Protagonist: While this novella has a few third person POVs the main focus is on the character of Helen. Helen is a young girl who has the poweReview:
Protagonist: While this novella has a few third person POVs the main focus is on the character of Helen. Helen is a young girl who has the power to hear the Voice of the Gods. This is a power that is not only extremely rare, but is coveted greatly for the prophecies she hears. Helen has a bit of a love-hate relationship with her gift. She loves it because it has saved her life many times, but she also hates how it's coveted and because of that she's in constant danger. I really loved the character of Helen. Even though this short novella spans many years, Helen's character development never always feels natural, even when her thoughts and feeling no longer match what they did mere chapters ago, it never felt forced. Helen is also a very likable and relateable character. She's not perfect, but she owns that and always strives to be herself.
Romance: This book is split up into four parts. In all but one of the parts Helen has some sort of romance going on. Though as an oracle she has to stay a virgin that doesn't stop her from falling in love. There was really only one part in which I felt the romance developed a little too quickly, though it seemed that it was supposed to be that way. Overall I found the romance to be very interesting. Since this takes place over a long expanse of time, as well as various locales, there wasn't just one guy Helen was caught up on. I liked the realism of this as well as the fact that each guy was a little different in some ways, they weren't all carbon copies of each other.
World-Building: Even though this story is for the most part fiction and fantasy there are aspects of it that are based on real events. These types of tales are my favorite. I love how authors can twist history, add a dash of magic, and make it something incredible. Plus, you know me and Greek Mythology, I mean it's hard not to like a book when it has that in it. Though the mythology of this book is a bit different than the normally accepted Greek Mythos. I mean on the whole there isn't too much mythology, but the portion that we do get just seems a bit, off, it's very mysterious and I'm intrigued to learn more about what this author may have changed or adjusted.
Predictability: Honestly this novella is very unpredictable, Of course the things based on actual events are fairly easy to predict if you know the stories, but the changes made by the author and the larger twists in this book aren't all that easy to predict. I loved how every part had some sort of twist to it, something that added to the excitement of this novella. Not that the novella's not exciting without these twists, but they just take it to another level.
Ending: The ending is pretty much the last part, which consists of two chapters. This last part wraps up the novella extremely well and does a lot to sort of transition toward the first full length novel in this series, A Legacy of Kings. There are great characters that return and it left me with so many questions as to not only where this story is going, but also how certain characters fit into the main series and even if some of my favorite characters will make some sort of appearance in the main series.
This novella is amazing, and best of all it's FREE! It may take some to get into it but it's so worth it. Though I think it may have made me prematurely judge Alexander based on how much I despised Olympias, but maybe it'll be fixed when I begin Legacy of Kings very soon!...more
For reviews on many YA book reviews as well as a couple MG ones as well check out my review site Zach's YA Reviews (zachsyareviews.com)
ProtagonFor reviews on many YA book reviews as well as a couple MG ones as well check out my review site Zach's YA Reviews (zachsyareviews.com)
Protagonist: Ismae was a character that I was completely shocked by because even though she starts out timid and scared that the life she was forced to lead would be her ruin, she is soon after seen as a harder and more fierce version of herself. Well, it doesn't happen too fast, there is a three year gap in-between. After that her development is more, one of breaking down that wall and changing her thought about right and wrong and her feelings towards men.
Romance: When I first began reading this book I wondered if there would be a romance since this story is about nuns, but since it's a YA book of course it had a romance. However, even though the romantic interest is almost immediately discernible once he appears, the romance is a slow burning one and builds realistically. I loved how the author did this as there is a lot of insta-love or fast growing romances happening in too many YA books.
World-Building: This story takes place in the small country of Brittany who's government is under the thumb of the French and will do anything to claim their independence and see their duchess crowned. Well, at least most of them do, there is a traitor among the royal court of Brittany and everyone is suspect. Ismae needs to find out who could be betraying her country and keep the duchess safe before it is too late.
Predictability: I was surprised at how this book managed to balance the predictability very well. While for a long while there were twists that I kept trying to piece together without much luck, there were smaller and easier ones to keep me occupied. I have to say that while the largest twist wasn't too hard to figure out after one specific moment there was always a bit of doubt in my brain, and there were also many smaller twists or revelations that I didn't see coming.
