The Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a PERFECT example of paranormal romance done wonderfully right. Everything about this book is fantastic. The charact...moreThe Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a PERFECT example of paranormal romance done wonderfully right. Everything about this book is fantastic. The characters are all well developed and supported, the setting is imaginative and descriptive, and the plot is fresh and unique while still having the classic elements of the paranormal romance genre.
First let's discuss the characters. The entire cast is charming, interesting, and very well written. I absolutely love Karou. I love her physical description with her blue hair and the double life she leads. She's interesting and smart but still can make mistakes. She goes through a lot of growth because she starts off very sheltered and a bit precocious and by the end of the book she has become a strong heroine. I also liked Karou's love interest, Akiva, but not as much. He was a bit more of a stereotypical paranormal romance "bad boy" but near the end of the book when we learn about his past he grows on me and I actually really liked him.
As a bit of a side note, I really appreciated how the secondary characters (namely Karou's BFF Zusana) don't get forgotten about half way through the book when the romance starts to heat up. This happens countless times in paranormal romance and it really grinds my gears. I think the fact that Karou doesn't just forget about her friends is refreshing and shows her as a strong woman, capable of making decision and not defining herself by the man she is (or is not) with.
Now let's just talk for a second about my favorite character, Brimstone. Oh my gosh, I loved him so much. This could be partially due to the fact that I imagined him as the faun from Pan's Labyrinth:
Am I right? Brimstone is hella awesome, I wish we had learned more about him from his point of view, not from other people telling us about him. I LOVE his teeth collection and the magic behind them. His home/workshop is just so creepy but at the same time the way Karou describes it makes it feel safe and secure. Everything about Brimstone could be terrifying, but because we know Karou we see him as a fatherly figure. He is an interesting character and despite what happens (no spoilers!) I really hope to see more of him in the next book.
I was a little worried that this book was just going to be a run of the mill paranormal romance. I had just read a book that I thought was going to be sweet but fell into that category, and I really didn't want to repeat the same mistake. Lucky for me this was paranormal romance done so, so right. I love the ending. We get a lot of interesting back story which is almost a whole new book within a book (inception anyone?) but it never feels awkward or forced. It totally fits the story and is integrated flawlessly into the pacing of the book. (Dang writing this review is making me want to read it again lol)
Overall The Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a fantastic fantasy that doesn't sacrifice any action or explanation of the mythology in order to have a spicy romance (and believe me, there is some fantastic romance too). It's a perfectly paced and balanced story that does a great job of setting up the series story arc while still being an independent book in it's own right. I highly recommend The Daughter of Smoke and Bone; it's in my top 10 for 2011 for sure :) (less)
I know it's barely into 2012, but I already think that Cinder will be one of my favorites of the year. I've read a lot of fairytale re-tellings, but n...moreI know it's barely into 2012, but I already think that Cinder will be one of my favorites of the year. I've read a lot of fairytale re-tellings, but never one quite like this. There's not just one thing about Cinder that makes it so awesome. The setting, the characters, the twists, the writing style, and so much more all add to this unique reading experience.
Let's talk characters. Cinder is fantastic. She is one of the best heroine's I've ever read. I love how she faces prejudices against her and still tries to take charge of her own life. She's her own person and makes her own decisions. Some of the things that are said and done to her by her "family"are absolutely horrible, but that only makes Cinder more determined. It's not just Cinder that's an awesome character though. I really LOVED all of the supporting cast. Iko, Cinder's robot BFF, is adorable and HILARIOUS. Cinder and Iko together were some of the cutest parts of the book. I also really liked (and hated) the evil stepmother and sister. I think Meyer did an excellent job with these two characters because, while they are still evil beyotches, I understood WHY the were evil beyotches. They were just flat "bad guys" they had their own motivations and reasoning behind their actions.
Let's also talk Prince Kai for a minute. Prince Kai is dreamy and funny with great interaction with Cinder. I really liked how we also get to read some chapters from his perspective. Not only does this give us valuable information about the overall story, but we also get to see Kai's struggles. He's trying to come to terms with his father dying and the fact that he will be the next emperor, which is a huge responsibility at any time, let alone when his country is precariously close to war with a much stronger nation.
I absolutely loved the futuristic setting, AND the fact that it was set in future China! I've been to China, so I really enjoyed reading her interpretation of how China would have evolved.
Proof! I'm in the red coat, and yes that really is the great wall behind me.
Cinder is an excellent start to the series. There are going to be 3 more books, and each one is going to be a re-telling of a different fairy tale. They are Scarlet (2013) - Little Red Riding Hood, Cress (2014) - Rapunzel, and Winter (2015) - Snow White. This is really encouraging because in Cinder there are plenty of questions that still need to be answered, in particular with the Lunars and their evil "queen".
In all honestly, I haven't been this excited about a book in a long time. While I don't think I'm doing nearly a good enough job at expressing just why I love this book so much, I hope you all will look past my inadequate ramblings and just buy the book. You won't regret it. (less)
Nevermore is an interesting love story that starts off as more of a contemporary romance where opposites attract and ends in a crazy paranormal advent...moreNevermore is an interesting love story that starts off as more of a contemporary romance where opposites attract and ends in a crazy paranormal adventure that will leave the reader more than a little freaked out but still begging for more. Nevermore is a dark romance inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's life and writing that creates a unique and inventive novel.
