This book blew me away with its lush descriptions of the glitz and glamour of the rich, famous and beautiful. The decadence, luxury and opulence of thThis book blew me away with its lush descriptions of the glitz and glamour of the rich, famous and beautiful. The decadence, luxury and opulence of the Lexington Hotel where the bulk of the story takes place is as vivid as it can get. At 500+ pages, it is easy for such a book to be weighed down by descriptions and at times, this is how the reader feels. For some parts of the book, I did wish that something major was happening.
With Agresti's experience as an entertainment journalist, it is no surprise why she had chosen to write a book built in a world which she is no stranger to. And anyone else with lesser experience than she has writing this book, everything would come across as fake. But her version seems believable.
The issues I have with the book can be summarised into two main points: mythology and character development. Don't get me wrong, I love the allusion to Dante's works in the book, as well as to Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey. However, I wanted something which would surprise me, a twist to the renowned literary works. Yes, Haven is a soul illuminator, but the book never explains what this means other than in the literal sense of the phrase. The induction into the Outfit and everything was well-written, but I would have wanted to see more depth and motivations of the characters. Which leads me to my next point. The Outfit, Aurelia and the Prince are just described as evil, and they believe that Haven should join them so that they can tap on her immense power (what immense power?). But it is easy for an author to fall short of developing a character when he or she typecasts that character as good or bad. The only character which I thought had decent character development was Lucian. He embodied the grey area between good and evil and the possibility of redemption. Haven was fairly unremarkable, almost too saint-like and goody-two-shoes. I guess that is exactly what the author wanted, but it comes across as just flat. Lance and Dante were just your typical sidekick kind of characters, nothing surprising there.
Lastly, the romance: I've been Team Lucian ever since he showed his repentant side and willingness to escape the dark side. But I've never understood why he took that path. He claimed to have fallen for Haven and that she showed him a side to his life that seemed severely lacking. And then we are left hanging. Plus the last ditch attempt to throw a love interest, who has been waiting in the wings, at Haven didn't impress me. Yes, it was sweet and all, but I didn't see the need to.
Nonetheless, this is a pretty stunning debut series and I'm looking forward to the next book to see which direction Agresti will take her readers. 3.5 to 4 stars from me....more
By far, one of my favourites in 2012. A book which resonates deeply in my heart because of my wanderlust and the urge to leave behind everything in myBy far, one of my favourites in 2012. A book which resonates deeply in my heart because of my wanderlust and the urge to leave behind everything in my life and just travel. What makes this book even more amazing is that it is based on Kirsten Hubbard's own travel experience in Central America, and she has captured the essence of backpacking in a foreign country so well that I have this irresistible desire to pick a random destination and fly there just to discover myself in the process of discovering that place. More importantly, that whole concept of wanderlove and loving someone enough to fight to keep him or her, that's a feeling that is so difficult to describe, but she has done it with so much mastery.
What a book! It deserves nothing less than 5 full stars....more
If there had to be one series other that Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy + Bloodlines to keep me away from swearing off vampire books, this would do.If there had to be one series other that Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy + Bloodlines to keep me away from swearing off vampire books, this would do.
As most of you would know, I'm madly in love with Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series and now, I think this one has stolen my heart too. Brilliant start to an epic series :D...more
I don't know how to review this book and do it justice at the same time. This book was one that wasn't a fast read, because so many things were happenI don't know how to review this book and do it justice at the same time. This book was one that wasn't a fast read, because so many things were happening in Cricket's life- them moving away, Cricket's mother getting married and the family meeting the relatives and friends on the other side. With all huge gatherings, there is always conflicts, misunderstandings, doubts and all the emotions that come with them. As this book is told from Cricket's point of view, it is difficult not to get caught up in her whirlwind of emotions- dealing with the concept of forever, to stay or to go, her feelings for Janssen, her feelings for the people she meets and how best to keep the people she loves by her side.
Deb Caletti, without a doubt, is one of the best writers when it comes to realistic YA fiction. This story is one about romantic love, as much as it is about familial love. And she has written so beautifully about these two types of love that you feel it deep in your heart. The thing is, it is not easy describing what I feel for this book right now. The ending of this book is one that is so poignant yet powerful. She writes, "the story, our real story is this: doomed, precious, imperfect love. Love, deep and endless and brave in the face of certain loss- through death and leavings and growing up and letting go. Love, given over. It's the tender pulse of every word and every line and every chapter. It's our story and it's the place, where our heart, no matters, always finds home." Cricket sees this as her love for Janssen, but I think this in fact describes her love for everyone dear to her.
Another winner from Elizabeth Eulberg, whose books I have grown to love. Take A Bow is a story of 4 different characters in a pA 4.5 stars from me :D
Another winner from Elizabeth Eulberg, whose books I have grown to love. Take A Bow is a story of 4 different characters in a performing arts school, each with different dreams, ambitions and personalities. I really enjoyed learning about the four through the different points of view in the narration and kudos to the author for being able to flesh out each character so well. There wasn't one character that felt lacking, because all of them had their own voices.
My only grouse? Why couldn't the book be longer? I hated it when I reached the end ): ...more
Saw some potential in the first book despite the glaring misrepresentations of Greek mythology, but this book just made me finally decide to give up oSaw some potential in the first book despite the glaring misrepresentations of Greek mythology, but this book just made me finally decide to give up on this series. Kate is a terrible protagonist. She is immature, insecure and only knows how to whine about how she thinks Henry does not love her. Add his first wife, Persephone, into the mix and it gets a hell lot worse. I didn't like the way Persephone was characterised as a callous, slutty person. Is there anything wrong with leaving a loveless marriage? I don't think so.
And Calliope, she kicks up so many bitch fits that I got so annoyed with her.
There you have it, I'm only going to read or rather flip through the last book only because I want to know what happens. ...more
An action-packed conclusion to a trilogy that more people should be reading. I'm really glad that the loose ends of the werewolf (Urbat) mythology thaAn action-packed conclusion to a trilogy that more people should be reading. I'm really glad that the loose ends of the werewolf (Urbat) mythology that Bree Despain has created for this Dark Divine series have been tied up. The plot took me by surprise with all the twists and turns, and in particular, the motivations of a particular character, whom I actually thought had some redeeming qualities. And it turns out that I was proven wrong time and time again. One of the best parts of this final instalment was the storyline. The reader does not really know what to expect from the plot and just follows the story, which is filled with so much action, angst, sadness, happiness and all the different types of emotions. The finale was slightly anti-climatic, with an open ending as to the fate of a certain character, but I suppose we don't always get what we want.
Overall, Bree Despain upped the stakes and her game in this book, as compared to The Lost Saint, which held me at the edge of my seat at the ending. This one definitely tops it. A 4.5 stars from me. ...more
Expected more from this last instalment of the Hex Hall series, partly because the first two books blew me away in terms of the plot and characterisatExpected more from this last instalment of the Hex Hall series, partly because the first two books blew me away in terms of the plot and characterisation (Sophie's snarkiness and Archer's witty rebuttals). I wouldn't say that the series didn't end well. It did, but I felt that the entire lead-up to the conclusion of the entire plot was a little anti-climatic. I wanted something more, somehow the extra factor was lacking, though most questions were answered and let's just say that sometimes to get rid of a second love interest, drastic measures need not be taken. That is all I will say without spoiling the ending.
Overall, I've really enjoyed this whole series and witnessing Sophie's journey from the very start in Hex Hall to the end in Spell Bound was simply a joy. A3.5 stars from me....more