I'm pretty conflicted in my feelings about this entry into the series. As I stated in my review of the first book, it was a second reread months laterI'm pretty conflicted in my feelings about this entry into the series. As I stated in my review of the first book, it was a second reread months later that enamored me to the plot and some of the characters, after my lackluster initial reaction.
The Undoing opens right where The Unleashing left off, and we follow the Crows as they try to stop Gullveig, this time, with the Protectors, seeing as one of them, Ski Eriksen, is our narrator, Crow Jace Berisha's love interest.
As far as recaps of the previous events in series go, this wasn't the best one I've ever read - pretty bad, in fact - and is probably going to annoy both newbies and returnees alike. But once that was dispensed with, it settled into an interesting and satisfying plot that makes me want the next book now, because I want to know what's about to happen next.
Here's my quandary: I really enjoyed the events in this book, but it was a rough ride. I think it's fair to say I enjoyed the book despite itself. Jace, for me, was not a particularly interesting character in the previous book, and she isn't in her own book. To worsen matters, I found Ski and the Protectors to be exactly as annoying as the Ravens found them, and lackluster too.
What I did like about this book, is in the end what I liked about the previous book, despite my misgivings: the Crows, who are fascinating, most especially Erin and Chloe (OMG I hope Chloe gets her own book, or at least a novella); the Ravens; the overarching plot itself, and the shenanigans underfoot. Those kept me reading and keep me looking for the next in series.
If the final pages are anything to go by, the next book in series will be narrated from Erin Amsel's viewpoint, and what a treat that will be!
*I received a copy from Netgalley and Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review* ...more
Lemme start off by saying I am not writing this off because it is a knockoff Percy Jackson. The Kane Chronicles were knockoff Percy Jackson, and theyLemme start off by saying I am not writing this off because it is a knockoff Percy Jackson. The Kane Chronicles were knockoff Percy Jackson, and they were still entertaining and funny, full of life.
I went straight back and reread the very first Percy Jackson book to see if my suspicions were right. And they were. This book is a lackluster effort. To be sure, the writing is okay, but it is missing a vital ingredient: life. It's like Mr Riordan was just filling in the spaces in his formula. Underdog half-blood demigod: check; in the dark about his true identity: check; monsters out to get him: check; he's the only one who can stop doomsday: check; etc.
Same formula as the Percy Jackson series. What's missing here is the sense of wonder and joy in writing you get from Percy's book. You got the sense that if nothing else, Mr Riordan was having the time of his life bringing Ancient Greek religion into the modern world. With Magnus, he's just filling in the formula for creating his newest cash cow. No Mr Riordan, you can do better. Much better.
Another thing that didn't work too well for me was the breaking of the fourth wall and talking to the audience. Eh. Magnus didn't sound like a 16yo boy to me, but then again, I am neither 16 years old, white, male, or the offspring of European deities, so what do I know?
Other than that, the story progressed well enough, and the characters are okay. I thought it was pretty cool that Magnus and Annabeth are cousins (I didn't make that connection from the last name at first). And I liked that we had a Muslim character included. Yayy! Not everyday white males and females. Some days let ethnic and religious minorities flourish too.
Not bad, but could've been much better. If you wanna read it, consider getting it from your local library.
The concept and setting were very original, in my opinion. It's not everyday you come across a story of a colonized planet where the trees3.5 stars.
The concept and setting were very original, in my opinion. It's not everyday you come across a story of a colonized planet where the trees provide cover and as well speak to a certain subset of the population; or have shifters bred/created for the sole purpose of protecting the populace against the dangerous fauna of the new planet. Everything about the concept worked very well for me.
What didn't work too well were the characters. I expected Rhodry to be more savvy for a shifter leader who knew he was hated and that people were plotting his overthrow. But without the lapse in judgment there would've been no real story, so..... It's all good
Amanda. I didn't like Amanda. I warmed up to her significantly once the story picked up (after the 40% or so mark), but even at the end I still didn't quite like her character.
The plot was pretty slow during the first half, but picked up significantly in the second. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, given that I didn't much like the main character.
All in all, well worth a read, and I will be looking for the second in series. But then again, I always knew this, because BamaGal ain't never steered me wrong with a recommendation before. Ever....more
After reading, I stand by my earlier statement that it appears the publisher and/or author is milking the series for revenue because neither this bookAfter reading, I stand by my earlier statement that it appears the publisher and/or author is milking the series for revenue because neither this book nor the primary protagonists in it was in any way, shape, or form essential to the overarching plot. Said overarching plot moved forward very marginally, if at all. If it was necessary to publish a story about Gaius, this could very well have been a novella.
The entire premise of this book was that Kachka (by virtue of being a "fierce warrior" with no magicks whatsoever, along with Gaius (who came along; why, I do not know) and their team, have to retrieve the evil god Chramnesind's eye before his zealot followers can get their hands on it. Why is this so important to the looming war? We do not know, except that according to Rhiannon, "there is power in the talismans left by the gods." Dassit.
