Decent, if not groundbreaking. Occasionally stilted and weighed down with expositionary dialogue, but nonetheless an engaging read and look at the lif...moreDecent, if not groundbreaking. Occasionally stilted and weighed down with expositionary dialogue, but nonetheless an engaging read and look at the life of one of France's most infamous Queens. Though Madame Serpent was definitely not the best Jean Plaidy novel I have ever read, I can say I enjoyed it - for the most part - and that it was worth the $10 for the ebook.(less)
This was not Jennifer Crusie's best effort. It seemed weak throughout, lacking a compelling plot or a truly sympathetic main character. Kate is prickl...moreThis was not Jennifer Crusie's best effort. It seemed weak throughout, lacking a compelling plot or a truly sympathetic main character. Kate is prickly enough to venture into diva territory, and I find the idea of a woman hunting for a boyfriend/husband pretty repellant. The men seemed to embody at least one standard cliche of males and bachelors in general, and no one seemed to have chemistry, much less even like each other very much. It's a pretty mindless, predictable tale with not nearly enough of Cruise's usual amount of humor and wit. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)
Very simplistic and extremely predictable. The author is self-published and it shows, I'm afraid rather badly. The editing needs a lot of work. The wr...moreVery simplistic and extremely predictable. The author is self-published and it shows, I'm afraid rather badly. The editing needs a lot of work. The writing needs polish, and a clear voice. It's a rather Mary Sue book, though not as bad as other, more successful ones. The two sequels I am not going to bother reviewing because they are much the same, suffering the same deficiencies and were read merely so I could complete the trilogy.
There is originality (trolls!) and humor in the story, if uneven and perhaps unintentional (I was usually laughing at the book, not with it.) I was genuinely surprised by a turn the plot takes late in the novel and thought it might show a bit of promise for a much better writer in the future. Switched reads quickly and simply, but sadly this book makes little lasting impression; it's a generic YA fantasy in the brand of Twilight et al., with an unlikeable and dull Mary Sue protagonist in a strange magical world of which she is the unwitting center. (less)
Still a five-star read the second time through, though I wasn't as blinded to the faults of the novel. Love it, hate it, ignore it or not, The Hunger...moreStill a five-star read the second time through, though I wasn't as blinded to the faults of the novel. Love it, hate it, ignore it or not, The Hunger Games is a juggernaut in the publishing/movie world and will continue to be for at least the next 3 years. Katniss may not be my favorite YA heroine, but she is up there among the best. (less)
While not perfect, Catching Fire is just as enjoyable and engrossing as The Hunger Games. No, it is not without flaws. What it is, though, is a book t...moreWhile not perfect, Catching Fire is just as enjoyable and engrossing as The Hunger Games. No, it is not without flaws. What it is, though, is a book that is captivating, horrifying and one you can't put down or stop thinking about, until you've finished.
There are problems in the novel, most of them stemming from the fact that Collins did not initially plan to write any sequels to The Hunger Games, so the beginning of the book foundered a bit and searched for connecting plotlines and overall themes to extend to all three novels.
I will start Mockingjay momentarily, because I actually care about her characters. They're more than cliches, and they are interesting people. For instance, who knew Haymitch had it in him? I absolutely have to know what happens to everyone in the books that's lasted so far.
Overall, a great book, and definitely one of the best I will read this year. (less)
A satisfying conclusion to the outstanding series. None of the problems I had with Catching Fire are present in Mockingjay. The end was more than sati...moreA satisfying conclusion to the outstanding series. None of the problems I had with Catching Fire are present in Mockingjay. The end was more than satisfactory, it was moving and appropriate. It is hard to end a well-loved series in a way that all fans will be happy (J.K. Rowling did an amazing job on her final novel, whereas Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn was painful to read), but I think Collins' Hunger Game series ended on a very very high note. I am sad to leave this world, this character behind. Collins created a world that people connected to, loved, hated and ultimately couldn't get enough of. I hope she continues to write in the same vein as this series (dystopian/sci-fi), so I will have something quality to read in the future. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)
A veeery short look into a multi-layered subtle game going on in the Angels/Otherworld that Eve Levine inhabits and polices. Short, sweet and with jus...moreA veeery short look into a multi-layered subtle game going on in the Angels/Otherworld that Eve Levine inhabits and polices. Short, sweet and with just enough action to keep the pages flipping, this novella keeps in tune with the fun and wit of the rest of the Otherworld series. A snack worth munching on between larger meals. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)
This was a good book. It wasn't great, though it had potential to be and hopefully so do the sequels; it was fresh, vibrant and unexpectedly lively. T...moreThis was a good book. It wasn't great, though it had potential to be and hopefully so do the sequels; it was fresh, vibrant and unexpectedly lively. The pacing is fluid and unhurried and filled with enough tension to make the pages fly. The climax is not the most exciting or gripping, honestly, but it is interesting and with enough surprises to keep your attention. The main character was well-written, and I truly liked that she didn't immediately become dependent on either boy to define her character or her desires. Yes, she leaned on one for help and support but she did so without losing her identity for his. She's feisty without being a parody of feminism, she's clever and enjoyable to read. However, there was a particular part of the novel, near the end, when Aislinn's nonreaction to a rather important plot point left me disjointed. Literally, it made no sense for her not to have any sort of LARGE reaction to the revelation. It completely pulled me out of the narrative right at a pivotal moment and I never sank back in as completely. Aside from Aislinn, Donia was another favorite of mine. Beira largely seemed a cat without claws for ninety percent of the events of the book. She was intimidating, vocally sadistic and cruel, and bitchy, yes, but we never actually see her do anything (to the Summer Court.. she takes out her own with no compunction) but hiss and threaten. Most of the characters are detailed and real (Keenan, Seth, Donia, Beira) but a few were token characters that didn't add anything essential but emotional baggage for Aislinn (Grams, friends/teachers at high school) to worry over/possibly leave behind. The virtues more than make up for the flaws in the book. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable, quick read.(less)
