You know what? Julie Kagawa is an evil genius. If that wasn't evident with the ending in The Iron Queen or even with The Immortal Rules, she definitel...moreYou know what? Julie Kagawa is an evil genius. If that wasn't evident with the ending in The Iron Queen or even with The Immortal Rules, she definitely drove the point home with The Iron Traitor's ending. I'm a little stunned this time around because I'm left wondering how she'll manage to end this thing in the next book. You'll have to excuse me if this review seems a little scattered, but the last few pages blew my little socks off into next Tuesday.
It's interesting that I'd have such a strong reaction to this installment because for the majority of the novel, I didn't feel it was as strong as Kagawa's previous works. The tone is more subdued, the witty banter is not as frequent and the overall novel just feels, for a lack of a better word, low. In hindsight, I guess that all makes sense because THAT ENDING. But it's also more than that, I realize. I knew this novel carried heavy implications for the characters. The title itself clearly gave that away as did the foreboding mannerisms of the original trio: Ash, Puck and Meghan. However, even going in knowing this, I'm still impressed that Kagawa went there. Brutally.
I realize that this review is not being very helpful, so allow me to backtrack and give you a little something about the book. But it's probably not a good idea to read the rest of this review if you haven't read The Lost Prince.
What I loved:
As usual, Kagawa writes fun, relatable characters. I always know when I pick up one of her books that I'm going to laugh and fall in love with her cast. It's unavoidable and lovely. Ethan just wants a normal life with his girlfriend, Kenzie, the girl who is dying. He'd like nothing more for the fey to leave him and, more importantly, Kenzie alone. But Kenzie wants to live the rest of her life free from restrictions and craves the adventures the Nevernever provides. After trying his hardest to keep her away from Their world, they set out to look for Keirran, who has not returned to the iron realm after their last adventure. As always, there is a prophecy involved that neither Ethan or Keirran is aware of, one that has the potential to bring an end to everything. Ominously awesome, right?
I loved Keirran especially. He's mysterious, broken, tortured and b-b-bad to the bone. Well, not really that last one, but I just wanted an excuse to say that. That is, unfortunately, the impression that he gives everyone, including Ethan, who internally struggles with his feelings of both resentment and family duty. The dynamic between Keirran and Ethan allowed for two deeper messages in the storyline, more so than I remember in Kagawa's other novels.
1. How far do you go to help out a family member? There's no doubt that Ethan has the most to lose and little to gain from helping Keirran. Ethan blames Keirran's existence for the reason why he lost his sister Meghan to the Nevernever. Interestingly, while he remains deeply bitter about the ordeal, he always comes through for Keirran when he needs the help, even against better judgement.
2. How do you let the one you love go? What I didn't expect to find in this spin-off was the underlying message of letting loved ones go. Ethan and Keirran aren't so different. They are both outsiders and in love with girls who are terminally ill. It's a terrible situation to see one character in, let alone two. (In case you missed it, please refer to my second sentence: Julie Kagawa is an evil genius.) The difference between the two guys is their readiness to let their love interests go. I'm not entirely convinced that Ethan is ready, but there are certain lines he has made clear he won't cross, even if that means prolonging Kenzie's life. The same can't be said for Keirran, who would destroy the world if that meant he could spend just an hour more with Annwyl.
There's no doubt in my mind that the next book will make me cry a river, but I'm left wondering: At whose loss? How can any of this possibly end well? At least with The Iron Fey series, you had an idea of how things could conclude, though, of course, Kagawa didn't go that route. But with The Call of the Forgotten, I'm mystified and worried because THAT ENDING. There's only one thing left I can do: Hold out until the next book and hope my heart can take whatever Kagawa decides to dish.
*ARC was received from YABC and the HarlequinTeen. Thank you! No monies or gifts were exchanged for this review. I am genuinely a Kagawa fangirl!
Okay, I'm really excited for this book, but another sword on the cover? I mean, McKenzie didn't wield a sword in book one. Is she actually going to us...more Okay, I'm really excited for this book, but another sword on the cover? I mean, McKenzie didn't wield a sword in book one. Is she actually going to use one this time around?! (less)
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)].
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Show of hands. How many of you were worried about Kagawa returning to the Nevernever with a spin-off of an already successfu...more Actual rating: 4.5 stars.
