Power. Glory. Honor. Reliability. Trust. Strength. Are these traits simply attributed to our gender? Does our gender determine who we are as people or Power. Glory. Honor. Reliability. Trust. Strength. Are these traits simply attributed to our gender? Does our gender determine who we are as people or who we can become as a person? For centuries women have struggled to pry themselves from underneath man's suppressive boot to claim their equality. For centuries being a woman was thought to mean you were weak, unable to defend yourself, better off in the kitchens.
This is the world 16 year-old Eon(a) lives in. She lives in an Asian culture were women can never hope to strive for the same position as a man: Dragoneye. Yet, that is exactly what she does. On the outside she is a 12 year-old boy named Eon, masquerading in a world she barely understands. not only is she working against her sexuality, but she also has a lame leg, a symbol of bad luck.
When I first started the novel, it started off slow for me. However, the world building was excellent. I can not help but to sit back and admire the amount of research Alison Goodman had done to describe Eona's world. From the descriptions of the clothing, buildings, and mannerisms, I could completely visualize everything. After I got to know Eona more, I started having a better appreciation for the book.
I really loved Eona and her determination to become a Dragoneye despite her limitations her culture had bestowed upon her. She believes that her femininity hinders her. As a result, she does her best to suppress it at every given opportunity by taking drugs to stop her menstrual cycle. She finds that she has been thrust into a world of politics with people depending heavily on her power. A power she has no idea how to manifest.
And that my GoodReader friends brings us to the bad parts. Oh, c'mon. You knew it was coming.
Eona, Eona, Eona...Why are you so slow? Why must you frustrate me so?
I had long figured out the secret behind how to call your dragon. Yet you were up the creek without a paddle or just a lost little kitten.
Find your brain while you're at it, m'kay?
However, all was not lost with Eona's slow uptake. Once people started finding out her secret, the book moved along way faster. And by the end of the novel, I felt myself very excited for the sequel.
Eona had tremendous growth in this book. She went from suppressing her womanhood to embracing it. This book had the feminist in me crying out and squealing like a wittle fan girl. It was awesome.
And for some strange reason Annie Oakley and Frank Butler sang to me the entire time I read this book.
Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything Better than you.
No, you can't. Yes, I can. No, you can't. Yes, I can. No, you can't. Yes, I can, Yes, I can!
I can't wait to see what Eona CAN do in the next book!
This was good and different. Definitely NOT what I was expecting and easily one of the most depressing stories I've ever read. GLASS CASE OF EMOTIONS.This was good and different. Definitely NOT what I was expecting and easily one of the most depressing stories I've ever read. GLASS CASE OF EMOTIONS.
I was desperately waiting for Days of Blood and Starlight to come out and, boy, this was quite a book. Don’t let the rating mislead you into thinking this wasn’t an excellent book because it was. The plot was tighter and the action much more intense than in the first book, but it’s just so incredibly sad that I felt mentally and emotionally drained after reading it. Plus, it didn’t quite get me in the feels as much as Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I think I will need to re-read this one soon to have a more definite opinion.
Edit 5/27: That is an awesome cover! Look at the pretty!
You know that book you're reading right now? How about all those books on your "TBR" list? FORGET ABOUT 'EM!
I first stumbled across Laini Taylor when You know that book you're reading right now? How about all those books on your "TBR" list? FORGET ABOUT 'EM!
I first stumbled across Laini Taylor when I was encouraged by several of my GoodReader friends to read Lips Touch. So, I read it and while I enjoyed it, I wasn't blown away. However, I think it was a "It's not you, it's me" situation because anthologies and I don't really get along. I went into this book thinking it was just another PNR, Angel style. I couldn't have been more wrong. If Romeo & Juliet and the story of the Trojan War had a literary baby, that in turn grew up, rebelled, and decided to have paranormal creatures in a fantasy sort of world, it would be Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Okay, that makes almost no sense. Here, let me simplify it for you:
Karou is just your ordinary 17-year-old girl living as an art student in the beautiful city of Prague. She has blue hair, collects languages as birthday gifts, and runs errands collecting teeth. Okay, so maybe she's not so "ordinary." But one day, while running one of her "errands," she runs into a mysterious stranger named Akiva who attacks her. After that moment, her life forever changes and she finds herself on the cusp of unraveling the secret behind her most burning question:"Who am I?"
