4.5 stars Considering my horrid experience with Firelight, Sophie Jordan’s YA paranormal project, I started Uninvited a bit wearily, honestly not expec4.5 stars Considering my horrid experience with Firelight, Sophie Jordan’s YA paranormal project, I started Uninvited a bit wearily, honestly not expecting much. And yet, not even 50 pages in, I found myself wound so tightly I could barely breathe.
Jordan did an excellent job of building this mistrustful, terrified society. Parents turning on their children, boyfriends turning on their girlfriends, best friends turning on each other, for no reason other than two recessive genes combined. Fear and mass hysteria are worst enemies of mankind, and combined with the financial interests of some huge company, they make the most dangerous thing in the world.
The horrible injustice of it all burned my throat as I struggled to understand how an entire nation could become so close-minded and prejudiced in such a short period of time. How does one go from ‘innocent until proven guilty’ to ‘guilty simply for having the so called kill gene’? Are we really that easily manipulated? I’m afraid the answer to that question came to me just a bit too quickly, and it wasn’t one I wanted to believe.
Ostracized by her friends and completely abandoned by her formerly loving family, Davy suddenly finds herself completely alone in a world unknown. The rules she lived by for the first 17 years of her life no longer apply. One minute she is a former child prodigy, a well-loved and well-cared for girl, already accepted to Julliard, girlfriend of the most desirable boy in school, with her life all planned out – the next, she is no one, a person with no friends, no family, no name and no rights. She is fair game to every bully and predator out there, and the law is never on her side.
At the beginning, the author took a great risk by making Davy just as prejudiced as her peers, just as ready to judge and turn her back on someone without bothering to find out the first thing about them. She discriminated even while being discriminated against. However, the worse her situation got, the more she realized how unimportant outward signs of violence – forced upon those like her by the government – really are. Little by little, Davy changed the frame through which she viewed the world, and built herself into the person she needed to be to survive.
The strong philosophical undertones, the never-ending nature vs. nurture discussion, make Uninvited a much better book. This isn’t a story you’ll breeze through. If you pay enough attention, it will force you to consider things you’d rather not think about.
Thought-provoking and deeply disturbing, Uninvited is a perfect read for those who enjoy their dystopias with a slightly more realistic edge.
Dead Ends is a simple yet wonderful tale about an unlikely friendship between two young boys, both of them social outcasts. Dane is a bully, raised byDead Ends is a simple yet wonderful tale about an unlikely friendship between two young boys, both of them social outcasts. Dane is a bully, raised by a very young single mom and angry at the world. He has no idea who his father is, and his mother, although otherwise great, refuses to divulge his identity. Dane takes out his anger on anyone who dares to look at him the wrong way, until Billy D. comes along.
Billy D. has Down syndrome. He is highly functional and pretty healthy, all things considered, but he's far from being a regular kid. He sees Dane as someone strong enough to keep him safe from all those who enjoy "hitting a retard". Being intelligent and aware of his situation makes him pretty manipulative so he somehow manages to blackmail Dane into helping him.
The last thing Dane wants to do is to get involved, but with the expulsion from school looming over his head, his choices are limited at best. He even lets himself be blackmailed into helping Billy D. locate his estranged father, which forces Dane to think about finding his own missing dad. Despite how it may seem, a friendship born from mutual understanding is inevitable between these boys. Lange doesn't try to portray either of them in a better light, but as they learn things about each other, they also discover things about themselves, partly flaws they'd rather not see, but also qualities they didn't even know they possessed. Of course their journey ends up being painful and full of unwanted revelations, but it also gives them something neither of them has ever had before - a true friend.
There isn't much I can say about the plot for fear of spoiling it, but I will say this: Dead Ends is a beautifully written, poignant story that deserves far more attention than what it's been getting. I vote that we try to change that. It's what we do, after all.
