Until the last ten percent of Tempest, I was resigned to giving it one lonely star and, for once, not having even an inkling to pick up its sequels. I...more Until the last ten percent of Tempest, I was resigned to giving it one lonely star and, for once, not having even an inkling to pick up its sequels. I truly believe some people will be captivated with the story Julie Cross has woven together because it's not a bad book, it 's just not a good book either. In all honesty, this is more of a 1.5 star book simply reliant on the principle that it just wasn't for me. However, it really doesn’t fit on my 1.5 star shelf, which is home to some pretty crappy books and Tempest doesn't really deserve to be there among them. Plus, I'm feeling very generous today.
The year is 2009 and Jackson Meyer is your typical college student. He has a beautiful girlfriend named Holly who adores him and an awesome best friend named Adam. He also happens to be the son of a pharmaceutical company CEO, making him an incredibly rich kid. Oh yeah, and he can time travel. He seems to have everything he could ever want until one day mysterious people show up and shoot Holly. Suddenly, Jackson finds himself stuck in the year 2007. As Jackson struggles to find out his way back, he learns truths about his past, present and a possibly disturbing future. What he used to consider a weird ability now seems to have a lot more power over the world's future. Talk about pressure.
Tempest and I got off to a rocky start. First off, I want to say I loved the premise. Time travel is always a difficult topic to cover since there are so many "rules" and loads of possibilities for confused readers. For the most part, by the end of the novel I did feel like I had a pretty good understanding of Cross' universe. However, my issues with this book lie with certain events in the storyline and the characters.
Plot Events: Tempest starts of very quickly with you immediately learning about Jackson's abilities and a few of the rules. In other words, Tempest got down to business. From the blurb, I knew Holly was going to get shot and I knew Jackson would wind up in 2007. What I didn't expect was for it to happen so soon in the story. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it felt like the story and the plot were taking off before I could connect or care about the characters. When the mysterious men show up in Holly's dorm room looking for Jackson and she's accidentally shot (view spoiler)[and later we find out she dies (the blurb says this much, but I'm hiding this 'spoiler' anyway) (hide spoiler)], I found myself asking, "Wait. Is this where I should care?" Sadly, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. My gives-a-fuck-o-meter was at a steady zero. In any case, that entire scene seemed entirely too farfetched. Who let those people into the dorm randomly? Why would Jackson and Holly's first reaction be to attack the people when all they did was ask a question? I don't understand. 2009 was only two years ago, but I'm pretty sure we weren't attacking people who asked us questions.
But despite my initial turnoff I continued reading and found that I really like Jackson's sister, Courtney. I was a little sad when she (view spoiler)[tells Jackson it was her that normally visits him (hide spoiler)] and it wasn't explored more. That would have been really interesting and added another layer of intrigue. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm not sure what the point was in the whole Courtney sub-plot. Was it to make Jackson a more sympathetic protagonist? Hmm...FAIL. Unfortunately, just when I thought the plot was about to actually pick up, this book gets really corny. When he gets stuck in 2007 he affectionately renames that Holly as "007." Yes, this is a good as any place to *facepalm*. Then, Jackson becomes some makeshift time-traveling CIA agent battling the "Enemies of Time."
It all went downhill for me at that point. I was already have a hard enough time connecting with the characters before Jackson became some super speshul badass agent.
With regards to the time traveling, for the most part I kinda sorta understood it, but when they started getting into "time-lines" and "alternate dimensions," they lost me. When Jackson is stuck in 2007 why didn't anything he do affect the future when he got back to 2009 (view spoiler)[since that was considered a full jump (hide spoiler)]? Add that to the fact that Jackson is constantly jumping from 2007 to 2009 back and forth every few pages, and it gets pretty hard to remember what the hell was going on. The few times where he did stay in one year long enough for me to catch my breath, he is having a flashback to either...you guessed it...2007 or 2009.
The plot was also very predictable. I knew exactly what his dad was hiding. By the time the big plot twist came up I remained unmoved in my boredom.
I think one of the biggest issues with this book is that the characters were underdeveloped. Many times it felt like Cross was so eager to get to "the good parts" that she didn't spend enough time writing believable dialogue and characters.
One part that really bugged me was when Jackson had the conversation with his teacher about dropping out of school and getting his GED. He basically says he's going to drop out and she pretty much goes, "Okay." What teacher would react that way? None that I've had. She didn't even ask him why he wanted to do that:
She laughed again. “That can’t be true. So . . . will I see you roaming the halls soon?” I forced back the disgusted look I knew was about to take form on my face. No way was I going back to high school. “Probably not. I’m thinking of taking my GED, just tired of the whole high school scene.” The waitress dropped off my dinner and I picked up the fork and stabbed a spear of asparagus. “Actually, I gave my dad an ultimatum, public school or GED. He’s leaning toward the GED.” “Public school isn’t that bad. I went to one, and look how I turned out," she said.
Ummm...WHAT? Her reaction is child's play, however, to his father's.
“I want to talk about you dropping out. I understand you have your reasons for coming back from Spain, but at least consider returning to Loyola.”
I'm sorry, who is the parent here? Please consider going back to school? Oh, no, no, no, no. This is pretty much the last time his dad has the "school conversation" with him and Jackson never does go back to school. Anyone else see how unrealistic that is? Please tell me I'm not the only one.
Holly and Adam. Who are these people? The girlfriend and the sidekick. Once again more stereotypes. Can you guess what Holly looks like? She's a blonde haired, blue eyed beauty perfect in every way. You know, like a real life Barbie Doll.
Jackson treats her like crap and she still continues to forgive him and then sleep with him. Nice. That's the perfect message to send to girls. Adam wasn't much better of a character. He was a nerd/geek/>insert any other insult against a computer techy<. We really never learn anything else about him. I don't even remember his last name. SMH. I just love the smell of FAIL in the morning, don't you?
As I mentioned before the dialogue also was unrealistic. The characters are supposed to be 19 in 2009 and 17 in 2007, but they always felt younger to me, especially Jackson. No doubt some parts were meant to be funny, but I never once cracked a smile.
Jackson (he gets his own section):
I was really excited to learn the story is told from a male protagonist, but I quickly discovered that Jackson isn't really a guy. But wait, Stephanie! Julie Cross said Jackson is a male! The author said he is therefore it must be so, right? And to you sheepies I would reply, "NO."
Jackson sounds like he's trying to be a guy, but I never found his voice to be very convincing. Most of the time it felt like he was trying too hard to prove that he did, in fact, have a Y chromosome. For example, there is a scene in the novel where Jackson and Holly are on the verge of having sex and she mentions she's "never done this before." This immediately turns Jackson off for two reasons. One, because he is afraid of hurting her and for this reason:
The idea that she might not enjoy this was turning me in the other direction. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been with a virgin, even just messing around. Maybe never.
Now, in this flashback he was 17 and maybe it's just me, but that statement gave me pause. At 17-years-old he's had sex with so many girls that he can't even remember if any were virgins? Not only that, but he also says the longest relationship besides Holly he'd been in lasted a month (and the girl was out of the country for two of those weeks). How did Britney put it? Faking like a good one, but I call 'em like I see 'em. I know what you are, what you are, baby. Ironically, I read this scene to my husband to gather a male perspective and the first thing he asked was, "This is supposed to be a guy?" Exactly. I may have been able to accept those things if that corresponded with his apparent personality, but it didn't. It's almost like Cross tried to write a character with these stereotypes (I'm a rich man-whore, but it's gravy 'cause that's what boys my age do!) and at the same time make him a sensitive and caring boyfriend to Holly (but I'd never do that to Holly because...because...because...I just wouldn't, okay?). Boy don't try to front. I...I know just *just* what you are-are-are. I suppose we are to assume (hahaha, see what I did there?) Holly sparked this change in Jackson, but there was nothing remotely special about her that made me go, "Okay, I see it." I could never understand what was so magical about her to cause that sort of change in his personality, especially since he was not a very good boyfriend to begin with. You are concerned enough for her to not hurt her during sex, but not concerned enough to not flirt with other girls or deceive her 2007 self into liking you? Womanizer, woman-womanizer, you're a womanizer. Oh womanizer, oh you're a womanizer, baby. So, no. I did not buy their relationship. If anything I was wondering why Holly, who did seem like a smart girl, was with him in the first place.