There are some stories that make you say, "Wow! That person's imagination was going into overdrive." Harry Potter, Star Wars and the Pendragon series immediately come to mind. While reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone I was mesmerized by Taylor's vivid descriptions and she easily fits in the above category as well. As with the first time I read a Laini Taylor novel, I had to get adjusted to her unique writing style. Karou and the mystery surrounding her past are so interesting you just sucked into the story. I literally could not put the book down and it took over my life for a few days causing me to abandon a few of my responsibilities.
Internal dialog: "I'll just read one more page then I cook dinner." "Well, I might as well finish this chapter since I'm halfway through it." "Dammit I forgot to feed the kids, but I'm hitting the climax...must.put.book.down."
Thanks to crafty little plan of mine, AKA take-out, no one starved. That just shows you how addictive this book was for me!
And let's talk about the love interest, Akiva. *sigh* Where do I begin with him?! Oh, ya! Hey Stephenie Meyer, this is how you write a tortured character. Akiva has a very real painful past that he carries with him. When he meets Karou is is drawn to her for some unknown reason and she to him. Wait, what's that you say? Isn't that insta-love? Preposterous! Laini Taylor is so above that. Don't be fooled young padewon like I was.
The first half of the book is so full of mystery it will have you begging for answers and Taylor does not disappoint. You've heard of that little rule "show, don't tell?" Well, Laini is the freakin' queen of doing just that. She shows you everything and by the end you're like: and then:
I can't say anything more about this book. I refuse to spoil anything. Just go read it now!
Thorne of Glass has a lot going for it. It's packed full of action, mystery, likable characters and fun dialogue. On the flip s Actual rating 3.5 stars
Thorne of Glass has a lot going for it. It's packed full of action, mystery, likable characters and fun dialogue. On the flip side, it also has a few tropes that I usually make me want to rip my hair out strand by strand: the love triangle, semi-insta love and predictable plot twists. That by no means makes this a bad book, because despite those annoyances, I was fully engrossed in Throne of Glass.
The Plot and Writing:
While the synopsis may come off feeling a little Hunger Game-esque, let me calm your fears now. It's not. Celaena is a young assassin who begins the book being dragged from her prison in Endovier, a salt mine prison for criminals. She's given a choice to become the king's champion (or lackey) for four years in exchange for her freedom at the end of her service. The catch is she must compete for the "honor" against other criminals. Sounds easy, right? Of course. Then people start dying, ahem, mysteriously!
With that small description the plot sounds like a winner, but I found it to be very predictable. I knew who the villain was and the foreshadowing was not subtle at all. At one point, Maas does try to steer the reader in another direction, but I knew it was just that, a distraction. But regardless, I couldn't deny that it was an exciting read. It's kinda like this: I knew how things probably would end, but I still ended up having fun along the way.
Even with it being a little over 400 pages long, it certainly doesn't read like that. The narration is set at a good pace and flows very nicely. The only thing I have to say about the writing style was that at times it felt a wee bit cheesy. There were a few lines like "Oh and she simply adored..." or "Oh how she loved candy!" that made me cock an eyebrow, but thankfully they were few and far between.
There's nothing I love more than a strong female character who speaks her mind and gives an entire male cast of characters a run for their hard-earned, cash money. Throne of Glass is being marketed as the teen girl version of Game of Thrones. Now, I've never read the books or seen the TV show, but I've heard enough about the depiction and treatment of woman in that series to say it's probably not for me. However, this is where Throne of Glass excels. Not only does it present a strong female MC, but a another secondary character, Nehemia, who also happens to be a person of color. Oh, yes, you read that right. No, ridiculous, over stereotyped, token character here! Because you know, if there is one thing that irritates me the most, it's misrepresentation in YA novels. But that didn't happen here. Nehemia is strong, incredibly smart and underestimated (of course) by everyone at court because of her nationality. Their mistake! I pity the fool who finds their self on the other end of her staff. It won't be pretty. Beautiful chaos. I'm hoping we get to see a lot more of her in the series. ;D
As for Celaena, well, she and I had this love/hate relationship going on. I find it really interesting and smart for Maas to create a character who is almost the opposite from what her society expects of her. They expect a proper lady, who never swears, has proper manners, reads poetry, quiet, ect. But Celaena is none of those things. Early on it's established that she dislikes the social expectations and makes it a point to use profanity and to embarrass the man folk with her readings of "Sunset's Passions". Seriously, she was owning these guys left and right.