Ending: The ending was amazing for a variety of reasons. One, if you wanted to treat this as a stand alone book, you could. It ends leaving a few more minor details open while closing all of the incredibly important ones. That being said, if you did want to continue this series, the next book Dark Triumph, is told from another perspective and is also it's own story, but expands on this one. The ending is a resolution and has no agonizing cliffhanger to torture the reader into needing more.
This book was amazing! Full of political intrigue, mystery, and treason this book won't leave your hands until you have finished it. ...more
Protagonist: Lore lives in the female repressed and culturally regressed country of Vitruvia. As a woman she has littleActual Rating 4.5 stars
Protagonist: Lore lives in the female repressed and culturally regressed country of Vitruvia. As a woman she has little to no rights and once she's married, she'll essentially become a prisoner inside her husband's home, but after discovering her grandmother's secret rebellious nature, something sparks within her, a knowledge that the world she lives in is unjust and she longs to be free to be herself. While Lore has a bit of rebellion in her heart from the beginning, it's not until a bit further into the book that her true self and character comes out. Her development, while a tad sporadic at times, is pretty solid and probably only seems so because of the irregular storytelling.
Romance: To say that this romance is unconventional and unique is an understatement. So while there seems to be a love triangle judging by the synopsis, that's not entirely true. There is a love triangle of sorts, but it doesn't subscribe to typical love triangle tropes. Instead I was confused at quite what would happen with the romance. It's hard to explain, but it was very compelling and entertaining to read.
Story Structure: So first I want to start of by mentioning that this book is told in three parts, that really felt like a trilogy of novellas rather than three parts of one novel, this wasn't bad, just something that I noticed. This story is told rather unevenly. For the first part it's more or less told chronologically, however after that there are time jumps with flashbacks to fill in the missing pieces. I don't think it would have made much of a difference if it was told chronologically, maybe less confusing as the flashbacks were sometimes quite lengthy and so jumping right back into the present would be jarring. As well as flashbacks there are also stories that Lore collects from the girls she meets, of their trials and tribulations. These I found very entertaining as I'm always a sucker for character backstory.
World-Building: This world of Victorian, mixed with a bit of Edwardian, Steampunk was very well crafted. There is a feminist message in this story, but it's not preachy and it's not pushing anything upon the reader, in fact I quite enjoyed it. The various stories Lore collects give various views on this world and help round it out. If I had to compare this book, at least with tone and perhaps writing style wise, I'd say it reminded me a lot of the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver, except with a much more wrapped up ending.
Predictability: I'd say on the whole this book was very hard to predict. Maybe a few things here or there, maybe a suspicion turned out to be right. However since this book strays from classic YA tropes and cliches it was very hard to see quite where the story was going to turn. This made for some awesome twists, certain characters that were putting on acts to seem nicer or even meaner were very convincing, There weren't too many large twists, things that made me drop my jaw in surprise, but the story was nonetheless entertaining.
Ending: So while I wouldn't say that every single one of my questions concerning these characters and this world were answered, I would say that I was pleasantly surprised with how comfortable I felt with this ending. Would I love to see more of this world and these characters, of course I would, but all the same if I were to never see beyond the epilogue, I'd be okay with that as well.
So this wasn't all that hard to rate. The story was spectacular, my only real complaint is the abundance of flashbacks and time jumps which due to flashback length could be jarring after being thrust back into the present, Overall however I highly recommend this book to lovers of steampunk, fierce and strong heroines, and the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver....more
Originally posted on my blog, Zach's YA Reviews (zachsyareviews.com)
Protagonist: This book is told from two different time periods, "Then" andOriginally posted on my blog, Zach's YA Reviews (zachsyareviews.com)
Protagonist: This book is told from two different time periods, "Then" and "Now" each with a slightly different Lena in them. "Then" takes place almost immediately after then end of Delirium with Lena escaping into the Wilds after losing Alex. There she teams up with a group of invalids and learning how life moves beyond the government's borders. "Now" takes place many months later with a more knowledgeable Lena who plays the role that Alex did in Delirium somewhat. She's nearly a fully fledged invalid and works to find a way to make love legal again. In each time period Lena matures in different ways, In the "Then" period, she's learning to push on through the pain of losing everything she's ever loved, while in the "Now" she learns to let go of the past and push on to the future.