The Ending: (This part may or may not contain mild spoilers)
Two words: Thrown together. I did not understand it at all. The sad part is, I finished the book two days ago and I can barely remember the fine details of it. BUT the one thing I do remember is Holly and Jackson's "It's too dangerous for us to be together! I love you so much, I have to break up with you so the bad guys don't use you as a target!" moment. Look, this plan NEVER works. If it didn't work out for Spiderman and Mary Jane, then it's damn sure not gonna work out for you either.
And of course this book happens to have a major marketing campaign and the rights for a movie, with Summit Entertainment no less, have been optioned. I'm left asking, "Why?" This book didn't make me laugh, cry, or even frustrated. I had zero emotions running through me. I had my 'Dark Knight' face on the entire time I read this.
I've added the next books to my shelf, but if I'm being honest here, I'm not sure if I'll ever read them.
*sigh* Oh, well. We win some, we lose some, right?
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3.5 Maybe? I really enjoyed the ending so I'm rounding up.
I spent a good portion of this book floating somewhere between wanting to punch Gabriel Mer...more 3.5 Maybe? I really enjoyed the ending so I'm rounding up.
I spent a good portion of this book floating somewhere between wanting to punch Gabriel Merrick in the face and wanting to hug him and bake him cookies. Our pyromaniac always has the ability to bring up the most strong feelings due to his personality being so unpredictable. In Storm, I down-right hated him because, let's be honest, he's a dick. But somehow in Spark I started feeling differently. Don't get me wrong, I still don't love Gabriel, but I don't hate him anymore either.
Spark reminds me another book I've recently that features an anti-hero as its love interest: The Collector. The biggest difference is that Gabriel already has a past for really not being very well-liked in Storm. So he has to overcome a reader's preconceived notions and I honestly didn't think I could like this guy, even a little, after his behavior in Storm. Having the story told from his point of view definitely helped the situation. I think if it had been told by another character, it's possible I would have still be on the fence with this guy. Or driven into a murderous rage.
Other than Gabriel, we are introduced to another character I wasn't too sure of at first: Layne. In the end, I came out liking her much better than I did Becca from Storm. I know that this book could easily read as The Player meeting The Virgin and changing his ways, because that does happen. That viewpoint is completely valid. But for me, I saw this as something a little more. This isn't you Edward/Bella situation. Layne is a strong character, albeit flawed, but she does something that other people, specifically girls, usually don't do when it comes to dealing with him. She challenges him when he's most vulnerable. And while she does admit early on that she is physically attracted to him, she doesn't put up with his bullshit...
...or immediately buy into his charm.
In Spark, Gabriel is at a point in his life where he realizes that he and his twin brother, Nick, might not always be together. This becomes even more apparent when a fight leaves them on non-speaking terms for majority of the book. Without his twin by his side, he doesn't know who he is or what he wants to do with his life beyond high school. He's pushed his brothers away to the point where they don't even know how to handle him. To top it all off, he's struggling in school without Nick's help. He's alone.
Gabriel is a character who is used to having everything handed to him. Girls, good grades, sports. He's never really had to "work" for any of those things the way others have. But with Layne, it's an experience for him. He needs her help to pass math and ends up spending a lot of time with her. And she doesn't exactly make it easy for him. What made it interesting for me is how much they had in common personality-wise. They both are guarding secrets from their past, not used to letting anyone get close and both are very lonely. So for me, while Layne was the more unexperienced one when it came to relationships, I never felt any emphasis really place on that as being a reason for Gabriel's attraction.
And if Storm reminds me of Four Brothers, than Spark is She's All That, except there's no bet (another favorite movie of mine, by the way). Layne is the unpopular girl who gets bullied by the other kids and Queen Bee, Taylor (hey, same name as the lead bully from She's All That). There's even a scene where Layne is tricked into attending a party and the bullies humiliate her there. There's no wine being poured down her dress, but she is sexually assaulted (groped by a dude while others get it on camera). I didn't really care for the part for the same reasons why Becca's almost rape scene bothered me. I don't like it used as a plot device. Replace Layne with a male character and it would have been an entirely different prank, but because she is a female, the prank *has* to do with her sexuality in some way. \(-_-)/
Why are all the lead female characters sexually assaulted? First Becca and now Layne. And if they aren't, then some type of emphasis is placed on their appearance. Becca's best friend Quinn is regularly teased by Gabriel for being "chubby." And even Taylor, the bully, is insulted as "looking like a prostitute" by Layne. I'm starting to notice a trend here...
But one really positive thing I can say about Spark is that the writing felt noticeably stronger than Storm. I had no problem adjusting the Kemmerer's writing style and I enjoyed it much more this time around. The dialogue also was an improvement to me. That's not to say it was terrible in Storm, but it was funnier in Spark. Gabriel is a bonafide smartass and his personality clearly came in loud and clear. But I just love how there is someone time enough for his little remarks.
"You know," he said by way of greeting, "the night I caught you with Layne, I called you a future felon. I didn't realize you'd make good on that prediction so quickly." "That night you dragged Layne out of my driveway, I called you an asshole. Guess we were both right."
"Were you bluffing about getting out?" Gabriel grabbed the door handle. When he was standing in the grit and rubble of the shoulder, feeling the rain trail down his collar, he hesitated before closing the door. "You know I don't even have a phone." "Would now be a bad time for a joke about smoke signals?" "Fuck you."
Truly, it was never a dull moment from Gabriel Merrick's point of view.
All in all, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Spark considering my reservations of its leading man. But that last 25%! GAH! It'll be very interesting to see where this story goes next. Very interesting indeed.
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, wi...moreThe 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)].
More reviews and more 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"]>(less)
I did it. Fury crossed my threshold. I finally read Fury. I FINALLY READ FURY!
Do you know what that means? No. I don't think y...more Actual rating: 3.5 stars
I did it. Fury crossed my threshold. I finally read Fury. I FINALLY READ FURY!
Do you know what that means? No. I don't think you do. Story time!
This book is so incredibly hard to come by and I swear IT'S CURSED. Whenever it attempts to cross on over America's border it mysteriously gets lost or stolen. Don't ask me why it's always this book. I don't know.
All I know is this: I tried to order it from Fishpond.com and they cancelled my order due to publishing issues.
So I did what any book lover would do: I threw a miniature pity party, complete with black party hats and all. Then I heard of a book tour on GoodReads and I was super excited! I rushed over to the book group to sign up only to discover that they had closed the entries only hours before. I had a sad. Well, actually, it was more than a sad. I was starting to get angry.
After my little rage-fest, I found out about another tour that was held by Wendy Darling. My excitement was climbing! Until it was lost in the mail. I felt my pressure rising. I mean, this book was legitimately avoiding me. Why? Why did you hate me so much Fury?!
I got so angry I felt my biceps growing in size, there was suddenly wind in my hair and my fro was turning a nice shade of golden-yellow. If I didn't read Fury soon, I knew the transformation was inevitable and all in my path would suffer the wrath of my black soul.
Half Unicorn. Half Saiyan. True Facts.
I did the only responsible thing I could think of to save my neighborhood: I fired up my computer and Googled images of Ryan Gosling. Instantly, I felt my fury subsiding. And then, just like that, my hot husband walks through the door with a package in hand. I couldn't believe it. I quickly tore off the paper and hugged Fury close. I thought, "It was you Ryan! I knew you wouldn't fail me!" and I lapsed into a daydream:
My husband cleared his throat at that awkward moment and walked away muttering something that resembled, "Get a room." Then I looked down at the envelope and realized it was from Kat. Damn. Daydream over.
So yeah, the review. Fury is what a few of my friends (real life, not the ones that live in my computer) would call an ILC (Interesting Little Creature). Why? Because I both loved and hated this book. The main character, Eliza is everything I usually dislike in a heroine. She's rich beyond belief, spoiled, bitchy, ect. And for most of the novel I didn't like her. We didn't get along and I really wanted to shake her. Hard. In fact, I pretty much felt the same way about all the characters. Poor little rich girls with their poor little problems. *eyeroll* I couldn't understand understand why these girls were friends in the first place or the dynamic of their relationship. I just couldn't relate to them for most of the book and Eliza's attitude wasn't helping. However, somewhere along the way as Eliza poured out her soul in the police station, I felt a fierce protectiveness for her and her best friends. I love when books do that. Make me feel like I hate everyone and then change my mind by the end.
