It's been a few months since I finished this book and I'm still swooning. You shall be read again soon my precioussssss...
Actual rating: Teetering on...more It's been a few months since I finished this book and I'm still swooning. You shall be read again soon my precioussssss...
Actual rating: Teetering on 4.5 stars
Hush, Hush, who? Halo, what? Fallen, huh?
After reading the catastrophe Hush, Hush, I had pretty much given up on reading any more books involving angels. As far as I was concerned it would be my first and last angel book. I resisted the urge (mostly thanks to my dear Goodreads friend's reviews) to pick up Halo and Fallen, even though they still remain on my TBR shelf. At first glance I thought, "435 pages?! This means 435 pages of misery or 435 pages of awesomeness." Needless to say, I was not very optimistic about this book, demoting it all the way to the bottom of the library book pile. But, I decided to give it a chance. And I can honestly say I'm glad I did. Unearthly will make you forget all about those sad, pathetic excuses for a book about angels. Unearthly is the real deal.
Unearthly tells the story of a 16 year-old girl, Clara, who is 1/4 part angel-blood. The book opens with her discovering her purpose in life. It appears she is destined to save a young boy from a forest fire. So, together with her mother and brother, Jeffery, they pack up their house and home and move from California to Wyoming.
At first glance, you think you have this book figured out. You're thinking, "Ok, I know what's going to happen. She is going to save this dude and they are going to fall in love, yada, yada, yada." And just when you're feeling really clever for single-handedly predicting the outcome of the book, Cynthia Hand shatters your preconceptions. I love a good plot twist and this book exceeded my expectations.
A few things I LOVED about Unearthly:
1. No disappearing parent syndrome. Clara's mother was very much apart of her life. Albeit mysteriously, she is always there to help Clara with succeeding in fulfilling her purpose.
2. Likeable heroine. Not once did I feel irritated at Clara for doing something dumb. She isn't overly whinny or a pathetic damsel.
3. Healthy relationships. You will not find insta-love in this book! No, sir! In fact, I would say Hand may have written one of the best developing relationships I've read in a long time. She let it build up perfectly. By the time our heroine actually falls in love it is believable. As a result, it is much easier to feel Clara's emotions. I could feel myself swooning! Clara isn't overly dependent on her love interest, either. She learns to draw on her own inner strength. Kudoos to Hand for handeling this very well.
If there is one complaint I have, it't that I didn't really like how it ended. It felt akward to me, like it was imcomplete. There are so many unanswered question left in the ending that it almost drove me insane! And to top it off, the next book doesn't come out till next freakin' year!
In conclusion, it pains me to think this book will be compared to Halo, Fallen and Hush, Hush. It's in a higher and better league then them, hands down. So, I've decided to do my own little comparison through a visual story. Enjoy!
Once upon a time there was a girl who loved life. Everything was wonderful!
Untill one fatefull day she picked up
and it left her in a state of
After finishing CoFA, she sank further into depression. The girl felt no one could understand the mental pain she felt.
Then, one day she came accross Unearthly and she saw the heavens open with rays of light.
The girl was once again happy.
Ironicly, if you google "Angel saving human" this pops up as an image:
Oh, Cynthia Hand, how could you do this to me? I feel like this book should come with at least a warning....more Hallowed is out! I can't wait to re-read it!
Oh, Cynthia Hand, how could you do this to me? I feel like this book should come with at least a warning. Something along the lines of:
WARNING: This book may cause readers massive amounts of fangirling/fanboying. Do not be alarmed if you encounter symptoms of swooning, emotional instability, and immediate depression after reading.
Yeah...cause that's exactly what happened to me. Many of you may remember that I expressed in my Unearthly review how I was initially reluctant to read this series. Angel PRN books seem to be the worst of the worst in YA literature. So you can imagine my happiness when I come across this gem of a series. If there were ever a reason needed as to why I voted for Cynthia Hand's Unearthly as Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction, it would be Hallowed. If you were thinking that Hand couldn't do it again, you were wrong!
First off let get this off my chest because it's seriously bothering me:
"This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike."
Excuse me while I hurl. Are you kidding me? Stop it. Please. Do not lump this series in with those sorry books. Hallowed, for starters, has a plot. The characters have real depth. The love interests aren't trying to kill Clara. What it should have said was: "For fans of real YA PNR literature." *Breathes* Okay. /end mini rant.
I think it goes without say that I loved this book. I stayed up past 4am to finish this it. Once again, I could not have predicted the outcome! There are so many plot twists and mysteries revealed and it's not what you would expect at all. And I have a sinking feeling that Hallowed is sure to upset quite a few fans...
