Halle is back on form. After loving her Sins & Needles trilogy and the spin-offs, I went through a series of disappointing reads from her. Love, in English wasn't my thing, Where Sea Meets Sky was an early DNF, and even the Experiment in Terror series didn't quite hit the spot. But this EiT spin-off featuring Ada Palomino is all kinds of creepy goodness, perfect for old fans and new readers alike.
Seriously, this book is scary. Ada's story was far more terrifying to me than that of her sister, Perry. It uses a lot of traditional horror elements - the voice in the closet, the thing that's there and then isn't - but Halle crafts the tension perfectly, playing with the lines of dreams and reality until you're unsure what's a nightmare and what's really lurking in the darkness of Ada's bedroom.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Veiled wasn't as romantic as I'd anticipated. It's being called a paranormal romance, but I'm inclined to call it "urban fantasy with a love story". Sure, there's the typical descriptions of male hotness, but it is excruciatingly slow burn (I mean this in a good way). No instalove - no insta anything, in fact - and a whole lot of ghostly plot to make this a book about more than young lovers.
There were many things I thought the author captured well. She remembers that Ada is a young woman grieving for her mother, and portrays that grief without melodrama. I also felt melancholy along with Ada when she discovers that an old friend is not what she thought - how difficult it must be to count on someone for so long and realise you never really knew each other that well at all.
I foresee fans of the usual New Adult romances coming into this book with certain expectations and not having them met. It's not typical of the genre, and actually does many great things that have nothing to do with romance and have everything to do with being a young woman with problems, heartache and, yes, a sex drive.
Oh, don't worry, there's romance. There's lusty, slow-build, flirtatious romance that somehow manages to be completely absent from the first book, even though romance was more central to the plot. But there's also so many other things here. It's a fantasy with romantic elements, not the other way around.
I always say I tend to become more invested in love stories when they're subplots and the book itself is not actually about the love story. I like it when the characters come together around and between all the rest of the action and drama. That's what's happening here. Because there is a whole shitstorm of other things going on - which, by the way, has led to better world-building, more exciting action and reveals, and a fascinating overarching story.
2) Feyre's growth and development.
And, in fact, the growth and development of many characters. Maas spends some quality time on character histories and backstory to strengthen our understanding of them. I absolutely love it when characters show realistic growth over time and I think that's especially important with Feyre here.
Feyre is not the character she was during A Court of Thorns and Roses. How could she be after the events of that book? Naturally, she has changed and found that her needs and aspirations have changed too. Once upon a time, back when she was weak and starving, she longed for a strong protector like Tamlin. Now she is strong, and she needs freedom to train her newfound strengths.
3) I hate Tamlin.
Honestly, if you happen to be a diehard Tamlin fan, I can see this book being a huge disappointment. Luckily for me, I pretty much despised him. He's never been anything but a pretty-faced control freak. I'm glad Feyre has seen that and rebelled against it.
I should warn you that Tamlin is absent for about 70-80% of this book. And that was just fine by me!
4) I love Rhysand.
I foresee the "oh no, it's a love triangle" comments rolling in, but I really don't think it is. I actually think this is a great book about growing up and discovering that you're a different person who longs for different things. I don't get the sense that Maas is trying to play out the Tamlin/Feyre/Rhysand angst; she is merely showing a young woman having a change of heart.
AND can we just talk about how much better Rhysand is. There's all the superficial stuff like he's exciting, flirty, dangerous and I love the story behind him. He's more fun than Tamlin and I like fun. His banter is wonderful. But I'm also talking about a more important level. Rhysand is, despite being the "bad boy", thoughtful and selfless. He doesn't want to stifle Feyre's strength and lock her away for her own protection - he wants her at his side, an equal, a partner in crime. And I love that so much. I like men who see value in strong women.
5) Less sexual.
I'm sorry, you horny readers, but I just need to put this out there: I really dislike Maas' sex scenes. Maybe Tamlin had something to do with it but, in general, I think they're overwritten and melodramatic. I also think she does a lot of "telling" you that it's hot, instead of "showing" how it is, which is a common writing mistake, but is far worse when in a sex scene. It's unconvincing.
And by "overwritten", I mean that she describes kissing as "branding", thrusts as "breaking", and sex moans as "prayers". Literally none of those things are sexy. She gets the flirtations and banter right - that bit is hotter than the actual sex - but I start to cringe when the clothes come off.
A brush of his tongue against the seam of my lips had me opening fully for him, and he swept in, claiming me, branding me.
Also, is it really necessary for the male characters to "growl in approval" during sex? Not just once - and arguably one growl is one too many - but several times. I'm supposed to be fanning myself with desire and all I can think about is Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman. Mercy. Rawr.
6) New characters.
A Court of Mist and Fury introduces many new characters, and the difference between this book and the first is that I found them all memorable, not just the main three characters. Maas has definitely not neglected her characterization and character detailing here. Everyone who comes in and out of the novel has an important purpose, is fleshed out with personality and history, and makes an impact.