Romance: I was utterly devastated in the beginning when Lena's new mentor, Raven, confirms that Alex didn't make it through the escape. I knew that a new love interest would have to be introduced and I was prepared to hate or at the very least, dislike him, but... I didn't. I actually really liked Julian's character and how he paralleled Lena's position from the first installment while Lena took over Alex's. I enjoyed their chemistry and loved that the other kept the appeal of the first romance while still making this romance feel different from the one in the first installment.
World-Building: In this installment, we see what life is like beyond the border and what the uncureds do to survive in the Wilds. We find out that not every rebel is created equal as there are those who cause senseless violence and seem to cause chaos without any clear goal in sight. These "scavengers" give the invalids a bad name and are the ones who cause the most fear and panic among the valid and cured citizens. We also learn a bit more about what happened to Lena's mother and where she went after escaping from the Crypts.
Predictability: This book was more predictable than the first installment, however it didn't hurt the rating because it was still done in a way that made the book completely enjoyable and fun to read. Some of the larger twists came nearly from no where while others I had guessed from the start, those that came from next to no where had some very subtle foreshadowing that I didn't see until well after I finished the book. There were also a few twists that I had a few theories about and while the story seemed to point to one theory it ended up being another one of mine which is always something I enjoy reading.
Ending: "What the Hell, Lauren Oliver!" Haha, that's all I could think as I finished this book. While the twist/cliffhanger that makes up this ending is something I guessed would happen since I started this book I was still shocked that the author would not only have the guts to do it. It's a game-changing and rather unique way to handle the story and create drama, my only hope is that the author handles it well, which at the moment I'm not sure what that would be. All I can say is I don't know how those fans from the beginning lasted more than a year between this and the final book.
There's no denying that this book earns a full five stars. It's fun and engaging, and by the end I nearly forgot how confusing the time jumps were and was so focused on where the next book would lead this story. I'd say even if you weren't such a big fan of this first one you should still read this installment, because it's AMAZING....more
Protagonist: One of the first things I noticed about Clara at the beginning of this installment is that she's the same person that we left in tReview:
Protagonist: One of the first things I noticed about Clara at the beginning of this installment is that she's the same person that we left in the previous installment. Her character development that she went through had stuck and she didn't revert to early-mid Unearthly Clara, which is something that a lot of second/middle books suffer. We also see a bit of change in her in this installment as well, mainly her begrudging acceptance of her purpose and that while she may ultimately change some of what is to come, there are things that are unavoidable and that she cannot stop everything.
Romance: This love triangle still amazes me. It's something unlike everything I've seen before, where it's really hard to know who Clara will choose, because all those signs that point to who she will choose either aren't there or are pointing to both boys. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in both Tucker and Christian during this book, though one guy I did give a bit of slack due to him being very romantic with his possibly territorial and stubborn behavior. The other one still continues to annoy me and while he isn't Aspen from The Selection level annoyance it's pretty substantial that I have decided to not root for his team.
World-Building: I have to say there was quite a bit of world-building and at times a brief overload of info dump. That being said since this is the second book a lot of world building is expected so I wasn't turned off by the excess of info. In this book we learn a lot more about angel-bloods, some things that ring in tragedy and others that lead greater self discovery for our characters. Many questions from the previous book get answered, though not all. We also learn more about Clara's mother and who she was prior to settling down and having children. We finally learn her purpose and what she went through to keep her children safe.
Predictability: Once again Ms. Cynthia Hand doesn't hold back on the twists which range from, "Woah, I didn't see that coming," to, "Didn't see it coming, and it was kind of cheesy," to, "I saw it coming from near the beginning of the last book." While the majority is unforeseeable the shock factors of this book are actually pretty predictable or in one case I only "predicted" something because I was joking how cheesy it would be. The overall predictability is still great though and this was definitely a book that kept me on my toes.
Ending: This book ended different than I thought it would. There was no real cliffhanger, but more of a plateaued ending that I would have expected from the first installment. It didn't leave me craving the next installment or anxious to continue the series, it just sort of, ended. While there were a lot of questions left unanswered, the book ends at a very serene moment when those unanswered questions aren't so important and instead focuses on the now and what Clara needed in that moment.