If you think I'm going to sit here and feed you spoilers, sorry kids, not gonna happen. However, I can tell you some of the things I LOVED about Hallowed:
The character development Fans will be happy to know that we do indeed find out more about Christian, Clara's mom, Angela, Jeffery's purpose and last, but certainly not least, Tucker Avery. *Cues the swooning*
Clara's mother definitely sees more development. And at first I found myself really irritated with her for keeping secrets, but by the end of the book, I couldn't bring myself to be angry at her any longer. We were left with so many unanswered questions at the end of Unearthly, mostly thanks to Clara's mom, but rest assured, many are answered. And of course, with more answers we get even more questions.
The love triangle I'm sure you saw that coming, as did I, but here's the thing: I liked it. I usually hate love triangles because I find them a bit played out and predictable. But it worked so well in Hallowed. This probably has something to do with the fact that Hand wrote these characters so well. Their relationships are very believable and heartbreakingly realistic. We see a whole other side to Christian and Tucker. It's rather easy to love them both because they both care deeply for Clara and respect her. There are no semi-abusive love interests here. How about that? ;)
The prose, the pacing, and the plot I never thought I could come to love the use of present tense prose, but I felt it was so perfect. We are really able to connect with Clara on another level because of that, especially everything that she goes through in this book. And she goes through a lot. The simple sentences and Clara's ramblings really helped me feel everything Clara felt. The pacing was a bit slower in this book than the last, but again, it works so perfectly. Hand gives us the opportunity to let it really sink in. The pacing just goes hand in hand with the plot, which too is very subtle. At first you become eager to get to the end, but you will come to dread it. So beautifully written.
The dialog Cynthia Hand, you are so slick and I love you for it. Those Twilight burns you put in there? Oh, yeah, I think you know how brilliantly awesome that was.
Before I moved here, I never got the whole love-triangle thing. You know, in movies or romance novels or whatnot, where there’s one chick that all the guys are drooling over, even though you can’t see anything particularly special about her. But oh, no, they both must have her. And she’s like, oh dear, however will I choose? William is so sensitive, he understands me, he swept me off my feet, oh misery, blubber, blubber, but how can I go on living without Rafe and his devil-may-care ways and his dark and only-a-little-abusive love? Upchuck.
Yup, that's pure win right there.
The ending It was so heartbreaking. Clara just didn't get a break in this book and I felt for her so much. I just wanted to hug her. And at the end I felt like I needed a hug. Hand, you had me crying at 4am! I can't believe you went there in this book!! I mean, seriously, I was having a fit over here:
Disbelief: "NOOOOO!! She did not just do that! NOOOO!"
Depression: "How will I survive until 2013? I'm doomed. Doomed, I tell ya."
Cynthia Hand tore my heart out and made me eat it...
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...more 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!
Sometime after this review was written Kat Kennedy and I traveled down the River Styx to interview Brodi Ashton. Check out the interview here!
Right af...more Sometime after this review was written Kat Kennedy and I traveled down the River Styx to interview Brodi Ashton. Check out the interview here!
Right after I finished Everneath I gave it 4 stars right off the bat. It was an easy read with a great story and fantastical characters. Why didn't I give it five stars? I had to to think on that. So, I spent an entire week trying to figure out what it was about Everneath that I disliked. Conclusion:
It's true, folks. I don't have any negative things to say about Everneath. I LOVED it.
Everneath tells the story of Nikki Beckett, who having since vanished 6 months ago to the Everneath, returns to her family and friends seeking a way to permanently say goodbye before she returns to the Underworld for good. However, “bad boy”, Cole, the immortal who first took her to the Everneath, wants to make her his immortal queen and forget about those she left behind. With a period of only six months, Nikki struggles to fight her addiction to Cole, right her wrongs, and somehow find a loop hole that will keep her with her loved ones.
There are a few aspects in Everneath that make it stand out above the usual follies in the paranormal romance genre. For all of those novels that have done it wrong over and over, Everneath does it right.
What I LOVED and can't get enough of (baby):
Are you tired of the usual teen angst? The main character and the love interest seeming to have some whack, ass-grabbed excuse for why they can't be together? Well, so am I. Each character in this book felt like they were extremely well-developed with real issues. Nikki is looking for redemption for something she knows is her fault. She's not looking for anyone to save her. She's not pouting in the corner having a FML moment. She's doing something about it. It was her decision to go with Cole to the Everneath and allow him to feed off of her. She could have blamed it on Jack's actions, but she took full responsibility.
