It certainly wasn't easy to read Seraphina, especially the first and second chapters. The writing was sloppy, full of short sentences and weird phrasiIt certainly wasn't easy to read Seraphina, especially the first and second chapters. The writing was sloppy, full of short sentences and weird phrasings and expressions, and most of all, the narrative was as confusing as one can possibly be. I almost stopped reading right there. However, I had read several positive reviews last week, and all of them mentioned Rachel Hartman's beautiful and thoughtful writing style. As the story progressed, and we, as readers, get more comfortable in the world Seraphina lived it, the writing abruptly changes. It transforms, indeed, into a narration as beautiful and delicate as the main character herself. I had to keep a dictionary at my side, for Rachel's use of vocabulary was... eccentric, to say the least.
You know that protagonist that feels human, and is so solid it's like she's close to you at all times, when you're reading a book? That's Seraphina. She's intelligent, talented, compassionate, caring, and most of all, smart. She makes mistakes, of course, but none that made me want to pull my hair out. Phina, though a half-breed, was the most human character in this book - and that's saying a lot, since all the characters created by Rachel Hartman, from Phina's father to Lucian Kiggs and the Queen herself, are solid and well constructed.
A fantasy novel - especially one that deals with creatures such as dragons - has to have a dense world-building, enough for me to create in my head a layout of what the author intended. That, in my humble opinion, was the only aspect that was missing in this book. Of course, we get to know everything about the city, the races, the dragons, the characters, the Treaty between humans and dragons... but what about the world itself? What's it like? Many times I simply had to imagine it, and though it worked (kind of!) it was a gap in the story that was never fulfilled. This is the first book in the series, and I sincerely hope Rachel Hartman will offer us a deeper insight of her novel in the next installment.
As for the romantic element in Seraphina... well. It was subtle and suave, consisting of smart dialogues between Phina and Lucian that began to deepen more and more as the story progressed - and as Phina's secret almost surfaced. The romance developed slowly, and by the time I was on the last chapter, I was begging for more. One of the things I liked most about it was that the author didn't write one single cliché. It wasn't like Lucian fell to his knees and said "I can't live without you". The characters were so well constructed it would've been ridiculous, had something like that happened. This particular quote jumped at me:
"If we were to go forward from here, we would proceed not rashly, not thoughtlessly, but Kiggs-and-Phina fashion. That was the only way it could work."
If everything I said in this review wasn't enough, here it is: I loved Seraphina. It was refreshing, and at the same time incredibly complex. Christopher Paolini saying great things about it should've been a tip of how unique this novel is. After the Inheritance Cycle (that's still my favorite series about dragons, hands down), Seraphina is the best fantasy novel I've read. It has the writing, the characters, the mythology, and the story necessary to grab thousands of readers out there and never let go.
It's actually quite ironic that the dystopian world - which was exactly what attracted so many readers - was what repulsed me in Divergent. Ok, wrongIt's actually quite ironic that the dystopian world - which was exactly what attracted so many readers - was what repulsed me in Divergent. Ok, wrong word. I wasn't repulsed. I just didn't understand the world created by Veronica Roth. The factions were great, and the concept was really interesting, but it wasn't realistic. Why were they created? How were they created? The atmosphere and the tension surrounding all the factions made it impossible for me to imagine decisions being made.
Fortunately, Veronica Roth provided us (some) answers to those questions. The dystopian society in which Tris lives is explained a lot more deeply, and though not all the answers are handed over to us, I can see where the story is going. Needless to say, I enjoyed Insurgent a lot more than Divergent, although a couple of things still bothered me. It's unlikely I'll ever be completely satisfied by this series. There's always something, some little detail or a character that keeps me from enjoying it fully.
