It's really hard for me to write a review because I had such mixed feelings throughout the series. I didn't even like the first book all that much unt...moreIt's really hard for me to write a review because I had such mixed feelings throughout the series. I didn't even like the first book all that much until I read the second one. So I recommend to anyone who is considering reading them to treat these two books as one. It's the only way to truly appreciate them. (less)
If Veronica Mars was in X-men… the world would rejoice… and the world has every reason to because that description, taken from the back cover of the U...moreIf Veronica Mars was in X-men… the world would rejoice… and the world has every reason to because that description, taken from the back cover of the UK edition of Impostor, is actually pretty accurate.
Tessa is a Variant, a human with the ability to become anyone she’s ever touched. She was taken in by a secret branch of the FBI and trained to use this power in a way that benefits the government. So when a serial killer’s victim doesn’t die right away, Tessa has to become her, become a bait for this sadistic murderer.
For Tessa, who’s never known the warmth of a family, becoming Madison even for a short time was exceptionally difficult. Experiencing a parent’s unconditional love, all the hope and kindness Madison’s parents gave her when they thought she was their miraculously recovered daughter, made her want to abandon her cold life and become Madison forever. The pain she experienced while she was Madison and when she was forced to turn her back on Madison’s life was came across very clearly. While all the other characters were somewhat underdeveloped, Tessa was extraordinarily well done.
Although I’m quite fond of this book as a whole, romance is by far my least favorite part. Alec is your typical overbearing love interest. He tends to suffocate Tessa with his overprotectiveness, but at the same time, he wishes to keep her at arm’s length, for reasons seemingly known to everyone but Tessa herself. He seems to genuinely care for Tessa, yet he refuses to treat her like an equal, which makes him less than desirable in my eyes.
I’m very excited about the upcoming sequel. I don’t trust Alec in the least – it’s quite obvious that he’s hiding something big, and discovering what might just break poor Tessa. In fact, there’s not a single trustworthy person around her, except maybe Madison’s twin brother. One thing is certain: I’ll be following Tessa’s adventures very closely.
As much as I hate to admit defeat, I think I have to make peace with the fact that Darynda’s Young Adult books simply don’t work for me as well as her...moreAs much as I hate to admit defeat, I think I have to make peace with the fact that Darynda’s Young Adult books simply don’t work for me as well as her adult ones. The Darklight series is consistently mediocre, never outstanding in any way, but never overly disappointing either. It is my loyalty to Darynda and her Charley Davidson series that keeps me from abandoning this trilogy, but the enthusiasm is long gone and I doubt it’s ever coming back.
As the last prophet of Arabeth and the only one who can stop the impending war between the light and the darkness, Lorelei McAlister needs to be protected at all costs. For that, she has a nephilim who follows her wherever she goes and then, of course, there’s the Angel of Death himself – Azrael aka Jared aka hotness incarnate. Although they generally don’t agree on much, both Cameron and Jared are determined to keep Lorelei alive. That’s a lot of testosterone for one little book and if anyone could have turned it into a riot, it’s Darynda Jones. And yet she didn’t. Why?!
When I set out to write this review, I decided I’d try not to compare this series to Darynda’s Charley Davidson series and yet, now that I need to write a few words about Jared, I realize it’s inevitable. Jared, you see, is just a washed down, tamed version of Reyes Farrow and as such, he simply isn’t appealing. Therefore, my lack of interest in his and Lorelei's romance is probably understandable.
Darynda’s wonderful sense of humor did occasionally shine through and some of the secondary characters were an absolute delight. Fortunately, Darynda chose not to involve her main character in a love triangle, and although there IS a love triangle in this book, it’s resolved quickly and painlessly. It’s rare that secondary characters get stuck in the middle of a love triangle while the main character remains interested in one person the entire time. As much as I hate love triangles in general, the whole Cameron-Brooklyn-Glitch situation was often hilarious and therefore, of course, entirely acceptable.
After an uneventful first half, the pacing in second improved significantly, only to be ruined by a decision in the end that made very little sense to me. I’m not a fan of game-changing last chapters, especially when they’re preceded by a nicely wrapped-up plot, and I don’t consider them to be a particularly skilful way of creating tension for the next book. I know for a fact that Darynda can do much better, and hopefully she’ll find her YA voice in time for the final book in this trilogy.
Sometimes it’s nice to start a book knowing exactly what to expect: good parts, bad parts and all. The Naturals is a pretty simple, straightforward bo...moreSometimes it’s nice to start a book knowing exactly what to expect: good parts, bad parts and all. The Naturals is a pretty simple, straightforward book. A single review should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about it, and you should be able to judge right away whether it’s something you’ll enjoy.
It is part murder mystery and part teen love triangle drama, so I think it’s safe to say there’s something in it for everyone. Personally, I can’t stand love triangles at the best of times and I thought this one was particularly badly executed, but I’m certain that the readers who usually enjoy them will feel differently and get very invested in the romance, one way or the other.
For me, the serial killer part was part was what saved this book, a least in part. Nothing could quite make up for the torturous and rather pointless love triangle, but I was completely captivated by the mystery and I failed to guess the identity of the killer until the very end. I don’t usually appreciate chapters from the killer’s point of view, although they are inherent to the murder mystery genre, but in this case, I felt they were done remarkably well.
It’s extremely hard to determine whether The Naturals is a paranormal book or not, and yet, I am inclined to think not. The talents these kids have seem to be precisely that – extraordinary talents, but all within range of realistic human capacity, or just beyond. Instead of being bothered by this uncertainty, I found it refreshing and rather intriguing, especially Leah’s lie detecting abilities.
