I love Ms Armstrong's writing, but to be honest, the Darkness Rising trilogy hasn't been my favorite work of hers so far.**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (B+)
I love Ms Armstrong's writing, but to be honest, the Darkness Rising trilogy hasn't been my favorite work of hers so far. So when I got The Rising, my initial intent was to take a peek and put it aside for later. However, once I took that peek, I was completely hooked - simply couldn't put it down and ended up reading the whole thing LOL.
My enjoyment of The Rising is in large part due to Maya's gang finally meeting up with Chloe's group from the Darkest Powers trilogy. This is something I've been hoping for throughout the trilogy and it finally happening, well it made my day :) I just enjoyed the interactions between the two groups as their circumstances differed a lot. On one hand, you have Maya's gang who all grew in this community of experiment subjects, being monitored without really knowing it. Now on the run, they have to rely on themselves. While most of Chloe's group has been aware of being experiment subjects and have been trying to learn and control their powers. In addition, they can rely on Chloe's aunt and Derek and Simon's father. The contrasting idea between the two projects was also interesting to me. Project Genesis which Chloe stems from was to genetically enhance powers of supernaturals while Project Phoenix which includes Maya was to revive supernatural beings that have been extincted. But quite honestly, at the end of the day, I just wanted updates of Chloe's group as I personally preferred them to Maya's ^_^; And LOL, let just say Derek's reaction didn't disappoint :)
What I also really liked in The Rising was the resolution at the end. Maya and Chloe's groups have been on the run for a while... Is that all their future holds for them? The answer is no :) I personally really wished that they had gone to the supernatural council. I think Paige and company need to know about them, about these projects... However, as they hadn't gone to the council, I think the person they went to make the best sense: Sean Nast. With Lucas and Sean taking leading positions in the Cabal clans and the emergence of the supernatural council, you can see that things are starting to change... and it's quite exciting to actually see Sean's position in the Cabals solidifying :) Perhaps I'm biased, but I feel Sean is someone that Maya and Chloe can trust. He's the one that going to be the most upfront with them. In any case, as I said, I liked the resolution at the end. Yes, they are still dependent on the Cabals, but at least, they are no longer on the run. They can live a "normal" life with their families. Also, they are now aware of their powers and the choices they will have to make in the future. It's not perfect, but it's better than what they could hope for at the beginning of The Rising.
Now, what about the story of The Rising itself? It was okay. To me, the scenes where Maya and her friends were on the run were a bit draggy. There were also some events that I felt were a bit too convenient such as Maya's twin Ash appearance. Still, there were some good twists and those kept the story going :) And finally, Maya realized her feelings for Daniel! Finally! I've been rooting for Daniel since the beginning and seriously, he's such a good guy... How could Maya not like him? This is one thing that Ms Armstrong hasn't handled really well in my opinion in both trilogies: love triangles. There haven't really been any in her adult books and I know YA books need a bit of drama, but she's just not very good at them ^_^; Perhaps because there is such an unbalance between the two potential love interests. In the Darkest Powers trilogy, she did a better job because Simon and Derek started on an equal footing - they both met Chloe at the same time and as brothers, they knew each other so well. But in Darkness Rising? I think everyone was rooting for Daniel.
At the end of the day, I'm glad the Darkness Rising trilogy is over. Ms Armstrong did her best with this trilogy; however, I think the odds were stacked against her... There were technically two huge flaws to this series. The first one is that being an avid fan of Ms Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, I knew so much more than the characters themselves... So waiting for the blocks to fall into place and the characters to figure things out was just agonizing! The second flaw was the similarities of what Maya and her friends were going through to the events from the Darkness Powers trilogy. Yes, circumstances were different, but in both cases, the heroines found out she was a supernatural and ended up being on the run, having to figure things out. It just took a lot of the thrills out. However, I'm really excited to see what Ms Armstrong has in store for Maya and Chloe in the future! The Women of the Otherworld series is now going on hiatus and so are the characters for these two trilogies... but I would love Ms Armstrong to pick up this world again in a few years and show us what have become of Maya and Chloe and mix them with our beloved characters from the Women of the Otherworld series :) That is going to be really exciting :)
Grade: 4.5/5 (B+). This grade is a bit on the high side, but keep in mind that I'm really a fan of the Women of the Otherworld series :) For me, The Rising was definitively the best installment out of three books in this trilogy and it was in large part due to the cross-over and the resolution :) As I mentioned earlier, once I started the book, I was hooked and that deserves recognition, hence the B+. As a whole, the Darkness Rising trilogy might not have been Ms Armstrong's best work, but the doors it opens... I can't wait to explore that!...more
I really enjoyed The Son of Neptune and as a result, was anxiously looking forward to The Mark of Athena. As soon as I got th**spoiler alert** 4/5 (B)
I really enjoyed The Son of Neptune and as a result, was anxiously looking forward to The Mark of Athena. As soon as I got the book, I simply devoured it :) As you can imagine, the expectations were quite high. All in all, I do think that Mr Riordan delivered with The Mark of Athena as it was enjoyable... but I feel the book could have been more.