My favourite was Amren, but I also loved Cassian and Azriel. Our brief introductions to the Bone Carver and the Weaver were highlights too.
7) The ending.
Take note: this is how to ensure your reader needs to get their hands on the next book. It's not a cliffhanger, but it is still EVIL. In the best possible way. I loved everything about it. It's the kind of emotional high that leaves you somewhere between wide-eyed horror and smiling gleefully. How will I last a whole year?
I. Could. Not. Finish. This. I tried. And then I tried some more. But nope, not happening.
You know what? Perfection really is boring. Perfection is meaI. Could. Not. Finish. This. I tried. And then I tried some more. But nope, not happening.
You know what? Perfection really is boring. Perfection is meaningless, unrealistic and so fucking boring.
Armentrout tries to create perfection. A perfectly all-good, virginal, amazing, everyone-wants-to-bone-me, kickass heroine who faultlessly exists at the centre of the universe, while beautiful, perfectly-sculpted, hot boys just orbit around her constantly. It's boring. And you know what else perfection is? It's all tell and no fucking show.
So this girl - Layla - is amazing, right? She's so SPESHUL. Gifted. Wonderful. Beautiful. We are told all of this and yet never shown examples of it. She's special because she was born into it, not because she does any damn thing to prove it. She's amazing, we are told, but I'm still uncertain what's really so special about her in action. Everyone wants this girl, we are told, but god only knows why. Oh, and she's totally badass... apparently. Maybe I would have noticed if she wasn't so busy being saved all the time.
Then there's that love triangle *yawn*. I think the descriptions of men are often what separate the romance stories I actually enjoy from the ones that bore me to tears. To be honest, there's a part of me that thinks "yeah, okay, whatever" with this whole male perfection malarkey. These men/boys are beautiful in every way. They are fucking perfect. Their bodies are sculpted awesomeness of muscle and unblemished skin. Their hair falls perfectly in gorgeous thick waves. Their faces were built by angels and they always have a sexy phrase handy to raise the heat levels in any given scene. But I suppose it's hard to criticise this trend when you compare it to the airbrushed, photoshopped and hairless beauties shown in men's magazines. Why shouldn't women get their fantasy perfection? No reason I can see.
Except... it's fucking boring. These men are too perfect for me to care about and fall in love with. I cannot believe in that level of perfection. They are male Barbie dolls, straight off the factory production line. Polished, flawless, perfection. I'd find it easier to love them if they were ugly. I'd also find it easier to love them if Layla took a break from describing their physical perfection for a second and gave them a personality that goes beyond trying to get in her pants (like every male in this book). So many times I felt like me and Layla were having this exchange...
Me: Plot? Layla: Fuck the plot. Let's make out!
There's also a whole bunch of slut-shaming, which I assume is only supposed to emphasise the heroine's purity and goodness. Even her best friend seems like a tool constantly being used to reinforce the MC's good girl persona - her characterisation consists almost solely of her overt sexuality and revealing outfit choices. If the female character is not Layla or a "slut", then she's the evil bitch who has a thing for one of the guys.
Then I come to some of the ridiculous dialogue between the characters. Look, I know teenagers can be annoying. Insufferable, some might say. Sometimes I read the diaries I wrote from when I was 15 and, oh my god, the angst! It burns! They're hilarious and melodramatic, of course. But still, high school wasn't that long ago for me. And the dialogue between the teens in this book is like what middle-aged adults *think* teenagers might say.
Stacey groaned. “I can’t believe Mr. Leto wouldn’t let us do our classics report on Twilight. It is a classic.”
No one says that. No one. Plus, Twilight isn't even "cool" among high school teens. Twilight, if it is talked about, is the thing girls whisper and giggle about behind their hands. Kids do not announce loudly and openly that Twilight is a classic.
And don't even get me started on all the male posturing going on, it was laughable. My favourite was this bit:
Zayne’s grip relaxed. “Shut up.” Roth came to his feet fluidly. “I don’t think I like your tone.” “And I don’t like your face,” Zayne returned. The amount of testosterone the two were throwing off was ridiculous.
The thing I find so funny is that this is considered some big, testosterone-fuelled alpha male battle. It sounds more like the fights me and my sister have over music in the car. Maybe you should read this book if you want a good laugh.
I'm sorry, guys. I know a lot of people love Armentrout and this could be a light, entertaining read for you if you like all her usual elements. But I find it all too formulaic, recycled and... boring. I wish the hype for her books was easier to resist....more
I can sum this book up in one sentence: Beautiful writing that cannot make up for the Twilight-esque depiction of creepy love interest and boring mainI can sum this book up in one sentence: Beautiful writing that cannot make up for the Twilight-esque depiction of creepy love interest and boring main character.
I would, however, happily try out some of the author's other work and I just hope it doesn't focus so heavily on obsessive emo teen love.
