**spoiler alert** We find our heroine Nimira (Nim) dancing & singing as a "trouser girl" on a dank music hall for a living in New Sweeling. Nim wa...more**spoiler alert** We find our heroine Nimira (Nim) dancing & singing as a "trouser girl" on a dank music hall for a living in New Sweeling. Nim was once the daughter of a privileged family in the court of Tiansher but after her mother, a favourite in the Royal Court Troupe, died everything changed for the worst and Nimira set sail leaving everything behind to seek her fortune. When she catches the eye of dashing sorcerer Hollin Parry, he offers her an escape from her dreary existence but at what cost?
In return for a home, new clothes & food in her belly Nim must sing in accompaniment to an Automan, a fairy-made clockwork man who plays a pianoforte when wound up with a key...
Sounds easy right? As the story continues you find that the Automan is infamous in the Parry household for being haunted and that previously hired female singers have often not lasted longer than a day or two in its presence. If a haunted Automan wasn't enough, she also has to contend with Miss Rashten, a keeper of dark secrets hidden in the manor that makes her disapproval of Nim very clear and Mr Smollings, the new creepy Ambassador of Magic, who has more than keen interest in the Automan & Parry household. Does Nim have the courage to discover the truth?
Once I picked up and started reading the book I got sucked right in. Lovers of enchantments, fairies & hidden secrets will love this book. You can't help but admire Nim for her determination & courage through the course of the story. The ending left it open to the possibility of a further adventure.
**spoiler alert** When I saw this in the book store I was intrigued by the story... but apart from what it could have been, the author of this book ha...more**spoiler alert** When I saw this in the book store I was intrigued by the story... but apart from what it could have been, the author of this book has all but butchered it's possibilities.
The main character is called Rae Seddon (a.k.a Sunshine) who, needing to get away from her life for a little, decides to take a break by driving to the local lake for a respite. Before she knows it she is kidnapped by a gang of vampires who makes her strip, put on a red dress & shackles her to a wall in an abandoned mansion. Did I forget to mention that also shackled in the same room is another vampire who has been starved for a very, very long time? Interesting development, no?
Now Robin McKinley has created a very interesting world where the present is the after days of the Voodoo Wars, where humans along side demons, were-animals fought against the villainous vampires who now control most of the wealth of the world. A sort of uneasy peace governed by the SOF (considered the Vampire Police) has settled in Old Town where Sunshine lives, as humans know but ignore the fact that a lot of the population contains part bloods, humans who have half demon, fairy or were-animal in them. Sometimes it's appears harmlessly, like Mary who always pours hot coffee every time... but sometimes it can twist a person and make them psychotic, which is Sunshine greatest fear.
Sunshine considers herself a small changer, a person with the magic ability to change objects from one thing to another, like flowers into feathers but since meeting Constantine (Con) the vampire and during the course of following events Sunshine ends up finding out a lot more about herself, her mysterious family, her magical ability & vampires, more so than she ever wanted to know as she is quite happy pretending to be normal & to go along baking cinnamon rolls for the local coffee house for the rest of her life... yes, I know, how dull...
As I read the book I couldn't help but notice that Sunshine is one of 4 things during the course of the story: Fearful, Angry, Insanely Hysterical or Numb... and it's very hard to like her as a character. Sunshine's new acquaintance Con has the personality of statue but he's an old vampire, so it's a little easier to understand, though even he seems to have more depth to his character than Sunshine.
Now the author seems to overcompensate for Sunshine's lack of character by making her over explain everything in her thoughts. Most of the book is just paragraphs and paragraphs of Sunshine blathering on in an attempt to explain things that exist in her world that sometimes don't need explaining. What happened to leaving somethings out so the reader gets a chance to use their imagination. If you give use bits of information here and there I'm sure readers can connect the dots but no, the author seems to want to spoon feeds us, so the story often feels like it's taking painfully forever to get to the point.
I was often tempted to just skip to the end just to see if this Beauty & the Beast vs the Vampire World-esque story was worth reading but my need to know if Sunshine & Con would get beyond casual, if not painfully blase, friendship spurred me on.... Apart from an almost raunchy scene, I repeat almost raunchy, nothing happens between them besides the invisible bond they share since their time spent together as prisoners... somewhat disappointing, considering on the book's front cover is says "....A mesmerizing SF horror romance..." False advertising anyone?
If anything McKinley has managed to create something unlike any vampire book before and then gently smothered all it's possibilities while drowning it in her need to overspeak. Again, so disappointing.
Don't read this unless it's your absolute last resort and your very, very desperate.(less)
The Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1), prequel to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, does not disappointment. And if you're like me and...moreThe Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1), prequel to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, does not disappointment. And if you're like me and the whole implied "incest" side plot in the first series made you cringe, you can breath a little easier.