One of the best parts of the book for me was Annabeth. I'm actually not a big fan of Annabeth, I always felt she was a bit too "know-it-all," too stuck-up, too conservative... However, in The Mark of Athena, I found her more likable. I feel Annabeth has softened up and it suited her well :) Part of it is her maturity, but another part I believe is Percy's influence on her. It was a good change especially since we finally got Annabeth's POV for the first time and I have to say, I enjoyed it. I thought she was interesting. Still very smart, but more approachable. It also made her storyline more interesting because I was rooting for her :) I gotta say, at first, I was a bit skeptic at how much this book would focus on Annabeth. Yes, I wanted to read Annabeth's POV, but there's a big difference between wanting her POV and wanting her to be the central element of the book. In the end though, Mr Riordan did a good job at balancing out the storylines and yes, Annabeth's mission was important, but it didn't steal the show. Not only that, but Mr Riordan was very subtle with Annabeth's role throughout the book and that really fit with her character :) In any case, it was nice to see Percy and Annabeth reminisced about the past, to see how strong their relationship has become. They really complement each other very well :) The reunion between the two was very sweet and so is the ending of The Mark of Athena, in a way.
As usual, The Mark of Athena is full of clever and funny elements such as the idea of the Greek/Roman schizophrenia that some gods suffer. It's a really good idea and I loved how the gods that only had one persona (Greek or Roman) or the ones where both personas were so similar in function such as Nemesis were unaffected. One of my favorites was Bacchus/Dionysus with the Pepsi/Coke relationship. It was so clever. And of course, some of the situations and how Mr Riordan mixed in the Greek and Roman mythology made the book :) Oh and I also really liked that Mr Riordan answered the Leo/Sammy question and didn't let the readers wonder and speculate too much. That would have been really annoying... although I have no idea what it means in the future for Leo, Hazel and Frank.
Also, The Mark of Athena was very action-orientated. It was really one adventure after another. That's usually how it is with this series' books... However, in The Mark of Athena, it didn't work as well in my opinion. Yes, it was still very fun and entertaining... but at the same time, it felt a bit too cartoonish. There wasn't much transitions between the adventures and that hurt the flow of the book. Especially after the first quarter of the book, it was simply non-stop. In addition, for logistical purposes I assume, Mr Riordan had to split the group of seven demigods into smaller groups for these adventures. So very rarely were the seven demigods together. And that's where I think Mr Riordan missed his chance to make The Mark of Athena more memorable. I think he should have focused more on developing a dynamic, a trusting relationship between the characters than the adventures. I wished we've seen the characters interact and bond more with each other, to overcome the Greek/Roman prejudices as well. Oh it was somewhat still achieved in the book, but it lacked something in my opinion to be totally believable. I felt the trust they were able to establish was too reluctant, in the sense of "we're in this together, I don't have a choice" instead of it being truly genuine. Also, I would have liked to see more of Jason and Percy dealing with each other, the two leaders cooperating. As I said, there was some, but more would have been better :P
Finally, my only negative about The Mark of Athena was Piper ^_^; I'm really not a fan of hers and I could have done without her POV. There was so much going on and there she was, worrying about her relationship with Jason. It didn't help that we didn't have Jason's POV in this one, but I can bet that her doubts were unjustified. Perhaps I'm being mean, but in comparison to the other characters, I felt she didn't bring much to the story.