So besides my love/hate relationship with the characters, there was the plot. Marr built the anticipation just right in Fury. The story flips back and forth from past and present as Eliza reluctantly tells her story to Dr. Fadden. I really enjoyed that method of story telling and was incredibly eager to find out what happened during the crime and who was killed. But at times it did leave me frustrated because Eliza would be in a middle of a flashback and the scene would flip back to the present. It's almost like when you're watching your favorite TV show and just when something good is about to happen, it cuts to a commercial. But I coud tell Marr had a plan. She allowed me to see Eliza's other side - the broken side - and I began to appreciate those momentary gaps. Clever.
The ending was interesting because I really wasn't expecting it to go down like it did. At one point in the novel I was worried because I could easily guess one of the plot twists. I thought the ending may go in similar fashion, but it didn't. It was then I realized two things: 1) how much I liked Eliza or how much she grew on me and 2) how much I loved when Eliza went into a fury!
Sweet, sweet revenge.
My feminist side was rejoicing. It was a good ending, but it also made me sad at the same time. *sigh*
All in all, while I wasn't blown away, I'm glad I finally had the opportunity to read Fury. I finally can join in with the cool kids now and chat about this coveted GoodReads title. Now can we all please cross our fingers and toes that this makes its way back to Australia in one piece, preferably to Kat? I really don't want to go back to her dungeon of doom and gloom. 'Kay, thanks.(less)
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...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, 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.
Actual rating: 4.5 stars, but what the hell? I'm rounding this baby up.
This is the first novel that I've read from this author and I have to say that...moreActual rating: 4.5 stars, but what the hell? I'm rounding this baby up.
This is the first novel that I've read from this author and I have to say that I am very impressed. I don't usually seek out crime, mystery or thriller/suspense novels, but I'm really glad I had an opportunity to read this one. There aren't many books where I can say I have almost nothing to complain about. And even though I've finished the book weeks ago, I still have nothing but high praises for it. Simply put, How to Lead a Life of Crime had fantastic writing, realistic characters and old fashion, damn good plotting.
When I first read the blurb for this book, I'll admit to having pretty low expectations. I thought it would take on more of a humor angle, though I'm not exactly sure why I initially thought it would. The blurb took on a lot of serious topics that I thought, "Surely, this must be from a comic standpoint?" And I'd be wrong. But what I didn't expect was for Miller to take on a few major social issues and make them relevant to the teenage audience. And guys, she did this so well! First off, the main character is a guy and get this. HE SOUNDS LIKE A GUY. Not once did I feel like he was hiding ovaries from me. This made me rejoice because his authenticity, flaws, struggles, passions all felt so much more realistic to me. Flick is a character with very real problems. He's a homeless pickpocketer who was raised by an abusive, rich father. On the outside, it looked as though he had everything, but his entire life fell apart when both his mother and brother died. Flick blames his father and swears to one day make him pay. What happens afterwards is a plot so tightly woven, it made my head spin.
But back to the social issues: The backdrop of the story is about Mandel Academy. To average, everyday folk, the school is praised as one of the best schools a youngster can attend. All graduates attend the best colleges and get the highest paying jobs. It's a highly coveted school and secures futures for kids that may have otherwise not been allotted such a luxury. Or so that's the image painted. What Mandel Academy really hides is its shady ways of criminal activity. The school essentially molds these kids into a bunch of crazies that can be controlled and set into positions of power all over the world. The scary thing is... I could totally see this as a realistic possibility. Miller carefully planted the perfect "what if..." seed by way of her excellent world building. It's easy to expect a certain level of world building for fantasy novels, but it's equally important for contemporary since it's set in a setting that is relevant to you. I really think it was done perfectly here.
I mean, think about it. Politicians regularly are considered to be bought out by corporations or seemingly operating with someone else's interests in mind. Would it be so much of a stretch to think there could be a bigger organization at work here to keep the little people down? Influencing who gets voted into office? Approving and denying certain products and services? Am I starting to sound like a conspiracy theorist? Wait. Don't answer that last one. The point is: It was all believable. Maybe not as I'm trying to explain it, but as I read further and further, I started to think, "Wow. This could totally happen."
What I also loved were the side characters and how big of a role they played in the entirety of the novel. Miller had a running theme of "No one is worthless" and that certainly applied to how she herself chose to use all her characters. Like Flick, I had written off Joi as just the girl he left behind. I knew from the blurb she would make a reappearance. But I did not expect her to make a come back and kick so much ass in the process. The girl was viciously badass. I thought I loved Flick and how well he had the Academy figured out, but then Joi came along and stole the spotlight. It really gave Flick some well-needed vulnerability because for a while he started to feel as unstoppable as June and Day from Legend. (In fact, I'd highly recommend How to Lead a Life of Crime to Marie Lu fans.)
And then there is the villain. Like, whoa. I can't really go into so much detail because of spoilers, but it was very three-dimensional. Even in the end, the villain always seemed to be one step ahead of everyone. I can't say I didn't see it coming because it's slowly revealed to the reader as the novel goes on, but you never realize the extent of the crazy until the final chapters. Flick faces so many "demons" in this book that there were times I was unsure if he could do it. I was genuinely worried for his life and felt so invested that he'd be okay. Dare I say I was on the edge of my seat? The anticipation was built just right thanks to the perfect pacing and action packed quality.
If there is one and only complaint I have, it's that whenever the f-bomb is dropped it's cut out of the book and instead appears like "f---". I don't know if that is just the ARC I was reading or if the finished copy was the same way, but it did bother me a bit. But that is a relatively small negative in comparison to everything else this book does right.
The writing was excellent, the dialogue was smart and witty, the plot was air tight and the characters carefully planned. It's the novels that you aren't expecting that completely surprise you. How to Lead a Life of Crime is one of them. If it's not on your to-read list now, it should be.
Side note: Weirdly enough, the finished copy was compromised. Though it is unknown, someone altered passages and added typos. It's alluded that the book has enemies, which adds another level of creepiness given the book's premise. You can find out more about that here.
*Unsolicited ARC was provided by the publisher for an honest review.
I want to give a big old round of applause to HarperTEEN and their insane marketing campaign. Bravo. That is not mockery, but a legit salute. I sincer...more I want to give a big old round of applause to HarperTEEN and their insane marketing campaign. Bravo. That is not mockery, but a legit salute. I sincerely have to give it up to you for convincing me that I had to own this book. I was caught up and boarded the Twitter hype train as it drove me round and round the blogosphere's Factions. (BTW, I still don't know who drives the damn train.) So, by the time I stepped into my local bookstore and laid eyes on Insurgent I happily handed over my $17.99. I wasn't thinking logically. It was as if I was under a simulation. (HAHAHA! Did you see what I did there?)
And that ending? Ugh. I... I... I need a moment. Let me just stop myself right here before I end up writing a really negative review and 1 starring one of the most anticipated books of 2012.
But know I am displeased. VERY. Just look at how long it took me to finish the book!
What a shame. The most anticipated book of 2012 is my most disappointing read so far. After all the positive reviews I read, I knew for sure I'd love it. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. I was conflicted on whether to give this book one or two stars. In the end, Insurgent's saving grace is that it simply doesn't belong with some of my other one starred books. So, I feel I must warn whoever stumbles across this review: If this is one of your favorite series and you love it with the burning passion of a supernova, this review might have the potential to piss you off. It might be best for both you and I if you just hit the back button now before things get going. Go on. Spock and I will wait.
Oh, you're staying, huh? Well, strap yourself in because I have a feeling it might just be one of those reviews...
Spock tells me this review must contain mild spoilers in order to logically explain this illogical novel. Sorry, kids. Spock's call.