This series still deserves a medal or award for one of the most original plots, or at least handling of a plot I've ever seen. It was a fun ride watching the story unfold especially when the book became very self aware and Clara would remark about how she seems to be stuck in some kind of YA love triangle. It's an amazing series so far and I would recommend it to any YA lover....more
Protagonist: Ashling Boru is wild, untamed, and fierce but she's still held back by the laws of the wolves and doesn't have a say in who she isReview:
Protagonist: Ashling Boru is wild, untamed, and fierce but she's still held back by the laws of the wolves and doesn't have a say in who she is to spend the rest of her life with. So I would say that I liked Ashling in the first book, but I absolutely loved her in this book. Her defiance and passion, mixed with a few flaws here and there, all held together by her determined loyalty made Ashling a brilliant narrator and protagonist. Her development in this installment is really geared toward who she is, both to those she loves and concerning the prophecy about her. While maybe slow in some part, it's easy to see her grow and change over the course of the book. I loved watching her defy convention and stand up for herself and her own beliefs more and more over the course of the story and grow into the heroine and leader that she needs to be to unite the wolf packs against the evils of the world.
Romance: So I wasn't a huge fan of the romance in the first installment of this series, it was chock full of insta-love and really lacked a good amount of complexity other than the whole hunter/hunted forbidden love thing. In this book however, there is so much more romance going around and it's all done masterfully. In this book Ashling has three main love interests, first there's Grey, the boy she fell in love within an instant, but whose shared love is really and truly earned by the start of this book, even if his declarations are a bit grandiose, over the top, and way to poetic for a kid like him to use. Then there's Brychan, Ashling's betrothed and I'd say if they end up together I wouldn't be too outraged, Brychan's a sweet guy, maybe a bit too cocky at times, but really seems to genuinely care for Ashling. Finally there's Channing, Ashling's third suitor and while he is also a sweet guy, he is a bit shallow and really loves the idea of Ashling more than who she is, but still a great guy in the end. The romance in the book is done very well, I never felt like I couldn't take the suitors other than Grey seriously and I loved how it wove through the storyline and plot so well.
World-Building: There is so much world-building in this installment. There is still so much to learn but this book really delves into not only character back stories and tales of the past that may cause strife later in the story, but really set up a great many things for the next installment in this saga. My favorite thing though may have been the pack traditions, laws and, lifestyle that we learned about. Not that I agreed with any of it, in fact I found it barbaric, archaic, and utterly sexist, but it was those things that really brought it to life and drove my passion for this book. I was excited with every little piece of information we learned. Don't even get me started on the actual Bloodrealms though. It's something you should experience when you read the book, but I will say this, I was not prepared for the primal, gory, and extremely violent setting that we get. Think underground Olympic Colosseum.
Predictability: So in the beginning I thought I had this book pegged, sure I had my suspicions every once in a while, but for the most part I thought I had at least a vague understanding of how this story would go, and for quite a while I was right. Then, it was the beginning of the end. I'm not kidding you, at the beginning of what I would classify this book's ending all my predictions went out the window. There were so many twists and the sheer organized chaos of it was glorious. I never knew quite what was going to happen and I was really surprised to see how much the author was able to truly cram into so few pages. It's pretty mind blowing.
Ending: So yeah, like I said the ending was crazy. The final confrontation was action packed and the author didn't skimp on the amount of detail for the battles with the larger antagonists of this installment. It was hard to truly keep up with the action though, but boy was it entertaining. In the cool down period following the battle, tensions were high as this book wound down. There's a bit of a cliffhanger and I'm really interested to see if this is going to be a trilogy or if the author has plans to expand the series beyond three books, because right now, given the size of the next installment, Bloodmoon, I could easily see most if not all of the loose ends being tied up.
I honestly didn't expect this going into the book. While I stand by my four star rating for the first book, I'll be the first to admit that it had quite a few flaws. However, this is every single thing that I wanted out of a sequel to Bloodmark and so very much more. I'm practically kicking myself for not starting it sooner, and will probably read the next installment as soon as I am physically able to....more
Protagonist: Pip Bartlett can talk to magical creatures, though no one believes her. This special talent often leads to unfortunate "incidents"Review:
Protagonist: Pip Bartlett can talk to magical creatures, though no one believes her. This special talent often leads to unfortunate "incidents" that leave Pip looking like an undisciplined and trouble making child. Her latest misadventure, known as "The Unicorn Incident," motivates her parents to send her to spend time with her veterinarian aunt for the summer. Once there she learns more about the magical creatures she loves, makes a new friend, and does her best to help when the town is infested by fuzzles, little puff balls that catch on fire. Since this is a middle grade novel there isn't much time spent on character development, mainly because characters like Pip and Tomas are great just being kids and making the mistakes that kids their age would make. I really enjoyed both the characters of Pip and Tomas. While Pip is up for adventure and discovery, Tomas is sort of her opposite, shy, mild mannered, and neurotic. When put together though there isn't much that these two cannot do.