The Mark of Athena was entertaining and enjoyable :) It would have been even better if there had been more chemistry, more cohesion between the characters. Overall, I thought it was better than The Lost Hero, but not as good as The Son of Neptune... hence the in-between grade :) Looking forward to the next book! Hoping to get Nico's POV this time around! ...more
Well as you know, I picked this book because of Alex' review. I thought the story was interesting and I have to say, the idea**spoiler alert** 4/5 (B)
Well as you know, I picked this book because of Alex' review. I thought the story was interesting and I have to say, the idea of a vow of silence, very intriguing. I was wondering how the author and the heroine were going to pull it off. And overall, I think Ms Harrington did a good job and Speechless turned out to be an enjoyable read :)
The definite key to Speechless was the heroine, Chelsea Knot, as she was the central character of the book and everything was from her POV. As a result, her characterization would make or undo the book. Luckily for us, Chelsea turned out to be a really interesting character and made this book :) She was not 100% likable, but she didn't have to be and I'm glad that Ms Harrington understood this fact. Instead, what made me appreciated Chelsea's character is that there was a lot about her to admire and I think it made her more interesting. It made for a more complex character and also, more realistic. So what did I admire in Chelsea? The fact that she told the truth about what happened and denounced the culprits. She did hesitate a little bit, but that's normal, and in the end, she did the right thing without any prompting. It really took courage to do what Chelsea did. I think the vow of silence was inspiring and I admire her for sticking with it. There were so many instances where it would have been easy to break it, but she didn't. I also liked that Chelsea was quite an independent person. Yes, she liked the perks of being part of the popular group, of being the most popular girl's best friend, but she was her own person before and after and ultimately, she did not care what people thought of her. All of this made me like and admire her character. On the other hand, what didn't endear Chelsea's character to me was that in the beginning of Speechless, there were a lot of self-pity bouts. Those are normal given Chelsea is a teen and it helped made her character more realistic, so they weren't bad per se, but a little annoying for me given the whole situation. Also, I felt she was quite condescending with Asha at first. I don't know, but when you're the social pariah, you should quit looking people from so high. I'm not saying she should have been on her knees, grateful for the friendship... But I think she could have been a little bit less judgmental.
As for the rest of the book, I think it was good as well. I liked that Chelsea's actions, even though it was right, had a lot more repercussions than she expected at first. This added another layer of real-ness to Speechless in my opinion. I also liked the secondary characters, the new people Chelsea befriended, even though I thought they could have been developed a bit more. In addition, I have to say it was a bit typical of contemporary YA books ^_^; You know, the protagonist realizing what real friendship is and who are her/his friends... Still, I enjoyed it, especially Sam, who was the victim's best friend and was stuck with Chelsea on a project. I enjoyed seeing their relationship developed. True, it was a bit fast and easy, but with the timeline of the book, it worked. Speaking of the timeline, I felt the pace of this book was quite breezy. Usually, I would consider this a good thing, but given the whole situation... I think it would have been interesting to see Chelsea bogged down at times, instead of overcoming everything that was thrown at her. Life is not so simple - unfortunately ^_^; I think the reason why I feel this way is that as a social outcast, it seems to me Chelsea got off easy, that Ms Harrington sugar-coated reality a little bit. Yes, some of the things that was done were bad, but they could be a loooot worse :( At the same time, I'm glad because this is fiction... Do I want to read a book and see a teen being bullied with realistic meanness? Not really. Also, at the end, Speechless seems to end all nice and tidy and that's not real life either :(
My Grade: 4/5. With a bit more development, I think Speechless could have been a very powerful book. Nevertheless, it was still a very solid novel with an interesting premise that the author managed to pull off and a very good overall message. I'm really glad I read this book :)...more
What did I like? Overall, I thought Paradise was a nice read. The reason the book is titled Paradise is because Gabe comes**spoiler alert** 3.5/5 (B-)
What did I like? Overall, I thought Paradise was a nice read. The reason the book is titled Paradise is because Gabe comes from Paradise, Texas and therefore, Paisley calls him Paradise. I liked Paisley, she was portrayed quite realistically. Her desire and determination to be a drummer, to make it work even if that meant going around her mother's back. The family dynamics also felt very realistic to me. I enjoyed the complicity between the two sisters and with their dad. He's the buffer zone between the daughters and their mother's autocratic ways. While the mother had to be a certain way for the book to work, I have to say, I did not like her at all ^_^; She was looking down on people and I didn't really get why. I mean, seriously, you are not better than them... and she was so focused on climbing to the next class level that she was blind to her daughters' wishes. It's a balance thing really. Still, that's a part of Paisley's family and Ms Alexander didn't shy away from it, didn't try to make it better or as if it didn't matter.
I think what's most commendable about Paradise is how real it felt and also, how it wasn't all pink and rosy. The ending is not tied up all nice and neat, the relationship between Paisley and Gabe was not perfect... The rock band members were friends, but not BFFs...
