when I say Dodie has this unique voice. Who wouldn’t be? And add in those witty comments of hers, we have here a young Australian – like any other – about to sit their final exams; emotionally unstable and just about to implode with stress about one’s own future, but witty enough to hide the weight of everything that’s on their shoulders and the sacrifice she has to make for her parents.
Now you know I like to ramble on about books that I love (proof above), but you don’t know – or maybe you do – that I tend to get a despicable love for those authors who have an uncanny ability to transport you right into the thick of everything, into the shoes of the main characters. What also helped in The Reluctant Hallelujah’s case was that I could picture Gab’s scenery in Melbourne, Gippsland, and along the coast to Sydney, as I’ve seen it myself.
If you’re worried that this book will demean religion and faith or be sacrilegious to the point that you think God will disown you or set you alight like a vampire or creature of the night if you even touch or purchase the book, then you are clearly wrong. Gab Williams deals with the idea of religion and faith in such a way that it is reverential, and this clearly shows through her writing, through her characters – although a bit jokey – and the themes and resemblances explored.
Put simply: The Reluctant Hallelujah is an inventive yet insightful view of faith among today’s young people, and with it, a coming-of-age story that teaches us to make sacrifices in our lives for the greater good: for family, for yourself, for your love. This is a book you must read if you love your road-trip stories but bare in mind it ends in a tragedy like no other, a sacrifice like no other… The Reluctant Hallelujah is a love story like no other (just try to keep your ruby slippers with you at all times)....more
The Industry is a promising to a thrilling new series by Aussie debut author Rose Foster. Michael Grant blurbed on the cover and you all k3.5/5 stars.
The Industry is a promising to a thrilling new series by Aussie debut author Rose Foster. Michael Grant blurbed on the cover and you all know that I’m a big fan of him and his work so of course I wanted to read another thriller like that of BZRK. Kirra’s journey from breaking this code on the net to being abducted to learning what she is and what The Industry is – the thrill-ride never ends. It’s like you yourself are being injected with the Balcescu drug, the drug that is injected into Kirra by Latham and his evil gang to force her to crack codes although she doesn’t want to. I bet this could make a great film. It’s got plenty of gun-involving actions scenes for the boys, and a romance for the girls that develops between Kirra and fellow detainee Milo.
The beginning 100 pages was a bit slow for me though but that must’ve been the beginning of the roller-coaster where you are pulled up to the sky before being released down the steep decline once you reach the very top. Did take a bit to get into it. A major problem I had with The Industry was that I felt it would’ve been executed far better if it was written in first-person. I suspected the forthcoming twists pages before they were revealed and I guess that was due to third-person narrative. I just believe it could’ve been stronger, more suspenseful, and more immediate if it were first-person. Despite that, Rose Foster has created her own “world” of criminals if you would want to call it that and if you liked BZRK by Michael Grant I bet you will enjoy The Industry too. The sequel The Estate will be released next year. Thanks to Lara at HarperCollins for a copy to review....more
'Ixion’s not a place for friends. They die or they leave. On Ixion you need allies.’
When you get a book, begin reading immediately, and devour it with'Ixion’s not a place for friends. They die or they leave. On Ixion you need allies.’
When you get a book, begin reading immediately, and devour it within a matter of hours, then that book must be juicy and gripping and excellent. Shine Light was one of those books. After reading Burn Bright and Angel Arias last year, all I wanted to do was find out how everything concluded – Naif’s conquest, the Ripers’ ruination, the night creatures’ survival… and Ixion’s illumination. I wanted to know more, experience more, discover more; and I sure did get more than I had hoped.
Shine Light was a fantastic final instalment in the Night Creatures series. If you had any questions or speculations from the previous two books then have no fear. Answers slowly come to light as we journey from Ruzalia’s airship to Danskoi, beginning to end. Have you ever wondered why Ixion was forever, eternally in darkness? Shine light, burn bright, and READ THIS BOOK, baby bats, because then you will learn why. Marianne de Pierres bleeds the pages of Shine Light with wonder, pleasure, knowledge… and most of all, hope for a brighter world.
In Shine Light Naif and those she befriended along the way in Burn Bright and Angel Arias return to Ixion to uncover the many secrets and mysteries that have been buried beneath the feet of its ignorant and carousing youth and veiled behind a sky of darkness. As Naif and crew learn about the truths of Ixion, so does the reader – truths continue to spring from the pages, like mice triggering traps for some wanted goodness they rarely ever come across. And once Naif and co. do, they use their new-found knowledge to bring good, hope, and light to Ixion.
This series has a splendid cast of characters; each character changes in ways we do not expect them to, especially in Shine Light. I loved the addition of Liam in Angel Arias, and to learn more about him and the person he is – or was – in Shine Light was great, as well as his relationship with Suki (Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!) and the overarching role he played/s in Ixion’s past, present and future. One character that changed considerably was Lenoir. Lenoir sacrificed a lot to help Naif and company achieve what they set out to do, even if it harmed him. After all, there is no good without sacrifice. And sacrifice he sure did. And Naif and Jarrod and Emilia… all the feels!
