I just love Nym's stone-cold determination, even in the face of almost certain failure. She's impulsive and rash, but she DOES learn from her mistakesI just love Nym's stone-cold determination, even in the face of almost certain failure. She's impulsive and rash, but she DOES learn from her mistakes. And she tries her utmost to remain the girl she was when this all began.
Not as big of a cliffhanger as the last book, but it was enough to leave me grasping for the next book.
This book felt like coming home. It was reminiscent of the folk and fairy tales I loved as a child and was just as expertly woven. I could find no flaw in this story, nothing I wish had been done differently. It was absolute perfection for my fairy-tale-loving heart...a balm to my soul.
Agnieszka is my version of the perfect heroine: absolutely normal. She is every girl who thinks herself not good enough and is the complete opposite of her beautiful, perfect best friend. Which is why she is absolutely positive the Dragon will never choose her...but that's because she's yet to discover just how special she truly is. Despite that, I appreciated how true to herself Agnieszka remained. In the face of adversity and an ever-changing world, she never lost sight of herself and proved to be the most ardent and loyalest of friends.
There were moments in story where a lesser person might have given in to temptation or chosen the easier path, but not Agnieszka. She would sacrifice everything she was for the sake of her dearest friend Kasia. And despite whatever darker thoughts and resentments they might be harboring toward one another because of their predicaments prior to and after the choosing ceremony, they still endeavored to be there for each other, to be as close as sisters. Their love for each other was undeniable.
The pacing and world-building in this story were exceptional. Every time I was gearing up for things to settle down, to be able to catch my breath for a moment before the next crisis had to be averted, I had to remind myself that this was not that kind of story. There were chapter breaks, sure, but there weren't really any good stopping points, not with everything that was happening in the story. I found it ridiculously difficult to put this book down...it was just utterly brilliant and completely unpredictable. And usually with fantasy worlds such as this, I tend to gloss over all of the finer details in favor of the action and dialogue, but Novik's descriptions of the Wood and all of its inhabitants are not to be missed. She managed to make it sound captivating and beautiful and completely creepy all at the same time. I will never look at the forest the same again.
The Dragon is not a dragon but a wizard, and thusly, magic is central to the story. The Wood itself is a little magical, frighteningly so, and as it turns out, so is Agnieszka. But the way in which she wields magic is so different from the Dragon's by-the-book methods that he is constantly infuriated and very often frustrated with Agnieszka's lack of progress with his teachings. I loved that Agnieszka found her own path to accessing magic and that it aggravated the Dragon to no end.
Their relationship started off with them despising each other but it evolved into one of burning passion, especially after they began working magic together. But the romance was also very much secondary to the rest of the story. I think that if Agnieszka had learned magic from the Dragon in the way that he had intended, she would have been yet another student he'd send off at the end of ten years, never to be heard from again. But once Agnieszka finally embraced the magic within and found a path that worked for her, she began pushing the Dragon's limits...and also his patience. She challenged him at every opportunity and proved that she was a far-worthier pupil than he'd originally given her credit for. For comparison's sake, I envisioned the Dragon as Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock but in wizard form: that super intelligent and everyone is beneath me type of character.
Though Agnieszka is but a young woman of seventeen when she is chosen as the Dragon's new apprentice, this book was more adult in nature. The responsibilities and sacrifices that Agnieszka faces are definitely not usual for a girl of seventeen, but this is a fantasy story. So, it's kind of somewhere between young adult and adult, but not new adult either. I know that's very vague and I'm sorry for that. Honestly, the best comparison I can make in terms of story, writing, creepy factor, forest imagery, etc., is the recently released Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge. They both have a very similar vibe, with young characters who have very difficult paths ahead of them. The same might even be said for Hodge's debut, so if you enjoyed either or both of those novels, I'd heartily recommend Uprooted to you, as well.
Seriously, though, if you have any interest in folk lore, fairy tales, or fantasy, on any level, you should put this book on your TBR. But don't just let it stay there. Also, I wouldn't read it near a copse of trees, either. I did and I felt like I was being watched the entire time. There is just something so pervasive and magical about Naomi Novik's writing...I felt it all around me. And as chilling as that could be at times, I can't wait to read it again.
