Wow! One of the bests YA books I've read in a long, long time. I'm a sucker for high fantasy to begin with, but when it's done right, I swoon. Rarely...moreWow! One of the bests YA books I've read in a long, long time. I'm a sucker for high fantasy to begin with, but when it's done right, I swoon. Rarely do I give a book five stars (I would really have given 4.5 if it had been possible) but I really think this book deserved it.
Shadow and Bone is a high fantasy novel (as I said) complete with mystical creatures, powers, and a light fairytale feel. The book follows Alina, a orphan raised by a wealthy duke, who has a secret gift even unbeknownst to her. Upon discovering her gift she is challenged with learning to wield it and navigate its impact on her once-simple life.
What really got me was the plot's unparalleled originality and believability. Everyone and their sister is trying to "redo" or "recreate" the YA fairytale novel and not surprisingly, it is very difficult to do well. Sure, there were moments here and there that I caught myself amid an eye roll at the very few and seldom cheesy moments. It's a fairytale for crying out loud, you're not going to buy into everything. However, Bardugo comes very close to convincing me that Little Palace might have been real place at point in time or is maybe even alive and bustling in a parallel universe somewhere. (Let me have my dreams.)
One teeny, tiny complaint. I didn't much care for the Darkling's character. (view spoiler)[Though he did have me fooled just like everyone else, lemme tell ya. That was a good plot twist. I just found his thirst for evil, sinister thing a bit cliche. Can we just have a villain who wants what he wants without all the "muahaha"? I would have liked if he'd just stuck to his agenda and not bunny-trailed to being extra evil for the sake of it. But maybe that's just me.
If you like books like Seraphina, Graceling, and overall being entranced by fun, mystical worlds, this book is a must-read. So impressed with it and excited to read the second in the series. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I was unexpectedly impressed by this book. (Would have giving 3.5) As an avid YA reader, I was initially annoyed by many cliche plot elements such as...moreI was unexpectedly impressed by this book. (Would have giving 3.5) As an avid YA reader, I was initially annoyed by many cliche plot elements such as the disconnected single parent, the siblings that don't understand their differences, and sadly even the nature of the serial killer was a bit cliche. I mean seriously, you must know that using a sinister line like "Won't you come out and play?" is overwhelmingly overdone. However, that being said, I did enjoy this book. It felt like a very long prologue to the actual series; things moved very slow and as I was sincerely interested in the serial killer, but I also know that main characters rarely die so I wasn't very worried about Rory's welfare. I was more interested in the oddities in Juniper Landing and what was going on behind the scenes.
I was very surprised by the ending. Not that I'm impossible to stump, but I've read a lot of YA books and am seldom caught off guard. Kudos to Kate Brian for not leaving too-obvious cookie crumbs throughout the plot that ultimately give everything away and make the reader feel like a dummy. She did a great job of keeping the ending a surprise. Since the second book just came out a few weeks ago, I plan to pick it up soon and see how this whole thing plays out.(less)
I found this novel pretty entertaining at parts. Recently I've been in the mood for historical romance, and when I came across this in my local librar...moreI found this novel pretty entertaining at parts. Recently I've been in the mood for historical romance, and when I came across this in my local library's ebook collection I thought, why not? It took me about a week to read as I had a lot of other things going on, but the book moved slowly enough that I was able to put it down without any gotta-see-what-happens anxiety.
I was a bit put-off at the beginning of the book because of how cliche it began. Nineteenth century female with passion stubbornly refuses to marry against the wishes of her family. Of course I knew that meant the book would end with her, in fact, marrying.
I did like the main characters Emily and Marcus. I thought they each had very distinct personalities that fit together nicely. As is expected in romance novels they take to each other quite quickly and without much substantial reason. As for Emily and Marcus' aunts, they were not very well-rounded characters at all. I had to keep reminding myself which aunt was which because essentially they read like the same person: frolickey, frivolous, and intrusive. I did think they added a lot of fun to the story, though.