The first big negative right off the bat was that Insurgent picks up directly after Divergent left off. There is virtually no recap to the story or characters and if you read the book a year ago, well, you may be screwed. But thankfully, Roth wrote up a lovely little cheat sheet for just this purpose. Yay! However, the problem doesn't just lie with remembering names. It lies with the connection the reader may or may not have had with the characters in Divergent, which was now non-existent since I could barely remember who was who. What's that you say? So and so just got shot in the head? I'm sorry, I can't find a single fuck to give. Then, we are introduced to even more characters. So, not only do I have to attempt to remember the old characters, but I have to keep track of these newbies too? That's just way too much work. Obviously, this isn't really Insurgent's fault, but I thought it would helpful to point this out.
What happened here? What happened to the action packed dystopian series I was introduced to in Divergent? Where the hell was Tris and why was Bella playing her role? Why did Four suddenly update his Facebook status to Douche Bag? Who's idea was it to turn Insurgent into a Dystopian Romance? One thing I loved about Divergent was that the romance took a back seat to the story and action. But in Insurgent the action is scattered with a heavier focus on Tris and Four's relationship. Look, that is not what I signed up for. I really don't care if Four loves Tris or if they'll end up riding a unicorn that poops rainbows as they ride off into the sunset. Whatever, whatever, whatever.
So, the Erudite are trying to take over their world by creating a new serum for those that are Divergent while the Factionless plan a rebellion. But all that usually happens in the background with occasional mention to keep the reader up to date. Most of the novel we are stuck in Tris' head as she goes into angst mode over Four, her parents and Will. It was so boring I felt like I was stuck in a throwback episode of As the World Turns. On repeat. Save me. But wait! We have a random plot twist at the end right before the battle is about to go down. Marcus (Four's abusive father) decides to enlist Tris to help him retrieve information stolen from Abnegation. He tells her it's super secret and that he can't tell her what it is because it's something you have to see, that she'll just have to trust him. Doing so would betray Four. She agrees.
Tris hates Marcus. Tris loves Four. Tris doesn't know what information they would be retrieving. She also doesn't know if Marcus is telling her the truth. She has absolutely no reason to believe him. No real evidence to back up his claim. She agrees. Without much thought. Tris is supposed to have an aptitude for Erudite, right? She's supposed to be logical, RIGHT?!
Tris, pack your bags. I think Spock has just voted you off the island.
That makes no sense! And then when I found out the super big secret, guess what? He could have easily told her! I smell and easy plot cop-out, folks. The secret is kept long enough from the reader just so it can push you off the cliff on the last page.
In Divergent I let a lot slide and roll off me because I was entertained throughout the entire book. I'm known to do that with a lot of books like Wither and Across the Universe, for example. I could not do it with Insurgent. You see, I have the attention span of a fruit fly. If I'm not fully engaged in the book, I'm going to notice things. Things I probably wouldn't care too much about if I were enjoying myself. Like how the Erudite wear glasses just because they're smart. Or how even though Tris is emotionally unbalanced 16-year-old, everyone still looks to her to "analyze the situation." Or even how impossible I find these factions. How is it that you can put all of these traits into neat little boxes and ask a person to choose one over the others? This is the same problem I had with The Hunt. In both novels the author tries to pitch an idea of human behavior completely different from what reality is, but you can clearly see the flaws with it. However, the main character fully believes in that world and way of thinking. They try to rationalize it, convince you of it. Yes, I realize it's a Dystopian novel, but this is a hard concept to sell because it makes it difficult for me to sympathize with the main character, their conflicted feelings and understand their world. Believability is key for me and I have a hard time believing this world. Tris frequently switches back and forth between her Dauntless, Erudite and Abnegation sides. Other characters comment on her embracing one trait depending on what the situation calls for it. But this doesn't work for me. Real talk, you can't just put logical thinking back in the toy chest when you decide you don't want to play with it anymore. It doesn't work like that. At least... I don't think so. Spock?
I'm getting no-ish vibes.
This series gets a lot of comparisons to The Hunger Games and in a way I can see why. You have your young girl who, one way or another, plays an important part in bringing forth change to her society. And if I really had to compare the two, I'd say that Insurgent is like Mockingjay. Tris is depressed, struggling to hold it together and fight in the war. The difference comes into play when Tris borderline gives up, while Katniss kicked ass until the very end. I'm not saying Tris didn't have the right to be depressed because I do believe she did. But it was really over done for me. I felt like I was drowning in her angst. This book is over 500 pages long and most of the action doesn't even show up to the party until the last 30 pages! So what was Tris doing for the other 500 pages? Not a damn thing. No, scratch that. Spock tells me that is inaccurate. Tris was in fact doing something. She was off being selfless, trying to get herself killed so that no one else would die. Bella is that you? I didn't know you did Dystopias now! That irritated me to no end. At one point she turns herself into the Erudite because they threatened to kill off people until Divergent started surrendering. So, of course, Tris thinks it has to be her and sneaks off to give herself up before the Dauntless can form a plan. Now, let's think about this logically. Tris knows the Erudite want to experiment on her for a Divergent-proof serum. Which means more people would be enslaved and/or killed because of her turning herself in. *facepalm* Then she almost dies, but it was too late because I had run out of fucks by then! So I had to shake Spock down for some.
What do you mean you're out of fucks?! One of us has to care if Tris lives or dies!
Okay, lots of spoilers here, folks. Spoilers all around from this point on.
I didn't like the ending. I felt cheated because I had hung on for the ending. Everyone said how it made up for the rest of the book and what not, but here's the thing: The ending couldn't make up for all the angst-filled fluff the rest of the book was stuffed with. I didn't feel the anticipation throughout the novel and I hate to admit that I was really tempted to skim. The villan was killed really fast without much of a fight. I always hate when that happens. The villan has been giving the characters hell all throughout the story and by the time their number is up, they beg for their life and die by a simple stab wound?
"Yes, if you kill me you'll never find the information!"
>insert blood and stuff<
"UGH! I'M MELTING!"
Still no fucks I see. That's cold, bro.
And the big secret wasn't anything you couldn't have guessed from Divergent. It's revealed that the world is in chaos outside of the fence. Murders, destruction, etc. The weird thing is that I actually forgot about their society being enclosed in the fence until it was brought up near the end. It totally slipped my mind. But, I digress. The entire point of their society was to be a fresh start to the world. Somehow by boxing people in these Factions and waiting for the Divergent to emerge that equates to saving humanity. I'm not exactly sure how that works since the book just ends with that revelation and the Acknowledgements rolled. But I feel like Roth wrote herself all the way to a deserted island, sent up her S.O.S. signal and that cliffhanger fell right out of the sky to the rescue. *sigh* I really hate cliffhangers. It was one of the things that I liked about Divergent. For the most part things were tied up, but with Insurgent? It's quite the mess we'll be walking into in book three.
Will I read the next book? Yes, because I've come this far and I'm hoping I will enjoy book three as much as I enjoyed Divergent. I think Insurgent suffers from "Second Book Syndrome" and the infamous "Hype Train," may it die in a fire (the Hype Train, not the book). But ultimately, I'm interested in how Roth will explain away everything. Maybe then this whole series will make perfect logical sense to me. Until then, drink time, Spock?
Actual rating: 3.5 (I think? Geez, I don't know! I just know I liked it a lot, okay?)
Wow. I did not expect to enjoyObsidian as much as I did. For some...more Actual rating: 3.5 (I think? Geez, I don't know! I just know I liked it a lot, okay?)
Wow. I did not expect to enjoy Obsidian as much as I did. For some reason, I've just been avoiding it, but it was always there in my Twitter and GoodReads feeds. Daemon was frickin' invading my life. Finally, after seeing everyone change their avatars to the Lux series' covers, I felt I had to check it out. Almost all of my friends have given this book anywhere from 3-5 stars, but most averaging around 4. So naturally I had to read it to see what the big fuss was about. I was initially wary because I had heard Obsidian was Twilight all over again and we all know how I feel about Twilight and its reincarnations. But surprisingly, I really liked it! Weirdly enough, I could probably go on and on why I didn't like it, but I don't have that urge. I have an urge to hug this book closely because it made me laugh on more than one occasion. Also, Armentrout. I want to hug her too. Because despite Obsidian's headdesk-worthy clichés, I cannot deny... it's an enchanting read. Either that, of I probably shouldn't be drinking while reading.... Ha! Yeah, right.