GIF it to me straight: Creepy forest is creepy....more
This was kind of the perfect ending to this series. Part dangerous and part frivolous, full of magic and just enough romance. And that ending...sigh.This was kind of the perfect ending to this series. Part dangerous and part frivolous, full of magic and just enough romance. And that ending...sigh. :)...more
Up to this point, I wasn't all that sure that I liked this series. I don't think I rated either of the two previous books higher than two stars. And I just read my review of Endless Knight, and in it I indicated that I had zero intention of spending any more money on this series. But I was offered a copy of the audiobook for review, and my curiosity got the better of me because though I've had a ton of issues up to this book, the tarot aspect still really fascinates me, and I have no idea where it's all headed.
That's the best way for a series to hold my attention: to remain unpredictable. And though there are parts of the story that are easy to guess -- like that love triangle that emerged in book two -- this series definitely leaves me with a lot of questions. And speculation. I've developed so many off-the-wall theories about those Major Arcana -- which ones are left to discover, who might be an Arcana, and what roles they'll all play in the end -- that it's hard to keep track of them all.
Another aspect that continues to intrigue me is that love triangle. Love triangles don't usually deter me from a story, but they are rarely what draws me to one. Except in this case, where one of the love interests is Death personified. Obviously, I'm pulling for him because if this were real life, I'd be drawn to him, too, especially once his sad, sad story comes out. Also, I've never, ever liked Jackson Deveaux. He is crass and over-bearing and a hot-head. Yet I can't help but watch this train wreck of a romance unfold.
I'm trying to give the narrator of these audiobooks another chance because I know this is not the only series she narrates. And I actually enjoyed her narration of other books prior to listening to this series. And I know that it probably has more to do with my dislike of the main character earlier in the books than Emma Galvin's style of narrating. Also, maybe a little bit of my distaste for the audiobooks has to do with the accent Galvin gives Evie. She makes Evie sound like she's from the South, that's for sure, but maybe it's a little too pronounced, not to mention a bit off-putting, and that's why it bothers me so much.
However, I should say that I didn't mind the narration much at all while listening to this third book. The story reeled me in pretty quickly, and I found that I barely noticed the things that annoyed me so much in the previous two audiobooks. Also, I've listened to a few audiobooks narrated by Emma Galvin since the last Arcana book, and I found them much more tolerable than I expected. I guess I've finally gotten past my dislike…which is great because she narrates a lot of YA novels that I'd hate to miss just because I couldn't stand the narrator.
This third novel in the Arcana Chronicles has reignited my interest in the series, and it's the first in the series that I've truly enjoyed. Cole has really upped the ante in this installment, providing just enough clues and more than enough excitement. And as always, she leaves the reader with an agonizing cliffhanger, which is admittedly what always has me coming back to this series.
GIF it to me straight: I know! I'm as shocked as Moriarty that I actually liked this one, too!...more
More of the same goodness I fell for in Time Between Us, just told from Bennett's perspective this time. Bennett and Anna have a lot to overcome, andMore of the same goodness I fell for in Time Between Us, just told from Bennett's perspective this time. Bennett and Anna have a lot to overcome, and if possible, things seem even more impossible from Bennett's vantage point. Here he is, with the power to see into Anna's future, wondering if he's throwing it all off course. Wishing he could give everyone a second chance. Hurting himself in the process.
I'm usually not a fan of the point-of-view switch in a sequel, but it actually works out really well for this particular story. And I'm really glad I got to see things from Bennett's side. I liked his character and him as a love interest overall, but I liked him that much more because of his good intentions and willingness to sacrifice what he wanted. And we get to see a lot more of that in this sequel.
The ability to time travel wasn't explored at any great length, but the repercussions were. But sometimes you don't need the science behind the story to fully enjoy it, and that's true of this series. (view spoiler)[Though, I'd still like to know how they really expect to make a long-distance relationship like this work! (hide spoiler)]
I'm so glad I listened to this duology on audio so I could finally see why so many loved these books. I thought I'd miss Amy Rubinate narrating Anna's perspective, but Ryan Gesell was a great pick to portray Bennett. He wasn't as cocksure and willful as he was in the first book, and I think Gesell conveyed that beautifully.