World-Building: The entire premise of this world is built on the fact that magical and mythical creatures are knowingly living among the characters in this world. In fact many people seem to have magical creatures as pets. While the world isn't too developed, as in what makes these creatures magical? How are they classified and what makes some seemingly normal, but non-existent in our world, animals magical. However, it's a MG book so it was fairly easy to let these questions slide a bit. I was really pleased to discover that while this book is completely aimed at a MG audience, it's not annoyingly so, meaning that I'm sure there are a lot of people outside of that age group, much like myself, that will really enjoy this book.
Predictability: Given how short this book is, and the fact that there wasn't all that much foreshadowing, this book was pretty unpredictable. If you were to go through the book and look at all the beautiful artwork prior to reading the book you might spoil certain parts, or at the very least heavily hint at certain story elements to come. I can't really think of a time that I knew for certain what was going to happen, which isn't really a bad thing, especially for a book this size.
Ending: While this is the first book in what appears to be a trilogy, the ending of this book feels very much like a stand-alone. There wasn't really any real final climax, like you would find in a book aimed for an older audience, but there is some sort of climax as the book draws to close, and a rather humorous one at that. I'll be interested to see how the rest of the series will be presented, whether it will jump forward in time another year or so, or if it will pick up not to long after the end of this installment. Either way I'm interested to see what sort of adventure Pip and Co. go on next!
So for a MG book is is a definite five stars, it's got adventure, magical creatures, wonderful guide book illustrations, what's not to love. Best of all, even though it's super short, I still felt like I went on a great adventure with these characters....more
A great look into the mind of Winter Prince Ash, as well as his past and his present predicament in trying to earn his soul and return to his love MegA great look into the mind of Winter Prince Ash, as well as his past and his present predicament in trying to earn his soul and return to his love Meghan. For my full and more detailed review check out my blog Zach's YA Reviews (http://www.zachsyareviews.com/2013/01...)...more
Characters: This tale is told from three different perspectives, though if we're being technical, then there are actually four main characters.Review:
Characters: This tale is told from three different perspectives, though if we're being technical, then there are actually four main characters. You have Crystal, her sister Becca, Maddox and Farrell. Crys, the older of the two sisters is going through a bit of a rebellious artist phase. She's skipping class, avoiding her responsibilities and spending all her free time taking pictures. I was kind of annoyed at Crys at first, it wasn't that she was necessarily a bad character or that she specifically did anything wrong, but her attitude wasn't the best in her first couple chapters. However over time a different side of her came out, a fierce and resilient side that I grew to really like. Then we have Becca the bookish younger sister who's spirit is sucked into the world of ancient Mytica, she's a perfectly fine character I guess, but other than a few expositional moments and being a sort of invisible friend to Maddox, she doesn't really do all that much, which I hope will change in future installments. Maddox is a boy from ancient Mytica who hasn't had the best life, he's a bit too gullible and yet still self-deprecating. Over time he too develops into a stronger more confident character. Then there's Farrell, what can I say about Farrell, well he's rich, a tad too entitled, has serious issues, and yet somehow there's a part of me that's rooting for him. I know we're supposed to be rooting for him, but I really didn't expect him to be as much of an unconscious antagonist as he is. I'll be interested to see his development in the future.
Romance: Another thing I didn't expect of this book was the extreme subtlety of the romance. I mean it's there and at times it's plain to see, but most of the time the interactions between these couples seems more like platonic bonding than anything romantic. There isn't that much romantic tension between the couples, though a lot of chemistry, which makes me wonder if the author is saving the good stuff for later. However, with the lack of romance there's a lot more attention and detail focused into the plot which was very well done.
World-Building; So this tale is told between two world tied together through magical means. We have ancient Mytica where the Becca/Maddox storyline takes place, and then present day Toronto, Canada (which by the way I loved reading a book not set in the US) which involves the Crys/Farrell storyline. The Mytica we see is one ruled over by Valoria and Cleiona, and best of all we learn some juicy details about them as well as their sister Eva. If I had one complaint is was that we didn't get to see all that much of it. Since there are three narrators and Maddox is the only one in Mytica, we got to see, at most, Mytica in 1/3 of the book, if that. The other storyline involves a dangerous secret society, lies, deceit, betrayal, and some very, very, shocking revelations tied not only to this storyline, but the Mytican one as well. While I was a bit bummed about the fact that we only got to see a small portion of Mytica, I'm all on board to see what's to come next in this world and how it may connect with the second half of the Falling Kingdoms series.