What didn't work for me? I think I went into Paradise with expectations that were a bit too high. All in all, Paisley and Gabe's characters were nice, but they did not stand out for me. I also expected a lot more from the ending. I was hoping for it to be more poignant... Perhaps because I knew the ending already, so it ruined it for me ^_^; One thing about Paisley and Gabe's relationship... I liked that Gabe understood the meaning of "no." Paisley wears a purity ring and part of it, is to please her mother... but she's not ready to have sex. So Gabe would stop whenever she'd tell him. However, every time, it felt like the making out was initiated by Gabe. I feel if he really understood and respected Paisley, he wouldn't...
Another thing that bothers me a bit about the whole book is that all the events felt like a dream. Because the timeline was so fast, I didn't feel the depth of their relationship. Also, throughout the book,Paisley called Gabe Paradise. The whole thing makes it feels transient, no permanence, like a dream. Perhaps it was done on purpose...
My Grade? 3.5/5 (B-). I don't regret reading Paradise and the realness of it was really nice, but I have to say I was expecting more....more
What I liked? Surprisingly, I ended up liking Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have). When I first start the book**spoiler alert** 3.5/5 (B-)
What I liked? Surprisingly, I ended up liking Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have). When I first start the book, I felt that April was not responsible... mainly because she lied to her father and that made me uncomfortable. See, the book opens with the end and the story is basically a long flashback of what happened to get there. So the beginning makes April looks quite bad... However, after you've read her journey, it all makes sense and it's no longer that bad :P Actually, you realize those months she lived on her own with Vi, she did her best... Yes, there were some errors of judgement, but overall, she didn't do badly and definitively gained in maturity :)
What I liked the most about Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) was the realistic feel of the book. Okay, some parts were a bit unrealistic like April and Vi's subterfuge of setting up two email accounts and pretending to be each other's parents to reassure them that everything was okay... And buying the hot tub - really? However, April's feelings and the stuff she goes through during this time - that felt really real. I also liked that Ms Mlynowski addressed April and her boyfriend's first time. How she got on the pill, etc. And how later on, there was talk about the pressure of the first time and how it caused him to cheat.
Seriously, I have to give credit to Ms Mlynowski because it's her writing and style that made the book. She doesn't beat around the bush and doesn't sugarcoat reality: her characters have sex, they drink, they stay out late and hang out... They act as normal teenagers do and it's something that I feel a lot of adults don't acknowledge. Oh you always hear about parents complaining about the adolescent years, but that has more to do with their moodiness and rebellious attitude towards authority. When it comes to sex, alcohol and swearing, they prefer to idealize their teens. The reality is that a lot of teenagers - not all of them, but a lot - have heard and use swear words such as damn, shit and the f-bomb. A lot of them become sexually active during those years and they might not be able to buy their own booze, but it doesn't stop them from finding ways to get some. So I really appreciated Ms Mlynowski's candor and in my opinion, it made Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) refreshing and a nice change of pace for a contemporary YA.
Any Issues? I don't know have any real big issues with the book itself... However, I simply didn't enjoy the story as much as I did Gimme a Call. I liked that Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) was very realistic, but I find I didn't connect as much with April and what happened to her.
My Grade? 3.5/5 (B-). Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) is a good contemporary YA, but probably better suited to a more matured audience. I'm glad that I have found another YA author to look out for :)...more
This is not the typical novel that I read where two persons meet, fall in love and end up happy ever after. This is the story**spoiler alert** 5/5 (A)
This is not the typical novel that I read where two persons meet, fall in love and end up happy ever after. This is the story of a teenager who committed suicide and left a series of tapes to people who were involved in her life and contributed to her decision. Clay, the main character, wondered why she did it? Why did she leave these tapes behind? And I think that she wanted people to care... they didn't while she was alive, but I think that she hoped they finally would once she wasn't alive anymore.
I think that for a first novel, M. Asher really wrote something powerful and insightful. Just like DC, I was completely sucked in the book and could not put it down. We follow Clay's emotional journey as he listens all these tapes in one night. Right, only one night... so basically, this novel tells a story that is in the past and it doesn't go beyond that very much, but it's really a great book. I think that M. Asher captured high school life very well... which got me thinking... you know when kids are done with elementary school and they're ready to take their next step. They are usually so excited to go to high school... however, high school is actually scary. Really scary and it's so easy for everything in your world to go so wrong, just like it did for Hannah.