If you want to read about time travel without all the mumbo jumbo, this is your series. Or if you just want to read a not-so-simple but beautiful romance, this is your story.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
An ARC of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own. This review can also be found at The StarAn ARC of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
I found The Witch Hunter to be a jaunty little read. It was very fantasy-light -- heavy on the vague explanations or lacking them altogether -- but I still found it quite enjoyable, all things considered. And though a few times it seemed like the story might venture into some trope-y territory that would have diminished my enjoyment, it redeemed itself by veering in the opposite direction.
So, in The Witch Hunter, there was this unexplained magical plague -- blamed on the infamous wizard Nicholas Perevil -- that decimated the population and left most everyone terrified of magic, or at least questioning the ramifications of using it. The king goes and outlaws magic and those still found practicing after the fact are burned at the stake. There are even those in the king's ranks whose only role is to seek out witches and bring them to justice. Elizabeth Grey is one of the foremost witch hunters when allegations of witchcraft are brought against her for having contraceptive herbs on her person.
There are good reasons -- VERY good reasons -- why she needed to have these herbs, but the law is the law. Elizabeth has all but accepted her fate, despite Caleb's -- her witch hunter best friend and cohort -- assurances that he'll come for her, when who should show up to rescue her but the very last person she ever expected to lay eyes on. Prior to this, I had thought there was a slim chance that Caleb would come for her, but his pretty words at the door of her cell came too little, too late. He was too closed-minded to see what was in front of him and he'll never be persuaded that all magic isn't evil. I mean, it can't be anything but when the kingdom's most wanted wizard is named PerEVIL, right?
Elizabeth has obvious trust issues and it takes a lot to convince her that the witches and wizards who came to her aid mean her no harm. They do want something in return, though...something only Elizabeth can retrieve for them. Of course, they do. And in the process, she meets ghosts and revenants and pixies and pirates, oh my. All while attempting to hide the fact that up until Nicholas facilitated her jailbreak, she was hunting their kind.
At this point, we're basically following Elizabeth and company on a quest, while the rest of the kingdom is hunting her now. She doesn't have any special power herself, but she knows things, and knowledge is a power unto itself. Along the way, Elizabeth's narrow-mindedness fades as she begins to realize that magic isn't inherently good or bad, it's all dependent on who's wielding it. Basically, her whole world has been turned upside down, but she's taking it in stride.
I'm sure it helps to have an attractive healer and his friends along for the trip. I much preferred the sweet and caring John as a love interest over the caustic, unfeeling Caleb. Maybe I'm the only one who sees Caleb that way, but actions speak louder than words, and I hate when a guy only finally notices the main character once others have shown an interest in her. Whereas I could never tell if Caleb was actually showing anything but brotherly affection for Elizabeth, John's intentions toward her were abundantly clear.
I also appreciated that though one of John's closest friends is female, she wasn't of the I'm-pining-away-for-my-best-friend-but-he-doesn't-know-it variety, nor was she the overprotective best friend who warned the main character away. It did seem like either or both of those scenarios might come into play until her own relationship was revealed. And Fifer actually turned out to be a pretty good friend to Elizabeth, once the air was cleared between them and Fifer realized that Elizabeth was in fact not going to murder them all in their sleep or turn them in as witches.
If The Witch Hunter was kind of fun and fanciful, the ending of the story was anything but. The big reveal is a bit questionable and too easy and doesn't really explain anything, but this is only the first book so I'm hoping a more quality explanation is forthcoming in the sequel. Despite a few minor qualms with this book, I'm definitely looking forward to more of this series.
GIF it to me straight: ♫ Someone's gonna burn... ♫...more
Re-read/listen because I started the final book and realized I didn't remember as much from Unhinged as I thought I did. So, I decided to re-listen toRe-read/listen because I started the final book and realized I didn't remember as much from Unhinged as I thought I did. So, I decided to re-listen to the first two books before diving back into the finale. Should be more fun this way, anyway.
My original review of Splintered can be found here....more
This was an enjoyable sequel, possibly a tiny bit more so than the first book, even. That Ceony sure knows how to find trouble, but it seems as if theThis was an enjoyable sequel, possibly a tiny bit more so than the first book, even. That Ceony sure knows how to find trouble, but it seems as if there's always someone there to rescue her. It's all a little too convenient but I guess that's the case when magic is involved. ;) I could never BE so lucky.