Well, my good people, Christina Bauer has done it again. Angelbound was such a huge surprise for me last year. I requested it on a whim and practicall Well, my good people, Christina Bauer has done it again. Angelbound was such a huge surprise for me last year. I requested it on a whim and practically inhaled it in one sitting, only to end up anxiously biting my nails while waiting for the sequel. Not that Bauer left us with a cliffhanger or anything. She’s not one of those authors, you know.
And quite frankly, it isn’t only the lack of cliffhangers that make Bauer and her series stand out. Everything about Angelbound is different, from the heroine, the romance, and her hilarious sidekick. The worldbuilding, while fairly simple, is also very interesting. Bauer does an excellent job in creating a challenging world for Myla.
In Scala, that worldbuilding becomes far richer in details. Since Myla is responsible for all the souls in Purgatory, we need to learn how everything functions. And since Myla is being attacked politically, the relationships between realms are very important. However, while it may sound a bit complicated at first, rest assured that Christina Bauer delivers it all painlessly. Being in Myla’s world is very easy, and spending time in her company is always such a delight.
The very best part of these books is, of course, the romance. Unnecessary romantic drama isn’t something Bauer does and I admire her greatly for it. Instead, we have soul mates, true partners and friends. Myla and Lincoln understand each other and support each other through everything. Lincoln is not one of those book boyfriends that conveniently disappear when push comes to shove. He follows Myla everywhere and she does the same for him.
There were some parts of this sequel that seemed a bit rushed. So many things were happening at once and the pacing was so fast, we barely had time to absorb and think things through. But even through those frantic scenes, Myla’s fabulous sense of humor served as a great tension reliever. And let me tell you, our Myla has matured so much! She isn’t one of those heroines that gain powers only to whine about them. She doesn’t indulge in self-pity and being indecisive is completely foreign to her.
I will conclude with this: I adore this series. Even with a somewhat inferior second book, it’s definitely worth your time. I’ll be stalking Netgalley for arcs of Armageddon, that’s for sure.
1.5 star Oh, how deceiving looks can be! (I just love being overly dramatic sometimes, don’t you?) With the cover and the blurb as impressive as these,1.5 star Oh, how deceiving looks can be! (I just love being overly dramatic sometimes, don’t you?) With the cover and the blurb as impressive as these, Drawn can easily pull in even the most skeptical of readers – and in my case, it did. Everything about this book looked right on the surface. The cover is alluring, the premise so very intriguing, and the short graphic introductions to each chapter promised a unique reading experience. However, it soon became clear that Drawn is nowhere near as good as I was hoping it would be. Instead, it is slightly amateurish novel that may appeal more to middle grade readers.
How many fabulous, but poorly executed ideas can you think of right this second? I bet I could come up with at least a dozen off the top of my head, and yet very few have had such promising beginnings and have ended up disappointing me to such extent. The protagonist, Sasha, is a human lie detector – her voice can make anyone say what they’re thinking out loud. Because of her talent, Sasha lives a very lonely life. Her parents abandoned her when she was a baby and she moved from home to home, friendless, until she was assigned to a female FBI agent who took care of her and used her to solve cases.
Considering Sasha’s unique ability, the mission she was sent on in Drawn, and by the CIA, no less, seemed ridiculously easy and entirely unnecessary. Her job was to infiltrate a group of graffiti artists and uncover the identity of the infamous Kid Aert, and how convenient that the daughter of Sasha’s handler – a girl who befriended her despite constantly blurting out embarrassing truths around her – was already a part of said group. Of course, as she befriends this group of French artists, Sasha ends up with an internal conflict – do her job like she’s always done, or protect the only friends she’s ever had?
The attempt to build Sasha into a complex character, bitter for being abandoned by various parental figures and constantly used by the government, failed spectacularly. Not for a second did I feel her loneliness and insecurity as I was undoubtedly supposed to. Instead, she came across as unapproachable and somewhat obnoxious.
As a general rule, I try to find at least something positive to say, and in this case, it would probably be the setting, except for all the errors it brought with it. Sasha’s assignment takes her to Belgium, a country we don’t see much of in YA, which I’d normally be thrilled about. However, although I don’t speak much French, even I could notice all the language disasters – the kind of errors Google Translate would do.