The narrator, Amber Faith, has one of those soft, indistinct voices that are pleasant enough, I suppose, but don’t really stand out in any way. She struggled a bit with voice characterization, especially for male characters, but overall, she falls somewhere around the middle: nothing about her narration rubbed me the wrong way, but I wouldn’t rush to buy a book narrated by her.
All in all, I don’t regret spending 8 hours listening to this book and I’ll likely even pick up the sequel once it becomes available, but while The Naturals was an entertaining read, spectacular it was not.
2.5 stars Nikki Glass is an immortal descendant of Artemis the Huntress, which makes her a Liberi and a natural enemy of the Olympians. She is the late...more2.5 stars Nikki Glass is an immortal descendant of Artemis the Huntress, which makes her a Liberi and a natural enemy of the Olympians. She is the latest member of the Liberi and she’s still adjusting to her new life, but that doesn’t mean she’s entitled to a drama-free existence. After the great fight with Anubis’ descendant in the last book, things are tense between Nikki and her boss Anderson, so Nikki decides to do what she does best – hide.
In an attempt to avoid conflict, she leaves the house she shares with him and the other Liberi, at least for a little while, and goes back to being a private investigator, albeit one with a few extra senses. The case that she decides to accept is very mundane – a pregnant party girl wants to locate her one-night stand to inform him about their baby. After some digging, however, the case becomes far more complicated, and Nikki’s strong sense of right and wrong complicates things even further.
It was nice to revisit familiar characters; not just Nikki, but Jack (descendant of Loki), Blake (descendant of Eros) and a few others as well. I like this world and I’m always excited about spending time in their company. However, Jamaal was entirely absent this time, and considering his newly established friendship with Nikki, as well as their growing attraction, I found this rather odd.
I wouldn’t recommend jumping into this novella if you haven’t read the previous two books. Jenna Black offered no backstory, no explanations and no recaps. It still helped jog my memory, which I desperately needed after all this time. It was nice to be reminded of how much I like Nikki Glass. A year is a very long time between books, especially for someone who reads as much as I do, and I must admit to forgetting the finer details of her character, as well as some of the worldbuilding. Even though Pros and Cons didn’t help much with the latter, it still helped me remember Nikki’s integrity and honesty.
The lesson Nikki has learned in this little e-novella is this: never ask the descendant of Loki to help you solve a problem because he is likely to cause you five more instead of solving the one you already have. And he’ll probably land a few people in jail in the process. Nikki disliked Jack from her very first day as a Liberi, but I always liked reading about his antics. Who could be more fun to read about then the descendant of a trickster god? Oh, yeah, Jamaal, but no such luck.
I can’t wait to get my hands on Rogue Descendants in April. Despite her many qualities, Nikki has some serious challenges ahead of her and she’ll have to resist her natural tendency to run away from her problems. Hopefully things will move forward with Jamaal too, he is still such a mystery to me.
2.5 stars It has never been easier to describe a book in a single sentence. Here it goes: The Rules by Stacey Kade is the young adult and somewhat more...more2.5 stars It has never been easier to describe a book in a single sentence. Here it goes: The Rules by Stacey Kade is the young adult and somewhat more civilized version of Alien vs. Predator.
I kid you not.
We have Ariane, a part alien in hiding with impressive telepathic and telekinetic powers; and Rachel, a spoiled, predatory rich girl with the tendency to bully people into submission. 80% of this book is a huge battle of wills between these two, so if you’re not a fan of high school drama and plans of revenge (no matter how justified), you’d best stay away.
Between them stands Zane Bradshaw, one of Rachel’s best friends. His brother is the city’s (and especially their father’s) pride and joy and whatever Zane does, he can’t possibly measure up. He knows he is simply not good enough, and it was finally and definitely proven a year ago when his mother left him.
When we first see Zane, we see him in the worst possible light. He is part of the in-crowd, one of the bullies, and while he doesn’t actively humiliate anyone, he doesn’t do a single thing to stop his friends either. It was hard to cease despising him long enough to actually consider his reasons, but once I did, he and I turned a new leaf. While his point of view came as a complete surprise, I started appreciating it pretty early on. I don’t think I could have understood him as well as I did if I was limited to Ariane’s point of view alone.
As for Ariane, I loved that she wasn’t a pushover. I was also fascinated by her relationship with her Father, the man who saved her from the lab and allowed her to assume his dead daughter’s identity. It was so hard for him to see some other girl, some alien girl in his daughter’s place, but still he protected her and cared for her and loved her as much as he could.
For the first six years of my life, give or take, I’d thought my name was Wannoseven. It was only after I escaped – with Mark Tucker’s help – that I learned Wannoseven wasn’t a name at all but a numerical designation. 107. Pathetic.
Perhaps this will sound a bit silly, but I generally dislike villains that are too evil. In The Rules, there are two: Rachel and her grandfather Dr. Jacobs. Both are evil to the point of being cartoonish and consequently, neither of them feels like an actual threat. A truly frightening villain has some small part you can identify with, something that makes you wonder how they got to that point. A well-crafted villain is made of many colors, and while black may be predominant, it’s certainly not the only one.
And whatever happened to worldbuilding, Ms. Kade? Mentioning Roswell does not a worldbuilding make! Perhaps more will come in future installments, but right now, I’m not even sure The Rules qualifies as sci-fi. It reads very much like a contemporary with a few weak paranormal elements.
In addition, I think this book’s biggest fault is that it’s just not memorable. After The Ghost and the Goth, I expected more from Stacey Kade – I was sure she’d give us unforgettable characters at the very least. But alas, I’m having trouble remembering their names even though I finished the book no more than five days ago. So when I compare that to names (and characters) like Froi of the Exiles, Georgia and Shaun Mason, or even Janelle Tenner, my opinion on this series becomes crystal clear.