A tragic story about a brother who thinks his life is over, a girl who cannot seem to shut up or mind her own business, and a really old mule that kee...moreA tragic story about a brother who thinks his life is over, a girl who cannot seem to shut up or mind her own business, and a really old mule that keeps getting lost.For anyone who has suffered a loss, this is a great (extreme) example of surviving and welcoming new beginnings.
Beautiful artwork, hilarious attitude, and also very chilling.
Points of issue: Unclear time period, or whether this is an alternate world. No obvious differences except the isolation/Western feel.(less)
Other than: OMGlob, life is so sad, imperfect, and really goddamn dumb. Despite all the heart pains this sequel induces, the story and...moreWhat can I say?
Other than: OMGlob, life is so sad, imperfect, and really goddamn dumb. Despite all the heart pains this sequel induces, the story and characters are worth every freaking stab. Keep an eye out for Hana. She's a firecracker, and possible source of ass-kickery.
Sentence: I sentence Rachel Hartman to have the ability to solve many sexy equations and...moreKeywords: Dragons, half-breeds, love, philosophers.
Sentence: I sentence Rachel Hartman to have the ability to solve many sexy equations and also a crime-free life in Vancouver. That shit be scary.
Review: I'll try to make this review pretty short, since I had barely a complaint. Actually, if I had a complaint I cannot recall it anymore because I am baffled by Hartman. I should say this is an extremely rare occurrence. I never give out five stars.
This novel started at a relatively slow pace, but with good reason. The characters and world building painted an entirely different world from what I've read before and did an extremely good job at it. I had complex questions about the history of some character or saint or weapon or even family with no doubts to there actually being a story. It's like the world has existed for so long and this story is just a minor occurrence in the history of it. A minor story I rather enjoyed, but only minor in the sense of looking at the broader picture of everything.
This is one of those rare reads where you find the two main love interests arguing about philosophers to be some sort of sexy, chemistry-filled conversation. I was practically salivating for more about Archiboros and his pompous ass. Maybe even more about Pontheus, the jurisprudence philosopher; later said to be either genius or mad.
But seriously, how is this turning me on? It must be all that intelligent talk and whatnot.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Seraphina storming about and trying to be pricklier than she is. She's brave, but shy and intrepid. She contradicts herself by loving others, despite their grotesqueness, and having trouble loving her own self.
The characters throughout this entire novel are so well built that it's only too easy to find their imperfections rather than the things that make them flat. Even the "soulless" saarantras and quigutl had me amused, laughing, and possibly crying a little. Even the Ardmagar Cormonot was confusing with his Cybermen-like reactions to emotion.
Okay, but srsly, this spoke to my heart (don't laugh): "do not underestimate the seductive power of math."
Basically, I have nothing else to say except GIMME MORE. And also:
Yeah, come at me dragons. I'm looking pretty sexy now, aren't I?(less)
This book began fairly slow and was initially hard to get into. The style was easy to read and the pictures and book itself are gorgeous.
This is the t...moreThis book began fairly slow and was initially hard to get into. The style was easy to read and the pictures and book itself are gorgeous.
This is the type of book that would interest people who like stories like Dante's Peak and thrillers of pretty much any nature. It's also definitely a light summer read (my definition of light), especially with all the drama and history of the small community's problems.(less)
Sentence: I sentence Jay Kristoff to a stormdance-off. I suspect he will win.
Initial reaction: I was reminded of Atlantis, Eon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, How to Train Your Dragon, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Gladiator, and The Hunger Games, over the course of this entire book (in varying degrees). But only in the best ways, which I'll elaborate later.
Let me start off by saying that this book is not perfect, nor do I demand everyone read it. I really enjoyed this book and you, whoever you may be, will likely read much about this book after it has been released. That does not mean you will like it. I really enjoy steampunk, but I don't think all steampunk was really meant for me. Most YA steampunk actually sucks or isn't what I'd consider steampunk (yes, my nose is all up in the air rejecting YA, even though I love it too) and it certainly is not meant for everyone to enjoy.
Stormdancer is just the right amount of dark steampunk that I can get and nod at without argument. But Stormdancer is also many other things that I can easily get sick of; I do not normally read; and I watch and read too much of already so it's overkill. That's why I was impressed by how much I could stand some of the themes and aspects I had seen time and time again.
Kristoff takes things that are sorely overdone and then kicks them altogether into some sort of crazy-ass contraption of symbiosis. All the elements feed off each other and they make beautiful, stormy music; the conductor being Kristoff.
I will admit that the beginning was pretty slow until about eight or so chapters in. It's the first book in a trilogy so I always allow this sort of lag for world-building and character development. But that does not mean the plot had not already rooted itself into the reader's mind.