"By the Wyrd! Do you actually read this rubbish? What happened to Symbols and Power and Eyllwe Customs and Culture?" She finished her drink, the ginger tea easing her stomach. "You may borrow it when I'm done. If you read it, your literary experience will be complete. And," she added with a coy smile, "it will give you some creative ideas of things to do with your lady friends."
I mean, can we all say, "In YO face."
"Here's a lesson for you, Weapons Master," she said, stalking past him. "Give me real men to fight. Then maybe I'll bother trying."
And her witty lines only get better and better from there. But of course, with all the pwning going on, she had her faults with being arrogant. Very, very arrogant. And that is where the hate comes into play. She was just too good and from the very beginning I knew Celaena would triumph because she is depicted as slightly Mary-Sueish. She's a well known assassin that can seemingly not be defeated and all man-folk fawn over her left and right. And that bothered me because it felt like there was so much more to her.
The Triangle of Love:
I was warned that this book contained a love triangle and this alone is enough to make me cringe. There are very few love triangles that I love and unfortunately this isn't one of them. When Celaena arrives at Rifthold she is drawn to both the Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, and the Crowned Prince, Dorian Havillard. Oddly, it's not because the characters aren't likable enough together and it's not even the fact of one of the love interests treating her wrongly. The problem I had was Dorian and Celaena's attraction. Most of the time it felt forced, awkward and contrived. I couldn't understand where they had the time to get to know each other long enough for her to stop hating him BEFORE she started liking him. There was even a scene where Dorian promises Celaena that he won't kill one of his new pups that he deemed untrainable. And she goes, "You'd do that for me?" I swear I could FEEL her eyelashes batting at him at that very moment. I think that was supposed to make me like Dorian, but all I could do was roll my eyes.
Contrastingly, Chaol's seemed like a much more developed and realistic relationship, if you even want to call it that. But their feelings felt more organic. Side note: I don't know if this is even considered a love triangle yet. It reminds me of the whole Jacob vs. Edward. We all knew Bella would pick Edward in the end. Was Jake ever a real contender? I think not. But from what I hear from readers of the original story on Fiction Press, Celaena had quite a few suiters. It'll be interesting to see how Throne of Glass deviates from its roots. So, I suppose we will just have to wait for future installments to find out.
All in all, though it was not what I was expecting, I still enjoyed Throne of Glass. I really believe it will appeal to many young girls and I'm happy to see great examples of strong female characters in a YA novel. It feels like the sequel can only get better from here based on that ending (no cliffhanger, thank goodness!) and I, like many others, eagerly await book two.
ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!
Another favorite shoujo and anime series is Sailor Moon. If you haven’t read this yet? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR IT’S LIKE THE BEST THING EVER. I’m sloAnother favorite shoujo and anime series is Sailor Moon. If you haven’t read this yet? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR IT’S LIKE THE BEST THING EVER. I’m slowly making my way through the new manga as they release them and let me just say that the colored pages are AMAZEBALLS. Also, SWEET NOSTALGIA. This was my face after I found out they were re-releasing the manga and rebooting the anime series:
I usually don't pick up many high fantasy novels. For example, I hate Lord of the Ri Actual rating: 4.5 stars
Oh yes, Rachel Hartman. YES!
I usually don't pick up many high fantasy novels. For example, I hate Lord of the Rings. Don't flame me! It's just that it's not usually a genre I mesh well with. In fact, I think aside from Seraphina I have read a grand total of two high fantasy books this year: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and Eona: The Last Dragoneye. Coincidentally, all three have dragons in them. Hmm...perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something there.
Dragons?! Yes, dragons. I know what you're probably thinking. So, let me help you.
Who's a good boy, Toothless? I could watch him chase that little light all day. But, no, not those kinds of dragons.
Burn, baby, burn. Now, that's more like it.
Sixteen-year-old Seraphina Dombegh lives in a world where dragons have the ability to transform their bodies into humans and walk amongst mankind. Previously, dragons and humans have warred against one another, but for forty years there has been strained peace thanks to a treaty. The time arrives for the peace treaty to once again be signed and a member of the royal family has been found murdered. What's even more interesting is that it appears to be the work of a dragon. With Treaty Day swiftly approaching, Seraphina finds herself in the midst of the investigation, assisting Prince Lucian Kiggs in discovering the murderer, all the while trying desperately to hide her own secret: being half dragon.