This novel doesn't preach, but it makes the readers think... and I think it captures the way teenagers think very well. I have no complaints about this book at all, except perhaps one thing... How old are they? The author says senior, junior and freshman... but because of where I've been to school (i.e. Quebec province), I'm really not familiar with these terms so I don't know what age correspond to them. But as I said, aside from it, I think this is a very good novel and I was so very sad for Hannah....more
Virginia Saunter is 16 years old and the co-drum major of her school marching band. She shares the position of drum major wit**spoiler alert** 4/5 (B)
Virginia Saunter is 16 years old and the co-drum major of her school marching band. She shares the position of drum major with Drew Morrow, a senior and her crush. Drew was drum major last year and so, Virginia is having difficult to ascertain her authority within the band. It doesn't help that their first show was a complete disaster. Now, Mr. Rush, the new band director, is giving Drew and Virginia the choice: work together or he'll have someone else replace them.
What to say? This is a young adult novel, which explains why the H/H are 17 and 16 y.o. However, it is still a very cutsy story :D I did enjoy it, with all the drama and stuff... however, probably not as much as DC did. See, there's a lot of thing I didn't know and so I can't relate to... My school didn't have a marching band and actually, I don't think that many school in Quebec province has one... it's just not popular here. Also, we don't have the SAT exam here, so that's also something I cannot relate to. It's nice though that teenagers can find love... I've always liked the high school sweetheart romance :D
The only major problem I had with this book is that, well it's a young adult novel... these characters have their whole life in front of them. Sure, the ending of the BOOK is HEA, but for how long? Are they going to be together still in 20 years? Well, yeah, I'll never get the answer. I hope so too, but might not happen right? Anyway, good story. I'm wondering if the other from the series are as good... ...more
Why this book? I heard a lot of good about Eon: Dragoneye Reborn; however, I was always hesitant about it, because of the str**spoiler alert** 2/5 (D)
Why this book? I heard a lot of good about Eon: Dragoneye Reborn; however, I was always hesitant about it, because of the strong Asian influences on the world. I used to read a lot in Vietnamese when I was younger and from experience, I know some of the stuff just doesn't translate well in English. The language and culture are so different that some words just don't exist in English and therefore, it is not fluid. It's the same reason I have yet to read Jeannie Lin, despite the good buzz this author is getting. In the end though, I broke down because both Mariana and Christine absolutely adore this book. Also, I do love the cross-dressing trope :P
What I liked? Overall, I can see why Mariana and Christine loved this book so much and why it is a winner for so many on Goodreads. The world building and story are both very complex and interesting. For my part, I especially liked the secondary characters such as Lady Dela, Ryko, Prince Kygo and Rilla. How everyone gathered around Eon and supported her. Also, the writing style is good and made Eon very readable...
Also, Eona reminded me a bit of Katniss - the way both of them became the face of resistance without wanting to. I thought it was an interesting parallel, especially since Eona was playing a game as dangerous as Katniss in the end.
Unfortunately, that was pretty it for me ^_^;
Any issues? Sigh. As I said earlier in the review, I came in with some apprehension and most probably, it really influenced my reading of Eon: Dragoneye Rebon. I wished I'd been able to let go and enjoy the book as it should, but I couldn't.
First, I do think there was a lack of fluidity; however, it was subtle. I was probably over-sensitive to it, but I just can't help it. However, as I said, it was still very readable and I attribute this to Ms Goodman's talent. Also, for me, the whole palace setting, royalty and Chinese astrology was all very familiar to me. Felt some parts were very predictable.
I was also a bit disappointed with the lack of humor. I think one of the reasons I enjoy reading cross-dressing heroines so much it's because there are always some funny situations arising from it... but it definitively wasn't the case with Eon: Dragoneye Reborn. The tone is very solemn throughout the book. Also, while Eon/Eona was a very complex and interesting character, I didn't find her very likable and never really connected with her. I know her life is at stake and the circumstances are not all of her doing, but she was so focused on her, her fate... it bothered me. At this point, she has to realize that she's part of something bigger and have to act consequently. Also, because Eon/Eona had so many personal concerns and worries, it translated in many monologues and it made for a slow pacing.