The writing isn't the issue, nor is the plot. Both were excellent, especially the former. Roth has a way with words, even in the present tense, a type of narration that I hate. My problem with Insurgent was the main character herself, Tris. In Divergent, she was a thoughtful girl, objective and yet emotional with those she loved. In Insurgent, she was broken, and not in a good, deep way. Tris was a mess. Four - I refuse to call him Tobias - has to constantly remind her that she has to try to live, try not to get herself killed, try to understand that her life means something.
...And I almost killed myself everytime that happened. They're in the middle of a war, and just when Tris had to be the strong, great girl that she was back in Dauntless, she breaks. I get it. She has to be human and show emotions, especially regarding Peter, etc. But for God's sake, be realistic about it! Her breakdowns and teary moments did nothing to the book, it only added misery, (stupid decisions) and an unnecessary amount of drama in a plot that was already bursting with blood and war.
I was planning on giving Insurgent 3 stars, but aside from my dislike towards Tris, the series has developed in general, and I'm somewhat satisfied with the way things turned out in the ending. And, I admit it, Four may be one of the reasons I added an extra star to my rating. It's quite easy, though, to see that Veronica Roth has a lot of potential. Despite my personal rants about the society, she did create a fascinating story, and I look forward to the third, and last, book in the Divergent trilogy. It should be interesting!
I don't know why, but I've been procrastinating in the last couple of days. It took a lot of courage for me to actually sit down, and try to write thiI don't know why, but I've been procrastinating in the last couple of days. It took a lot of courage for me to actually sit down, and try to write this review. Maybe it's because I loved Immortal City so much, and it's always harder to talk about a book you love than one you hate; maybe it's because the story is so original and interesting that I can't possibly do it justice with my words. Either way, I was drawn to Scott Speer's debut novel the second I saw this cover. It would be beautiful enough on its own, but then Goodreads told me it was young-adult. And I was even more curious.
Though Immortal City is, like I mentioned, a debut novel, it doesn't feel like it at all. The world-building is solid, introducing us to a society in which the angels have come out and told humanity that they exist. Now they get paid for their services as Guardian Angels, which, if you think about it, is weird and fascinating at the same time. They don't have to save anyone, and it'd be all right for them to work with this. But why only rich people have guardian angels? Why aren't their services more accessible? It's mean and just plain wrong for rich guys to save themselves from death because they have money, while someone poorer than them has a family to sustain.
This conflict of ideals and religion can only lead to something spectacular. More interesting is how angels are treated. They're celebrities, they have millions of fans.... it's like Justin Bieber with wings, basically. People would die to be saved by one of them, especially the girls. There's a rule, though, that says it's forbidden for an angel to save anyone other than who he's protecting. And that's where Jackson and Maddy's story begin.
I loved them both before I even reached the middle of the book. Jackson is surrounded by cameras and paparazzi, but he can't feel any of it. He's suffocated by it all. Jackson's loneliness is touching, and I was glad when he found Maddy. His characterization could have been better, really, but I was overall very satisfied with the way things turned out for him, especially in the ending.
Maddy, in the other hand, is untouchable by the Angel-drama. She doesn't like them, doesn't worship them. She thinks this adoration is pointless. So you can only imagine how great it was the first time Maddy met Jackson. The only girl in the world who doesn't care about angels ended up falling in love with one (how's that for irony?). I liked her personality, her stubbornness - it didn't seem fake, for once. She irritated me a little in the ending, with a stupid decision, but really, the last chapter made it up for me.
With a balanced pace, delicious romance, and strong world-building, I can only give Immortal City five stars. It doesn't deserve any less than this. Its flaws, if any, only made the reading more realistic for me, which doesn't happen often. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. If it's as good as Immortal City, I'll be pretty satisfied.
There isn't a single book that's written by Claudia Gray that I haven't loved. The Evernight series, and Fateful, are among my favorite books of all tThere isn't a single book that's written by Claudia Gray that I haven't loved. The Evernight series, and Fateful, are among my favorite books of all times, so my expectations for Balthazar were understandably high. Again, I was surprised by Mrs. Gray's gift of creating endearing characters, but not as much as I thought I would. I'm sure this happened due to my indifference towards Balthazar in the Evernight series. I just didn't care for him - or Skye, for that matter - when I was reading about Lucas and Bianca.