To make the long story short – I can’t, in good conscience, recommend Drawn to anyone. This is not Gray’s debut, but it certainly reads like someone’s first high school attempt at writing a novel, and I think we can all agree that those should be kept hidden.
What on God’s green earth is going on with Richelle Mead? She keeps throwing these beautiful, dark works at us and expecting us to just roll with theWhat on God’s green earth is going on with Richelle Mead? She keeps throwing these beautiful, dark works at us and expecting us to just roll with the punches! Take is easy on us, Richelle. We readers are such sensitive creatures.
Consider that your warning, my friends: Silver Shadows is Mead’s darkest work so far. Starvation, torture, interrogation and mindless self destruction are just some of the things are heroes have to deal with. Compared to that, Rose’s time as Dimitri’s personal snack bar seems like a walk in the park. Our heroes are strong and they are smart, but even the strongest break if you put them under enough pressure. Mead puts Adrian and Sydney through hell in this book, facing them with the kind of things that are likely to have lasting consequences.
Like The Fiery Heart before it, Silver Shadows is told both from Adrian’s and Sydney’s perspectives, and both are done excellently. Richelle Mead has such good grasp of these characters and she has once again proven herself to be an excellent psychologist. Even in this subgenre that doesn’t always strive for emotional complexity, she gave us characters that are genuine in their actions and emotional reactions at all times.
I have to reiterate: parts of this book are very difficult to read. My heart broke for Sydney and Adrian, and even Adrian’s self destructive tendencies didn’t make me want to strangle him like they usually would. We always knew Sydney was the stronger one, but Adrian can be depended on when push comes to shove.
Everything else I could possibly say about this book is a spoiler, and I’d never do that do my readers. Silver Shadows ends with a cliffhanger that leaves us in breathless anticipation of The Ruby Circle, sixth and final installment of the Bloodlines series. Things are so painful and complicated already, I don’t know how my poor heart will handle any more, but my copy is already pre-ordered and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Every once in a while, I read a book that has no ratings or reviews by people I trust, hoping to discover a hidden gem. And every once in a while, tho Every once in a while, I read a book that has no ratings or reviews by people I trust, hoping to discover a hidden gem. And every once in a while, though not as often as I’d like, I actually succeed (which, I freely admit, happens to be very good for my ego). Angelbound is one of those gems I’m thrilled to have discovered. I picked it up on Netgalley not expecting much at all and I ended up reading it in one sitting. This YA paranormal fantasy is cute, compulsively readable and above all fun.
Myla is a quasi-demon – a half demon, half human 17-year-old girl enslaved by ghouls in the Purgatory. She did nothing wrong to end up there; her species used to rule the realm until Armageddon, the King of Hell, allied himself with the ghouls and helped them in their rise to power. Aside from going to school where she learns all about being a good slave to the ghouls, Myla fights in the Arena against souls that choose trial by combat in their afterlife. Her opponents are always the most wicked of souls and it’s Myla’s job to make sure they don’t win against her, thus earning a one-way ticket to Heaven. Luckily for everyone, Myla is very good at what she does.
Myla is a magnificent heroine, fierce and outspoken, hilarious and mischievous, and yet compassionate and mature when the need arises. As fascinated as I was by the worldbuilding, it was Myla who turned this book into something memorable. This girl never faltered, she fought back with a healthy dose of humor and an arrogance I would probably hate in anyone else. I do love a girl who knows her strengths. And did I mention that her demon tail is sentient? Best. Sidekick. Ever.
When Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax first appeared, I disliked him so intensely, I didn’t think there was any hope for his character. But only a boy equally skilled and equally arrogant could ever hold Myla’s interest for a longer period of time, and the prophecies soon proved true – they were indeed perfectly matched. What started as an awfully antagonistic relationship, ended up being one of the sweetest, drama-free romances I’ve come across in a very long time. Don’t you just love it when couples present a unified front in all things?