This brings me to the storyline... I couldn't help but wonder how Eon and her master thought she could have spent 24 years disguised as a man?!? Even if people believed "he" was castrated, that didn't make sense for me. How complicated the logistic would be... and I felt both of them played a really dangerous game. Wouldn't it have been easier for her master to find a boy instead? Even if Eon/Eona had great potential. Also, at the end of the day, was Eona only chosen because she was female? Would any girl would have done or was Eona really chosen because she was female and had potential? Also, if I understood it correctly, the boys that are introduced as candidates have to be born in the same year of the dragon they are wooing. Therefore, they should have been 12 years old right? Then, how could Eona who is 16 years old, technically stand a chance? That was a puzzle for me as well. I felt there was a lot of holes in the concept... I know things had to be changed because Eona was a girl, but I don't understand how Eona and her master thought she stood a chance in that case.
Finally, I just didn't feel this book. I never got engrossed in it :( I know I have to shoulder part of the fault, but that's the reality at the end of the day.
My Grade? 2/5. I originally gave it a 3.5/5 in Goodreads, but after writing this review, I wasn't honest with myself. The truth is Eon: Dragoneye Reborn was simply not for me. I read this book with apprehension and I never felt once that I was wrong, that I should kick myself for letting my apprehension take over and make me read this book only now. Instead, reading Eon: Dragoneye Reborn only confirmed my apprehension was correct. At the end of the day, I just didn't feel it when it came to Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and unfortunately, I won't be reading the sequel....more
You know how with certain authors, you love everything they have written and with others, you only enjoy certain books, genre**spoiler alert** 3/5 (C)
You know how with certain authors, you love everything they have written and with others, you only enjoy certain books, genres or series? Well unfortunately, Mr. Riordan falls into the second category for me. I love Mr. Riordan's Percy Jackson series, but The Kane Chronicles has been a miss. Actually, I was going to skip on The Serpent's Shadow until I found out it was the last book of the trilogy. Since it was the conclusion, I figured why not? Too bad it didn't really change my opinion of the series.
Basically, The Serpent's Shadow follows Mr. Riordan's recipe for the trilogy. If you have enjoyed the previous two books, The Red Pyramid and Throne of Fire, chances are you are going to enjoy this one too and find it is a satisfying end to the series. If you had issues - like me - well, you most probably will find the same in here. So what were my issues? First, I dislike how short the time frame of the book is. Carter and Sadie always have a couple of days only to save the world and it just feels too rushed. I also dislike how for most of the book, Carter and Sadie are apart, leading their own quest. It just increases the rush feeling and as a result, too much is happening. I also find the storylines to be too predictable - both when it comes to action and the "romance." Finally, I feel it lacks a bit of setting up. That is surprising because Mr. Riordan did such a great job in the Percy Jackson series... but in the Kane Chronicles? The world building just seems shaky to me and it doesn't go down as smoothly as the Percy Jackson series. In any case, there is never enough time for Mr. Riordan to develop the setting since Carter and Sadie are always on the run.
However, I think the biggest flaw of this trilogy though is how similar the concept is to the Percy Jackson series: substitute Greek/Roman mythology for Egyption mythology and voila. Unfortunately, in comparison, I feel that Sadie and Carter don't stand out. I really feel like Mr. Riordan tried to replicate his success, the whole thing feels forced. It probably would have worked better if Mr. Riordan had retire Percy ^_^; In this case, you have two series by the same author which are essentially the same.
Still, there are some positive aspects to the book. Mr. Riordan's writing style is as enjoyable here as it is in the Percy Jackson series. As always, Mr. Riordan has done a great job at researching the mythology and bending it to his purposes :) I also like the alternating POVs we get from Carter and Sadie... And I have to admit, the possibility of a cross-over between the two series is very intriguing and promising :)...more
Going into Take a Bow, I have to admit I wasn't too sure what to expect, because the blurb is a bit vague. Also, while I e**spoiler alert** 4.5/5 (A-)
Going into Take a Bow, I have to admit I wasn't too sure what to expect, because the blurb is a bit vague. Also, while I enjoyed Ms Eulberg's previous books, I had some apprehension due to the blurb because I'm not a fan of high school drama and it seems inevitable in the story... And indeed, there was some echoes of high school drama, but it definitively wasn't the focus of Take a Bow. I felt the book was more about friendships, their dreams and their journey :)