I also reiterate my point that Gaius and Kachka are not even *marginally* integral to this series. This entire book could've been written as Brannie and Aidan's quest/love story and would've probably made more sense because at least, Brannie and Aidan are part of the core cast, even if tangentially. In fact, it could've been Morfyd and Brastias' quest and would have made more sense.
And because Gaius and Kachka aren't integral or even really interesting (Gaius is a nice guy, that's all. Not interesting or integral), there was in fact, precious little about them and their hollow little 'love story', thank the gods. Far more time was devoted to the rest of the cast - Annwyl (whom I love), everybody and their mama at Garbhan isle, the twins (yayy), and Rhi (who's becoming less annoying). That was the saving grace of this book.
I have previously stated somewhere how the punchline shtick with Kachka and her sister and the "Daughters of the Steppes" is actually not funny at all and overplayed. It became downright offensive in this installment. There was a scene where the huge giant-like Zoya Kolesova, daughter of the Steppe, comes to the south lands and basically forces a soldier to dance with her who is obviously very unwilling and intimidated by her size. And later she ends up sleeping with him (or some other such unwilling soldier). That was played on for humor, I believe. But I didn't find it very funny. That is *sexual harassment* and *rape.* not funny and not a punchline. That REALLY bothered me.
Also. Vateria. Sigh. If we are going to make a filler book about a filler character, could we at least get him to fulfill his most greatest wish? The only reason Gaius didn't/couldn't kill Vateria his nemesis was because she had a small son, and we are good guys so we can't kill children and so let their mama escape for another day. Talk about Dues ex Machina.
But for Annwyl and the original crew, this book would've been a fail. It is not far from it as it is. I would borrow this from the library, not buy it.
I will still read the next book series because I am invested in the original characters, but I will wait to get it from my library. I bet the next book will be Brannie and Aidan's story. If it is I am here for it.
--------------------------------------------------- I like Gaius. He seems level-headed (like Bran), and in this world of crazy characters, level-headed is good and refreshing.
I don't like Kachka. The slapstick with she and her sister is over-the-top and frankly, not at all funny. It's too much.
And I feel like Ms. Aiken and her publishers are milking this series for money by stretching it out. I do not know how essential Gaius and Kachka/their story is to the plot.
So I am hoping there will be more to this book than the love story between the two....more
So.... I think if I had read this book earlier, when I was more able to suspend disbelief, I would've rated it even higher - possibly 5 stars3 stars.
So.... I think if I had read this book earlier, when I was more able to suspend disbelief, I would've rated it even higher - possibly 5 stars.
But with every passing birthday, it seems I grow more cynical/realistic/unwilling to suspend said disbelief, and it's wreaking havoc with my enjoyment of historical romances.
For the first half of the book, I felt that the writing was...off. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it felt like the writing was getting in the way of the story. I don't know how to explain it, but that is how it felt to me. That resolved itself with the second half, and well, the resolution brought with it new problems.
See...I just couldn't credit it. This is not just a story of abandonment. He didn't just throw her out - but he threw her out with nothing, in an era when women alone had no recourse to any help, and were like as not to end up in the workhouse or a brothel to keep body and soul together. He threw her out while she was pregnant. With his child (even though he didn't believe it). After killing her cousin, whom she loved, for no just reason - all because he wouldn't listen.
So fair enough- helping the wounded soldier n all. But I can't credit, after all that (and then learning he'd been enjoying time with his 'Mimi') - after 5 years of sorrow and trouble and almost losing her son, which would never have happened had she had his protection - after all that, going glibly into his arms because 'love.' Nah, bruh. I just couldn't credit it. So her inner conflict, what little there was of it, didn't work for me. At all.
I can credit forgiveness because you don't wanna be choked with hate; I can't credit getting back together again with Jack, not with all that happened. Can't do it.
So.....yeah, I guess it was a good story in the sense that it's pretty well-written. But it is not a good story in the sense that....nope. Nah. Neaux. Not true. Not creditable....more
I read this years and years ago, and picked it up to see if the story held up. It kinda did; somewhat. I liked it, although not as much a so did then,I read this years and years ago, and picked it up to see if the story held up. It kinda did; somewhat. I liked it, although not as much a so did then, and the story dragged in some places. But I did manage to get some enjoyment out of it. Not bad. ...more
This book was mostly filler - setting up the stage for more important events to come - and was pretty boring for a good deal of the plot. It picked upThis book was mostly filler - setting up the stage for more important events to come - and was pretty boring for a good deal of the plot. It picked up somewhere in the middle, and then went back to being filler-ish and boring. Comparing the TV show and the book, I would say that the TV show did a better job. The stylistic changes they employed enhanced the script and forwarded the story while cutting out a lot of the chaff.