2 1/2 stars. Maybe my rating comes as a surprise or even - if you care - a disappointment, but let me assure you: no one is more surprised or disappoi2 1/2 stars. Maybe my rating comes as a surprise or even - if you care - a disappointment, but let me assure you: no one is more surprised or disappointed than I am.
I've had this book on my TBR ever since it appeared on Goodreads without a title, cover or description. I started reading it as soon as it became available and the array of positive reviews from my friends and strangers alike made me feel sure I would love it. But I didn't. It is possible I expected all the wrong things from A Court of Thorns and Roses, and maybe my review can prevent others from doing the same.
Here's what I expected: an intricate fantasy world, supernatural politics and alliances, fast-paced action, a sensual romance - perhaps similar to Cruel Beauty and other Beauty and the Beast retellings, and a flawed but likable heroine.
But this book is, if you ask me, nothing more or less than softcore erotica. Which is fine, if that's what you're looking for.
I personally thought that the fantasy aspect felt like trimmings around a story that was all about a romance between Feyre (the narrator) and Tamlin (a High Lord of the Fae). There are some titillating scenes where Tamlin bites Feyre's neck and they have sex - undoubtedly the best bits of the book and I won't pretend I didn't feel a little hot under the collar myself. But the "ancient wicked shadow" promised in the blurb is only really a source of more romantic angst for Feyre and Tamlin.
However, I *do* like a good romance as much as anyone, so there are other reasons this book didn't quite work for me. In order to express what I mean, I'm going to compare A Court of Thorns and Roses to Cruel Beauty, which is, in my opinion, a better book.
In CB, I felt the chemistry between Nyx and Ignifex as soon as their loaded banter started to fill the pages. They were sexy together, Ignifex was an evil ruler (which was a real problem for their relationship) with blood-red eyes, and the supernatural part of the book was creepy, weird and completely unique. Despite enjoying the actual non-PG scenes in A Court of Thorns and Roses, I never felt any real chemistry between Feyre and Tamlin or any realistic challenge to their relationship.
What makes Beauty and the Beast such a compelling romance? One that demands to be told over and over again in so many different ways? I'll tell you what it is: it's the obstacles, the challenges, the improbability... how can a young woman come to love an ugly beast? We ask. I'll prove it's possible! The author replies. That's why readers fall in love with the beast again and again, even when he is furry and has horns like the Disney version. I loved the Disney beast. (view spoiler)[And that badass fox in Robin Hood so it's possible I have issues. (hide spoiler)]
Tamlin is not a beast.
“Even as he bit out the words, I couldn’t ignore the sheer male beauty of that strong jaw, the richness of his golden-tan skin.”
Oh my, how could a poor young woman ever love a pretty-faced, golden-haired, completely not evil Fae prince? How weird.
Maas is a good writer and the beginning - before Feyre is taken to the Fae world - made me believe a great book was on the way. When Maas writes action, she writes action really well. But there was far too little of it in this book. It came in behind the descriptions of beautiful Fae men and the Fae palace.
In short: It just wasn't nasty enough. In truth, this felt more like an extended Cinderella retelling than what it was supposed to be. A girl lives in poverty and looks after her rather annoying sisters until one day she is swept up by a prince who takes her to his beautiful palace (after about three chapters). I just find it hard to recommend this when I think Cruel Beauty is similar and yet so much better.
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Warning: this review contains flashing gifs and foul language.
I've spent two years avoiding this book. I remember in 2011 when I stumbled across thatWarning: this review contains flashing gifs and foul language.
I've spent two years avoiding this book. I remember in 2011 when I stumbled across that exciting GR description and pretty - if slightly creepy and discomfiting - cover, but my initial curiosity was quickly dampened by the reviews from my trusted goodreads friends. And for nearly two years, I have listened. My intentions were to never give this book/series another thought, until I recently came across this interesting page: 15 Young Adult Books Every Adult Should Read. And I noticed authors like Laurie Halse Anderson on the list. That's when something inside me rose up to meet the promise of a challenge - plus, who knows, sometimes my favourite books of all time have been those I'd taken a chance on against the odds.
But this book was just bad. The exciting premise is wasted on a novel that eats at the same lunch table as Twilight, Hush, Hush and Fallen. The mysterious paranormal aspect opens up many avenues for the author to have explored and yet she chooses instead to pick the dullest one - a cliched romance. And damn if this book isn't one huge glowing neon cliche. One where a boring heroine with a severe lack of personality meets a ridiculously good-looking, sexy, British bad boy - who could have anyone he wants - and he somehow finds himself madly in love with her. Why? Well, that remains the biggest mystery of all.
Two words come to mind when I think back over this book: wish fulfillment. But yes, the other two words spring to mind a lot too. This novel is a very fine example of a certain brand of book that contains mediocre-at-best writing, unbelievably hot male love interests and is an empty, easy sell for young teen girls. Noah really is quite laughably perfect (if you like controlling jerks, but I'll get to that in a second) with his perfect face, hair, body, smile (etc.), his massive fortune, his intelligence which includes knowledge of six languages and large quotes from various classic novels. He is so flawless, I felt like he'd just rolled off the factory production line, spritzed, polished and raring to go.