Now, I know Balthazar has a lot of fans, and I mean no disrespect at all... but he just felt so flat to me in Evernight that I wasn't even remotely interested in him as a love interest for Bianca. All that changed, however, when I heard Claudia Gray was going to dedicate a whole book to him. I decided to give him a chance and expect good things from this book, then, just like I always do.Now, after finally seeing Balthazar's story through his eyes, I admit it, it was an entertaining read... but not a very special one.
The writing captivated me right in the first chapter, as always. I immediately sympathized with Skye's situation. Being hunted because her blood was different was not a piece of cake, but I loved how she handled the situation. She wasn't stoic and cool with it. She was human, scared, and vulnerable in a way that made her look stronger, if that makes any sense. Skye was a very likable main character.
Now on to Balthazar. His POV was what ended up drawing me to him in this book. His amused, yet honest thoughts gave me a perspective of the story that I wasn't experiencing with Skye, since she was human. It surprised me how much depth Balthazar had. How much there was to him. At first, he was just another Edward to me - selfless, in love but without reason to be, and flat as door. But then Claudia Gray and Skye made me fall for him. By the end of the book, I was looking at him in a completely different way. I was understanding him, and supporting him, which was amazing.
Overall, Claudia Gray has yet to write a disappointing book. Evernight was perfect, and Balthazar, surprisingly, was not only a bonus, but a closure to Balthazar and Skye as well, two lovely characters who deserved their happy ending. I'm not bewitched with the story itself, but with the changes that it provoked in me. Only a good book can do that to you. Balthazar, without a doubt, deserves to fall into this category.
This book... this book is so good. I don't have any words.
Review to come.
There's something incredibly refreshing in reading a well writtThis book... this book is so good. I don't have any words.
Review to come.
There's something incredibly refreshing in reading a well written fantasy book. Maybe it's the fact that the author has created a whole new world in which you can loose yourself in, or maybe the characters are so different from what I'm used to, yet I'm able to relate to them completely. Well, both happened while I was reading Shadow and Bone. I wasn't sure whether I would like this novel - usually, I'm afraid to read books that have a lot of hype - but Leigh Bardugo enchanted me with her fantastic writing, realistic world, and human characters.
Don't get me wrong - it's not like this novel doesn't have any flaws. It's just that the good things about it has captivated me so thoroughly I forgot about the bad aspects of the story as I was reading. It was like a balance - the negative was cancelled by the positive. Take it the romance, for example. I hated that Alina seemed so obviously in love with Mal since the first chapter. It felt like insta-love, and that's something pretty much unforgivable these days. However, as the plot progressed, and we got to see how deeper the connection between these two characters ran, I understood every little aspect of their love for each other, especially on Alina's part. It was fantastic.
I fell in love with them, with the way they were so passionate and human about what happened around them. How, even though they made mistakes, they tried to be better and do the right thing. It's pretty ridiculous, I know, but this tiny thing made me happy. I'm tired of stupid heroines that make stupid decisions and it's up for the heroes to save them. Instead, here we have a young man and woman determined to make the best out of the situation they're currently in, regardless of the specifics. I feel like I could on and on about how realistic and heart-warming they were, but that would spoil the best part.
And the best part, I feel compulsed to say, it's the world itself. In the beginning, I was lost - I mean, what is the Fold? How did it come to be? As Alina got lost in world of the Grisha, however, her surroundings felt like home to me, and I began to understand exactly what Bardugo created here. Language, mythology, geography, magic, politics - that's the best part of a fantasy novel, and Shadow and Bone has it all. Bardugo's writing style was adorable, full of descriptions that weren't tiring.