So I really, really enjoyed and loved Take a Bow :) However, to be frank, I'm having finding the right words for this review - this is my third attempt ^_^; It's hard to put it into words because as soon as I started reading Take a Bow, it just felt right and I was sucked in the story. I really liked how the book opens with the four characters awaiting for their audition to CPA. We get a brief introduction to each character, but also a feel of their personalities and their aspirations. More importantly though, it immediately sets the tone of the book and introduces the readers to the reality of their world. Then, fast-forward four years and Carter, Sophie, Ethan and Emme are about to start their senior year... and that's when the story really starts :)
Now, when I think of Take a Bow, three elements come to mind: the characters, the friendships and the setting. To me, it's the combination of the three that made Take a Bow such a winner :) I'll start with the easiest for me: the setting. I really liked that CPA was not a regular high school, because for me, it added another layer of complexity, set Take a Bow apart from most contemporary YA books and made it more interesting. Why? Because most students attending CPA are passionate about their arts, know what they want in their future and are already on the path of achieving it. Singing, writing music, dancing... these are not hobbies for them, it's their livelihoods. And I find admirable that they commit to it at such a young age. And it definitively was a commitment. Otherwise, why audition each semester simply to remain at CPA and then, audition for roles or spots in productions and showcases and actually perform? The auditions and the competition also contributed to make the characters tougher and more mature... It felt like a totally different world to me while still remaining a contemporary book and feeling real. So the setting was definitively key for me here :)
When it comes to the characters, I have to command Ms Eulberg for coming up with interesting, layered characters, but also for her writing since Take a Bow is told from four different POVs and each had a very distinct voice. Also, it was great to be privy to all four's thoughts and emotions and it definitively made the book stronger. Another kudo to Ms Eulberg for the intricate ways all four storylines connected and intersected each other :) Sometimes, when you read a book with multiple POVs, it feels a bit clunky, the change of POVs too abrupt... But in the case of Take a Bow, it flowed really well and it did feel like I was reading one book and not four stories. Oups, got a little carried away LOL. Back to the characters. I absolutely loved Carter, Emme and Ethan, they were great, real and so lovable!! I liked how Carter was so down-to-earth when it came to his fame, his acting career and his talent. He was just a nice guy, trying to figure out who was the real Carter Harrison and in no way was he spoiled or arrogant. I think it speaks very loudly of Carter's personality and the way he was raised. What I liked the most though was Carter's journey throughout the book, the growth and the maturity he gained. I liked that he realized that nobody was pushing him to be an actor, that all these years, he's misread his mother's behavior and action. She wasn't pushing him to be a superstar; she wanted him to be happy. I thought for him to walk away from acting to pursue his passion was both brave and wise. Emme, I loved Emme!! At first, she appeared to be shy and not confident, but the inner strength this girl has! I also loved her loyalty to her friends, even if someone might not have deserved it... and that part of Emme really made me connect with her. I've been in Emme's shoes where I knew I was being manipulated and used... But at the same time, it's hard to give up such a friendship that was so dear to you. Even then, Emme never stooped to the level of being mean or wanting revenge... And I loved seeing Emme coming out of her shell and gaining confidence. As for Ethan, I have to admit that I had some doubts at first. The guy definitively made some mistakes... But once you see the way he stood by Emme, always being there for her, loving her... He definitively redeemed himself. You can't help but loving him and root for him! And I believe that with Emme, he won't repeat the same mistakes. He has someone to ground him... Finally, there's Sophie. She was made to be the villain of the book and therefore is not very likable... and yes, in some ways, her character is a bit stereotypical. However, it doesn't make her character less real. What I liked is that Ms Eulberg didn't backtrack at the end, redeeming her character. Sophie is the way she is and does not change. I'm sure she did consider Emme as her best friend when she was younger, but truth is, the most important person to Sophie is herself. Even when she was dating Carter, she was already imagining their breakup - just before her launching her first release ^_^; Everything she did was to achieve superstardom and that's what mattered to her. In a way, you have to admire her determination and her will... even though she's going about it the wrong way.