A few things I LOVED about Seraphina:
The World Building:
I really have to commend Hartman because this is a brilliant debut and I feel very fortunate to have read it months before the release. She has created a very believable society and I can just imagine all the research she put into this crafting the religion, clothing, races, philosophers, customs, ect. Initially, when I first started I felt a bit overwhelmed because of the names and culture. It's just that rich. But once I got into the story, I was just amazed at how well constructed the world building was.
I have to say, I was not once irritated at the main character, Seraphina (BTW: awesome name!). She is very headstrong and determined. When she first discovers a plot to disrupt the peace, she does not hesitate to get to the bottom of things even if that means doing things herself. This, of course, is her strength and her weakness. Having to hide her secret her whole life has left her unable to trust easily. This directly impacts her relationship with her partner in the investigation, Prince Lucian Kiggs. But as the novel wears on, we see a growth in Seraphina and her ability to trust and rely on her friends.
My favorite character has to be a toss-up between Princess Glisselda and Orma. For secondary characters, I felt they were very well developed throughout the novel. It's kind of ironic that they would come to be my favorites since in the beginning I didn't really care for either one. They possessed qualities (or at least I thought they did) that I found ugly (rudeness, apathetic, tactless, and uncaring). I suppose this is just another cool point for Hartman's writing style and character development for changing my mind completely before the novel's end.
The Plot and The Pacing:
Simply brilliant. The best way I can describe it would be to say it's like a cross between Sherlock Holmes and dragon lore fantasy. I found the novel's length to be perfect for the pacing, giving just the right amount of time for relationships to develop, the mystery to be solved, and ending realistically.
Very well done! I never saw the ending coming and was left completely satisfied with it. There are some series where the installments feel more like a part one or part two of a story, but then there are others like Seraphina that could stand alone just fine. While I know Seraphina's journey is not yet over, the immediate threat in the novel is resolved. I really appreciated that. This novel speaks for itself and doesn't need to rely on a cliffhanger to keep a reader interested in a sequel.
Seraphina is definitely a book you should look out for in 2012. I, for one, cannot wait for the sequel!
Disclaimer: An ARC was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes and while Rachel Hartman is a GoodReads friend of mine, these are my honest thoughts on the book.
Let me go ahead and get this out of the way. I loved this book. Why in the wWhy?
WHY DIDN'T I READ THIS BOOK SOONER?!
It was so AWESOME!
Let me go ahead and get this out of the way. I loved this book. Why in the world did I procrastinate with reading it? I've had Cinder sitting on my Kindle for a few months now and I continued to put it off over and over again. What a HUGE mistake! I even had the nerve to go into my local bookstore twice, pick Cinder up, and put it right back down. But all that doesn't really matter now because I've remedied the problem and absolutely fallen in love with this wonderful story.
When I first heard of Cinder before it's release, it was gaining quite a bit of buzz known for the retelling of Cinderella. Marissa Meyer, my hat's off to you because a cyborg Cinderella in New Beijing, China? Badass. But then shortly before I read it, another blogger informed me that not only is it a Cinderella retelling, but also had Sailor Moon elements. OMG... someone had answered my prayers! I don't think you can understand my excitement for that.
Sailor Moon was my all-time favorite TV show and manga as a child. Reading Cinder reminded me of a simpler time before responsibilities, when the biggest thing I had to worry about was setting up the VCR (yes, a throwback!) every day because at 4pm, right before Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon would come on. If I were to miss one episode, I would cry my little eyes out because I just had to know what happened next to Serena! I have seen every episode including the fifth season that didn't air in America. I've even seen the live action series in all Japanese. And for those that watch subtitled Japanese shows, you know that there comes a time in your marathon watching where you stop reading the subtitles and start thinking Japanese in your sleep. Yes, I am super fangirling and not ashamed one bit! So I think it goes without saying that the reasons for me loving Cinder so much, aside from being blasted by a rainbow of awesome with its creative premise, is that it has a lot to do with sentimental memories. I tell you this so you can understand one big thing:
I wasn't sure about Cinder at first. As soon as the book started I noticed on every obvious downfall: Predictability. Seriously, the plot twist ran up to me and sucker punched me in the face at only 10% in. This concerned me, but it quickly became a non-issue as I continued to read. Why? Because the story was interesting. It was engaging. It was just plain old fun! And I haven't had this much fun reading a book in a while.