When I saw I was only 40 minutes away from the end of the audiobook, I started getting nervous because I was afraid of a major cliffhanger, the way things were going. But convenience stepped in and saved me from that. And there's still enough left unresolved for the next book. :)...more
I know I just read this, but I was perusing my library's website for my next listen and this was available and IRe-read/listen. Original review here.
I know I just read this, but I was perusing my library's website for my next listen and this was available and I already missed Blue and the gang, so I thought why not. Plus, Will Patton WINS at narrating this series...I can't believe I ever doubted him. I mean, he was in a movie about fast cars...Maggie enjoys cars and driving fast...it just doesn't get more perfect than that. =)
ETA: This book was phenomenal the first time I read it, but the audio is even more so....more
Gah, can we stop with the comparisons already? I really hate it when summaries include these because it really tends to muck up the way a reader goes into a story, as well as what they take away from it. To me, this book was like no other I've read. It's told in third person omniscient from four different perspectives, and it's incredibly fast-paced, which leaves some of the novel feeling as if it's lacking a coherent connection to previous events in the story. But, it all rights itself in the end and the story becomes quite cohesive, meaning everything comes around full circle and you're left with a mind-blowing, WTF conclusion. Or, at least, I was.
I've seen a lot of DNF and not-so-pleasant reviews of Seeker, and I can see where some readers would have trouble with this novel. Myself, I couldn't stop reading it. Every time I tried to put the book down, something else would happen and I'd have to see how that aspect would play out. The pacing is a bit disjointed, especially when the reader is taken from the present and then sent back to the past in an interlude that lasts several chapters and several perspectives. And then plunged head-first into the story a solid year-and-a-half later. It's intense, that's for sure. But it makes for one crazy story that kept me captivated to the very last page.
The characters make this story what it is; they're all so intriguing with all their questionable and underlying motives. Some of the characters I thought I would love in the beginning of the book became characters that I could barely tolerate in the end, while others who were barely a blip on the map at the start became favorites and I couldn't get enough of their stories. I loved the reversal of fortune that occurs within the pages of this book and how each character reacted to such a fate.
I expected a shifty turn in the romance, based on the summary of the novel, but I honestly had no idea what to expect. And I don't want to ruin it for anyone else. But it was pretty unexpected, considering the circumstances...though I was REALLY hoping the author would take the romance in a certain direction. And I'm pretty pleased with where it left off.
The setting became a character itself at the hands of the author. Or maybe I should say settings, since half of the story occurs in Scotland, while the other half takes place in Hong Kong. These locations were beautifully described, and although I've always had a soft spot for Scotland, with its castles and all of that green, green land, I actually preferred the story once it landed in Hong Kong. If I thought the first part of the book was intense, I was woefully unprepared for what was to transpire in the latter sections of the story.
I really don't know how to describe this novel except to call it intense over and over again. It's the kind of story that you have to be willing to give a chance, knowing that you're going to be confused for a majority of the book but that all will be revealed in the end. Personally, I can't wait to see what's next for these characters in Traveler!
Some serious fantasy here, the MC walking through her mentor's enchanted heart and all...paper magic, flesh magic, and more magic I'm sure we'll learnSome serious fantasy here, the MC walking through her mentor's enchanted heart and all...paper magic, flesh magic, and more magic I'm sure we'll learn about in the next book. Oh, and Fennel...he may be a paper dog but he was adorbs. There was even a touch of romance...just a touch, but enough to make my shipper heart happy. (And not only because Thane reminded me the teensiest bit of Sherlock. :P)
I liked it. Maybe it was because I listened to the audio version -- narrated by the awesome Amy McFadden -- that I ended up liking it more than others? And more than I'd been assured I would? Idk. But I liked it. So much so that I already DLed the second book on audio. :)...more
An ARC of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. However, this review is for the audiobook version procured from mAn ARC of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. However, this review is for the audiobook version procured from my local library. My thoughts are my own.
I initially added this book to my TBR because it was recommended for fans of The Princess Bride.
Things this book has in common with The Princess Bride:
Ways in which this book is not like The Princess Bride:
- Quotables are sorely lacking - Banter is unimaginative - The Accidental Highwayman is not a stand-alone - No ROUSes...ha, kidding (there aren't, but why would there be?)