Finally, the friendships. I loved, loved the many friendships in Take a Bow. The chemistry and bond between the members of Teenage Kicks is the friendship that stands out the most for me. How Ethan, Emme, Jack and Ben (by the way, Jack and Ben were great, great secondary characters!!) formed an unit and had each other's backs. The support the boys gave Emme, how everyone was happy for each other when accepted in the college of their choices, etc. Carter envied Emme for the band friendship and I did too :P I also enjoyed the budding friendship between Emme and Carter; how good a listener Emme was and her encouragements to Carter. Also, how Carter was there for Emme. Even the brittle friendship between Sophie and Emme... In this case, it felt like the two girls just grew apart and this happens so often in high school. Sometimes, you have to let go even if it's hard... I have a feeling Ms Eulberg wanted to write about friendships at different states and how they affect one's life and she did a great job. I also very much loved the romance between Emme and Ethan and I liked how Ms Eulberg focused on theirs, that she didn't feel obligated to give everyone a love story. Emme and Ethan had such a chemistry, they knew each other so well. Seriously, they were a great match and it was very heart-warming to see them finally get together :P Friends to lovers theme lovers, you're going to like this one :)
Take a Bow was almost the perfect contemporary YA for me... but it wasn't because of two things. The first is I wished we've seen a bit more of Emme's feelings towards Ethan throughout the book. I loved how it ended, the way they get together... Emme's declaration that she's had feelings for Ethan for a long time... and how she didn't need to figure them out while Ethan had a girlfriend, etc. was really perfect. However, throughout Take a Bow, we read about Ethan's feelings for Emme and understood where it came from. But I don't feel the same way for Emme. What she said definitively made sense and I know it was genuine. Perhaps she didn't want to acknowledge her feelings and therefore that's why we didn't get more... but I thought it came a little bit out of the blue ^_^; My second is wishful thinking on my part: I wanted Take a Bow to be longer. I loved everything about it, but I can't help but think that if it was longer, the book would be more completed and perhaps, we'd get more development for Emme's feelings for Ethan :P Seriously though, I think Ms Eulberg should consider writing slightly longer book :)
I really enjoyed Take a Bow and am recommending it to everyone :) It officially became one of my all-time favorite YA novels and have propelled Ms Eulberg onto my auto-buy author list :P I hope everyone who gives it a go enjoys it as much as I did :)...more
Why this book? I really enjoyed Ms Patrick's debut novel Forgotten (although I have yet to review it ^_^;;). I like her blend**spoiler alert** 3/5 (C)
Why this book? I really enjoyed Ms Patrick's debut novel Forgotten (although I have yet to review it ^_^;;). I like her blend of contemporary/sci-fi YA and that's why I picked up Revived :)
What I liked? In Revived, I still enjoyed Ms Patrick's writing very much. Her style is very enjoyable and easy to read, she has a nice voice and I think she blends contemporary and sci-fi very well :) And because there is some sci-fi element in her books, the story is kept away from the high school drama which seems to have become a requirement for my contemporary YA books LOL.
What I liked best in Revived was the contrast between Daisy who have died 5 times without real consequences and therefore, doesn't see death as threatening, and Audrey who will die. It made Daisy really think about the finality of death and I think she will see it differently.
Aside from that, I liked the characters in this book: Daisy, Audrey, Matt and Daisy's father figure, Mason. I also liked her friendship with another candidate, Megan. I liked the "normalcy" of Daisy's life despite being part of such a project. I also enjoyed Daisy's friendship with Audrey and the romance with Matt was sweet. And the ending worked for me :)
Any issues? I enjoyed the contemporary part of Revived, but I didn't think it was enough to make this book really stands out. Technically, that fell onto the sci-fi part of the book, but it wasn't developed enough to meet the expectations. The concept was actually quite interesting and had a lot of potential, but Ms Patrick failed to exploit it. First of all, it should have been more integrated to the story in my opinion. As it is, I felt the contemporary and sci-fi aspects of the book were very separate. In fact, it felt like Daisy had two separate lives: one involving everything about Revive and the other with Audrey and Matt. I think this stemmed from the fact Daisy knew so much about the project, that she was involved. The way Mason raised her, he was very honest and didn't withhold information. As such, Daisy even had access to the project files! In a sense, that's pretty cool for Daisy. However, I think if Revive and the whole project had been more mysterious, it would have worked better for the readers.
Also, everything seemed to be so easy in this book. The way Daisy opened up to Matt and revealed the secrets about Revive. I know she fell in love with him and I know that Matt is trustworthy, but to see her open up so easily... It was just weird. You'd imagine such a project would be more secretive. Also, how she discovered about the new case and uncovered the truth. All she really did was connect the dots, but those dots were in neon colors. This should have been the thrilling, the exciting part of the book, but it failed because it was so straightforward.
The last thing that bothered me about Revived was the villain's pseudo-obsession with Daisy. Why was she a target? Was it because she died so many times and therefore attracted attention? Was it really because she was an orphan? That part still puzzles me.
My Grade? 3/5. I did enjoy Revived, especially the contemporary part of the book. However, truth be told, Revived wasn't as good as Forgotten and it is mainly due to the sci-fi aspect feeling incomplete :( It's unfortunate because I had high expectations for Revived and really wanted to love this book. Still, I'll be picking up Ms Patrick's next book because I did enjoy her writing and I hope she'll continue this style of YA :)...more