The plot was brilliantly done. Cinder is a mechanic, under appreciated by her mother and one of her step-sisters. The other step-sister adores her. As a cyborg she doesn't have the same rights as a normal person and her step-mother goes out of her way to remind Cinder this whenever she can. One day Prince Kai (*swoon*) requests her services to fix his android. And in true fairy tale fashion he begins to fall for her not knowing she is a cyborg. But this isn't just a love story. Oh no! The world has been suffering from a deadly disease that kills in a matter of days and it starts to become painfully obvious that Earth's only hope for a cure depends on an alliance with the evil Lunar Queen. And as you may have guessed it, she has plans for Earth. Dun, dun, duuuunnnnnn!
I loved all the characters in Cinder, especially the heroine. Cinder was independent, feisty, and relatable. She didn't always make the right decision, but this is a heroine that learns from her mistakes. And Tuxedo Mask Prince Kai? I loved him.
Ah, the memories!
The romance was so sweet. At first Cinder is wary of the Prince's advances because she is cyborg and doesn't want him to find out, but she can't help but develop feelings for him along the way. Basically what I'm saying here is that there's no insta-love. And you know how much I hate insta-love!
Oh, and that ending! Marissa Meyer, how could you do that to my little heart? I need to know what happens now! You took two of my favorite stories and twisted them into this big ball of badass awesomeness and now I'm expected to wait until next year for book two?! And just look at the character line-up for the next books in the series: Scarlet, Cress and Winter. Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White?! I am so there. Just so we are clear, I'm not above stalking.
I will have the next book and I will have it soon...
An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!
First, a cavet: This review willWhew. So much WIN I can hardly stand it!
Girls rule and boys drool!
Oh my sweet... just gimme the next book now!
First, a cavet: This review will probably be the most unhelpful review you might ever read because nothing I say will do the book justice. I'll just use this space to ramble and hopefully it makes some sort of coherency.
I remember the first time I heard about Melina Marchetta and her special fragrance of awesome she regularly emits whenever she publishes a novel. I had seen reviews of On the Jellice Road, Saving Francesca, and The Piper's Son popping up left and right in my GoodReads feed all proclaiming that this woman was the cat's meow. But still I resisted the urge to hop on the Marchetta bandwagon for whatever reason. I was the Grinch sitting comfortably on my hill watching all the citizens of Whoville fangirl.
Yup, that's me. Especially when writing a 1 star review.
Finally, my co-blogger, Kat Kennedy, shook me fiercely and demanded I get off my ass and head to my local library. Naturally, I did exactly as she said because when the Boss Lady gets bitchy, you don't ask questions. Unless, of course, you don't happen to favor your head. *shrug* Your choice. Always your choice.
So, I stared at the book when I got home and silently told myself, "This better be good or I'm going to troll the shit outta Kennedy's review." It wasn't a threat, it was a promise.
At about 15% into the book, I completely forgot about my vow to make her previous trolls look like cute bunnies.
At about 25% in, even though I checked the book out from the library, I purchased the Kindle edition for my iPad so I could read late into the night while my household slept.
At about 35% in, anyone who attempted to talk with me while I was glued to the book was met with silence or a growl. My husband made the snide remark that the iPad would be permanently affixed to my forehead if I remained in "that ridiculous reading position."
This is actually a real photo taken by my husband for mockery at a later date. Don’t worry. Vengeance will be mine!
At about 40% in, while at the bookstore, I raged because they didn't have Finnikin in stock. What the hell was their problem anyway?!
Somewhere between 50-100%, my husband began to worry I would run away to Australia and proclaim my love to Melina Merchetta. I won't pretend the thought didn't cross my mind.
Its been quite a long time since I added a book to my "All Time Favorites" shelf and out of all the books that reside there none ever truly came close to competing with my number one favorite: Harry Potter. Until now. Oh my god, this book was amazing!
Melina Merchetta, you humble me. This is one of the best books I have ever read. The rich world building. The realistic characters. The heartbreaking romance. You created a world I never wanted to leave.
Authors please take note. THIS is how you create a believable world, societies, and cultures. THIS is how you write a strong female character. THIS is how you show the unfair treatment of women in a society, having a heroine rise above, and yet your book still proudly waves its feminist flag. THIS is how you create memorable minor characters. THIS is how you write from a male point-of-view without him sounding like a wannabe. THIS is how you write an epic book.
Badass, Marchetta. Badass.