Another reviewer said, "It was as if the author felt obligated to fix Twilight catastrophe and tried make it right again" and I completely agree with her. I'll even take it a step further and say it was like Armentrout woke up one day and said, "I'm going to write a book using all the tropes and clichés people usually hate and they're still gonna love the shit out of this book." You might be wondering, "How can one possibly make Twilight better?!" Well, let's take a look at Armentrout's plan for blogosphere domination:
Step One: Create a likable and relatable main character.
How do you make a female main character instantly relatable to most of the female blogging community? The answer is so simple I'm honestly kicking myself that I've never thought of it before. You make her one of them. There are so many books I've read where the protagonist is an avid reader. And now I usually find myself going, "YAWN. She can read. Good for her." But not here in Obsidian. Because not only does Katy love to read, but she is a book blogger. Say what? This main character has a... hobby other than staring at her hot next-door neighbor? Nice. Not only that, but Katy is smart, funny, witty and gives Jerkface Daemon a run for his money.
Step Two: Add a bad boy with two scoops of asshole.
Ah, the bad boy. Almost every girl goes through the "bad boy phase." It's like a black hole, totally unavoidable, unless you happen to be smarter than the rest of us, in which case, you rock. But there's just something about the thrill of fooling around with someone you know you have no business fooling around with. It can be the best and worst days of your life. That is... until you grow up and get married! XD
Anyway, that's kinda what Daemon is for Katy in Obsidian. He is the irresistible, hot, bad boy who Katy can't deny she's attracted to. But the kicker is that even though Daemon treats her awfully (reasons are revealed in Shadows), she's not one of those heroines that sits back and accepts that. It's one of the first times I've seen a YA heroine differentiate between love and lust. Here's a girl who is saying, "Okay this guy pretty much sets my panties on fire and I would totally exercise him in my bedroom (and possibly in the kitchen by the buttered rolls), but I'm not gonna because he's a complete asshole and I'm better than that." How refreshing!
And yeah, maybe Daemon is a nice guy underneath all his Jerk-titude, but that doesn't mean Katy has to bend over backwards and ignore his past behavior. Armentrout sets up Daemon's character for redemption because finally someone is saying, "Enough with all the douchebags treating the heroine like shit and still ending up with her in the end just by apologizing." And that is why Obsidian ultimately won me over. At first I couldn't figure out how everyone could love a book when the love interest was a complete tool, but when Katy gave Daemon the one finger salute with a nice "fuck you very much," I knew I was won over.
Step Three: Choose a paranormal creature that isn't written to death.
Vampires? Ugh. Werewolves? Old news. Fairies? Boooring! How about something we don't get to see a lot of in YA? Something that will grab your attention! (And I'm not talking about Daemon's... er... friendly nature.)
Actually, now that I think of it. That image is pretty accurate.
Maybe I'm not as well read as I thought I was with YA novels, but I don't see a lot of PNR authors tackling aliens. And what a shame! There is so much untapped potential there. In Obsidian you have hundreds of aliens living in West Virginia amongst humans. They're in the schools, holding normal jobs and interacting with humans on a regular basis. So what happens if someone finds out their secret? Awesomeness happens. That's what.
Step Four: Make overused YA cliché and tropes interesting again.
Girl moves to a new small town? Check. Heroine doesn't know she's beautiful? Check. Single parent home who has a convenient excuse to leave the heroine alone for long stretches? Check. Paranormal characters hit the genetics jackpot lottery? DOUBLE CHECK. Love interest is so hot he practically melts the heroine's panties off with a grin? Check. Boy save girl from near death experience, therefore revealing his paranormal abilities? Check. Boy tries to deny those abilities? Check. Girl is allergic to his bullshit? Check. I admit, some of these this did bother me, but in the end, it didn't matter too much, especially since there is no insta-love and Katy is frickin' awesome! Hmm... This review turned into one huge lovefest for the MC, Katy. How odd.
Step Five: Sit back and watch your magic work. Your work here is done.
Pinky ring not required, but recommended.
Reaction right after finishing Obsidian:
Gah! This is unexpected. I think my rating is more of a 3.5? 3.75? Got dammit! I don't even know. All I know is my emotions are confused. THEY ARE CONFUSED! This book is like Twilight. But I hate Twilight. Wait... does that mean I like Twilight?! NO. I refuse to believe that.
Ahhhh! Katy, I love you. Daemon Edward, I want to shake you.
There are so many things in Obsidian I despise. But I still liked this book. A lot.
Review to come after I sort out these strange feelings.
And now I'm off to buy Onyx from Amazon even though it's 3am.
Armentrout, what have you done to me? Who am I becoming? Cat woman? (Between you and me, I look pretty damn hot in all leather.) (Okay, that made no sense and was really random.) Gahhhhh!!!
There is always a certain nervousness that comes with being the first critical review of a book. Not only are you instantly...moreActual rating: ZERO STARS.
There is always a certain nervousness that comes with being the first critical review of a book. Not only are you instantly the black sheep, but you may be worried how others will react. Now, combine that fear with the fact that your review may make a rather bold statement. Perhaps, it's something along the lines of accusing the book of being a direct rip off of one of the world's most beloved children's novels: Harry Potter.
But, yeah, I'm about to take it there.
I was recommended this book by a fellow "blogger" or so I thought at the time. No matter. I'm determined to let this book stand on its own merits, which are few and far between. I was told this book was an amazing new series. That it was original, exciting, funny, entertaining, etc. Adela Arthur and the Creator's Clock isn't any of those things.
Right from the beginning, before I was bitch slapped with glaring HP similarities, my eyes were accosted by poor use of the English language in the prologue. There were sentences repeated in an overall general condescending tone, choppy writing style that mostly consisted of very simple sentences and awkward sentence structure that was clearly attempting to be prestigious.
Never have I ever encountered so many cons within just the first 5 pages of a book. But here I was. I had accepted this book for review and when I get print copies, I feel this moral obligation to finish or at least give it the good college try. Yet, as I continued to read, the novel never improved.
With almost every character or plot deceive, there was a clear reference to either Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter, the latter stronger than the former. Shall we do a quick check list? (I attempted to draw a vinn diagram, but there were too many similarities and it wouldn't all fit in the middle.)
-MC is orphaned by the villain (the mother risks her life to save the MC) -MC grows up away from her "magical" world -MC finds out she belongs to a very powerful family -MC is the only one who can stop the villain -MC goes back to her world and studies at a boarding school castle that has 4 houses (each mirroring one of Hogwarts') -Everyone seems to be afraid of saying the villain's name except for the headmaster -There is a Hermione like character named Hector -There is a Malfoy like character who attempts to a form friendship with the MC because of her powerful family. MC refuses, embarrassing the Malfoy like character. -Villain has a special interest in coming for MC and attempts to enter into MC's mind -MC must take "mind defense" private lessons to keep villain out of her mind -MC joins the school's sports team (think Quidditch, but under water) -MC finds out her mother was a legend at the school's sport and everyone tells her, "It's in your blood!" -The school's dining hall is just as magical as Hogwarts', changing its decor magically -The school is run by elves -The villain mind controls a student to cause the MC problems at the school -At Christmas, the MC receives a mysterious gift that was her late father's accompanied with an anonymous note -One of the MC's school books screams. (I mean, c'mon. Really?!) -The villain has Deatheater like companions. They even travel in black, hooded robes. -Everyone seems to know the MC's name ("It's Adela Arthur!") -Birds deliver the mail -Adela and her posse end up in a forbidden forest, fighting an ogre, rescuing unicorns. *sigh*
(There are more smaller references, but I honestly can't be fucked to pour any more energy into this book to list them.)
Now, sure there were some differences like the MC's blatant lack of self-preservation that would rival Bella Swan's. After a classmate dies from an attack from a creature from her home world, she discovers that she must go back and fight the villain that no one can seem to defeat. The same villain that appears to be eating her people for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Does it matter to her that she knows nothing of her power or her world? No! Does it matter that many people sacrificed their lives for her so that she never had to come back to have her "mighty power" taken by the villain? NO!