Ah yes, and about that controlling thing I mentioned. There's really no need to explain it in detail, I'll just pull up some quotes for you:
Noah placed his forefinger above my upper lip and his thumb below my bottom lip, and applied the slightest pressure, cutting me off. "Shut up," he said quietly.
What is Mara's response to his rudeness? I nodded feebly. o_O You nodded... feebly? What is wrong with you? I can't understand why you aren't all like:
Then: The waiter appeared then, and Noah plucked the menu from my hands and handed it over, rushing off our order in Spanish. The waiter departed for the kitchen. I shot him a dark look. "I hadn't decided yet." "Trust me."
This also happens in Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian orders for Ana without even asking what she'd like or if she's vegetarian or has any allergies. For one thing, it's flawed. But beyond that it's just goddamn rude. What exactly is sexy about a guy not giving a damn what you want? When you look past the pretty description we are given of Noah's perfection, I find him incredibly unattractive, pretentious and annoying. If I wasn't British myself, I think this book would give me a really bad opinion of British people; almost as bad as Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap remake when she tells her American twin "I have claaasss and you don't." *shudders*
This quote - "Because I'm European, and therefore more cultured than you" - might have been funny as an isolated incident but Noah's repetition of similar declarations of cultural superiority (with books, music, etc.) just made me think...
I also think Mara is in desperate need of a new girlfriend because the girls in this book are ALL her enemies. Even her two friends at the beginning get separated into best friend and evil girl who's trying to steal best friend away. The word "slut" naturally appears several times in this novel and usually when the characters are talking about mean girl Anna who immediately decided to make Mara's life hell because Noah showed some interest in her. This beautiful quote sums up Anna's characterisation:
"The list of what you're missing, Anna, is longer than the South Beach Free Clinic's walk-in list," Jamie said, and I was surprised to hear his voice. "Though I'm sure your hookup resume includes the same names."
Cue group laughter as good triumphs over the evil slut who doesn't deserve feelings. This always amazes me in these kind of books - that we're supposed to be sympathetic towards the MC and believe she is the victim and much more interesting because of her lack of sluttiness. I don't think I'll ever understand why that stuff matters.
I've been picking out all these quotes throughout this review but I've saved the best for last. If I had been drinking whilst reading this bit, I would have sprayed the contents of my mouth everywhere. I just... can't. This is in response to Mara finding out about how Noah slept with a girl who was in love with him just to prove a point to the girl's brother:
I should haul back and smack him, strike a blow for feminism or something or at the very least, get out of the car. But then his thumb traced my skin and without quite realizing it, I leaned toward him and rested my forehead against his.
... to hell with feminism! Hot jerk is touching my face!!
This series should have ended three books back when all the romantic/sexual tension seeped out of Cat & Bones' relati
Thank. God. It's. Finished.
This series should have ended three books back when all the romantic/sexual tension seeped out of Cat & Bones' relationship. I love them, but there's a time for every series to end and this one had gone past it. Oh well. I'll still look out for Frost's future work....more
2.5 stars I'm sorry but so much of what I want to say about this book requires spoilers. All spoilers have been placed in spoiler tags but they are ve 2.5 stars I'm sorry but so much of what I want to say about this book requires spoilers. All spoilers have been placed in spoiler tags but they are very real ones. Only click if you have read/have no intention of reading this book.
There was a short period near the beginning of Some Quiet Place when I truly believed I might have found another 5-star read. It started out beautifully with some excellent, evocative language that made up for the lack of emotions felt by the protagonist. This main character - Elizabeth - was shockingly well-rounded despite her inability to feel emotions (or perhaps because of it); the problems this causes put Elizabeth in a situation which, to me, was entirely unique amongst other young adult paranormal novels. I thought the concept of emotions appearing as physical beings - either draping themselves over the shoulder of their victim or lurking in the corner or staggering in (whichever was appropriate for that emotion's personality) - was fantastic, original and fascinating. Especially when applied to the subject of domestic violence like this was; there's a particularly well-told, horrifying scene not too far into the book that was very powerful.
However, I think this is one of those cases where the author takes an excellent concept and fails to utilise it's full potential when it comes to the plot/story. As for the fantastic idea to create physical manifestations of emotions that only Elizabeth can see, I believe there is a point about a quarter to a third of the way in where the novelty wears off. Once I got over the use of such a creative technique, my eyes were drawn back to the plot and the love triangle that may impress readers who prefer romance over everything else but left me bored and unsatisfied. When the novelty period ended, for me, this became just another typical paranormal romance story with a couple of questionable love interests (one much more so than the other and (view spoiler)[the one she picks (hide spoiler)]).