A piece of advice from the hard-to-please, Grinch of Book-land: Read this book. It is amazing, fantastic, brilliant and everything in between. When US readers get their hands on Froi of the Exiles, and later this year Quintana of the Charyn for those lucky Aussies, I'm sure GoodReads will resemble nothing short of gnats flying into the bright, blue light. And I will be proudly be one of them.
*clears throat* Now if you'll excuse me, I have a plane to catch.
So, yes this review was probably not helpful, but I hear there is a giveaway for a signed copy of Froi of the Exiles up on Cuddlebuggery! ...more
Coincidences; mix-ups; harmless mistakes and switches. And so a story is born.
I usually do not read children's books, but when my good friend, Wend
Coincidences; mix-ups; harmless mistakes and switches. And so a story is born.
I usually do not read children's books, but when my good friend, Wendy, told me about it, I knew I couldn't resist. And I'm so glad I didn't. This book has that unputdownable quality to it. Lauren Oliver, this is the kind of magic that I fell in love with when I read Before I Fall.
Liesl is a young girl locked in an attic by her evil stepmother. It has been almost a year since she left the attic, let alone stepped outside the house. One day her father dies and she, sadly, was not allowed to say goodbye to him at the hospital. So, for three days she does not light her oil lamp and or draw. It is then that she meets a lonely ghost named Po, who lives on the Other Side. Meanwhile, there is Will who is also horribly mistreated by his adoptive parent, an Alchemist. He is sent on an errand to deliver the Greatest Magic in the World to Lady Premier, but takes a detour to Liesl's house as he usually does, which leads to a mix-up. As fate would have it, Liesl ends up in possession of this Great Magic. She along with Po, Bundle, and Will travel on a journey where they discover friendship, say goodbyes, and find a new and brighter beginning.
This book was very charming and I'm quite impressed with Oliver. I found the characters Liesl, Will, Po and Bundle to be very lovable and I constantly worried for their safety. They'd all been dealt very sad cards in life and I kept thinking, "Those poor children. Give them to me. I would love them." The mistreatment of children is just something that deeply bothers me to the core. But through all their difficulties, I loved how they kept on moving forward. Even when situations seemed very bleak, they did not give up. It reminded me of the 1995 version of The Little Princess. I simply adore that movie and the main character, Sara, possessed the same fighting spirit of Liesl that I looked up to as a small girl. Sometimes awful things happen to you in life and it can be hard to pick yourself up, but you must, but more importantly, you can do it. It's a wonderful message to present to young people. This is definitely a story I see myself reading to my kids when they are older.
The Shadow Reader had everything I love in a fae book. Seriously, I have a special place in my heart for fae characters. Ahem, Ash and Puck. *Wink, wiThe Shadow Reader had everything I love in a fae book. Seriously, I have a special place in my heart for fae characters. Ahem, Ash and Puck. *Wink, wink* It had action, hot Fae guys, adventure, romance, hot Fae guys, court intrigue, witty dialogue, and epically cool fight scenes. Oh, and did I mention the HOT FAE GUYS?!
Excuse me while I fangirl.
McKenzie Lewis is a special human. She can see the Fae and read their shadows. This ability makes her a very important ally in the war raging between the Court and Rebels because she can tell where the Fae are teleporting to. Just think of her as one hell of a blood hound and you get the picture. For years she has helped the Court track down and kill Rebels, until one day she is kidnapped by a rebel leader named Aren, who henceforth in this review shall be known as: "Le Hottie." While in captivity, she discovers the war she once considered black and white, just gained a whole lot more colors in between. As a result, she starts second guessing her alliance with the Court and her awkward relationship with the King's sword-master, Kyol, "Le Steamy".
First off, this is a really awesome debut novel for Sandy Williams. The Shadow Reader grabbed me from page one and held me in a choke hold that would make "Stone Cold" Steve Austin proud. And considering the last two books I've read had me in a "two-star" reviewing slump, I was extremely grateful for a fun read. That's not to say this book is without its flaws. Oh, no. Lol. But, there is just something about it that makes me a lot more forgiving. The Shadow Reader is like a toddler just finishing up a cherry Popsicle on a hot summer day. She's a little messy with sticky fingers, but she's just so darn cute you want to hug her anyway. And that's exactly how I felt about this book. Even though McKenzie did irritate me at times and the romance was toeing the "insta-love" line, I couldn't help but really enjoy reading this book.