Set in the late 1880s London, it is story of Theresa "Tessa" Gray who leaves America after the death of her aunt and follows the promise of a new home with her brother Nate in London. Once in London, Tessa finds not all it what it seems, especially herself, when Nate goes M.I.A and she is abducted by the Dark Sisters. Captured by Warlocks with no hope of rescue and with only her mother's keepsake, a little clockwork angel, to keep her company, Tessa is taught to harness a unique power within her that she never knew existed but to what end?
Meanwhile William "Will" Herondale and James "Jem" Carstairs, Shadowhunters and best friends, are following a trail started by the discovery of a blade with a Ouroboros symbol near a dead girl killed under mysterious circumstances. What they did not expect to find is the threat of a new type of enemy, an army of magical mechanical automatons headed by the mysterious Magister & Tessa at the center of it all.
Ok, the beginning it did drag a little and I was not a big fan of Tessa. I found her naive & overly trusting, so the climax of the book didn't really surprise me. Though towards the end Tessa did seem to grow the beginnings of a back bone, intriguing enough to keep me interested. Will reminds me of Jace from Mortal Instruments, as they both have a similar sense of smart-mouth humour(surprise, surprise)which is pretty entertaining. The budding love triangle between Will-Tessa-Jem is also something that will leave me hanging out to see who will get the girl. Bad-Boy Will with a heart of stone who may not be all that he seems or Jem, a sweet and caring outcast with a heart of gold whose hiding a deadly secret?
Considering I'm not usually a fan of prequels, I was pleasantly surprised with this latest installment in the Shadowhunter world and looking forward to the next book, City of Fallen Angels, when it comes out.(less)
**spoiler alert** Deirdre "Dee" Monaghan always thought herself a plain & ordinary, completely invisible to those around her. That is until she me...more**spoiler alert** Deirdre "Dee" Monaghan always thought herself a plain & ordinary, completely invisible to those around her. That is until she meets incredibly hunky & mysterious Luke Dillon. A gifted flautist with dark, dangerous secrets who has taken more than a passing interest in Dee.
After performing a completely awe inspiring duet with Luke at a local music competition, it sets off a series of strange & dangerous events that causes Dee to change her views of those around her as well as herself as she finds out she's far from ordinary... Dee is a "cloverhand"; a human with unique supernatural abilities which fairies seem to gravitate towards the closer it gets to Solstice and not all of them are... friendly...
It's a dark tale that reminiscent of the Holly Black's Tithe but is filled with Stiefvater's own brand of witty banter, which lightens the mood of the book when it gets perilously close to being too heavy. The comic relief of Dee's cute best friend James alone has had me chuckling more than once at his funny observations and lighthearted one-liners. The exchanges between Dee & Luke as she tries to figure out who or what he is exactly is also quite entertaining, especially as their little friendship becomes something more than either of them expected...
A good read, though the ending leaves things unsaid and left me wanting just a little more. I guess it's all the more reason to read the sequel Ballad. Happy reading.(less)
Dee & James are back in the dark sequel to Stiefvater's Lament.
Things are decidedly awkward between Dee and James, formerly the best of friends u...moreDee & James are back in the dark sequel to Stiefvater's Lament.
Things are decidedly awkward between Dee and James, formerly the best of friends until a fateful text that ruined their friendship at the end of the last book. Now starting at their new art school, Thornking-Ash, they barely hang out and the air between them is heavy with the tension of words that have been left unsaid.
James is still as cocky and witty as in Lament. You often feel like either giving James a hug or a slap behind the head, depending on the situation. Nothing new there but his comical observations and one-liners are still as entertaining as ever. Dee, on the other hand... well apart from littering some of the pages of the book with unsent texts to James in lame failed attempts to bare her soul and the occasional odd Emo appearances that makes you want to slap her...really hard... or push her off a tall building, Dee barely registers in this book until the end. So without a doubt, Ballad is mostly from the view point of James, picking up where the last book left off.
Apart from the new friends James makes at Thornking-Ash, such as Sullivan a pretty cool down to earth teacher that let's kids drink coffee during lessons, my favourite character in this book is Nuala. Known as a leanan sidhe, Nuala is a solitary fey who inspires gifted humans to new creative soaring heights before feeding off their energy when they end up dying before their time. This beautiful but deadly muse has now decided to make her new mark James but he is adamant not to play her game. What follows is an entertaining & often comical battle of the wills/wits as Nuala tries to convince James to make a deal with her and James tries to lead a semi normal life. Key word - TRIES. Understandably hard when Nuala can turn into your deepest desire or worst nightmare. Still, as the story progresses you find that there maybe more to Nuala than she lets on.
Meanwhile Thornking-Ash is more than what it appears to be as well and as characters from the previous book start showing up during the course of the story you realise that there might be some unfinished business left to attend to and new dangers to face.
Overall it wasn't a bad book and it wasn't what I expected, which was surprising in a good way. As entertaining as it was to witness James finally "grow a pair" as Nuala puts it, I really hope there is a 3rd book that answers my old questions from the 1st book and the new questions from the 2nd book.