Shine Light was complete; the Night Creatures series is complete. However, when I reached the end of this book I was a bit surprised. Sure, I was surprised at everything that happened in the last thirty or so pages, but I was really surprised at how fast the final pages and climax was; it came and it went. I just wish there was more conflict, that it was drawn out, and that there was something… more. It concluded all too fast considering how much of the book focused on uncovering the truths and righting them. It ended great, just not the great I was expecting. But I still really, really enjoyed it! And the very end – I. Loved. It! I continue to wonder what happens next (I found it quite reminiscent of The Phantom of the Opera, however that is just my interpretation). If there’s ever an opportunity to return to Ixion, I’ll be there with streamers in my hands and bells on my feet.
Winter’s Shadow was a fantastic debut by M.J. Hearle. It had a fresh take on the paranormal genre for YA and although the creatures and the paranormalWinter’s Shadow was a fantastic debut by M.J. Hearle. It had a fresh take on the paranormal genre for YA and although the creatures and the paranormal aspect has links to others, it is separate and unique in itself and like nothing you have read before. It has this Gothic feel to it that you will not be able to suppress as you read. Your heart will be pumping and your mind will be pounding from the screeching cats, the towering shadows, the falling buildings, and the love that develops between Winter and Blake and his mission to keep her safe....more
This Is Shyness is different, different as in unique as in you haven’t read anything like it. This books holds elements of contemporary set in a fantaThis Is Shyness is different, different as in unique as in you haven’t read anything like it. This books holds elements of contemporary set in a fantasy world of a world that is somewhat dystopian. You can’t genre-fy this darling! And you wouldn’t want to after you read it. Shyness deserves its own genre called “Where The Sun Don’t Shine.” This is the type of book where you have to focus entirely on as you follow the perspectives of Wolfboy and Wildgirl (of course they're not their real names) through Shyness and discover what this city of darkness holds while you also learn about each of their lives as they discover each other’s truths slowly in the duration of this one night adventure. I have Queen of the Night waiting to be read and I’m looking forward to revisiting Shyness as the first time I went I got lost a little....more
Oh my! I'm really annoyed that i knew there were a few more pages to go, but the next sentence I would be reading would plant me on a cliff, needing tOh my! I'm really annoyed that i knew there were a few more pages to go, but the next sentence I would be reading would plant me on a cliff, needing to want the next book immediately (which unfortunately isn't too far away - end of this year). It was BAM! the last sentence and then acknowledgments the page directly after it. Gutted me! However there is a chapter 1 preview of the next book Angel Arias, which I'm tempted to read but I just don't want to. I got totally lost in those last couple of pages.
Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres was a phenomenally creative and original Young Adult read. A newly developed world is slowly revealed in front of our eyes but just enough so that we can understand it the way Retra, our protagonist, does. Because Burn Bright is so atmospheric and engaging in its nature, it is really hard to capture and give you details on everything that I loved about it. If there was only one thing to say it would be to, ‘Read it!’
What I got involved with the most in Burn Bright was Retra’s journey. She escapes her Seal-life in Grave where women wore veils, men ruled and wardens punished. She didn’t escape on her own moral choice, but rather because she wanted to find her brother Joel who had escaped and left her alone with their grieving mother and tyrannical father. Retra seeks out Ixion, an island of uninhibited freedom, music, partying and eternal pleasure every second of your consciousness. A place where desires are acted upon without care and every person burns bright with life. A place where fear and “self” is forgotten. Retra only has one reason for being on Ixion: to find her brother, not party and let her Seal principles deteriorate into lost memories. However Retra could not hide, but rather stood out. A change was the only possible decision. Retra’s struggle from coming from such a restricted and controlled life to the point of being a total introvert, to becoming someone who has started to find her feet and build her own path was worth the read. She built the courage to start standing up for herself and others. It takes a lot of courage to break free from being extremely withdrawn and isolated in the way Retra had been. Although she struggled as I said, she did it with not much help from anyone. I am introverted myself at times, so it was no difficult task to connect with Retra in the beginning. I don’t party a lot, and when I do I try and not draw much attention to myself - like I guess will happen at my own 18th birthday party in a couple of weeks time.
The cast of characters: those new to Ixion, those already residents of Ixion, and the Ripers all brought this world alive. Through each of their voices you could hear music playing or lights flashing. How? I don’t know. It just omitted into my vision while reading Burn Bright. You adapt your own party experiences and knowledge about partying and reflect that in the descriptions that Marianne provides. Burn Bright in itself is pretty provocative and dangerous at time, but in saying that Marianne does not shy from difficult subjects such as drugs and sex, which are two important parts of the Ixion way of life.
You do ask yourself a lot of questions. The plot thickens and thins, twists and turns in so many ways it is hard to keep up with it at times, therefore you wonder about things occasionally, hence the questions. Human desires and fears are investigated, and today’s ‘party-life’ of so many individuals is instigated. Much can happen when you’re having a good time, and most of it not a pleasant as you wanted your pleasurable night to be.
A thrilling ride in Ixion. A ride that I couldn’t hop off. I was bedazzled by the atmosphere and details, that made myself burn bright with ecstasy and passion for this home-grown Australian novel. Marianne de Pierres has sunken perfectly into the YA genre and doesn’t need a second chance to express herself once again. She has hit the donkey on the tail in the exact position. Love to Retra and this series. What does criticism mean? ...more