Two words: Action packed. I don't even think this book had "down time." It was just back to back revelations, fight scenes, sexual tension. You know, all those things to keep you on the edge of your seat. This was a solid plot with pretty good world building. I easily got a feel for the Fae's world, but the only thing I would have liked to see was a freakin' map! McKenzie's ability to track the Fae's shadows is reliant upon her knowing where the locations actually are. I would have liked to have been able to see where these places were myself on a map. There is a lot of traveling done in the book between "fissuring" (think: teleporting) in and out of the human world or between the providences of the Fae world. So, yeah, it would have been nice to be able to flip to the map and see exactly where they were.
McKenzie's goal in the first half is to escape Le Hottie (Aren) and his Rebels and return to Le Steamy (Kyol) and the Court. She firmly believes they are evil and remains loyal to the Court. But, she never expects to fall for her captor and grow sympathetic to the Rebels cause. When she finally does return to her sword-master, she finds that her loyalties no longer lie with the Court.
Le Hottie (Aren), McKenzie, and Le Steamy (Kyol) were smart, sassy and classy respectively. I usually don't like love triangles, but this is one of those rare occasions where an author tells me to, "Shut it, Stephanie and read the damned book. You will like it!" And lil' old skeptical me goes:
Hmm...We'll see about that Ms. Williams. Well, here I am eating my words because I loved this love triangle. If I were McKenzie, who would I chose? Le Hottie or Le Steamy? Jeez, I don't know! They were both awesome guys! Aren's the cocky son of a biscuit eater that has you wanting to smack that ridiculous grin off his face and kiss him at the same time. While on the other hand, Kyol is the mysterious silent type that will keep you up all night trying to puzzle out the secrets hidden in his eyes. (AHHHH! Hot Fae guys! I.CAN'T.EVEN!)
Of course, we have our heroine McKenzie. I won't deny that there were times when she really irritated me because I thought she just couldn't see the bigger picture of the war and how the Court treated her all those years. The Court specifically didn't want her learning the language of the Fae and she not once thought that was strange. And one of the first things Aren does once she is kidnapped is have her taught the language. This should have been a gigantic red flag to McKenzie, but she remains loyal to the Court until it nearly very dearly costs her. But, she's supposed to be a stubborn heroine. I get that. I just wish she was a little more observant. However, she is a strong-willed heroine because she never does give up trying to escape her captives. I have to give her props for that. Even when she knows her attempts are in vain, she continues again and again. I have to admit, though, I did wish she didn't need quite so many rescuing from our hot Fae guys. In fact, why does she even have a sword on the cover? I kept waiting for her to kick someone's ass in the book, but it never happened. (view spoiler)[Okay, so maybe she did kill someone, but that was an accident on her part. (hide spoiler)] No matter. That wasn't enough to stop me from enjoying the book at all.
Ah, here is where the gushing review dies a painful death. Oh, insta-love, how I hate thee!! You manage to ruin it for me every time! When will you leave the awesome stories and their characters alone?! *Evil fist shake*
Darn you insta-love. You've gotten Tink fired up again. I'll be beating the pixie dust out of my sofa pillows for days now. Thanks.
First of all, I want to say I loved Aren and McKenzie together. They had great chemistry, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why they liked each other. Apart from the little zings of electricity shooting from each other, I don't understand why they were in love. It's your typical, "Oh he's hot, but he's the bad guy and I'm not supposed to notice that. Oh my damn, I can't look away!" As for Aren, I didn't even realized he really liked her until he kissed her and by then I'm like, "Wait, you actually like her? You were for real?" Then, by the end he's telling her he loves her. -_- Case and point, I found there attraction rushed and underdeveloped.
McKenzie and Kyol's relationship was a bit more believable because they had been working together for ten years compared to her brief few weeks acquaintance with Aren. The King had forbid Kyol and McKenzie from being together and despite their intense feelings for one another, Kyol tries his best to keep their relationship strictly business. McKenzie waits for him for ten years. Ten years. But when she returns from captivity he realizes this has been a mistake. By that time, he has kept so much from her (and Aren has laid a claim on her heart) that it damages their relationship. I really applaud McKenzie for standing up for herself and telling Kyol that she shouldn't have waited for him and that she was moving on. But, something tells me that his hold on her heart has not yet loosened its grip...
Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Shadow Reader and can see this appealing to fans of Richelle Mead. This book falls somewhere in the 3.5-4 star category for me, but what they hell, I'm rounding up to 4 for the special unputdownable quality (view spoiler)[and the hot Fae guys! (hide spoiler)].
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