Ah, but here’s the real treat: Bauer took the very basic Heaven-and-Hell outline and then built upon it, creating five realms with rich history, each ruled by a different race. Usually, the word ‘angel’ on the cover of any book is enough to make me shudder, but thankfully, I didn’t let my prejudice stop me from requesting this, and thank Heavens for that!
The secondary characters, with the unfortunate exception of Myla’s best friend Cissy, are all very lovable and interesting. I could have done without the focus on Cissy and her love life in the first half, but when Myla and Lincoln took center stage, the annoyance was quickly forgotten. As far as narrative techniques go, I’m usually not a fan of flashbacks, but these dreamscapes in which Myla discovered the truth about her mother’s past were perfectly timed and reasonably short, so I found myself enjoying them despite myself.
Fans of interesting worldbuilding, fans of romance, fans of kickass heroines, fans of great fight scenes, fans of all of the above… I believe you’ll all find plenty to love about Angelbound. Although it ends cleanly and beautifully, I can’t wait for the release of Scala in May 2014.
After Kim Curran’s original and highly entertaining debut, Shift, my expectations for the sequel were pretty high. I read both books back to back, butAfter Kim Curran’s original and highly entertaining debut, Shift, my expectations for the sequel were pretty high. I read both books back to back, but a significant improvement was easily noticeable. She has matured as a writer from one book to the next, and although Control had its problems, it’s a read I’d never hesitate to recommend.
In Shift, Scott discovered that he has the power to change any decision he’s ever made. In other words, he’s a shifter. But the power is far more dangerous than it seems because even the smallest change can have catastrophic consequences. What’s more, his power won’t last forever – the ability to shift is limited to teens. Once Scott reaches a certain age, entropy will set in and he’ll be just a regular person once more. Through it all, he has the help of a shifter girl, Aubrey. She was the one who helped him adjust to his new life as an agent of the ARES, and – to Scott’s never-ending astonishment – she seems to like him just as much as he likes her.
At only 15, Aubrey is intelligent, talkative and energetic, true force of nature. Both books are told from Scott’s point of view, but although we only see her though his eyes, Aubrey is no less of a protagonist. For Scott, she is the only constant in his otherwise turbulent life, something to hold on to in the ever-changing realities.
Male voices are so difficult to get right in YA (a teen boy’s mind is a mysterious thing indeed), but Scott’s struck me as very authentic. Both Scott and Aubrey were extremely mature for their age, but it never really seemed odd considering the amount of power they wielded and the type of job they did. Each of them was burdened with so much responsibility that it’s no wonder they talked and acted like 30-year-olds.
The plot in both books is downright excellent and Curran leaves her readers no time to breathe or relax. Scott and Aubrey face true horrors on every turn. The only letdown was their final encounter with the villain in Control. This person had been terrorizing and manipulating shifters for decades, and yet Scott handled the situation so easily, it was almost ridiculous. Aside from that, Shift and Control are amazing and compulsively readable.
Another thing I feel the need to mention: I. Do. Not. Appreciate. Cliffhangers! Ending your book with a cliffhanger is a sure way to ruin the whole thing for me. While Shift has a nice, clean-cut ending, Control ends with a huge pile of mess at Scott’s door. It’s a good thing a third book was recently announced, or I’d be tempted to pull my hair out. Or well, someone’s hair at the very least.
Cliffhanger or not, these books are a much needed breath of fresh air in YA. If originality is what you’re after, pick up a Strange Chemistry title and give it a try. It’s quickly becoming my favorite and most reliable imprint. These days, it’s enough to see their logo to know that I’ll thoroughly enjoy a book. Kim Curran’s series is no exception.
2.5 stars Take all the YA paranormal tropes you can think of, mix in four or five archetypal characters and a few utterly unimportant ones, put them al2.5 stars Take all the YA paranormal tropes you can think of, mix in four or five archetypal characters and a few utterly unimportant ones, put them all in one place, shake (but don’t stir!), add two olives (the olives are obviously for me), and what you’ll end up with is Angelfire. Or Wicked Lovely, or Hush Hush, or you know… something to that effect.