Shadow and Bone is a lovely fantasy novel, and I can say for sure that I'm looking forward to reading its sequel - though I have no idea what Alina's next adventure is gonna be like. Leigh Bardugo has captived me in every way, and I'm eternally grateful for that. And if you're asking yourself: Does this book really lives up to its hype?, well...
I read Eve last year, a couple of months after it was released in the USA, and though it was an enjoyable story, I didn't quite love it. Anna Carey trI read Eve last year, a couple of months after it was released in the USA, and though it was an enjoyable story, I didn't quite love it. Anna Carey tried to captivate me with her characters, especially Eve, but it just didn't work. It took me four days to finish it, and that rarely happens. However, Once captivated me in ways I can't explain.
I should start with Eve, of course, since she's the main character. In Eve, I hated her, to be honest. She was so naive, so innocent and reckless that it infuriated me. Her actions hurt so many people, mostly friends and allies, throughout the novel, that it was hard to sympathize with her decisions. In Once, though, she was a different person altogether. It's crystal-clear how what happened to her in the wilds affected her, and that really shows in the way she speaks, how she cares for her friends in a deeper way, and how she stands for what she thinks it's right. I actually grew fond of Eve, and I was surprised to see that by the end of the novel, I wanted her to succeed.
The romance is also developed. In Eve, I had a feeling that part of Caleb and Eve's relationship was pure insta-love, but in Once, that changed. As much as I loved Caleb, I started to see him in a different way, just like Eve did. Instead of thinking about how hot he was, Eve thought about how he held her, how he understood her, how they talked about so many things that would've been weird with someone else, but that just felt right with Caleb. I loved this aspect of their relationship, and I think the fact that they're together relying not on lust, but on comfort and love (and that they show this affection with a touch, a conversation, and a kiss, and not only on make-out sessions), says a lot about how much Anna Carey changed the romance, and how this enhanced the feeling that Once really is a sequel to Eve.
As always, Anna Carey's secondary characters are enchanting, each one looking just as real and solid as Eve. Her writing flows really well, even with the slow-paced scenes, and that's part of my liking Once. Not all of it was action, and Anna's writing held the plot together as weeks passed around Eve, and nothing new happened. I was never bored while reading Once. Also, I felt like the world-building was a lot more solid in this installment. With Eve growing up and becoming a mature woman, she gave us a new perspective of what was happening in the society itself, and while in the first novel, I felt like I was diving in the dark, without knowing where I was going or what to expect, in Once it was like I was just looking through a binocular, simply expanding what was already there.
To say that I liked Once is an understatement. I loved this novel, and I'm glad I picked it up. Without reading a few positive reviews, I'd never feel encouraged enough to buy it and continue this trilogy. Now, however, I'm dying to get my hands on Rise, the last book. Anna Carey proved to be a very talented author.
Jeaniene Frost is, to put it in a very simple way, my favorite author of all times. Everything she wrote, and I literally mean every single book she wJeaniene Frost is, to put it in a very simple way, my favorite author of all times. Everything she wrote, and I literally mean every single book she wrote, got into my favorite list. Her writing is fluid, full of sarcasm and yet the romance she builds in every novel is sweet and sexy at the same time. Her characterization is solid, the plot is consistent, and it's impossible not to fall for the heroes (a.k.a. Bones, Spade, Mencheres...). It shouldn't come as a surprise to see that I gave Once Burned 5 stars. I would've given it 10 stars if I could.
All the aspects of Jeaniene Frost's books that I mentioned above are present in Once Burned. To write about Dracula as a main character of a love story requires a certain amount of... creativity, to put it mildly, that not all the authors have. Vlad didn't make me fall in love with him in the Night Huntress series, but then, his potential as a hero and as a love interest weren't fully explored. In Once Burned, he's the main attraction, and man, he makes a hell of a love interest. He's arrogant and protective of his people above all else, but he's also fierce, strong, and gentle. Vlad is a fantastic character, and it would be impossible not to fall in love with him just as I did with Bones.