Predictability: Holy twists and turns, Batman! I have to say the very few twists and shockers I saw coming in this book, I really only saw moments before they were revealed. I can't count how many times this book nearly floored me with the magnificently woven twists and foreshadowing. The foreshadowing we get is very subtle and it's really only after the truth has been revealed that it even makes sense. There's some possible foreshadowing for future installments that I'll be interested to see if they pan out.
Ending; So this ending was not what I expected at all. Really pretty much the entire thing I could very easily say was not what I envisioned. It was kind of amazing that way. Rhodes wrote a fantastic end to this book, one that is really only the beginning of this series, as cheesy as that may sound. The final confrontations were phenomenal, very high octane and full of tension and suspense, and while I wouldn't necessarily say that this book ended in a cliffhanger, I will say that after finishing it I found myself needing the second book as soon as possible. I can't wait to find out how everything goes down in the sequel.
So I will say I debated on giving this book five stars or four and a half, because I did feel like the book could have benefited with some more Mytica, but after my deliberation, I found that I couldn't fault this fantastic book just because I wanted more. It's a great read and I'm sure any Falling Kingdoms fan would fall in love with it like I have....more
Protagonist: Much of Kira's development in this book has to do with her inner turmoil and her own doubts and fears about herself. How these thoReview:
Protagonist: Much of Kira's development in this book has to do with her inner turmoil and her own doubts and fears about herself. How these thoughts and feelings come about was cleverly plotted out over the course of the book and how they are handled was also done very well. Kira is a very self-reliant and closed off character who over the past two books has not only gained life long friends but slowly learned to trust people, and this former development comes back into play and is maybe regressed a bit as Kira starts her final journey to save her world and her young cousin.
Romance: Unlike the previous two books in this trilogy romance actually plays a large part of this final installment. However, like with most everything in this series it was handled expertly. Instead of detracting from the plot or feeling like it's poorly crammed into the story, it's something that effects not only Kira but at times pushes the plot on and adds to the complexity of this final story. Once again we are treated to the love triangle of Jaewon/Kira/Shin and like I had hoped, when Kira finally makes her choice it's not a choice that was out of her hands, and it's made very clear that she wasn't defined because of the choice she made.
World-Building: With this being the last book in this series there was, surprisingly, still a lot to learn about this world. There are characters that we had yet to meet, as well as some I never actually thought out heroes would meet. We also learn a lot more about the island of Jindo and the monks that live there as that's the first place Kira goes to not only save Taejo, but to claim the last of the Dragon King's treasures, the jade belt. While I was hoping that the belt would have played a larger role in the story than it did, the little that we did get to see of it in this story was pretty spectacular.
Predictability: The predictability of this book, and this series, is very unique. With this book especially there are moments where large twists would happen and I would either have a delayed reaction or nearly no reaction at all. It's not that it didn't surprise me, but with one twist in particular, I believe I wasn't shocked because it just seemed to fit so perfectly that on some level I already knew, and with the one specific twist where I had a delayed reaction that was probably because it was so hard to believe until I got closer to the end and realized it wasn't going to be retconned.
Ending: There are so many things I could say about this ending, so many wonderful things, but I'll try to keep it brief. During the last few chapters I knew something was missing, something that would, in some way, make the story whole. When I finally realized what it was that was missing, well then it happened. It only made the moment all the more special. The ending is definitely not what I had envisioned during the first half of this book, but that final battle was so vivid. As for the epilogue, well that was just the cherry on top. As you may well know I love when series end with some sort of epilogue, whether it contains information about what happens to our heroes years after the final climax or even if it's only months. This one showed a closer future and really just tied up all the loose ends that were left hanging at the very end.