To even suggest that Moulton came up with something even remotely new in her debut would be ridiculous, but to claim that I didn’t enjoy it to a certain extent regardless would be also be a blatant lie, so I won’t bother. Angelfire follows the usual Young Adult paranormal storyline to the letter, without deviations of any kind, but sometimes, that comforting and familiar pattern is exactly what my brain needs.
A girl finds out that she’s special and her powers awaken on her birthday. She is told about her true nature by a mysterious, gorgeous boy who, for some inexplicable reason seems utterly devoted to her. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t chase the boy, or the truth he brings with him, away. She soon develops feelings for the boy and he clearly has feelings for her, but he is determined not to touch her, out of sheer nobility, of course. They fight together, they’re willing to die for each other, but apparently kissing is over the line.
And yet, what troubled me about Angelfire wasn’t the familiar storyline, it was the main character, Ellie. While I understand that 17-year-old girls aren’t known for their altruism, she struck me as particularly self-centered as selfish, especially in her relationship with her Guardian, Will. She was always asking more of him, small but potentially painful things, without once stopping to consider how they might affect him.
For his part, Will took the mysterious, brooding, yet self-sacrificing hero to a whole new level. His never-ending lines about protecting Ellie at all costs, doing whatever she tells him to, going wherever she decides quickly turned from protective and romantic to pathetic and a bit creepy.
It would be easy to point out all the negatives and stop there, but Angelfire isn’t without its advantages. Moulton is, technically speaking, a pretty decent writer and her sense of pacing is excellent. Even though I guessed two big mysteries pretty early on, the fact remains that she knows how to build up tension.
While this type of books isn’t for me, at least not anymore, Angelfire is a pretty good choice for readers who occasionally crave a new version of the same paranormal YA story. I must have read one too many myself, but I know plenty of people who still enjoy them, and I envy them for it just a little bit.
Chantress Alchemy, the sequel to Amy Butler Greenfield’s YA historical fantasy debut, is one of my hotly anticipated releases in 2014. Everything I loChantress Alchemy, the sequel to Amy Butler Greenfield’s YA historical fantasy debut, is one of my hotly anticipated releases in 2014. Everything I loved about Chantress - the gorgeous setting, fabulous characters and Butler Greenfield’s elegant writing – is present in this sequel as well. Not only is Chantress Alchemy as good as its predecessor, I dare say it’s a much better book in some regards.
As much as I enjoyed Chantress last year, I thought its plot wasn’t complex enough. It was fairly straightforward when I wanted something elaborate. In that, Chantress Alchemy shows a significant improvement. Due to King’s gratitude, Lucy has a voice in the council and is much more involved, which means that the plot is richer and far more dynamic. Lucy’s voice is now heard when she talks, and not just when she sings, and her opinions are taken into consideration by the King. I loved seeing her play a more important role, but what’s more, I loved that she wasn’t always up to task. She is young, after all, and she was constantly being attacked by much older shrewd politicians.
The romance was just as lovely, if not more. Both of these characters are strong and interesting in their own right. The final installment promises to be very hard for them both, but I have no doubt that they’ll come out as winners in the end.
Chantress is an unusually well written trilogy worthy of your time and attention. I listened to a part of it and the audio is excellent as well. If you decide to go with that format, you won’t be disappointed.
By now, everyone in the world knows that I’m terrified of faeries. I dislike seeing them romanticized; I’d much rather have them portrayed a3.5 stars.
By now, everyone in the world knows that I’m terrified of faeries. I dislike seeing them romanticized; I’d much rather have them portrayed as the deceptive, vicious creatures they are. In The Falconer by Elizabeth May, though, there’s a little bit of both, and that, as it turns out, is a perfect combination for someone like me.
We join Aileana not at the traumatic event that caused her to start killing faeries, but a year later, when she’s already met Kiaran MacKay, who molded her into a fighter. It’s clear from the start that Aileana is no ordinary Victorian society girl, even though she once used to be.