Show of hands. How many of you were worried about Kagawa returning to the Nevernever with a spin-off of an already successful series? *raises hand* I mean, let's think about this for a minute. The Iron Knight concluded and it seemed everything was "happy happy, joy joy," right? But then there were whisperings in the wind of a spin-off and I found myself saying, "What?! NOOO! NO, Julie! I forbid it! Ya hear?!" At the time the saying "Don't beat a dead horse" was running through my head and I was so nervous about this new endeavor. If I'm being honest here, spin-offs usually suck big time. But just like in the case of The Immortal Rules, Julie Kagawa has put me in my place saying, "I got this, YO." And boy, did she ever! The Lost Prince is everything I could want and more. With fresh new characters, cameo appearances and a new evil threatening the Nevernever, how could anyone resist?
Before I begin, I need to get something out of my system.
PUCK!! I LOVE YOU!
What? Don't judge me!
Remember the little boy from The Iron King? Meghan's little brother? Did you ever wonder what happened to him and his family once Meghan had gone off for good with her Ice Prince to rule in the Nevernever as a Queen of Faery? That's just what The Lost Prince does. And let me tell you, Ethan Chase is not what I expected. The years of being tormented by the fey and losing his sister to their world has made him a very bitter and angry person. Honestly, I don't blame the guy. He has to constantly look over his shoulder, attempt to pretend They don't exist so as not to draw attention to himself, push people away so they don't catch the eyes of The Good Neighbors. It's a lot of responsibilities for anyone, let alone a teen boy (and yes, he actually sounds like a teen boy). But this is what he has had to endure all his life hopping from school to school due to "bad behavior." Unfortunately for Ethan, the fey just can't seem to stay away from him and he ends up on a quest to save the Nevernever.
The plot was brilliantly done. The characters were brilliant. This book was >insert any positive adjective here<!!!! But what did I expect from one of my favorite authors? Exiled fey and half-breeds from the mortal world are disappearing thanks to a new breed of fey. Something even worse then the iron fey?! *gasp* I suspect I know exactly who the Forgotten are if I remember a certain scene from The Iron Knight correctly. But even as someone who has followed this series very closely, I have to admit, I have no idea what direction it could possibly go.
The one thing I was worried about most with this spin-off would be comparing the old characters to the new characters. I LOVED the trio in the original series. Meghan, Ash and Puck were the perfect blend of romantic tension, banter and comic relief. And they all do make cameo appearances (Did I mention how much I love Puck?), but this isn't their story. It's Ethan, Kenzie and Kierran's. I really think fans will really enjoy the new trio and it seems like Kagawa has us in for a world of hurt with them too. I mean, I bawled by eyes out so hard with The Iron Queen. Whenever I go back to read that last scene I fall to pieces. But it feels like that could come a lot sooner with The Call of the Forgotten. MY EMOTIONS! Kagawa, stop being so awesome all. the. time! Wait...
And you know what? Even if you haven't read The Iron Fey - which you'd better go do if you haven't *gives dagger eyes* - you could still follow along easily to this story. For those who have been waiting for a certain Cait Sith (no relation to the cat pictured above, of course) to guide you back through the Nevernever, this will merely feel like a continuation from the original series. And you noobs? There are a few rules you must familiarize yourself with: Never make a contract with Them. Show no fear when dealing with the Fair Folk. Don't draw attention to yourself. And as Grim would say, "Do try and keep up." Welcome to Faery.
ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!
Want to win an ARC of The Lost Prince? Head on over to Cuddlebuggery Book Blog for a giveaway and other fantastical things.
Puck is my favorite character in The Iron Fey series. So you could just imagine my delight when I first heard about this novella. Honestly, I could barely contain my happiness.
In this novella Prince "Ice-boy" Ash and Robin "Puck" Goodfellow embark on a new adventure. But first, they have to find a certain cat, Grimalkin. Unfortunately, the exiled Muse Queen comes to call in a favor from Prince Ash. She asks for them to sneak into the Summer Court and steal back her "Violin," which was apparently stolen from her by none other than the Summer Queen herself. In the midst of all this, Puck finds himself with the dilemma of betrayal. This little mini-quest comes complete with action and comic relief and will be sure to have you wanting more!