My favorite part of Nevermore was the characters Isobel and Varen. I loved them on their own and I loved their relationship. I really liked Varen because he wasn't a perfect protector that loved Isobel to the point of being a freaky stalker. He was mysterious and sexy while still being real. There was no pretense that he was some amazing god-like savior and his attraction to Isobel was genuine without being melodramatic. Once he starts to let Isobel in you realize that a lot of Varen's scary goth exterior was more of a front and he had a very shy and sensitive personality. Plus I think goth boys are pretty sexy. I also really liked Isobel who was smart and independent and actually took action and tried to get some shit done. So many "heroines" in YA paranormal romances are damsels in distress who can barely stand up without the support of their heroic man. I loved how she did what she thought was right and didn't give into peer pressure even though it might hurt her social status.
The writing in Nevermore was very well done, especially the romantic tension. All of the buildup throughout the book was well executed, but I wanted more kissing! There was NOT ENOUGH making out for my taste (and we all know how much I love a hot make out session lol).
I really didn't like Isobel's family, especially her dad. He was really cool and normal except when it came to Varen. I didn't understand why he was so cool with her jerk-off ex boyfriend but immediately hated Varen when he didn't even know him. That drove me more than a little bonkerdoodles. I also didn't like the cliffhanger ending. Things took such a crazy turn in the last quarter of the book that I felt like there needed to be more of a well rounded ending so I wasn't left confused about what just happened. There's a difference between a cliff hanger ending that leaves me wanting to read more because I loved the book so much and a cliff hanger ending that leaves me wanting to read more because I had no idea what was going on for the past fifty pages.
Overall Nevermore is a unique love story that morphs into a very creepy paranormal adventure. Inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Nevermore is a Gothic romance you are sure to never forget.(less)
Anna Dressed in Blood is an excellent and creepy ghost story that is sure to thrill readers. It's a perfect book for the Halloween season. This myster...moreAnna Dressed in Blood is an excellent and creepy ghost story that is sure to thrill readers. It's a perfect book for the Halloween season. This mystery is excellent for anyone interested in ghosts and their motivations for haunting and how the living can help them. I seriously loved everything about this book. First off, the title is perfect. Man I love a good title. Also the setting is fantastic. The descriptions of Anna's house is so freaky and just the perfect place to be haunted. It really adds to the mystery of the whole story, and I really liked the history of the house. The house is even more scary once you learn what happens in the house while people were still alive. I also really liked Blake's writing style. The pacing of the book is very well done. The way the mystery unravels never feels forced nor predictable. I was constantly guessing what was going to happen next, and in a mystery/thriller that is a MUST. If I can guess what's going to happen within the first 50 pages you're doing it wrong. I really enjoyed the humor in this book as well. It's subtle and well placed. The overall tone of the book is firmly on the dark side, but the instances of lightness really help maintain my interest in the book. The other thing that I really appreciated was the Wiccan and witchcraft aspect of the book. Cas's mom is a pagan who does things like cleanse tools used to hunt ghosts, purifies their home and casts protection spells, and creates candles, herbal mixes, and other items that are infused with a specific intention that are sold online and at various metaphysical shops. What I loved about this is the fact that what Cas's mom does IS REAL WITCHCRAFT. This is what real witches do. They don't fly or turn into cats or shoot lasers of the their eyes (oh wait that was x-men). I loved how the witchcraft in Anna never goes into the made up "Hollywood" witchcraft that is in pretty much every book about witches ever. It's real, and I loved it. I'm very excited there's going to be another book because I am not ready to let go of Anna and Cas. The ending of Anna Dressed in Blood is exciting, suspenseful, and fairly cliff-hangery so I definitely want to read more.
I've been reading a lot of reviews that are comparing Anna to the creepy ghosty from The Grudge, but for my gamer self I kept picturing American McGee's Alice in hysteria mode:
I picked up a copy of The Reader after watching the beautiful movie version (in which Kate FINALLY got her Oscar. About time!). Sadly the book did not...moreI picked up a copy of The Reader after watching the beautiful movie version (in which Kate FINALLY got her Oscar. About time!). Sadly the book did not live up to the movie at all. It read like a technical article. It was cold, stiff, and unemotional. The best part of the book was when Michael was a teenager, and even then I had a very hard time connecting emotionally to the characters. Once we move on to the trial the book completely lost me.
I think that this book is best for the people who lived during the time the book was published. It is an interesting look at the group of people trying to come to term with the crimes of their parents generation. There was so much opportunity with the idea of this book, but while the movie executes the themes in a way that will just crush your heart, the book falls far, far behind. This is one of those rare moments where I would say skip the book and watch the movie. Further, you MUST watch the movie, it is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen.(less)
I really like the art and the writing is pretty good. I hate how Scott is playing Knives though! I hope he has the balls to break up with her, but som...moreI really like the art and the writing is pretty good. I hate how Scott is playing Knives though! I hope he has the balls to break up with her, but somehow I doubt it.(less)
I really liked all of the back story with Envy. I also liked how we get to see how she's not quite as evil as she's portrayed in the movie. She's stil...moreI really liked all of the back story with Envy. I also liked how we get to see how she's not quite as evil as she's portrayed in the movie. She's still pretty bad, but not 100%(less)