Cole is a very complex character. He tries very hard to convince Nikki to leave her home and become an immortal, Everliving, like him and rule as queen. But, Nikki doesn't want that. While reading, the reader is left to wonder if he is genuine when he says he cares about her or is her just playing her. Somehow Ashton manages to make us somewhat sympathetic to Cole, but she still reminds the reader that he is the bad boy. How many times do we see the heroine being instantly swept away by the bad boy's good looks? Or how about getting lost in his glorious deep eyes, that also happen to be the exact shade of the darkest pits in hell? Or my personal favorite: stalk me! I love it when you creep! *barf* Kill me now. Nikki doesn't back down from her guns. Cole follows her and she tells his ass to take a hike. Cole stakes out at her window and she tells that fool to get lost. However, there always still remains intrigue surrounding Cole. I expect to see a lot more from him in the next book.
Jack is the sweetest love interest I've read about in a while. He never gives up on Nikki when she disappears for 6 months. He was supportive and kind throughout the entire novel. Ladies, and I'm not saying this mildly, if you love Tucker Avery (view spoiler)[if you don't know who that is, you are DEAD to me! (view spoiler)[just kidding...sorta (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)], then I'm sure you will love Jack too. Jack suspects something is amiss with Nikki and despite her not being as forthcoming about it, he steadily is always there patiently waiting until she is ready to talk.
I mean, how can you say no to a book with characters that awesome?!
The Triangle of Love:
Ashton plays this pretty slick. As I've already mentioned, Nikki avoids Cole's advances, but I know where this is headed. I'm just way too smart to be fooled!
But, you know what? I think this will be one of those cases where I'll like it. In fact, I'm going to make a rather bold statement here and say this love triangle resembles Cynthia Hand's Unearthly. Yes, I said it. You see Hand and Ashton are doing something very interesting with their romances. They both have strong female leads that clearly have a preference in the department of who they want to end up with. They struggle to ward off advances from the other male love interest, but because of factors out of their control (this is called a plot people!) they must tolerate him. He isn't around just to make the "good guy" look extra nice with his boy next door, award winning smile. He has a purpose besides trying to steal away the girl. Not only that, but the heroine knows this and tries everything in her power to not get involved with the "bad boy" because, duh!, he is BAD. And that is why it works for me. It makes me so happy someone has stopped trying to sell me the arrogant "bad boy" as a viable love interest when he has zero redeeming features! Thank you, Ashton. Gold star!
One of the best messages this novel has is the consequences of co-dependent relationships. They reason why Nikki left to go to the Everneath was a direct result of an event involving her boy friend, Jack (coupled with a few other things). Similarly, Jack loses it completely when Nikki disappears. The reason why it works in this story is because both characters acknowledged those actions were not healthy and both regretted it. Their knee-jerk reaction and violent depression is not romanticized in any way. I really wish more authors portrayed this message more often in their novels because it's important to show that losing your boy friend/girl friend can suck, but it is not the end of the world.
That's right, this book has one! Nikki is on a mission: redemption. That is what she attempts to gain in this novel. When she disappeared into the Everneath 6 months ago, she left a lot of relationships strained and now she is looking to fix them. She doesn't stray from that path and suddenly start fantasizing about the "bad boy" randomly. This is what makes this book such a winner because too often I see the plot being left in the bloody dust because an author thought it would be "totally romantic" to have the heroine frolic through the gardens with one of her boy toys. I'm happy to say that did not happen here. You ever heard of the saying "no romance without finance"? Well, I'm introducing a new saying: No romance without plot progress. While this is a paranormal romance through and through, the plot is always in the front.
So sad, but so perfect. I love how things are tied up nicely, yet you know there is more to come. I'm really excited to read the next book, but I don't feel like Ashton left me to walk the plank with Everneath's ending. Thank you for that. There are only so many cliffhangers I can take before my poor little heart gives out. It will be very interesting to see where she takes this story.
So, if you are tired of the usual run of the mill paranormal romances, you should head right on over to your book store and pick up Everneath. You're in for a treat!
ARC received through NetGalley. As always, these are my honest opinions and I was not paid for my review!
More reviews like this at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Okay, I'm really excited for this book, but another sword on the cover? I mean, McKenzie didn't wield a sword in book one. Is she actually going to us...more Okay, I'm really excited for this book, but another sword on the cover? I mean, McKenzie didn't wield a sword in book one. Is she actually going to use one this time around?! (less)
EDIT: So the cover is up and I'm actually happy with it. I'm very please Harlequin dropped the model from The Immortal Rules who wasn't Asian and went...more EDIT: So the cover is up and I'm actually happy with it. I'm very please Harlequin dropped the model from The Immortal Rules who wasn't Asian and went in a different direction. It's not my favorite cover in the world, but it's not bad either.