Yes, this has a love triangle. And it has the characteristics that most young adult love triangles do: mysterious bad boy (Fear) vs good guy (Joshua) who the heroine has known forever. Both of which come with their own set of problems but I still think (view spoiler)[Elizabeth should have picked Joshua and ran a mile in the opposite direction from Fear, whose actions from start to finish made me pretty uncomfortable (hide spoiler)].
I also didn't like how Sophia was presented as a mindless mean girl. Introduced as such a shallow, evil character who picks on Elizabeth and randomly slams into her in the school corridors. I understand that there is a lot of pettiness that goes on in high school, often between girls, but this was ridiculous and felt unnecessary for the most part. I will give the author credit where it's due and say that she did give a reason as to why Sophia behaved in this way. But I don't think it was enough to make it worth it.
Just to conclude, I would recommend this for readers who have enjoyed many paranormal romance stories in the past. However, I think those who prefer books that go beyond that will find themselves more and more disappointed as the book progresses. But there is definite potential here with Sutton and I still find myself interested enough to check out her future work - hopefully it will be something with less of a romantic focus.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Phew, I am so glad that's over. I can't believe I actually made it through all those pages, I'm sure I wouldn't have done if I hadn't set myself the Phew, I am so glad that's over. I can't believe I actually made it through all those pages, I'm sure I wouldn't have done if I hadn't set myself the challenge of reading every monthly book club read chosen by one of my groups. Ugh. Seriously, just ugh. I have read some dismal books in the young adult paranormal genre, books that have been boring or annoying or have offended me, but I think I can honestly say this is up there with some of the worst books I've ever read. Everything about this book aggravated me in one way or another, from the ridiculous length of it to the male protagonist who's about as convincingly male as estrogen pills. I couldn't even concentrate on the story for the most part because I kept picturing Ethan as a thirty-something woman.
There are some things I'm going to rant about that may not have bothered me several years ago before Twilight came along, waving its cliche banners, and I appreciate that some people might find this slightly unfair seeing as this novel was released four years before the saga*. Well, unfortunately, I can only tell you what I thought of this book now, not speculate on what I might have thought if I'd read it a few years earlier. And, this fact aside, other things have nothing to do with when it was written or its similarities with other novels that have since been released from this genre. Like the fact that Ethan pisses me off and is a terrible attempt at writing a teenage male voice.
So, let's get the whole "this is like every other paranormal young adult book" thing out of the way. There were one or two additions to the witchy aspect of it that felt somewhat original but the general pattern of this novel with the romance and the carbon copy characters was predictable and, therefore, boring. No one likes a boring read and it's especially annoying when the book is nearly 600 pages long. Shall I check the usual paranormal YA criteria off for you? Small town... check. New girl... check. Boring holier-than-thou protagonist... check. Everlasting love after a very small amount of time... check. I don't know if this counts as instalove but it certainly counts as instaweirdobsession, full of laughable musings like "there's just something about her that makes me know it's meant to be" (hopefully, it's obvious that this is not a direct quote).
I thought that this book might be a little more original because of the uncommon choice to have a male protagonist, but everything is still exactly the same. Now, though, instead of a girl-next-door type, you have a boy-next-door type who sails along in his faultlessness, constantly comparing himself to the less intelligent and morally-questionable beings he must interact with every day. Ethan even treats us to a rare bout of what I can only call male slut-shaming; he criticises his male peers for having one-track minds and wanting to get off with girls when he is looking for something more meaningful... good for him, but why does that make him any better than the rest? He is actually an exact male version of many paranormal YA protagonists who criticise the popular girls for being more relaxed with their sexuality.
Not only that, but he also insults the other members of his Southern US town. The novel plays heavily on Southern stereotypes and portrays almost everyone but Ethan as being incredibly stupid. Ethan sneers at everyone, he is obviously smarter, has his morals in the right place and is just downright awesome in comparison. He makes it no secret from the very first chapter that he considers himself above them and it made me hate him before the story had even started going anywhere. He even goes so far as to announce that he doesn't have an accent because he was raised by intelligent people... I have two words for him: HATEFUL SNOB. Or FUCK YOU. Either works.
And predictable. This was Predictable with a capital P. We don't even need to meet Lena or even hear her name to realise that she is the one Ethan will end up with. As soon as one of Ethan's classmates asks "have you seen the new girl?" and Ethan begins to wonder if she'll be hot, we know from that point where the whole thing is heading. Sometimes, I'll admit, there's some fun to be had watching a couple angst it out together, even though you know they'll be together eventually, but before we even knew her name? I can't even say that I stopped caring because, truthfully, I never even started. This whole book was just... not good. Not good at all....more
2.5 Me and this book went on a strange journey together and the end result was very conflicted feelings.
It all started when I decided I wanted to beco
2.5 Me and this book went on a strange journey together and the end result was very conflicted feelings.
It all started when I decided I wanted to become more involved in one of my goodreads groups and actually pay attention to the monthly book reads. In the past, I used the group for challenges and recommendations but didn't participate in the group read-along, so I decided that I would read every book voted for except the ones that a) I had already read or b) I couldn't obtain for whatever reason. I then made my way to the page to see what my first book club read would be and found it was a book I was sent months ago and never read due to the atrocious cover and my belief that it would be little more than an annoying teen romance series that set out to find each hot guy a girlfriend with every volume. This book was Storm. But, even with my reservations, I can't resist challenging myself to something I wouldn't normally pick so I settled down to give this novel a try.