There were a couple aspects to the story I didn't think were necessary. (view spoiler)[The first scene where we "overhear" Eva and Willard discussing the poison, I don't think the word "poison" really needs to be used. As a reader, I already knew well before that that something fishy was going on, I don't need the author to insult my intelligence by "making sure I get it." I highly doubt if two people were going to poison someone that they would openly use the word "poison" in a busy household. That's just careless and unrealistic. I also thought Eva dying during the climax scene was ABSOLUTELY ridiculous. It just made the story less credible. What kind of serious head injury did she inflict on herself that she was both consistently conscious and dead within minutes? Am I the only person that noticed how unaffected everyone was? The doctor just went over and calmly shook his head when he couldn't find a pulse? Seriously? This scene really bugged me. It's like Violette wanted the scene to be a little more climactic so she thought - lets kill someone!(hide spoiler)]
I didn't mind the writing. I found it easy to read and it flowed well. I read an ebook copy though, and I was rather annoyed at the vast amount of typos I had to stumble over throughout the book. I also got annoyed with overuse of the metaphor, "left on the shelf."
I didn't think the book ended as well as it could have. We spend the entire book hearing about Emily and Marcus' disagreements on marriage, but there is no resolution. (view spoiler)[Obviously at the end they just up and decide to marry. Emily spends so much time worrying that Marcus won't approve of her goals and aspirations, but then at the end of the book the topic is brought up casually like it was nothing. (hide spoiler)]
In the end, it was certainly entertaining and did provide some literary enjoyment over the last week. I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it, but if you're thinking about reading it I say - go ahead.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
In this memoir Phil Bryan takes you through his many misadventures in ministry beginning in the 80s (I was not around yet) and ending with his present...moreIn this memoir Phil Bryan takes you through his many misadventures in ministry beginning in the 80s (I was not around yet) and ending with his present day situation. As a P.K (pastor's kid) myself, I got a little extra enjoyment out of reading Exile in Jesusville than - I assume - most readers. Growing up in the church and then later being shuffled around from church to church to church by my own parents, who I can only guess were seeking the same thing as Phil - a perfect place, I was so entertained by the all-too-familiar church politics and "business" of ministry. Since I grew up in this environment as well, the Christian lingo Phil sprinkles throughout the book had me giggling and then subsequently frowning when it occurred to me that those who were fortunate enough to have grown up without gleaning the sugar-coated language used in most church environments had to have these phrases explained to them.
Though I disagree with some aspects of the book - namely some of the language, both sexist and vulgar, (I am sensitive, what can I say?) for the most part I heard many of my own thoughts reflected on the page. I can remember being frustrated with the business of church since I was a kid and as my frustration has accumulated on and off throughout the years, it was incredibly refreshing to hear someone voice these things aloud. Similarly, when Phil talks about "saving face" in Asian culture, I feel this often happens in the church world. As I read many of his thoughts and judgements on the churches corruption and thirst for "butts in the seats" I couldn't help but think - is he allowed to say this? I feel we are often afraid to judge or call the church out because we (like Phil) put our faith in the organization rather than Christ.
I read this entire book in one day, it was that captivating for me. Like Phil, I believe in value and necessity of the church body. But I detest when the church becomes the staple of faith and God the trusty sidekick. What an entertaining, eye-opening read!(less)
In comparison to the first book, this one is awful. It lacks, well, everything. There is really no plot going on. When the book first picked up where...moreIn comparison to the first book, this one is awful. It lacks, well, everything. There is really no plot going on. When the book first picked up where Wither left off as Rhine and Gabriel escape, I was excited. Awesome, we get to see how they get out and where they end up! We get to see Rhine's joyful reunion with her brother and maybe they'll go back to the manor and break everybody out! But no, the book is just one awful circumstance after another. I get the whole humanity-is-suffering, there's-no-hope-for-us thing that's going on, but couldn't there be at least one happy moment?
It's not like I picked up this book hoping for sunshine and glitter, that's not what I was expecting. But I was expecting to want to root for the characters. After a while, Rhine made more stupid decisions than I was willing to put up with. So I stopped caring about what happened to her. At the end (I won't say what happens) I was angry! I wanted to slap her and ask, why are you giving in so easily??
So, to say I am disappointed is an understatement. I really thought I'd stumbled onto something great after finishing Wither but it looks like this won't be a series worth remembering.(less)