I think what killed it for me was the complexity of Yukiko's relationship with the green-eyed samurai. On the one hand, he is fucking gorgeous and he likes her. On the other, he is (view spoiler)[an awful, back-stabbing asshole (but there is probably more to it than that). (hide spoiler)] Sure, there's that almost love triangle that is so typical of YA these days, but there's also (view spoiler)[sex (hide spoiler)]. So fuck all y'all. Finally, something as realistic and impulsive as teens really can be. And don't you dare try to deny that. I'm not trying to generalize, I am just saying...okay, fuck it. I am generalizing. I used to be an impulsive teen, so I think I still (sort of) know.
Also, that last fight was pretty damn awesome.
Anyway, I do not want to really spoil this book as it is more enjoyable reading all of it play out. This would probably make a pretty decent anime movie or show, by the way. Just sayin'. There was Howl's Moving Castle, yes, but there is also this (nudge, nudge Miyazaki).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Sentence: I sentence Leigh Bardugo to making me look half as pretty as Genya. I guarantee it'll take hours. Get to work!
Review: Take a fraction of the complex politics of A Song of Ice and Fire with a folk-ish and historical feel of Eastern Europe, as well as the influence of Asian culture and you have Shadow and Bone.
I was impressed by Bardugo's mastery of making you believe in all these other cultures and languages, let alone monsters and beings of power. For damnation's sake, I wanted to see the frakking clothes they were wearing, so I could better understand keftas and whether these Grisha were actually wearing what appeared to be Japanese boys' school uniforms with coloured capes (I think my mind twisted the descriptions a little).
I guess maybe that's why I can't take anyone seriously, but sort of can. It doesn't help that the main duo are being chanted in my head as "Al and Mal. Al and Mal. Al and Mal."
Anyway, there were similarities to other fantasy and YA fiction, but not to an extent that I disliked it. Alina's relationship with the Darkling seems kind of like a submissive-dominance thing; appearing to give them both a thrill, which I guess will appeal to the Fifty Shades crowd. Oh yes, ladies, there is even a (view spoiler)[collar (hide spoiler)] involved. But that is the extent of the similarities to that fodder.
I think my only issue with it was how Alina failed to see that someone with the title DARKLING could be evil. Let's get real for a second... Actually, I really thought him harmless for like two pages when I misread "Darkling" as "Darkwing" and forever the handsome 120 year old now looks like this in my head:
I seriously need to know whether keftas can include capes. You can whip them about snobbily.
I think I need to take a break from any young adult fantasy. I'll dunk my head in some overrated, hedonistic teen romance. That'll give me some perspective, I'm sure.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is a science-fiction or steampunk novel following the story of Anderson Lake, a "Calorie Man." The planet is in a...moreThe Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is a science-fiction or steampunk novel following the story of Anderson Lake, a "Calorie Man." The planet is in a state of disarray, where food we take for granted today, have gone extinct. This is a result of genetically engineered diseases, which mutate faster than vaccinations are created, infecting crops (and people). The value of calories are equivalent to currency and corporations have a hand in mostly genetics (reminds me of Repo! The Genetic Opera), especially to manipulate them into a food capable of resisting diseases. Lake is a genetic engineer who works for one of these Midwestern calorie companies, and his research has landed him in Thailand, which seems even more chaotic than the rest of the planet due to the staggering caste system and dissatisfaction with society.
The windups are a lower-level caste group, because they are genetically engineered with superior traits to humans (hearing, eyesight, beauty, etc.)—basically treated like trash. Lake is intrigued by Emiko, a windup from Japan who is rather resistant to authority and smart-mouthed, despite her precarious situation (sex slave). And their adventure takes off from there.
This story is great because it manages to take different points of view and shape the story with ease. The build up is intense and full of action, easily keeping the reader at the edge of their seat. The story itself seems incredible and yet so familiar and possible, especially with a near wipe-out of an entire species of banana (see Panama disease and Gros Michel). The idea of a planet torn by science is also not a new idea, but definitely one people like to read and talk about. It's also a very easy world to picture, especially because of the effortless way Bacigalupi sets the scene.
Unfortunately, while this story is fascinating, it is also lacking. There was a lot of build up and potential, but things were never properly fleshed out, such as the fate of the New People, and a proper idea of the Green Headbands (he mentions really enticing tidbits and then cuts himself off). And honestly, the story doesn't quite pick up steam until almost halfway through, and even then the ending is a little deflated (unless this will have a sequel).
The Windup Girl is on its way to predicting the future of agricultural profit and genetic manipulation/biotech today (see Monsanto monocultures and patent rights).(less)