There is a perfect balance of light and darkness in Kiaran MacKay. He talks little of his past, his thousands of years of existence, but when he does, it’s difficult to reconcile the monster he describes with the hero we quickly grow to love. The same balance is reflected in Aileana, albeit more moderately. While it’s true that hunting faeries saves people’s life, Aileana is driven by her overwhelming need for vengeance, not by altruism. It is, however, impossible not to sympathize with her – having seen her mother brutally murdered by a faery, Aileana is forever changed.
May paints for us a very detailed picture of Edinburgh in mid 19th century, each sentence showing the amount of research that went into The Falconer and her familiarity with the setting. She also shows, rather accurately, how stiff and uncompromising the society was, especially towards women. ‘Duty first’ is the rule by which all women lived.
May does a wonderful job with the fae language as well. She rarely offers translations or explanations, but it certainly looks authentic enough and gives Kiaran and Derrick an extra layer of otherworldliness, a much needed reminder when we run the risk of seeing them as too human.
The cliffhanger, however, successfully ruined what was otherwise a fabulous reading experience. There is no resolution whatsoever, and we’re left with very little hope for Aileana and Kiaran. Secondary characters are also left with no closure, sent on errands and practically abandoned mid-flight.
Nevertheless, The Falconer is at the very least an original, beautifully written novel worthy of attention. If you are a patient sort, perhaps wait until book two is released. If not, you’ll just have to suffer with the rest of us.
As Rachel Caine pointed out herself, it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to Morganville, but at the same time, the goodby2.5 stars for the good old times.
As Rachel Caine pointed out herself, it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to Morganville, but at the same time, the goodbye has come not a second too soon. The Morganville well has been drained of its very last drop of entertainment, left with nothing but sweet memories to give.
While I was never the biggest Morganville fan out there, I’ve been following the series happily and eagerly from its very beginnings. We’ve had some good times and we’ve had some bad, but as with all things that belong to the past, in time, only the good will be remembered.
In the 15th and final installment of Morganville Vampires, the town faces a human enemy. The Daylight Foundation has arrived, imprisoned the vampires and turned most of the human residents firmly against their former rulers. But although their cause seems reasonable at first glance, protecting humans from vampires isn’t their ultimate goal, and Claire, Shane and Eve have to find a way to fight them while Michael is locked up with his kind. Claire struggles with the morality of her decision to side with vampires, especially since the citizens of Morganville seem safe and content for the very first time.
If forced to use a single word to describe Daylighters, ‘boring’ would probably be my first choice. I saw this book mostly as something I needed to suffer through in order to get a satisfactory ending for the characters I’ve grown so attached to. The plot itself didn’t offer anything new and it was surprisingly unemotional, with the exception of the ending, of course. My favorite thing about Daylighters was that Caine finally returned to a single point of view.
If you’ve read the previous book, you might remember Shane being bitten by a very strange dog. Caine neatly developed that storyline in Daylighters, but then just as neatly swept it under the rug, which gave me the impression that she only introduced it because she didn’t know what else to do to fill the pages.
As for the ending, everything that happened has been hinted at several times, so I pretty much expected it, but that didn’t make it any less sweet. I am perfectly happy with how we left the Glass house gang, and everyone important got some sort of closure. Caine left no loose threads.
This is perhaps the longest series I stuck with, and I’m not sorry. All things considered, it’s a fairly good one, always entertaining if not exactly original or particularly well written.
I was very pleased to see that Red Hill placed 3rd in the GoodReads Choice Awards for Horror, with over 10 000 well-deserved votes, losing only to SteI was very pleased to see that Red Hill placed 3rd in the GoodReads Choice Awards for Horror, with over 10 000 well-deserved votes, losing only to Stephen King and Joe Hill. While I myself voted for Parasite by Mira Grant, I considered Red Hill to be a close second and it thrilled me to see its quality recognized.
There are so few old school zombie books these days, pure end-of-the-world survival stories. Red Hill reminded me of movies like Dawn of the Dead, with its overall story, individual characters’ stories and the day-to-day struggle to survive. I could easily imagine this turned into a movie and even the smallest details came alive in my head beautifully.