Now, I didn't expect this book to be exactly like The Princess Bride because where's the fun in that? But to compare it to my favorite movie ever gives it a lot to live up to. (The book ranks up there, but the movie is just plain better.) Marketing aside, it was a fun, jaunty little adventure full of faeries and magic and a runaway bride, and I'm very much interested in reading the next installment.
Also, the audio version of this book is fantastic. Steve West has such a great voice and I had zero trouble getting into the story thanks to his narration. Of course, I would probably enjoy his narration of the phone book, too. ;0)...more
I'm on a roll with fairy tale retellings lately! This one isn't my favorite -- it's not even based on my favorite tale -- but I loved how this retelling turns the original on its head. The Disney version of Sleeping Beauty would have us believe that the happily ever after begins with the kiss, but A Wicked Thing explores how Aurora might feel at being awakened from a long slumber by a handsome prince and finding her entire world has changed.
I think the aspect I appreciated the most in this story was Aurora's characterization. She is not the damsel-in-distress we've been led to believe. Aurora wakes up from a hundred year slumber, unaware of how long she's been asleep or that she's essentially alone in the world. And yet, she refuses to accept that her only choice is to marry the handsome prince who awoke her, even if his family and their subjects all believe that her waking and subsequent marriage to the prince who made it happen is what will save the kingdom.
For a story that starts with a kiss, there was a distinct lack of actual romance in the book. There are actually three would-be suitors in the story, but of them all, I preferred the one that Aurora probably found the most vile. I just love a helpful rogue...sue me. Of the other two, one is the sweet but guileless Prince Rodric who awoke her from her slumber and the other is an acquaintance she made in secret outside of the castle. Two of the three presume to use Aurora for their own purposes, though there may be real feelings involved. It's hard to tell so early in the game. The other is simply a good friend and wishes to do whatever is necessary to save the kingdom from its current blight. I liked and despised one and all at least once at some point throughout the story.
When I started this novel, I'd seen nothing indicating that this would be a series. That always irks me a bit, to be reading and getting closer and closer to the end of the novel and still see no resolution in sight. But, with this novel, I didn't mind quite as much because of Aurora's considerable growth as a character over the course of the book. She wakes up, and instead of resigning herself to the role set before her, she questions the future of the kingdom at the hands of the current king. Aurora wants her kingdom to return to the magnificence she knew before the curse struck, and she knows that she must trust her heart in order to make it so. She is good at heart, but Aurora must make some hard decisions in order to ensure the safety of her kingdom in the future.
A Wicked Thing started off slow. Okay, painfully slow, with Aurora cowing to her kingdom's current rulers at first and walking around for the first third of the book in complete indecision. But I'm glad I forged through that because seeing Aurora break free of that damsel-in-distress façade was worth it. This story is not the uplifting, romantic story from your childhood. It's tragic and sad in equal parts, but Aurora's determination to set things right left me hopeful. And her story is only going to get more interesting now that she's taking charge of her future.
Red Queen had the potential to be epic. And for some early readers, it seems to have been just that. But I think I let my excitement for this book get the better of me because the story I read just doesn't match up to other reader reactions...or my expectations.
I tried to ignore the comparisons to Graceling and The Selection before reading the book. I loved Graceling but I barely tolerated The Selection...though I did find it a compulsively readable series -- even if the story was banal and uninspired. And that's the same reason, I think, that I just didn't enjoy this novel as much as I'd hoped to. It's a mash-up of a lot of other stories I've enjoyed...and some that I haven't. It was slowslowslow to start. And the romance seems to be the focal point, despite the fact that the magical system and brewing revolution would have been much more captivating had they been more central to the story. Instead, they were background issues and were left mostly unexplored.
I found the special abilities that the Silvers were in possession of to be quite intriguing. Though they felt less like the graces the characters in Graceling had and more like powers developed through some genetic mutation, a la The X-Men, they gave the user an element (air, water, fire, etc.) to wield and use at their disposal...in fighting arenas where they were put on display before the lesser Reds to show how much mightier they were. The characters did practice with and demonstrate their gifts on occasion, including Mare, but not nearly enough for my liking. I wanted this to be an epic fantasy and the element that would have made it such was just lacking in development. Why do only Silvers have these abilities? Why does Mare, a Red, have them now? It's only the first book, but I still have so many questions, especially when it comes to the world-building.