I can't wait for their complete adventure in the next installment The Iron Knight!
Let me start by saying that I didn't hate this book, but I also didn't love it either. It was cute, spunky, and funny. Howeve...more Actual rating 2.5 stars.
Let me start by saying that I didn't hate this book, but I also didn't love it either. It was cute, spunky, and funny. However, there was just something about it that annoyed me.
So I've recently found out what a Mary Sue is. All this time I've been calling it "A la Bella-esque." Evie is most defiantly a Mary Sue. And I've come to the realization that I had a love/hate relationship with Evie the entire book. I thought she was really funny and down right silly at times. BUT at the same time she annoyed me with being so cheerful with her love of all things pink. I kept flipping back an forth. Sometimes I felt her endearing. Yet other times I wanted to bitch slap her.
But I digress. I did find a few things I liked about the book. I found Evie's relationship with Lend to be very realistic. It wasn't over done. They weren't ripping their clothes off after only dating for a week. They weren't confessing their undying love for one another. Actually, I would say the romance kinda took a backseat in this book. It was there, but it didn't feel like it controlled the plot. Also, I did find the book really funny. Awesome dialog. Bonus points for no cliffhanger.
Anyway, I can't really think of anything else to add to this review right now. It just didn't leave a lasting impression like I had hoped. I will continue with the series. More so, out of curiosity for where the story will go.
Oh, geez this is awkward. I've just finished Destined and can't find a single thing to say about it because it's not very memo...more Actual rating: 1.5 stars
Oh, geez this is awkward. I've just finished Destined and can't find a single thing to say about it because it's not very memorable.
No wait. It's all coming back to me now. Mmmmmhmmmm. Let me get my glasses for this one.
Ah, that's better. And yes, there will be spoilers.
I'll be honest and admit that the Wings series has been of a guilty pleasure of mine. It's not the best written book I've ever read or the worst for that matter. But it had a level of entertainment that kept me around till the end. At least that's what I tell myself because as I dove into Destined I just couldn't help but think how incredibly boring it was. And that greatly disappointed me since I was just looking for a light, fluffy read. Instead I was left with a story cornier than a box of Kellogg's cereal.
So very, very corny.
So the plot is a simple one. We all knew based on the ending of Illusions that Yuki would eventually escape with Klea and go after Avalon. She also happens to have an entire army of trolls ready to bust the doors down. That leaves David, Laurel, Tamani and Chelsea to race to Avalon and warn everyone. Fantastic. It was a fine beginning with promise. Unfortunately, that promise died when we are introduced to the biggest cop out I've read in a long time. Jamison asks David to fight against the trolls using Excalibur. It was truly a Disney movie moment. I knew at that moment it could only go down hill from there.
"David, with the name of Kings," Jamison said formally,
"It's time to discover if you are the hero Laurel has always thought you to be. Will you join us in defending Avalon?"
It seemed that they were *thisclose* to breaking out in song and dance. Then David had his Sword in the Stone moment and was told nothing could hurt him while he wielded Excalibur. And I do mean nothing. If someone were to strike him with a sword, it would conveniently miss him. Or if someone were to shoot him with a gun, the bullets would just drop in front of him. Not even poisonous AIR could harm him.
David had no previous fighting experience, but all he had to do was swing the sword and trolls would just die on the spot. He went all deus ex machina throughout the entire book.
And that's when I lost all desire to finish the book.
Everything was was just too carefully placed and never felt organic to me. The Queen orders Jamison to stay out of the fight, but when she finds out he's disobeyed her she doesn't do anything. Jamison gets taken out during the battle early on and forced to rest, but when the gang goes up against Yuki, he appears out of nowhere ready to assist. Speaking of Yuki, she turned out to be the biggest disappointment of them all. She supposedly has the ability to kill other fairies or at least be really powerful. But she was pretty much useless.
Of course with any battle there are deaths. I feel the impact of a character death is at its greatest when I actually care about the character that's dying. Duh, right? Well, there are two characters who are killed that the reader is familiar with, but I never really felt any kind of sadness for them. Laurel and Tam cared deeply for them, but they weren't around enough in the previous books for me to grow an attachment to them. They were expendable characters.