But what does Adela do when she finally gets to her world? She complains about the burden of all the responsibilities she now has. She misses the human world. Why did she ever journey to this evil place? OH WOE IS ME. MY LIFE SUCKS! To put it bluntly, Adela is a brat and whenever she whines hard enough about anything, another character comes around or a plot device shows up to solve her problems. To say this was frustrating is an understatement.
Since I was apparently reading a proof, I can't comment too much on the grammar used. However, there were many instances in the narrative when repeat phrases or sentences over again on the same page or improper use of inflection. If character is yelling at another one, why not use exclamation points? Why is the reader constantly told by the narrator how a sentence is to be interpreted? This kind of writing style didn't work for me and made me consider on more than one occasion to whip out my red pen.
The world building leaves much to be desired, though, this is partly because there is hardly any world building at all. The most the reader is told is a very general story on how the magical world was formed and how the villain came into power (think: Voldemort). After that, Adela and the reader find out more by little info-dumps from other characters that often didn't work well with the novel's swift pacing.
In conclusion: I personally could only find one small redeeming factor: the author's attempts to include a lot of equally strong female characters. However, the cons heavily out way that one small ray of light. I've never gone so far as to tell another reader to not read a book, but in this case, I really can't make a good argument for someone to waste their time reading a Harry Potter knock-off. If you're looking to relive the magical world in which J.K. Rowling worked incredibly hard on for years, my advice would be to blow the dust off of the Philosopher's Stone, journey back to Hogwarts and don't look back.
**Small note on the controversy surrounding this book and author** I'm not sure if I should be extremely creeped out that someone went to such great lengths to get me to read a book or incredibly flattered that someone valued my opinion so much that they took to stalking me with various account across various social media avenues.
P.S. Why is there a big fat grammatical error in the title (On the cover)? Yikes.
ARC was received from the author for an honest review.
Quick, someone get me chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate!
I should have known that w...more**spoiler alert** No, GoodReads.
How about NO FUCKING STARS?
Quick, someone get me chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate!
I should have known that when Lauren Kate blurbed this book I wouldn't like it. No, wait, that doesn't fully express my hatred for Starcrossed. How about this:
After reading this shit storm of a book I feel like I should go straight to my book shelf and give "Catastrophe": Hush, Hush, "My Eyes, They Bleed!": House of Night, "Kill it with Fire!": Twilight, and even, yes, "Are You Fuckin' Kidding Me?!": Carrier of the Mark all 5 glorious stars.
This is the worst book I have ever read.
Why, oh, why did I read it? I should have listened to the Fates (Kat, Paige, Phoebe). They warned me of this, but I didn't listen. I almost ALWAYS agree with them on books. Why did I think this would be a different story? I will never doubt your wisdom again, ladies.
This one time I let myself be influenced by another popular reviewer who claimed to absolutely love this book. I was conned! Fooled! Bamboozled! Hoodwinked!
The only logical answer is that Hades himself was behind the plot to fry my remaining brain cells. *rubs chin* Yes, that must be it. I've been trolled by the Lord of the Underworld himself.
ARE YOU HAPPY?!
ARE YOU FUCKING HAPPY NOW?!
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF?!
Y-y-you heartless bastard.
This review will not be nice. No one will be spared. Not even the children.
*flips through her notebook*
Good thing I took plenty of notes then. Hahahaha!
Dear, Gandhi! It was terrible! Immediately when I started to read, I felt my eye balls start rebuking me. "Noooooooooo, don't make us! You are evil! You are heartless! Why do you hate us! We've been good to you!" I'm not exaggerating when I say this was amateur at best and eye-bleeding bad at worse. The book is littered with ridiculously simple sentences that remind me of a children's book. "See Helen Spot run? Helen Spot can run fast! Run, Helen Spot. Run!" Metaphors and similes exsit for a reason. Let's use them. But that's not event the worst of it. There were countless pages of info-dumping as well. SHOW DON'T TELL! And the dialogue...OMFG. It was painfully obvious that they were trying entirely too hard to sound like "hip" teens.
"What the holy hand grenade was that?"
It felt goofy as hell.
"Unbefrickinglievable," Hector cusses quietly into the silence.
I just wanted to shake them. Shake them all.
The plot was a damn mess. Basic run down:
- Lucas and his Brady Bunch family move to the neighborhood. - Helen and Lucas almost kill each other. - They break curse/spell/whatever and fall in love over night. - Oh noz! Helen is in danger. - Helen suddenly becomes a sex kitten. - Lucas denies her advances. - Helen wonders if he is gay. Contemplates sex change.
"...she decided that if Lucas was gay then she was going to have to get a sex change operation. He would be so worth it."
- Demi-god training. - Oh, but wait! Now, she is invincible! - "Sex, please," says Helen. "No means no, Helen. It would destroy the world!" Lucas cries. - Shit happens, people die. - "OMG! So we won't destroy the world after all! I'm horny. Let's do it," Lucas declares. *rams tongue down throat* "Ew. We are first cousins! We can never be together! Fuck our fuckin' life!" she whines.
Keep up Hades!
Angelini tries to confuse the readers with her many plot twists, but all the plot really does is run around the mulberry bush chasing the weasel. There was nothing clever about it. I could tell that I was supposed to be like, "Whoa! My teeny little brain never saw that coming!" IT NEVER HAPPENED!
Let's play Name That Sue! But first you're going to need a few clues about her personality:
- I'm super beautiful, but I don't notice it! - I'm the "last" person in my family. Woe is me! - I'm so powerful and useless, love me! - I'm so selfless. Here, let me love you! - My characterization has been used over and over in tons of books, but I have super speshul powers! I'm kewler than them! Answers: Black Hole Sue, God Mode Sue, Sympathetic Sue, Anti-Sue... my god. It's too many Sues to count! It's a Thirty Sue Pileup!
Helen is an idiot.
Most of the novel she's running around with twinkling stars in her eyes and clueless to everything that is happening around her. She is beautiful in every way. So much so, that it is normal for people to just sit and stare at her. Everybody loves her and the world kisses her ass every chance it gets. Her favorite hobbies include going grocery shopping, cooking for her dad, doing homework, and personal hygiene. Oh hey, Bella! I didn't see you there!
The moment Helen and Lucas stop attempting to end each other's life, they immediately start holding hands and declaring their love for one another. (Oh, insta-love! How I hate thee!) She's never had a boyfriend or been kissed until Lucas and his family move into town. There is just something about Lucas that brings out everything in Helen. And I do mean everything. Her entire life she has had all these powerful mystical powers, but she never knew about them because whenever she would use them unknowingly in front of mortals she would get a nasty bout of menstrual cramps! Little does Helen know that her cramps were a cursed placed on her by her very own mother. But it was totally for her protection. Of course. *eyeroll* If that isn't some bullshit, I don't know what is.
So anyway, with every new plot twist, Helen seems to get a new power. Which basically means she keeps getting more and more useless. All she does is say, "Oh, but I don't want to hurt anyone! Even if they are trying to kill me, I can't justify their deaths!" Are you kidding me? She has no sense of self-preservation.
"I knew if I started blocking him he'd just get angrier, and then I would eventually have no choice by to hit him so hard he wouldn't be able to hit me back."
Go on and let it out, Hades!
That was during a SELF-DEFENSE session. How is it that a character can be so powerful and do NOTHING with her powers? What is the point?!*breath in, breath out* Sorry, guys. The stupidity makes it hard to breath. Thankfully, one of the other characters noticed this madness and said:
"She'd better get it in her. Because I don't want any of the people I love to die defending her lazy ass."
That was the only good part of the entire book. >_>
Then I hit the next chapter and Cassandra has a sword aimed for Helen's head and she JUST STANDS THERE.
Cassandra swung her sword. In that millisecond Helen knew she'd had a good life, because she suddenly loved it so much that she could have wept with gratitude. She'd had amazing friends, the best dad in the world, and a strong, healthy body...
I thought she was going to finally die! I was like, "Yes! KILL HER NOW! Doooo iiiittttt!" And you know what happens? She levels up out of nowhere!
Why won't she roll over and die already?!