I expect that the coming revolution between Reds and Silvers may be featured more prominently in future installments, if that ending is anything to go by, but I wanted to see more of it in this first book. It's been a bit since I read this novel, but I don't actually remember having the segregation of the Reds and Silvers explained, how the difference in blood and the magic, or lack thereof, came to pass. It's obvious that the Reds are unhappy and preparing to retaliate for their mistreatment all these years, but besides a few minor incidents, the only sign of a rebellion was the existence of the Scarlet Guard, and it seemed very, very small in comparison to the legions of soldiers under Silver control.
I think the aspect that killed this book for me was the romance, though. I like romance in the stories I read. In fact, I prefer there be at least a hint of it in most stories. But then there are those novels where the romance just overpowers the rest of the story, choking out anything good and interesting in order to heighten the drama. This is one of those books. And it wasn't just the fact that there's a love triangle involved -- though it's the kind I actually can't ignore, and I'm pretty tolerant when it comes to LTs -- or that it pitted two brothers against each other. It was the fact that if the MC had been smarter, had seen through the guise at the Silver court, there wouldn't have been a love triangle to begin with. Also, there's yet a third guy who's interested in Mare, and he would have been the guy I'd shipped her with in the beginning -- probably...maybe -- but now I just want his character arc to fizzle out and go away.
This story was just so full of drama for so much of the book. I was never in danger of not finishing it, though, because like The Selection, it was hard to look away from it. I mean, what is that? It's like hearing a song you hate but that's catchy regardless and ends up stuck in your head all day. Annoying, right? Honestly, Red Queen does get kind of exciting toward the end, even with an obvious reveal that I saw coming from a mile away, and ensured that I will have to pick up the next book, even if this one didn't blow me away. It wasn't horrible, but it also wasn't nearly as good as I expected.
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book. I love fantasy and especially stories focusing on missing heirs and their fActual rating: 4.5 stars
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book. I love fantasy and especially stories focusing on missing heirs and their fight to reclaim their throne. I don't, however, usually enjoy a story told from SO many perspectives as much as say, one or two points of view. Sure, this method provides valuable insight into all the goings on in the kingdom, but it also makes it that much harder for me to connect with any one character, let alone all of them.
So consider me very surprised when I found myself appreciating each and every character and perspective, both for their differences and what they provided for the story. I definitely had favorites, but even in this first book, I was able to put together a pretty good picture of just what had happened because of each character's vantage point along the way.
That's not saying I got all the answers I wanted, or that I have a clue where things are truly headed. There's not a cliffhanger, but the author left off at a point that definitely left me wanting more of this story and the Spanish-inspired world.
Alliances, dalliances, and romances...this book has -ances in spades. I was in favor of one romance but felt that another kind of came out of nowhere. Not that I don't ship it, just that it felt like I'd stumbled into it in the middle, though it had barely had a chance to get going. The other was rock solid and pleased my fate-loving heart to no end.
Also, I don't think you can go wrong -- at least not in my book -- with a male lead named Rafael, Rafe, Rafi, Raffe, Rafa, or any other variation. I always fall for them HARD.
I can't wait to see where this story is headed. I liked this first book so much that I think I'll have to get a finished copy for my shelf....more
An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
TAn advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
This is going to be one big ole contradictory review because the things I liked about this book are also the things that bothered me about this book. The comparisons to both the Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Mortal Instruments series were very apt because much of this book felt very familiar to me. And yet the author put her own unique spin on the story and characters, making them her own. I know that "new ideas" have pretty much been exhausted these days, and so I can't hold it against the author that her story seems inspired by other recent books. It's the execution of the story that makes this a worthwhile read, despite similarities to those other books.
I started out reading the review copy I had, but I was finding it difficult to get into the story. I think I got to 23% before I put it on hold in favor of waiting for the audiobook version to become available. That was probably the best decision because once I started the audio, I finished it within a day. It's narrated by the venerable Julia Whelan, and I don't think she's ever performed a book that I didn't like. This was going to be a 3 1/2 star read but because of the narration, I feel it deserves the full four stars.