Another reviewer noted that with everything that was going on, and there was a fair amount of action, it actually felt like nothing was happening. I've been pondering how that's possible and I believe it's because there didn't appear to be much anticipation or build up to any of the scenes. At least I didn't feel any. I just went through the motions of finishing the book to be able to say I completed the series. There was exactly one part where I felt a twinge of emotion and it's where Tamani thinks he sees Laurel die and goes off on his own to kill Klea or be killed by her. But before those feelings get a chance to develop, Laurel goes running after him. End scene. That left me so angry!
Then my biggest pet peeve about YA novels starts flying around left and right. The whole, "I can't live without you!" trope. I really hate when that's used because it gives off the appearance of teens ready to end their life over a boyfriend/girlfriend. They're in the midst of a battle for Avalon, saving other fae's lives, and they start wondering why they would bother if the other were to die. Ummm... because your friends and family are still in danger?!
Then we get to the ending where there is a deadly toxin seeping into the land and killing Tamani courtesy of Klea. It's up to Laurel to save not only Tamani, but all of Avalon. And she's all:
"She wasn't sure if it mattered if the toxin infected her. Was her life worth living without Tamani? Was the risk worth one last kiss? One final embrace?"
So, you're just going to forget about Avalon then?
"He had to be alive. She wasn't sure if she could live another moment if he wasn't with her. What did any of this matter if, in the end, she was too late to save Tamani?"
Whew, sorry about that. I started seeing red again.
The ending was your typical "... And they lived happily ever after" in true Disney fashion. In hindsight, there were casualties, but none that anyone cared about (I find it interesting that Tamani never went back to check on his niece after she lost her mother! O.o Laurel was more important, I guess.). The only thing that mattered is that Tamani got to be with his one true love forever and ever. The end. Lame.
So, I guess if you enjoyed the first three books, you'll probably enjoy this one to some extent. But for everyone else, I wouldn't go into this one expecting much. Overall it was a big ol' pile of MEH.
ARC was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss. Thank you!
After reading Spells I have to admit I was not excited to read Illusions. I thought Wings was unique and offered a different s...more Actual rating: 2.5 stars
After reading Spells I have to admit I was not excited to read Illusions. I thought Wings was unique and offered a different spin of your typical Fey story, but Spells fell short for me. However, I'm happy to say, I did enjoy Illusions much better.
We begin with Laura at the beginning of senior year of high school. She is attempting to lead a normal life despite the troll attacks from the last book. Right from the start this book kicked off with Tamani enrolling as a foreign exchange student at her school. Obviously, this complicates her and David's relationship. In addition to this, Klea has asked Laura to look after a mysterious Fey named Yuri.
The plot in Illusions was very interesting this go round. However, I have three major pet peeves about this book.
1. The Love Triangle
To a certain extent, I can tolerate love triangles, especially when they noticeably help move the plot along. But in Illusions the love triangle turned into an all out pissing contest between Tamani and David. I could feel the testosterone rolling off the pages. And David! I was so tired of him whining about Laura. But I have never liked David very much because his character feels underdeveloped to me. This is book 3 and I still don't feel like we actually know much about him. Tamani is a much more interesting love interest and their connection/relationship makes sense.
2. The Mystery surrounding Yuri
Our characters are supposed to be trying to figure out which season Yuri aligns with, but for most of the book they are too busy fawning over Laura, while Laura thinks about college and acts as a referee to the two hormonal, teenage boys. I felt like most of the chapters were pretty useless to the book. And by the end of the book, Yuri's season is pretty much the only thing we've found out. The premise was so interesting and I kept turning pages hoping to find out more about Yuri, but all I got was David and Tamani glaring at each other. Or, Laura yelling at David and Tamani. Or, David and Tamani duking it out in the school's hallway. It got old really fast. I felt like Pike had a lot of potential with this book and she wasted it to prolong a series that has no business having a "book 4."
3. The Ending
Don't worry I won't spoil it for you. But I will tell you that after all that anticipation on finding out what Yuri is, you find out and the book just ENDS. I actually turned the page and thought, "No way was that the ending!" I felt ripped off. I suffered through all the relationship drama and this was how I was rewarded?! Talk about a letdown.
Will I read book 4? Yea, I probably will in hopes that Pike pulls it together.