This cover change is one of the most terrible changes I have ever seen in my life. Way to go from a unique and different cover to boring run of the miThis cover change is one of the most terrible changes I have ever seen in my life. Way to go from a unique and different cover to boring run of the mill garbage. Excuse me while I vomit....more
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a PERFECT example of paranormal romance done wonderfully right. Everything about this book is fantastic. The charactThe 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 :) ...more
I didn't really like Wither, but I didn't hate it either. I was put off by the lack of scientific support for the world building but I was interestedI didn't really like Wither, but I didn't hate it either. I was put off by the lack of scientific support for the world building but I was interested in the characters and the drama that unfolded. I thought Wither presented some interesting topics on forced marriages and human trafficking as well as the ethics of genetic manipulation and that in Fever we were going to explore these themes in greater depths. Unfortunately these topics were barely touched on in this weak follow up.
Fever really suffers from middle book syndrome. It's almost like the wordiness and overly poetic writing is trying to make up for the lack of character development, world building, or any real plot. I feel like everything in this book, from the main character to the writing to the world building to even the book itself, is very surface level. Everything is pretty and shiny, but there's no substance, no meat, to anything. It's like this book is saying "Look at how beautifully I described these girl's dresses and hair! Ignore the fact that they are child prostitutes, let me wax poetic about the fabric of their sex tent!" The writing is very wishy washy, to the point where I wasn't sure what was happening (specifically with Gabriel and the cage and with Vaughn and his testing). We're never told clearly what is happening, and instead of creating tension, it only creates confusion.
It's all very disappointing because I really liked the idea of the sex carnival and I thought it was an interesting setting to talk about tough issues like child prostitution. But it's almost like the author presents these terrible situations but doesn't fully commit her writing or her main character to those situations. Rhine gets exempt from abusive situations again and again (not having to consummate her marriage to Lindon, not having to prostitute with strangers). Instead Rhine watches other children be victimized and doesn't do anything to help them other than feel kind of bad. I feel like there is some indirect victim blaming going on here, that the child prostitutes are dirty and bad for having sex and that Rhine must stay pure and good because she is the main character. I do not know if that was the intention, but that is the road Fever heads down and it is a very damaging and dangerous path.
Fever is a truly disappointing novel not just as a sequel, but as a missed opportunity to actually say something of value. It just flits from topic to topic without fully committing to anything. ...more
Anna and the French Kiss is just a cute story. It's a story about a girl who is thrown into a completely new setting where she is exposed to new experAnna and the French Kiss is just a cute story. It's a story about a girl who is thrown into a completely new setting where she is exposed to new experiences, meets new people, and even falls in love.
I really enjoyed this story. The flirtatious interaction between Anna and Etienne was just adorable and so much fun to read. The romance is certainly the strong point in this book, and it's done very well. The character interactions and development were very well done as well. I thought all of the characters were relate able and believable. No one was completely bad and no one was perfect either, which I really appreciated. Finally I LOVED the setting. I've never been to the Paris part of France (I have been to the Riviera area like Toulon and Nice) and Anna and the French Kiss really made me want to travel there. Everything was described so well I thought I was actually there. I just wanted to stroll down the street visiting various monuments while eating a delicious baguette.
My only real criticism has nothing to really do with the book or the writing, but just my general frustration with the characters themselves. I think that if they had all just sat down and talked a lot of the drama could have been avoided. I kept thinking, oh my gosh, why didn't you just TELL her/him/them!? Also, I know a lot of people are head over heels for St. Claire, but I was not attracted to him. His description was not my type and the picture of him in my head wasn't attractive, so I didn't have that attraction to him like most people. I think that if I knew Etienne in real life I wouldn't have been attracted to him or been friends with him.
On the other hand, I LOVED Anna. I loved her love for old movies, we could have totally bonded over that. I am a movie freak too and it would be so much fun to have a movie marathon with Anna. She goes through a lot of drama and a lot of really crappy things happen to her, but I loved reading about her growing as a person and learning from her mistakes. She is not a perfect person, and I can really relate to her.
Overall, Anna and the French Kiss is an adorable book set in the romantic streets of Paris. It's a perfect light romance that is sure to charm and become a favorite....more
The Forest of Hand and Teeth gets one star for the description of the zombies (though not their explanation) and one star for the awesome title. That'The Forest of Hand and Teeth gets one star for the description of the zombies (though not their explanation) and one star for the awesome title. That's about it for the positive aspects of this book.
There needs to be an explanation for why the zombies exist, and the science has to make sense. I am a stickler about there being science in science fiction and that science is based on fact. If a virus causes the zombies I need to know how the virus is spread, where it originated, if it had an intended purpose or if it was just an accident, how it works in the body, ect. I also need to know how the zombies specifically act in this story. Are they fast or slow? Are they thinking and planning zombies or mindless one? Do they live until their bodies wear out or do they have to feed to survive? I need to understand the cause of the zombies and how they act and why they act the way they do.
There needs to be an explanation for the way society deals with the virus. How do they adapt and what strategies have they developed to protect themselves from the zombies? If there is a government still in place, why does it work, why do the citizens live the way they do, and what are the motivations of the governments decisions? The heroes/heroines need to be smart. They need to have an understanding of their enemy and survival needs to be their main focus. They have to be imaginative, determined, and ready to fight. That's the only way to survive a zombie apocalypse.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth had none of these elements. There was no explanation for the existence of zombies, just that they existed. There seemed to be some knowledge hidden by the "government" of the village, but it was never revealed even though there were many opportunities for the main character to do some sleuthing. There was almost no history about the zombie outbreak and how the village came to exist. I got absolutely no understanding about how the zombies worked and how to best defeat them.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth was way too focused on the completely illogical romantic drama. If the villagers believed that they were the last of humanity in the entire world, why would they force women into becoming nuns? Shouldn't every viable womb be used to keep the population up? I can understand forcing teens to marry in order for this to happen, but if a girl cannot find a match when she is 16 it made no sense for her to be forced into a life of celibacy. Polygamy would have been a more logical system. The particulars of Mary's relationship were also similarly mind boggling. The teens involved inflicted a lot of unnecessary stress upon themselves. They should have all just gotten together and talked about it. A round table would have saved them all a LOT of problems.
I also really hated the attitude taken towards the zombies. There seemed to be absolutely no protection and preparation beyond a few vaulted platforms and a chain link fence. And where did all of the technology go? This book read more like historical fiction than science fiction. If it were me, people would be training every day in combat and survival skills, and they would all have the knowledge about zombies that was available.
I'm surprised that these people lasted as long as they did because there was no preparation for a breach in their defenses. They always seemed to be taken by surprise by a zombie attack, even though they had weeks to prepare. The characters needed to get their priorities straight.
Overall I think this author had too many ideas and couldn't wrap them up. None of my questions were answered or even hinted at having answers and it felt like the author cared more about the love story than the survival story. The Forest of Hands and Teeth focused too much on creating a complicated love square and didn't focus on the more pressing issue at hand, the fact that zombies were trying to eat some brains. The zombies seemed like an afterthought added in to make a romance story more marketable. ...more