And at first I was very pleasantly surprised. I found myself devouring chapter after chapter and enjoying all aspects of the story. I liked Becca, I liked Hunter, I liked the Merrick brothers, I liked the urban fantasy aspect of it that wasn't neglected even with the book's romantic focus. Being someone who isn't usually a fan of young adult romance, I couldn't believe how quickly I became interested in these characters and their relationships with one another. The banter is superb, I love a touch of witty sarcasm to make me laugh. Plus, ridiculous good looks aside, the Merrick brothers seemed to be realistic portraits of teen boys.
Secondly, the main character/heroine can make or break a book like this and Becca immediately got into my good books by saving Chris Merrick in the very first chapter - no damsels in distress here. But she also has weaknesses and flaws so she isn't allowed to fall perfectly into a predesignated mold called "kickass heroine". Becca starts off so well that I think this was why it became all the more disappointing later on when she began to change into someone who criticises other women for what they are wearing and behaves stupidly on numerous occasions.
The nasty girls in this novel can be spotted by their revealing clothing ("boobs were going to explode from the neckline of her shirt in a minute") and their tendency to hang drooling all over the Merrick brothers. There seems to be a suggested relationship between sexual promiscuity (implied or otherwise) and evilness in Storm. Characterization ends with descriptions of their slutty clothing and behaviour. Oh, and they're all cheerleaders. I'm being serious when I say this: can someone please explain to me this obsession with cheerleaders? I live in England and don't know any schools that actually have cheerleaders but they're so popular in American movies and books. They appear to be a kind of tribe of beautiful, evil women that are out to destroy all other women with their perfect hair and bodies. I don't understand it at all.
The saddest thing is that this story could easily have been an excellent tale about the "slut issue" and the damaging effects of the war on female sexuality because it starts where Becca has a reputation of being the school slut. Girls won't be associated with her (apart from her one friend) and guys pass lewd notes to her in class, she is rumoured to have slept with most guys in her school but the truth is quite a different story and these rumours are actually lies spread by her ex. This is all fine and dandy but I would ask - what if she had slept around? What does it matter? This isn't tackling the slut issue, it's actually making it worse: everyone thinks she's evil because she's a slut but they're wrong because she's not a slut? No, they're wrong because these matters do not define a person... and that should have been the message.
Not surprisingly, this is not an issue that both genders experience and the author does nothing to challenge the double standard. The Merrick brothers are supposed to appear even more sexy because of the comment about it being a common occurrence to find a random girl in the house for one of them. Yet, despite the little pat on the back the brothers like to give themselves for sexual conquests, Gabriel specifically warns Chris away from Becca because she has "played around the block". Real nice. The sexism makes it impossible to let the good outweigh the bad and it also made it impossible for me to continue to like or care about the Merrick brothers when they behaved like such dicks.
Some spoilers in this paragraph (sorry) Another thing that stood out to me was some of Becca's unrealistic behaviour (in my opinion, anyway). I just don't believe that someone who went through a trauma like that would behave in the way she did and constantly put herself in harm's way again and again after the event. Even her actions in the very first chapter are questionable when you know what she's been through, never mind going to the house of the guy who raped her and getting drunk whilst there or going around the side of a building at night with him. That's not brave, it's just plain stupid, even if I do have to applaud the author for looking into reasons why victims of sexual assault don't always report the incident.
Sadly, after a beginning that made me think I'd been wrong to judge a book by its cover and genre, Storm came full circle and managed to disappoint me anyway. Better luck next month, I hope....more
On the plus side, I have managed to complete one of my winter challenge books on the very first day it started. And no, I didn't cheat, I listened to
On the plus side, I have managed to complete one of my winter challenge books on the very first day it started. And no, I didn't cheat, I listened to all seven boring hours of this thing - sorry if you liked it, but this book is just dull.
It wasn't the cheesy romance, it wasn't the whole angels and emphasis on religion thing, it wasn't even the annoying voice of the audio narrator... it's just that this story is so blah. So very very blah. Haven't I read this story a million times? Don't I know these characters from nearly every other paranormal romance book? The lovestruck heroine, the hunky love interest, the supposedly quirky but mostly uninteresting best friend?
Apart from a few small annoying things that can be said about a lot of young adult novels (particularly of the paranormal kind), there isn't anything really awful that I can pinpoint specifically, hence the rating of two stars instead of one. But I will have forgotten everything about this book tomorrow. In fact, I'm already in the process of forgetting it... I just had to go back and check up on a couple of names to remind myself of the characters. Not good.