Red Hill is told from three perspectives: Scarlett, a divorced nurse and mother of two pre-teen daughters, separated from them and desperate to find them; Nathan, a single father of one small daughter with special needs; and Miranda, a college student intent on taking her group of friends to her father’s Red Hill ranch where they have the best chance of surviving the apocalypse.
All three voices were done exceptionally well. I found myself enjoying all three perspectives equally. As a mother, I understood Scarlett’s desperate need to find her daughter and admired Nathan for his determination to keep his little girl safe, but Miranda was the one closest to me as a person. I found so much of myself in her that it was easy to understand her choices at all times, even when someone else might have struggled with them.
While characters are very much the heart of this story, there is plenty of blood and gore around them. Zombies are everywhere, fresh and hungry. McGuire never shied away from horrible, painful things. No character was ever safe. I expected a lot of things from Red Hill, but the emotional impact took me completely by surprise.
Emma Galvin, January LaVoy and Zachary Webber narrated this story. Emma Galvin is the only one I’ve had the pleasure of listening to before (Divergent, Allegiant, Forever) but the other two were just as good. They each added something to their POV character and turned this story into a spectacular listening experience.
If you enjoy old-school zombie books, Red Hill is a must read. I strongly recommend it to fans of Rihannon Frater’s As the World Dies trilogy and to all other zombie fans. I doubt there’s room for a sequel here, but Jamie McGuire is a versatile writer and I’m sure she’ll give us so many other books to look forward to in the future.
2.5 stars The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well then, methinks I’m batshit crazy2.5 stars The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well then, methinks I’m batshit crazy because I just never learn.
Even though I’m fully aware that she has many, many fans, Katie McGarry’s books never quite worked for me. I often found her approach to certain subjects too shallow, her characters just a tiny bit plastic and her writing awfully clichéd. They are, for me, the type of books I can finish in one sitting, and then promptly forget they exist.
The same stands true for Crash Into You, albeit somewhat amplified. Despite my lukewarm feelings towards the previous two books, I found myself looking forward to Isaiah’s story. Of all McGarry’s characters, he’s the one I felt had the most potential. But instead of building upon the promising foundations, McGarry turned him into one of those bad-on-the-outside-decent-on-the-inside archetypal romance heroes, thus effectively ruining his character and the overall story for me. Where was the expected depth? Mommy issues and a few false rumors do not a hero make.
Back when Isaiah thought himself in love with Beth, I wholeheartedly agreed that they weren’t right for each other. Two severely damaged individuals would always drag each other down, no matter their intentions. But who he got instead wasn’t much better for him, and she was a disappointment for me as a reader as well. I was promised a street racer, and instead I got a skittish, never-been-kissed girl with no backbone and more issues than I could count. So even though Isaiah ended up being as stereotypical as they come, the real letdown was Rachel.
With her personality and her will practically smothered by her family, Rachel grew up into a weak, strange girl prone to panic attacks. Her small rebellion, the street race where she met Isaiah, was a once-in-a-lifetime deal, not a common occurrence like the book description led me to believe. There were so many times I wanted to shake some sense into Rachel, make her stand up to her family instead of cowering and throwing up until her throat was raw and bleeding. Their relationship was at times exaggerated to the point of being ridiculous, which is exactly what McGarry usually does and why her books rarely work for me.
As always, secondary characters were far more interesting, probably because they haven’t been turned into clichés just yet. Abby has a great story to tell, McGarry has hinted at a horrible past that I would normally be excited to explore. My problem is that I don’t trust this author to do it properly, without turning Abby into a textbook teen martyr, a troubled girl only waiting for the right boy to solve all her problems. The next book isn’t Abby’s, however, that dubious honor belongs to Rachel’s brother West.
I’ve decided to part ways with McGarry so many times, only to pick up the newest title as soon as it becomes available. This time, I know better than to make such statements. I don’t feel particularly drawn to West’s story, but once it comes out… who knows?