This series... this series you guys is spectacular, and this final installment is a testament to that. While I was left wanting more, it wasn't because the story felt unfinished, but more because this series was so well written and brilliantly crafted that part of me ached for more even though every part of me knew it was over. I can't wait to see what this author will right next!...more
Protagonist: Alex is back and this time she brings with her probably more snark, sass, and stubborn hot-headed statements. In this ins4.5 stars
Protagonist: Alex is back and this time she brings with her probably more snark, sass, and stubborn hot-headed statements. In this installment, a lot of Alex's character development is about reigning in her wild ways, at least a bit, and learning that her actions have true consequences. It was interesting to see how quickly Alex would go from pissed off to regretting it or realizing what the true meanings of her actions are. With this only being the second book in a five book, and two novella, series, don't expect huge revelations when it comes to her character, but the seeds are there.
Romance: Unlike the previous book in this series, this installment puts less of a focus on Alex's forbidden, and too-complicated-for-words, relationship with Aiden in favor of her budding romance with Seth. I'm not sure if it's because I know outcome, for the most part, of this love triangle, but I'm not feeling any of the angsty groan inducing things I usually feel toward at least one side of the love triangle. That being said, both love interests do screw-up and have their eye rolling moments in this book, but they're pretty quickly forgotten,
World-Building: Wow, the author uses this book to really drill into readers the complete and utter racism between Pures and Halfs in this world. In the previous book I knew things were strict, but I'm not kidding you if I could somehow jump into this world, about 80% of the Pure Council would "mysteriously" disappear overnight. It's freaking insane how they treat Halfs. I'm really interested to see how this is going to develop, especially given one of the romances for this book. As for those wondering if this book really does break from the Vampire Academy comparisons, it does to a point, there are still scenes and plot devices from the series used, but much less frequently and really only for the first half or so. I'm sure I could have found more if I really looked, or I wanted to, but well to be honest I didn't want to.
Predictability: For the most part, unlike the last book, this book was unpredictable. Sure a small thing here or there was easy to guess, and when certain things were put in motion it wasn't hard to see where things were going to go. The big stuff though, the twists meant to shock, amaze, and horrify the reader, those I never saw coming. There were parts of the book that more glided along without anything too predictable or surprising , but before too long the book will pick up in one way or another.
Ending: So when I got to what I thought was the end of this book, meaning with two and a half chapters left, I thought that this was going to be one of those books where the final climax was more about internal struggles, however I was so very, very wrong as the book came to a close. The final chapter was the only bit of an ending we got after the final confrontation, and that wasn't even much of one as the book pulled the reader into a devastating and shocking twisted cliffhanger.
So I was very close to giving this book 5 full stars, but something held me back, I can't quite put my finger on why though, which pisses me off to no end. All I know is that for me, while this book is spectacular, it doesn't really feel like a 5 star book....more
Protagonist: So when I started out formulating this review I wasn't quite sure whether or not to relabel this section "antagonist" because whilReview:
Protagonist: So when I started out formulating this review I wasn't quite sure whether or not to relabel this section "antagonist" because while I understand that the protagonist is the one that drives the story regardless of morality, this still tells the story of the main antagonist of The Lunar Chronicles. In the end I obviously decided to keep it as a protagonist, because, as it was abundantly evident, Levana didn't begin as the cold manipulative and psychotic person we love to hate. In fact it's Channary, Selene/Cinder's mother who in many ways is even worse than her younger sister in "present day." While I do not condone anything Levana has done or will do in this book and the rest of the series, I did feel bad for her for most of the book. She in a lot of ways is just a victim of her own circumstance. She grew up with absentee parents who never showed her a shred of real love and a manipulative and abusive older sister. All she wanted was to love and be loved in return, unfortunately because her mind was so twisted she never got that.
"Romance": So I decided to put this category in quotes as the romance in this book is anything but real. In fact it's Levana's own delusion that Evret Hayle and she are meant to be that begins her downward spiral. Evret was the only guard to ever show her any true kindness that wasn't because of her standing as royalty, and because she had never seen real love for herself she clung to this even after finding out that Evret was already married and expecting a child. This "romance" in many ways is what drove her to the brink of insanity that we see in core series. It's hard not to feel a little sorry for her in the beginning but after a while in Levana's brain enough is enough.
World-Building: So when it was announced that we were getting Fairest before Winter, and that Winter was going to be delayed because of it, I was a bit upset. I didn't see what Fairest could bring to the table that really needed to be explained before Winter. While I still hold this to be true in some ways, there is a lot of information that really just help bring this world even more to life. We really get to see what life is like on Luna and learn about the royal family that Cinder was born into, which if I may say something, that fire may have been the best thing for her, I'm not saying had there been no attempt on her life that she'd be despicable, but judging by the track record for Lunar royalty, there was a pretty good chance. We really get to see what Channary was like, and while I knew she had been at least a little cruel or apathetic, I did not expect this. She is in many ways like Levana in the core series, except with next to no political ambitions aside from being and staying queen and then just letting the thaumaturges run the country. In the end I'm not quite sure which one is worse.