The audio narrator in this case does not do the protagonist any favours. She plays upon her whininess, and makes her sound all the more immature and completely (ridiculously) in love. I can only guess that she thought this sounded cute but, unfortunately, it did not. Also, she never changes her voice for different characters, even though several are male and one is meant to have a British accent. I'm not very experienced with audiobooks but aren't you supposed to be able to tell which character is speaking?
The best part of this book is when Charlotte's skin is peeling off - which should tell you a great deal about my interest in this story. As for the rest, her "steamy" encounters with Harlin, the discovery that she is one of the Forgotten... I really just didn't care....more
I realise it was probably a mistake to read another angel book so soon after finishing Angelfall, but it was amongst the gushing reviews and comments
I realise it was probably a mistake to read another angel book so soon after finishing Angelfall, but it was amongst the gushing reviews and comments on the aforementioned that I read about these two books sharing a similar theme. This theme being that, rather than having pretty, sparkly, heaven-sent angels, the authors used the more traditional, violent creatures who have come to earth in order to take over. However, this is where the similarities between the two novels end.
Angel Burn has a much heavier focus on romance. In fact, the majority of the book is taken up by the development of the relationship between the male and female protagonists who are, of course, drawn to each other from the very beginning. I cannot help but be annoyed when the heroine pauses in life-threatening situtations to ogle this novel's piece of man candy. Is this normal behaviour? Surely myself and Penryn cannot be the only ones to prefer survival?
Naturally, they are already eternally, unconditionally in love by the novel's half-way marker. I also would guess that the equivalent of about sixty pages in total is given to Willow and Alex's kissing sessions. Way too much of this rather large book was about the romance. And what was the plot, exactly?
Like Article 5, like The Other Life, the bad guys are not actually that important. They are merely the tool needed to get the two lovebirds on the run together and allow for the road trip romancing to take place. Unlike Angelfall, the angel mythology is so underdeveloped. This could quite easily have been a book about vampires, werewolves, aliens - take your pick. You'd only have to change a few words and phrases here and there.
Perhaps it would not have been so bad if the romance hadn't been so damn corny as well. I'm not totally immune to the charms of a sexy guy in a leather jacket and the call of a touching romance, but this pulled some scenes that I'm pretty sure only Disney can get away with. You know what I mean, one of them is lying on the ground and no, please no, you can't be dead... I love you and then their eyes flicker open! Oh, please.
If you're a hardcore PNR fan or haven't already read way too much annoying paranormal novels then this could be for you. If you've read Angelfall recently, though, I recommend waiting a good while before reading this because, in my opinion, it pales in comparison. ...more
I actually won a hardback copy of this quite a while ago and I have to admit that, as much as it is nice to win anything, I was a little disappointed
I actually won a hardback copy of this quite a while ago and I have to admit that, as much as it is nice to win anything, I was a little disappointed that I didn't get one of the other available books. This book has never appealed to me, I've passed it so many times in my local book stores and never felt any inclination to pick it up. So I was definitely surprised when I found the book to be enjoyable on the whole and I spent a lot of the novel thinking I might give it a four star rating. What stopped me was countless annoying little things that gradually built up and resulted in me having to knock a star off the rating, one or two I could have easily disregarded but eventually there were just too many to ignore.
The positives are plentiful and the story really interested me; Lenah has spent five hundred years as a vampire (part of which was spent as queen of a coven) but now she longs to finally become human again, to have the chance to feel alive and experience the world with human senses and emotions. This requires a sacrifice from her maker - Rhode - and the story opens up where the ritual is being completed. Lenah's past as a vampire is told in flashbacks, whilst at the same time she tries to fit into a modern day boarding school, come to terms with technology and slang terms (part of the ritual involved her spending the last hundred years underground) and generally convince everyone that she is your average sixteen year old girl.
Because she was previously a vampire queen leading a coven of male vampires, Lenah is not like many of today's young adult paranormal heroines. When they are studying Kate Chopin's The Awakening in class, she states that she "doesn't like to be controlled" and it's true that she never lets herself be. Yes, she has a crush on the school stud, but when he appears to insult her she tells him where to get off. At last! I liked Lenah, I liked the historical references and I liked Lenah's friend Tony. I also liked how the ending left me with excitement for book two without being overly cliffhanger-ish.
Now for what I didn't like. Rhode was meant to be the love of Lenah's life for hundreds of years and yet she seemed to get over him very quickly. In fact, she didn't really seem to care that much at all. And on the subject of love interests... well, there were so many in this book you could drown in them. Forget love triangles, this is at least a love pentagon. Was it really necessary? In fact, I can tell you the answer to that one: no, it wasn't. But I think worst of all was the horrible mean girl stereotyping. You know the kind... she's pretty, she's blonde, dates the hottest guy who our heroine has a crush on... and, naturally, she's a complete bitch. Apparently, she has to be a complete bitch in order for it to be okay for Mr Hotness to leave her for Lenah. At one point while they are still going out, sexy guy - Justin - openly ignores her to flirt very obviously with Lenah. When Lenah points out that she is watching, Justin says "I don't care"! Really? Because, you know, those pretty blonde girls obviously don't have feelings so what's the point in wondering whether you might hurt them or not? This pissed me off.