I find GRRM's writing to be....uneven. I think he does a superlative job writing dialogue, especially in certain situations. What he sucks at, is writing inner monologue, especially if the POV happen's to be a female's, or that of Tyrion Lannister. From Tyrion's many "oh sister blah blah blah" (when he was thinking of Cersei) to Arya's "I'm a mouse" to Catelyn's "woe is me and my life" in just about every situation, it was a fail. Don't even get me started on Daenerys.
The plot - um yeah. I've already mentioned that it is filler. But that might not be a fair assessment. I could've done without it, sure, but it was necessary for setting up future events, so I guess the 1000+ pages was worth it; but just barely.
Let's talk characters
I don't disdain Daenerys anymore. I don't like her either (but I am working on that. After reading all the spoilers, as looking at clues, if this story is gonna go the way I think it's gonna go, well then, it's in my best interest to start liking her). She really has no perspective on anything, and very little wisdom. And none of it is her fault. She was too young to remember what her father was really like, and only knows the self-important lies Viserys and other sycophants have always told her; she has enough foresight to realise the Dothraki are a warring people but none to realize they might still get restless after conquering Westeros, if they ever conquer Westeros. Her dragons just annoy me. They represent bullying to me, so there's that. But yeah. None of Daenerys' shortcomings are her fault, really.
My favorite POV reading was of Jon Snow and his adventures with the Brother's of the Night's Watch. There at the Wall and beyond, discoveries are being made, things are happening, the plot is moving! I was sad to see the death of Qhorin Halfhand - he was an interesting character and I would've liked to see more of him.
I think the tv show did a far better execution of Arya and Bran's storylines than the book did. Far, far better.
As with the TV show, the characters in King's Landing Lannisters, mostly, and Sansa , bored me to tears. Didn't care much for them. I will say though, that I felt for Sandor Clegane (the Hound). He is such a horrible character, but what else would you expect, being that no one has shown him kindness or support or love all his life? He's had nothing but hate and revulsion, now wonder that's all he has to give. It was touching that he still found time to be kind to Sansa.
What really bothers me about this series is the gratuitous violence. Gory, bloody deaths, killings; Incest, rapes, all manner of violence drip from the pages. Not all of it necessary. I am starting to regret starting this series. Now that I am spoiled, I have a fair idea how this drama all started off, and I am pissed. Nope. Not a good reason for all this violence.
And it only seems to get worse. The Stark kids seem to be under an onslaught of violence which only seems to serve to to harden them and make them as awful as Sandor Clegane. And I can do without that. A 1000+ pages of violence upon violence with a promise of more graphic violence to come isn't why I read.
This is has got to be one of the most unapologetically people-of-color-centered novels I've ever read that wasn't literary fiction written by3.5 stars
This is has got to be one of the most unapologetically people-of-color-centered novels I've ever read that wasn't literary fiction written by an African author. Loved that.
It's narrated by Carlos Delacruz, a man who's more dead than alive, and who works for New York Council of the Dead as a detective/enforcer. Because he straddles the line between life and death, he can basically execute tasks (and humans and ghosts) in both realms. Shenanigans are underfoot, with a sorcerer trying to bring down the partition between the living and the dead, and it's up to Carlos to stop him.
I loved the mythology and relationships in this book. The narration was very informal and conversational, and part of the book's unique charm. The characters, the conversation, and the mythology was unabashedly Hispanic African- felt like I was reading a vodun (voodoo) mystery, or something out of indigenous African religion. For me, that is unique and unexpected, and very welcome.
I do feel that the narrative floundered a bit getting towards the end, but in the final 10% or so, it picked up appreciably. I'll definitely be looking for the next in series....more
I was not amused by the hero's sometimes cutting and deliberately cruel words to the heroine, foInteresting enough story.
However a few major issues:
I was not amused by the hero's sometimes cutting and deliberately cruel words to the heroine, for no reason other than he was jealous of her former husband. I mean! How is that any excuse? Nonsense.
As for Temperance, sigh. She was an okay heroine. But her big secret, her deepest and most enduring shame, the one that makes her do penance by working at the orphanage, is that se slept with a man other than her husband.
Really?! Ms. Hoyt couldn't come up with any other story? Because lemme tell you- this one was as fake as heck! You live in the worst of the worst slums, where humanity is at is abject lowest day in day out. Prostitutes ply their trade in the streets in broad daylight and are dying daily of STIs; murders and thefts, maiming and beatings and muggings are common sights in St. Giles; children are being abandoned, turned out of homes because of too little money and too many mouths to feed; whoremongers and beggar syndicates and human traffickers vie daily to capture helpless young children and enforce them into a life of slavery; people work and are paid too little to live on; the most downtrodden, poorest of the poor, as well as the scum of the earth live among you. You see all these atrocities everyday, day in day out and you want me to believe you think adultery is an unforgivable sin by comparison?! Please, gthohwtbs! Gimme a break!
Yeah- so that completely ruined Temperance for me. I can't abide such foolishness. I mean, how?!