Don't get me wrong. Bones is amazing, and one of the few characters I've read about that can be just as interesting after 6 books and 3 novellas as he was in the beginning of the series. But Vlad has... something more. His relationship with Leila doesn't even come close to Bones and Cat's relationship in Halfway to the Grave, but it affected me the same way. Maybe that's because Leila is just as likable as Cat. She's determined, snarky, and is strong enough to bear the weight of her powers and the realization that Vlad is, indeed, Dracula, without breaking or whimpering.
As a whole, Once Burned was everything I thought it would be, and more. I cannot wait for the next book in the Night Prince series, and I really hope it's just as good as Night Huntress. Jeaniene Frost has a lot of potential, and Once Burned just proved to me why I consider her my favorite author. Her stories never fail me, and I really, really hope it stays that way.
When I first began reading Chicagoland Vampires, I was bored by the politics and the complex world-building that Chloe Neill had created. I almost droWhen I first began reading Chicagoland Vampires, I was bored by the politics and the complex world-building that Chloe Neill had created. I almost dropped it altogether, but I was using her descriptive writing to train my English, and my translation skills, so I just swallowed my urge to throw the entire series away, and kept reading it. And now, two years later, this is one of my favorite vampire series of all times, especially because of the politics and the complex world-building - although some kick-ass scenes and a breath-taking blond Master vampire do win a few brownie points.
I feel like Chloe Neill is unraveling something unique with her series. In it, vampires burn in the sun, but they also have a knack for using a katana, they're magical creatures that feel all the currents of power around them, and their eyes silver when they're feeling certain emotions. It's a familiar yet completely disconcerting territory to explore, and Chloe Neill has done a terrific job at it - she's still doing a terrific job at it, since this is her sixth book and things are only improving. Merit has grown into her skin, gone from a geeky graduate student to a vampire Sentinel who's willing do to just about anything to protect her House and her city. She's at the same time a reliable friend and a kick-ass vampire chick ready to swing a katana when danger arises. I simply love Merit, and the way she has evolved as the series went on.
Now that I'm talking about, you know, my love for the characters, I wouldn't be able to write this review without talking about Ethan, the breath-taking blond Master vampire that I mentioned before. If you have read this series, and invested as much effort into it as I have, you're probably as happy as I am about Ethan being in this book. And at a certain extent, my expectations were met and I was fan-girling over the fact that he's back the whole time.. but at the same time, I was disappointed with a few things. Ethan has changed, and I wasn't ready for it. One second he's this intense guy bursting into Tate's office and being staked by Celina... and then, he's this open-minded guy who's not afraid to speak his mind, and being forward with Merit about his feelings. Well, this troubled me. I couldn't create a connection between these two sides of him, and I was afraid that Chloe Neill had changed Ethan in a permanent way. I'm glad to say this didn't happen, and once again I saw the Ethan that I loved and got so frustrated with. My friends, I can definitely say: Ethan Sullivan is back. Prepare yourselves: It's a tough, yet exciting, ride.
When talking about the plot and the villain, I was surprised by how much Biting Cold was about Tate. The summary talks about an evil chasing Merit across Nebraska, yes, but I thought that maybe that was just a secondary plot arch, and Mallory stealing the Malificium would've been the real issue. However, Mallory's betrayal is the least of Merit's concerns, now that Seth Tate has finally showed his true form. I loved this twist, and though it was a little weird to know what Tate was, it made sense. I was satisfied by the way things turned out, especially when it came to the "final" battle.
Overall, Biting Cold was everything I thought it would be, and more. Chloe Neill is a fantastic writer, and now I can only wonder why I was so worried about this book in the first place. Chicagoland Vampires is still placed firmly on my "favorite" list, and with everything that has happened in this installment, it's obvious things are going to be even crazier in Chicago now. I can't wait to see more of Merit and Ethan.This series is just getting better and better!