Predictability: Many, many of the events in this book readers of the Lunar Chronicles would already know or would have inferred from the first three books, which doesn't quite leave this book at a disadvantage, as this whole book isn't meant to show off events or introduce new twists for the series. Instead this book focuses on Levana's slowly declining mental state. Let's just say that there is one gigantic reason she is how she is that I haven't elaborated on and that was a rather large surprise.
Ending: So I was not expecting this book to end where it did. I was expecting it to end a bit closer to the start of Cinder, or even part-way into the first installment, however the biggest reason I wasn't expecting it to end where it did was that I was listening to the audiobook version and didn't expect the first three chapters of Winter to be on the audiobook. However, the ending was a very fine ending, and really ties up the central story as well as getting Levana from confused-lovestruck child to psychotic-tyrannical queen.
So, I wasn't quite sure that I was going to give this one five stars as the protagonist is the one of the least relateable character I have ever read, but this story was told so brilliantly that I almost forgive the author and/or the publisher for making us wait to read Winter. :)...more
Protagonist: So I don't know why, but I thought Jacob would be older than he was in this book, like mid twenties or something. Instead he's onlReview:
Protagonist: So I don't know why, but I thought Jacob would be older than he was in this book, like mid twenties or something. Instead he's only fifteen, has a mother that comes from a wealthy family, and a father who keeps trying to prove he doesn't need his wife's money. Ever since Jacob was little his grandfather told him stories about an enchanted children's home run by a peregrine falcon and full of children with extraordinary and peculiar abilities. Jacob was a great narrator and protagonist. He had a good balance of faults and strengths and really came off as a three dimensional character.
Romance: So there is a small amount of romance in this book. It doesn't detract from the plot or move too fast, but I am slightly on the fence about it. I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that this romance is a bit, forgive my terrible pun, peculiar. It's more about the context of who's involved rather than the circumstances surrounding the romance of how it's handled. On the whole it was handled pretty well, it didn't take over the plot, in fact there was no romance whatsoever even hinted at for a good portion of this book, though when it did it picked up rather quickly though only went so far which I was extremely happy about.
World-Building: So, my expectations for this story were pretty high, in fact I had thought I knew how this story would go. Boy was I wrong though, in fact things in this book didn't really go the way I thought they would. First off like I said above like I said above, I thought Jacob would have been older, making his trip across the Atlantic Ocean to the island that housed his grandfather's old children's home seem more plausible. Also, while reading the book I thought he'd maybe discover a recently abandoned mansion that was once the home, but in fact the house he finds was abandoned for many years and is known throughout the island as a haunted house. The peculiar children on the other hand are how I imagined they'd be. Each one has a certain talent, some can lift very heavy things like cars though they look scrawny and weak, one can conjure fire, and one can even temporarily restore life. It's all rather amazing really, though I think it's comparison to X-men or superheroes is a bit of a stretch considering the circumstances they live in.
Predictability: Like I said above there was a lot about the basic story that I really didn't expect. I think this may have also led to the many times when finer parts of the plot shocked me. Though I'm probably not giving the plot and author enough credit as it wasn't like I never got a handle on the basic plot, in fact it didn't take that long to smooth over most of my expectations. So really there are many parts of this book that happen in ways I did not see coming. There isn't too much foreshadowing, though there is a bit, and it didn't really need all that much. I think if it had more it would have come off a bit too predictable.
Ending: So I was expecting the end of this book to wrap up rather nicely. I know there's a sequel, but since there's such a gap between the books I had assumed that after the success this book got that the publishing company and author decided to turn this one book into a series. However, this book has a bit of a cliffhanger ending, it's not enough to make a person beg for the next installment, but it's definitely something that would have festered for the 2-3 year wait in between books. There is a small amount of resolution however our hero is not quite done with his adventure and the ending of this book makes that abundantly clear.
This was another book that I was scared would not live up to the hype, but it totally does. The combination of found photographs really enhances the story, and some in fact really bring the creep factor of the book to life....more