So now she's invincible and can't be killed by any weapons AND she's the most powerful demi-god. REALLY?! >Implied Facepalm<
Yet, believe it or not all those things I could have semi-forgiven and gave this book 1 star, maybe 2 for good effort. The biggest problem with this book: It's SEXIST. This book offended me on so many levels, it's not even funny. Let me count the ways:
Causal jokes about domestic abuse:
"I'll just tell him you abuse me," she said with a shrug. "And I'll tell him you like it," he teased back. That shit is not amusing. AT ALL. Lots of women suffer from domestic abuse every day and Angelini pokes fun?! What messages are we sending our young girls? That this is romantic banter? This is why young girls think it is okay to tweet crazy shit like they would let Chris Brown hit them any time. This is why we are seeing people happy about him singing songs with Rihanna. We need to speak up against this. IT IS NOT OKAY! OMG, I'm so angry right now, I'm seeing red. RAGE.
Use your powers in the kitchen!:
Everything about Ariadne was so feminine and round and lovely that Helen simply couldn't imagine anyone hitting her. "Do you guys do this to each other often? The fighting, I mean." Ariadne was shaking her head before Helen had even finished talking. "No. We spar together to stay in shape, but only the boys really fight, and only when they need to get something off their chests."
WHAT?! The only reason why they fight is to stay in shape? THEY ARE DEMI-GODS!!!!!
"Now go to sleep," he ordered.
Come again? He what?! Oh, hell no. Let a guy come home and start ordering me around. I've got two words for him:
He kissed her neck and said he was sorry over and over, but try as she might, he wouldn't let her face him. She began to feel like she was being used.
"Is Zach after you?" Lucas asked with wide eyes. "Oh, not really. He wants to talk to me about something, I think," Helen said as if it wasn't important. She shut her mouth before she could say too much. "Yeah, I'll bet," Lucas said with a sneer, his blue eyes turning nearly black as he sensed her untruth. Is there any reason for Zach to think that you might be single?"
At this point he never even asked her to be his girl friend! He goes throughout most of the book just holding her hand, but telling everyone else they don't really have a relationship. And then he pulls this line:
"Are you trying to make me jealous or are you just so frustrated that you're already looking for someone else? Someone who would give in to you?"
I just... can't.
Women should be held to high standards and oh, yeah, they're evil:
"A lady never cheapened herself by using foul language."
"He had sworn to remove the feminine evil of the cestus from the world so that all men could control their lust.
Yup, thats right. It's totally a woman's fault a man can't control himself. I can't believe women have been fighting for RIGHTS just so we can write about this kind of stuff! Around 80% this book gets super ridiculous with making Helen and her mother out to be "semxy sex pots". Helen is so damn useless powerful and horny that she pretty much starts playing Lady GaGa's Love Game, trying to take off Lucas' clothes at every opportunity she gets.
Let's have some fun this beat is sick. I wanna take a ride on your disco stick!
I suppose this is what she is supposed to look like:
I can see you staring there from across the block with a smile on your mouth and a hand on your HUH!
There are a ton of other problems with this book, but I've wasted enough of my life with Starcrossed. I probably have enough anger and quotes to write a damn book myself. I just... can't. I'm offended this was written. I offended that it was published. I offended people think this is okay.
**The second half of this review contains spoilers. So, if you haven't read this book, read at your own risk.**
OMG, thank goodness it's over. I thin...more **The second half of this review contains spoilers. So, if you haven't read this book, read at your own risk.**
OMG, thank goodness it's over. I think I give out 1 star reviews about the same amount as 5 stars. I like to think of myself as a forgiving reader. I am still able to enjoy a book that has an interesting premise even with a few flaws. I also can usually find *something* I liked from a book that probably shouldn't have been published. So how did I like Wolfsbane?
Geez. Where to begin? Well, let me back track and tell you how excited I was to read this. Ya, that's right, I was excited to read Wolfsbane. I know some of my other Goodreads friends hated Nightshade, but I actually really enjoyed it. Now, I’m not saying it changed my life or anything, but I found it to be engaging and fresh. However, the same can not be said for Wolfsbane.
Let's start with the first big fail; because I'm so disappointed in this book, I'm going into some serious detail. Now I realize this was probably not Cremer's call, but let's talk covers for a minute. The original Nightshade cover was gorgeous! Then the new one came out. -_-
Then the Wolfsbane cover came out. The first one I liked, but the second one is completely over sexualized.
Why do here legs need to be open? Yes, yes, I realized she is a wolf and in some sort of "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" type pose, but it’s a bit too much. Just look at her. She's giving us all her "come hither" pose.
But even with my growing dislike for where the book was heading visually, I remained enthusiastic. And right from the start I was completely let down. Wolfsbane is entirely an info-dump about the Searchers and the Keepers. If you are wondering, yes, it will answer all your burning questions from Nightshade, but it is horribly executed. There is a lot of question and answer dialog going on that goes something like this:
A searcher would make a statement, and then Calla or Shay would say:
"How do you know that?" "What's that mean?" "I don't understand." "Tell me what's going on." "Huh?" "I'm not following."
It got on my freakin' nerves. Don't they sound like 4 year-olds asking mommy why the sky is blue? I think this was just to clue the reader in on how the Searchers operated, but it just came out half assed and made the main characters look incredibly stupid. Add that to the fact that Calla knew nothing about the Searchers, but she just agreed to work with them before they answered any of her questions. Let me tell you why that makes zero sense. Calla had been locked up in chains for a week from these people and has grown up her whole life learning to kill them. So, essentially, they unchained her and said, "Hey, sorry about that wolfie. Sooo...I know we've been enemies for a while and all, but we are about to go on a mission. Come with? We'll explain everything later." And you know what she said?
Believe me when I say, Calla was *extra* dumb in this book.
With the introduction of the Searcher's world, we get a bunch of new characters. Silas, a scribe, who's lone purpose in the story is to educate the readers Calla and Shay about the history of the Searchers and Keepers, AKA info-dump extrodinare. Then you have Conner, Ethan, Adne, Monroe and some others that have little to no importance. Now, don't ask me to describe any of these characters because that's another big fail for this book: not enough descriptions. There are so many dialogs I barely knew what the academy looked like or the facial expressions of the characters, or just what the hell was going on in the first place. The scenes that were described were half assed as well. I had to read several of them over because many times I wasn't sure what had just transpired or who said what. There was way too much telling and not enough showing. And I'm not the only one who thought it was just way too much info-dumping and dialog going on.
"My mind was reeling from the deluge of new information." "We'd been talking about a fight. Was it ever going to happen?"
Three guesses who that was...Calla. Now when you main character starts complaining about it, that should be a huge indication that things are going south for your book.
***THERE BE SPOILERS***
But let's move on to the plot. COMPLETE FAIL! This was the biggest upset for me. It is not a good thing when I know the ending from the first few chapters. Taken from my status update, page 49: "Well it's not exactly a surprise that Monroe would know of Ren, is it? Who knows, it's prolly his son too. Smh." Did I call it, or did I call it? There were soooo many hints dropped, I'm not sure this can even be considered a spoiler. Monroe kept asking about Ren and was always showing concern. Calla even noted there was something about it. But you know what? Calla didn't get it, even after Emile told Ren, "You are a fool...Just like your father." Yes, folks. This chick was still in the dark. It wasn't until near the end when Conner came out and actually told her that she got it. And he only mentioned it to her because he thought she understood what Emile said. Oh but it gets better!! Her IQ was at a steady decline in this book. When Ansel shows up no one seems to question why the Keepers would just dump Ansel off downtown with everything that he knows about the rest of the pack's whereabouts. I mean did they all just swallow a STUPID pill?! They let him go and don't even question it. WTF. I think Calla might even have had a little inner dialog about her missing something (Gee, ya think?!), but she just shrugs it off like usual. And by the time Ansel's true intentions are ousted at the end, everyone is in shock. She literally had a *gasp!, shock!* moment in both of these cases. And ya know, I was having a moment of my own too.