A terrific beginning to a sure-to-be entertaining series. Sullivan starts off very well in his first published novel with the first of the Riyria Reve...moreA terrific beginning to a sure-to-be entertaining series. Sullivan starts off very well in his first published novel with the first of the Riyria Revelations. A gang of likable rogues, most notably led by Royce Melborn and his buddy-cop-esque comrade Hadrian Blackwater (bonus points for using the name Hadrian!), they are successful, entrepreneurial thieves. Both are dangerous, sarcastic and interesting characters. Royce is the more malevolent, withdrawn character of the two and has a rather mysterious, mostly unexplained dark past. Hadrian supplies most of the light banter throughout the book and a lot of the humor as well. Alric is the unwitting, untried Crown Prince of Melengar that gets caught up in the tangled web around the two thieves. Over the course of the events in the book, Alric matures a great deal and his character went from a selfish childish boy to an honorable man. In terms of female characters, the options seem to be rather limited: Gwen, the clever and kind prostitute with a heart of gold, and Arista, the Princess of Melengar, a determined intelligent young woman. Gwen makes scant appearances in the novel but it is made clear she's much more than her profession. Arista is more in the spotlight, being of the royal family and acting regent of her kingdom. She's capable, smart and daring enough to be the only one to search out the dangerous, inscrutable Esrahaddon. It's a fairly light fantasy series, as opposed to the darker, grittier (I'm really tired of that word as applied to fantasy books) trend. It's very fluid and easy to read. The pacing is excellent; the exploits and adventures move the plot forward marvelously and without adding unnecessary action. The focus is clearly on the characters, the betrayals, alliances, secret meetings, rather than on world-building or giant armies marching into calamitous battle. A very nice beginning to a fresh and vivid new series from a very promising author. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)
Avempartha is the second in a series of standalone novels called the Riyria Revelations, and picks up two years after the infamous escapades of Royce...moreAvempartha is the second in a series of standalone novels called the Riyria Revelations, and picks up two years after the infamous escapades of Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater in Essendon castle. The first book was primarily about a simple sword heist that was not-so-simple at all and all the fall out from said sword-theft/assassination. The second book centers more on the machinations of the Church and whatever measures it deems it has to take to find the Heir and crown him as Emperor once more. Avempartha is a fine sequel to The Crown Conspiracy, building on the knowledge of the world we have from the previous book to create an intricate, delicate and creative world. More backstory on the history of the world, the Empire, the Nyphron Church, the elves and dwarfs are all expanded upon from the first book, creating a credible and believable basis for a world-wide tension among all the races. No longer in Alric's realm, we find our heroes in Colnora, a moderately sized city and the urban center of Avryn, where they are stunned to learn someone has been asking for them... by name. Investigating this anomaly, Royce and Hadrian find themselves enmeshed with a force even they cannot defeat alone. My personal favorites, the charming and funny Pickerings, make an appearance in the novel with two scions of the House, Mauvin and Fanen, joining our intrepid rogues in an unprecedented showdown. The Art, as magic is called in this universe, is expanded upon greatly. We learn more about what used to be possible, how Art functioned and was needed in the days of the Empire to its sad decline to the state it is in during the novels. Esrahaddon, as inscrutable as ever, appears as a harbinger of evil? good? One is never certain what his end game is, who he is using and most of all, what he knows. Esra is by far the most dynamic character in the series thus far, though Hadrian is another personal favorite of mine. Arista is a main character in this novel as Melengar's foreign diplomat and official Ambassador but her brother Alric does not appear. Arista continues to grow into a flawed, intelligent and above all, believable character. At times frustrating, at times determined and likable, Arista continues to grow and change as a character. Royce and Hadrian and clearly the heart of the series. Their interactions and dialogues are like old friends that can count on each other, and in the end that's one of the things that keeps me coming back to this series, the relationship between Riyria. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)
This is yet another riveting entry in the Riyria Revelations series. A year after defeating "Rufus' Bane" in Thrace's tiny village, Hadrian, having lo...moreThis is yet another riveting entry in the Riyria Revelations series. A year after defeating "Rufus' Bane" in Thrace's tiny village, Hadrian, having long been weary of his mercenary, wandering lifestyle with Royce, wants something with meaning to define his life other than thieving and spying, even if it's for the Crown. Royce wants to hang on to the life he's achieved with any means necessary- even deception from his closest and only friend. Drawn again into international conflict with Melengar's sneaky princess Arista, Royce and Hadrian have to accomplish this one last job before potentially splitting ways. Intricate and deftly woven, this is another amazing ride with Royce, Hadrian and Arista appearing, along with the renamed Thrace as Modina. I do have to say I had a "I KNEW it moment!!" right before the end of the book, only to have my jaw drop on the VERY LAST PAGE with sheer and utter surprise and freakoutery. A lot of theories I had planned out from this idea were dashed to pieces with a very few words. It was a masterfully, marvelously well done plot twist. These are books that can be read separately, but I do have to say some prior knowledge of recent events and people involved are somewhat necessary to understand the full gist of the power plays, manipulations and deceptions that take place across the board. These characters, especially Hadrian and the surly Royce, are beloved and cherished to me now. I'm very fond of them, and the plot twists and history behind each build a better picture of each. Hadrian, a man full of promise but no outlet and tied to an eccentric friend that really only trusts him alone. Royce emerges as a man with a heart at least, but just for a select few and the reasoning behind his demeanor. A very entertaining read from start to finish. I would highly recommend this series and I hope that the concluding three books are on the same standard as the first three. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)