BUT... I like the story and I like the protagonist. And for that I am still going to check out Stolen Nights and see where the author takes us next. ...more
Whilst reading this I happened to glance over at my mirror and see the expression on my face - my mouth was open, my eyes were wide... needless to sa
Whilst reading this I happened to glance over at my mirror and see the expression on my face - my mouth was open, my eyes were wide... needless to say, I looked like a complete moron. But that should give you some indication of how much this story surprised me. I confess that I didn't expect to like it that much and it's obviously time I stop making these predictions when I'm nearly always wrong. I should also stop trying to work out what certain things appeal to me in books, these theories also fall flat on their faces.
I'm not going to sell this book as something it isn't, from the beginning there is a very heavy romantic element and a lot of the story is built up around the idea that Nikki has returned (after a century in Everneath, six months to the human world) for the purpose of rekindling her romance with her past boyfriend, or at the very least seeing him for one last time before the Tunnels claim her forever. A lot of the book is definitely paranormal romance, or PNR, or even Love in a Supernatural Climate - take your pick. But I wasn't put off by this.
A lot of the story is interwoven with parts of Greek and Egyptian mythology, which I liked very much. It was well thought-out, made sense, seemed fairly original (well, I haven't read anything like it) and even though a lot of it was romance-centred I still didn't feel that it claimed the novel. I was intrigued by the whole concept of this Everneath, a place almost like hell but rather than being a place for sinners, it's a place for Everlivings - who drain souls for energy - and the souls that have been drained.
I think what I liked best, that saved the book from being nothing more than a love story, was the characters. So many young adult books make the entire novel about the female protagonist and her male love interest and, apart from the occasional over-stereotyped mean girl, they disregard all other characters. But Everneath explores Nikki's relationship with her friend, her father and her brother as well as her boyfriend.
I just wish she didn't have to blush so much. There's this one part of the story where Jack says: "I know you're worried about that..." and just the small word emphasis makes her "turn red all over". Come on, this is the 21st century, surely every girl doesn't blush at the mention of that, do they? And if they do, why don't the boys? Because boys are wild, experienced-from-birth, sexual animals that you have to fight off with a stick and girls are meek, mild and pure? I'm not saying that's what the author wanted to portray but the sexually smirking guy meets innocent girl seems to be a common theme in these types of books.
And also, is that a potential love triangle I spy there? I don't know, it seems pretty one-sided right now but there's clearly more books to come. ...more
I am going to have to sadly admit that this series is not my cup of tea. I tried to like Unearthly after reading all the rave reviews but found it on
I am going to have to sadly admit that this series is not my cup of tea. I tried to like Unearthly after reading all the rave reviews but found it only okay, it didn't blow my mind like I was so sure it would. Hallowed was even less appealing to me, I read three chapters and even that was a struggle - but now I do think I'm starting to see why. I think if I happened to meet Clara in real life, let's just say she enrolled at my university, we would be friendly to one another, perhaps mumble a polite greeting when we passed in the corridor but I don't think we would ever be close friends. We have so little in common. Clara is, in many ways, the girl I have never been... nor really wish to be either (though, I would like to be able to fly).
(1) Clara is the kind of girl who will have relationships filled with sweet romance, hand-holding and utter tameness. I appreciate that this is a young adult novel and I didn't exactly expect graphic sex scenes - or, in fact, any sex at all - but "Tucker still has this notion that since I have angel blood in my veins he should try to keep my honor in tact" is practically Victorian repression.
(2) Clara cannot even admit to herself that she has the hots for Christian as well as Tucker. She dreams, daydreams and thinks an awful lot about the guy but "no, no, Tucker is my future". Who is she kidding? It's not like every reader doesn't know already that there's a whole love triangle thing going on... so why is our heroine being stupid?
(3) I read three chapters. In these chapters, apart from a quick recap of what happened in the first book, we spend all the time in the middle of Clara's daydreams of marriage and babies. Or experiencing kissing Tucker through Clara's mind, which is naturally out of this world, sensational, practically orgasm-inducing... or seeing visions of Christian, which is just bad, bad, bad.
(4) And why oh why did this book get so biblical? Three chapters, I must remind you, and I don't know how many times I heard about god and the bible. Look, my religious beliefs aside, everyone is fully entitled to believe what the hell they want - but that doesn't mean I want to hear it about it in chapter two. And a lot.
I could read the rest of the story but I can tell we are not destined to love one another. And that's okay, right now I have so many other things to read. To anyone who is put off by my lack of chemistry with this book, navigate towards Wendy's or Tatiana's review to see how it worked out for people who "got" Clara more than I did. ...more