I'm not sure why Cremer's editor just let this slide, but this plot should have went straight back to the drawing board. When I can see straight through the plot and predict the outcome, thus killing the shock value, you've got a problem. Things were just painfully obvious and even when Calla questioned it, Cremer had her conveniently look the other way so her, already gaping, plot hole didn't completely fall apart. But, it did. And this is where I blame the editor. Seriously, Cremer, fire that person because they did you a HUGE disservice for this book. (view spoiler)[(hide spoiler)]I tried to rationalize this a bit, "Maybe that was Cremer's intent. Maybe she wanted the reader to know, but for the character's to find out later. Dramatic irony anyone?" I quickly shut that shit down. No, just no. Not even my inner fangirl can save Cremer on this one. If she was going for dramatic irony then things should have gradually been revealed to the reader with the movement of the plot. Your characters shouldn't be sitting in a freakin' room questioning it only to say, "This doesn't seem right and I'm sure it will bite us in the ass later but...what the hell!" And bite them it did as they walked right into an ambush. After some people die, Calla has the nerve to obviously point out, "It had always been a trap." OMFG, could she get any dumber?! The answer is yes. Yes, she can.
Let's talk about Shay for a bit now. What. An. Ass. There. I said it and I feel better for it every time. There was a scene in this book where Calla and Shay are making out when Calla starts thinking about Ren and decides she is not ready to put out. So Shay's like, "What up Cal? You want me!" And she's all, I know...but..." Then he notices she is still wearing the ring Ren gave her. And you know what? Shay gets angry and semi-abusive. Calla goes,
"For a moment I thought he would shift forms and bite me."
I don't know what I'm more offended by; Shay's reaction to the ring or Calla's submissive behavior. Both, definitely both. I'm not sure what Cremer was hoping to accomplish with this scene, but I think it's safe to call fail on this too. This was starting to get a little to Patch and Nora for my tastes and if you don't know how I feel about Hush, Hush, here's a clue: I effin' hate it. I wasn't a fan of Shay and Calla's relationship in Nightshade to begin with, but now this?! This is NOT OK. In no way, shape or form, is it ever OK for you to feel threatened in a relationship! YA PNR authors stop trying to convince me otherwise with your stories of love. That is not love, it's wrong and offensive. I don't know what was going on with him in this book, but he was not acting as the Shay we met in Nightshade. When Calla and the Searchers set off on the mission to find her pack mates on the mountain, Shay knew they would be unsuccessful, yet said nothing and let them go. He deliberately let Calla go into danger without any sort of reasonable explanation. Best believe, the one he gave was shitty.
"I wanted you to be safe," he said, his shoulders tensing. "I thought you could prove your worth to the Searchers without actually running into trouble."
WHAT?! That makes no sense, Shay. Sending her into high alert, enemy territory doesn't actually scream "I love you!" Two, count 'em, two people died during that mission!! *Headdesk**Headdesk**Headdesk*
Now, let's talk about a few other fails. What? There's more you ask? *Looks up at the top of the page* This is a 1 star review for a book that (at the time of writing this review) has a rating of 4.15. It is my literary obligation to fully tell all fails this book has.
Anyway, moving on to the world building. I honestly don't know where to begin with that hot mess. I couldn't even keep up because it made zero sense. But here is my best attempt. With the introduction of the new character, Adne, we learn that she is a Weaver. I will spare you all the fancy talk Cremer uses and just say she can create portals. My problem with the world building is the explanation of the Searcher's use of magic vs. the Keepers. Obviously, if the Searchers can just create portals out of anywhere the question would arise on why the Keepers haven't just followed right through the portal. The explanation?
"...so the Keepers broke some big rules on the way to all that power they have...they cannot weave. The earth won't allow it."
How convenient. Not only that, but it seemed to be no limits on what the Weavers could do. For example, (view spoiler)[near the end Adne wants to use Calla's ring to find Ren. So she explains that her mystical power includes using objects to find people. Kinda like a GPS. Of course you can, Adne. Then Calla was worried about being seen on the other end of the portal, but Adne quickly brushes that off says
"A location thread weaves a window; we can't go through it, but we can see what's on the other side."
Speaking of conveniences, we find out who Shay's parents are. We learn that Shay's father was a Keeper and his mother a human. Now, I know what you are wondering. Does that mean Shay has been a Keeper all along?! No kiddies, that is where the world building fails once again. Say hello to the biggest plot cop out in the book:
"I don't understand why he's not a Keeper," I said. "Doesn't it matter who his father was?" "It matters for the prophecy," Silas replied. "But in terms of his essence, his being it's the mother that matters." "Huh?" I frowned. Tess smiled. "Because the power of creation rests in women." Silas said," Tess is right. The mother's essence always seems to dominate, determines the nature of the child. That's why you only perceived him as human--in all respects he was. His father's use of the Nether's power didn't pass on to him. The only sign of his mixed ancestry is the mark."
*Sigh* Really, Cremer? I'm sorry, I'm not buying it, especially when Silas just got finished tell the Calla and Shay that the Keepers are all humans like the Searchers. Are you following this BS? Now, if the Keepers had Shay for 16 years, why didn't they just kill him if they knew who he was? He was the almighty Scion and you had him for YEARS to yourselves. That was never questioned nor explained and it freakin' agitated me.
Let's move along to a few inconsistencies. Ethan is one of the new characters in the book and he happens to hate Guardians with a fiery passion, especially Calla since she witnessed his brother's death in Nightshade. He pretty much tries to kill her in the beginning of the book. But during the gang's last mission to save Calla's pack, he sees Sabine and suddenly he just forgets his former prejudices?
Free of the chains, Sabine leaned forward and wrapped her arms around Ethan's neck, pulling him into an embrace. "Thank you," she said. "Thank you so much." He stiffened in her arms, his tensed muscles finally easing when she didn't pull back. He let his cheek briefly rest against her hair. "Jasmine," he murmured. "What?" Sabine asked, looking up at him. He cleared his throat. "You're welcome." "Even a Searcher," Nev snickered. "Only you, Sabine. I swear."
The book takes place over just a few days. Does Cremer expect me to believe Ethan made a complete 180 overnight? No, just no.
And at the end of the book Sabine mentions that Shay is their new male alpha and this shocks Calla. She literally has no idea how that is even possible.
Bryn smacked her palm against her forehead. "I'm an idiot." "Well, I must be one too," I snapped. “Because I'm still not following." "You're not following because you are an alpha, Cal." She offered me a sympathetic smile. "Shay's always felt like an equal to you, right? He talks to you on your level, has never backed down if you challenged him?" I chewed on my lower lip. "I guess I thought that was just a human thing. That he didn't know any better because he wasn't one of us."
This might have been all fine and dandy, if she hadn't have already acknowledged this on page 58:
His wolf instincts were taking over, and they were threatening something he considered his territory...me. He was acting like I was his mate. His alpha counterpart. And that meant only I could intervene.
Shay watched me, uneasy, but he was listening. I was taken aback by how deeply the wolf had marked him. The way he reacted to me was the way on alpha took counsel from another. That partnership made strong, unwavering leaders. If his mind was working on those terms now, I knew how to sway him.
Based on that, why the hell was she surprised by what Sabine said? Inconsistent. Why didn't the editor catch that, hmmm? (view spoiler)[
My final thought on this book is that Cremer disappointed me big time with this sequel. I don't even know if I want to read Bloodrose. I started this August 3rd and finished September 11th. I had to renew this book twice so I wouldn't get any overage fines. That is pathetic for me.
This book FAILED
More reviews and more 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"]>["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)
I listened to both The Girl of Fire and Thorns and Crown of Embers (which I gave 4 stars to), and this is a really great series! I plan to listen to t...moreI listened to both The Girl of Fire and Thorns and Crown of Embers (which I gave 4 stars to), and this is a really great series! I plan to listen to the final book very soon this year. I’ve found that listening to High Fantasy novels is the way to go for me and the narrator for this series is fantastic. I love how this series has strong Hispanic influences and I think this may be the first series I’ve read that does this. It was also so refreshing to have a heroine who wasn’t skinny and who saves the day with her intellect. I loved the character development and how Elisa went from a self-conscience girl to a woman who was confident with her curvy body and decisions. She’s not a perfect heroine and makes a lot of mistakes that end up costing her, but she felt so realistic to me.(less)
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!
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