Even after deliberating for a couple of weeks, I'm still not sure if my overall enjoyment of the story was due in part to the fact that it reminded me so much of one of my favorite series or if I just generally liked it. I know I enjoyed it…that much is certain. It had a snarky protagonist who went to great lengths for those she cared about. It also featured a love triangle that wasn't, which is my favorite kind…where the heroine grows and realizes that what she thought she had with one love interest was nothing compared to that which she could have, even if that love might be a bit star-crossed.
The characters themselves are very reminiscent of those in both of the aforementioned series and their dynamic was also strangely familiar, as it seemed to borrow heavily from The Mortal Instruments. You'll see what I mean when the two different groups converge and even their feelings are the same. Even the idea of reincarnation is present, though it manifests in a different way. The world was rich and fantastical, but I felt so comfortable with it because it was redolent of the two warring factions in Daughter of Smoke and Bone and even the use of portals for travel.
The Girl at Midnight was an enjoyable read but not a unique one. Even so, I find myself wanting the next book. I'm hoping that the similarities to other series will end with book one and the real world-building will really begin in the sequel.
Yay! There's going to be a third book!!! :D Loved this one just as much as the previous book...maybe even a little more since I got the swoons I was hYay! There's going to be a third book!!! :D Loved this one just as much as the previous book...maybe even a little more since I got the swoons I was hoping for! ;0)...more
I loved Crimson Beauty so much that I've already read and/or listened to it over five times since I received the ARC a little over a year ago. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite fairy tales, followed very closely by Little Red Riding Hood. Intriguing that one of my new favorite authors on the scene has retold both now. And her sophomore novel may have trumped her debut on my list of favorite retellings ever.
The thing is, I can't really talk about the aspect I loved the most in this story because it would probably be considered a major spoiler to most if I revealed anything about it. And because I value romance pretty highly, I myself would consider any mention of this type of romance to be ruining. I can say that the way this romance plays out would disappoint many, especially those who feel very strongly on the kind that feature three points. I discussed it in great length with Lauren, who famously despises LTs and as far as I know, she has plans to stay very far away from this one. Just in case you were wondering. :)
Here's the thing, kids. I've been trying to write this review for weeks. I was blown away by this book when I read it and I've wanted to tell the world ever since, but I wanted to be coherent when I did so. Apparently, when it comes to me and one of Rosamund's books, that's maybe an impossibility I've yet to accept. It's just…the way she weaves a tale you already know and love into a story that's wholly it's own is rather remarkable. I don't like to compare authors because they all have their own style and their own methods, but the way Hodge writes her characters reminds me a lot of Sarah J. Maas. I just love how they always have questionable motives and very little compunction. I live in the gray areas, and I like to see characters that do the same, that battle with good and evil, black and white, on a daily basis. It makes them more real to me.
Crimson Bound is not only based on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood but also on the story of The Girl With No Hands. I absolutely LOVED how Hodge combined these tales to make one truly engaging story, one where the evil is closer than you know or want to admit, and trusting anyone else might be your biggest mistake yet. It's a story where girls are allowed to kill and have unpure thoughts and villains aren't necessarily all evil. I just love a redeemable bad guy….like, there's no other character I like to see more. Besides the heroine who's allowed to be selfish and want things for herself, even if she knows it goes against what she's been taught or who she's sworn to protect. Not everything is black and white, and I fully appreciate a story that can illustrate that without being preachy.
Also, Hodge reminds us of the story's origins by including faerie folk and reminding the MC constantly of what is owed, but I still love how understated the faerie presence is in her stories, despite the fact that many fey have made themselves noticeable at this point in the story. I really enjoy how this author takes fairy tales and flips them on their heads; these stories are definitely inspired by some of my favorite fairy tales, but they don't follow through with those essential happily ever afters, peaking the interest of a hard-core fairy tale lover like me.
This is technically the third story I've read from Rosamund Hodge, but I have to say, it's my favorite. Her characters have become increasingly more complex and the story that much more frenetic, and I have a hard time controlling myself when one lands in my lap. Her stories are not the type to be read sparingly, bit by bit. No, Hodge's stories inevitably need to be read all in one go, by someone who fully understands that life isn't black and white but lived in shades of gray.
GIF it to me straight: In other words, trust no one....more