A Cursed Moon is a novella told from the perspective of Bren, Celia’s were friend. Novella’s are always hit or miss for me, rarely do they fall in theA Cursed Moon is a novella told from the perspective of Bren, Celia’s were friend. Novella’s are always hit or miss for me, rarely do they fall in the middle, and luckily, A Cursed Moon is a huge success.
I adore Cecy Robson for being able to build such a fabulously complex character in a single novella. I feel like I know Bren well now, and I certainly understand what makes him behave the way he does. I have to admit I was a bit worried at first – Bren’s devil may care attitude grated on me and made me severely uncomfortable, but Robson did a fabulous job of explaining his character in a way that made sense and that succeeded in endearing him to me in a matter of minutes. The loyalty and love he shows his friends on a daily basis more than make up for his sometimes obnoxious behavior.
It was also nice to see Celia through someone else’s eyes. Due to her confidence issues, we never really got the sense of how other people might see her, so being privy to Bren’s thoughts was truly eye-opening. It is now even more clear that Celia has a somewhat distorted self-image and that she is, in fact, both fierce and stunningly gorgeous.
Even though this novella focuses on Bren and his new position in Aric’s pack, a big part of it continues to explore Celia and Aric’s situation. These two break my heart to teeny tiny bits. Their love for each other is so strong, but Aric is not selfish enough to put his own desires and happiness above that of his pack. They are the very definition of star-crossed lovers, and Robson writes these emotional moments extremely well.
For a novella, A Cursed Moon is pretty eventful and it brings some permanent changes, which is rather unusual. I can’t wait to see how they will reflect on the series as a whole in Cursed by Destiny, the next novel in this wonderful series.
Weird how things can change in very short periods of time! At the beginning of this series, there were Adam and Juliette, and I couldn’t imagine anythWeird how things can change in very short periods of time! At the beginning of this series, there were Adam and Juliette, and I couldn’t imagine anything else. Then came Destroy Me, Warner’s novella that showed a whole new side of him, and (to my own surprise) I started thinking he might be a better choice for her after all. But my heart was breaking for poor Adam. I saw him as a nice and honest – if somewhat plain – boy, not strong enough and certainly not insightful enough to fully understand someone as messed up as Juliette.
However, just like the previous novella, Fracture Me made me completely change my mind. In only 62 pages, Adam has managed to convince me that he’s so very wrong for her, and what’s more, that he doesn’t even really love her. Regardless of my past feelings for him, which was lukewarm at best, I didn’t expect to see this level of anger, jealously, and most of all, weakness.
The thing that troubles me most about Adam, his own doubts and reservations aside, is that he sees Juliette as someone in need of protecting, someone incapable of defending herself. Their relationship, as good as it might have seemed in the past, would never be a relationship of equals, never a true partnership. With Adam’s attitude, Juliette would never be free to grow to her full potential, she would always be kept back and sheltered. Unlike Warner, who keeps pushing her to be her best, even through nefarious means, Adam would wrap her in cotton and convince her she needs him – a big, strong soldier – to fight her battles.
Tahereh Mafi still does a wondrous job of adapting her writing to her POV character. It’s one of her greatest talents, I think, this ability to use writing as yet another tool for characterization. Adam’s narration is much like Adam himself – plain and a bit dry, with nothing distinctive about it.
Compared to Warner’s novella, Fracture Me is almost painfully short, but it contributes a lot to the series and sheds a very different light on Adam. I’m not sure how many fans he’ll have after this. If he ends up with Juliette after all, I for one I’m going to be very disappointed.
My three stars in no way reflect Tahereh’s writing and storytelling, which are brilliant. It’s more about the bitter disappointment this novella left me with, and it’s definitely a result of my strong dislike of Adam. I know I’ll be a sobbing mess after Ignite Me, though. Whichever way this goes, it can’t end well for everyone involved. Perhaps we should be smart about it and start a support group while there’s still time? The clock is ticking, my friends. The heartbreak is almost here.