Similar to the formula in the first book of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, the main character in the fourth of the series is a Godmother named Aleksia or...moreSimilar to the formula in the first book of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, the main character in the fourth of the series is a Godmother named Aleksia or the Ice Fairy/Snow Queen of Ever-Winter. Also like Elena, she was a failed Traditional story twice, hers being that of the Snow White/Rose Red and the murderously jealous sister that covets a twin's husband. I have enjoyed this series so far, and this latest effort was no exception. The characters were interesting and vivid, as well as fresh and engaging. The instant coupling up that the previous books had wasn't the same for Aleksia, which I though was an improvement. She developed as her own character, rather than an part of a dependent pair. There were no major problems with this book for me. The pacing felt a bit off in the beginning fifty pages or so, and the editing could surely use some work. However, both of those are minor complaints in the larger view of a detailed, fun, fast read. Her male protagonists have vastly improved in characterization, personality, depth and charm since the first book, as well. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)
Charming from the fist page, the latest installment of The Five Hundred Kingdoms is retelling/reinvention of several different influences. There is a...moreCharming from the fist page, the latest installment of The Five Hundred Kingdoms is retelling/reinvention of several different influences. There is a bit of The Little Mermaid, and elements of Russian folktales and a bit of Greek legend (Sirens/Siren blood). I enjoyed this one just as much as One Good Knight and considerably more than The Fairy Godmother. The Tradition has less impact upon the lives of Katya and her family than the previous novels because they are part of the Sea King's underwater Kingdom, but it is still a strong force within the series. Like previous novels, Katya is paired up with a love interest almost instantly, but unlike the first three, she is then separated from him and he must find her and free her on his own. Ekaterina, or Katya is the most genuinely likeable, if not relatable, female protagonists this far in the series. Likewise for Sasha, as he is just as likeable as Peri and Adam, and much more so than Alexander. My only real complaint is that I do wish that the names for places had been a little more thought-out or just even more original. "Dry Lands", "Nippon", and "Belarus" felt like an easy/unoriginal way out for Lackey to name important parts of the story. A little more disguising of who their real-world Earth counterparts are would do a lot for the atmosphere of the story. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)
This was a drastic improvement over the first in the series of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. Almost none of the problems I had from the first novel were...moreThis was a drastic improvement over the first in the series of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. Almost none of the problems I had from the first novel were in this sequel, and it was vastly more entertaining to read than The Fairy Godmother. Instead of focusing on the "Cinderella" fairytale, the second book is about the Greek legend of the Andromeda sacrifices in a small, poor Kingdom with no Godmother. First on the list of vast improvements is Andromeda herself. Andie is the main character and is actually that, a character instead of a cliche. She's smart, bookish, resourceful, and clever. She's a very engaging character, as were the villains of the story (which surprised me). Second on the list, the conflict and resolution did not seem nearly as rushed as the end of the first book. The entire novel felt more well-planned, thought out and written. It's also much funnier and filled with more fleshed out characters instead of one-dimensional second-rate "personalities". One minor problem I had was that sometimes the actions of a character would make absolutely no sense, as in did nothing to help that character out and were blatant attempts to make the ending work to its predictable Traditional path. That being said, the ending did surprise me in a way that I totally loved and grinned while reading. A much better book than the first and I look forward to the next. (less)
Interesting and clever premise for a series. Subtly subverting the archetype of Cinderella, Lackey interprets the fairy tale in an original and fun ta...moreInteresting and clever premise for a series. Subtly subverting the archetype of Cinderella, Lackey interprets the fairy tale in an original and fun tale. I think the opening chapters fell a little bit flat, and were slightly boring the first hundred pages or so. I liked her idea for how magic works and is channeled through certain people via The Tradition, shaping and creating different versions of classic fairytales throughout the Five Hundred Kingdoms. The main character was annoying at first, but she grew on me, like the rest of the book did. The other characters in the book were fairly one-dimensional and lacked any real fire, except for maybe Alexander. It was not as good as I hoped, quite honestly, but it improved drastically after all the introductory details and background were finished. The only other main issue I had with the story was that the final conflict and resolution seemed rushed and stilted in their execution. A decent effort, overall enjoyable and easy to read. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)
Really more of a 3.5 out of 5 but favorite author status grants this the bump up here on GR.
Gail Carson Levine is one of my longest-held favorite auth...moreReally more of a 3.5 out of 5 but favorite author status grants this the bump up here on GR.
Gail Carson Levine is one of my longest-held favorite authors; since I was eleven years old and stumbled across a still-current-favorite (Ella Enchanted) this has been an author that I keep my eye out for her novels. That charming, original and fun version of the Cinderella tale stuck in my brain and for years, Ella and Charmant's were two parts of one of my all-time literary couples. Gail Carson Levine once again returns to her magical and charming fairy-tale world created over ten years ago for another outing Fairest, but this time the retread is of the classic Snow White story. Like Ella, Aza is a strong female character and one easily identitied with for the intended audience. Even for a reader well outside the target audience for this novel, I still found Fairest to be a creative interpretation of an ages-old myth.
While I readily admit to liking Aza, I didn't fall in love with her character or want to be her best friend the way I did with Ella after ripping through that novel. I didn't mind the social awkwardness the girl exhibited routinely throughout - it was entirely believable and even to be expected in a peasant girl thrust into a Court with no knowledge, but her repeated lies wore thin. It's hard to feel true sympathy for a character that backs herself into a corner so very effectively. I wish I could invest into her relationship with the prince of Ayortha as well - it was a bit insta!love for my taste. Ijori comes off as nice enough, but there's very little personality there and no further development as the story progresses.
The magic of the novel, though exceedingly slight, serves as a nice backdrop to the more human problems Lady Aza faces with Ivi, Ijori, and missing her family. I liked that the focus was more on the character of Aza, and less upon her rare and unique magic. But sadly, here we are, at The Bad of the novel. I hate to say this, really I do, but for a society built around song and singing . . . the music portion was by far the weakest part of Fairest. The lyrics were odd, didn't fit, or just jarred as a "song" from the musical land. I wish a little more finesse had been applied to that (and pretty much the only) attribute of the Ayorthan people. Well, besides the birds flying in, out, around the palaces and castles. A little more time, detail spent on fleshing out basic elements of the novel would've added up to a more well-rounded, nicely-executed novel.
Rosalind Miles has interesting books, but her style of writing is off-putting to me. Her women are always Damsels in Distress, waiting to be saved and...moreRosalind Miles has interesting books, but her style of writing is off-putting to me. Her women are always Damsels in Distress, waiting to be saved and then loved obsessively. Guenevere does nothing but bitch and moan at Lancelot for having love affairs but she's married. To his best friend. Geez, lady. Do something besides destroy any sympathy I have for you as a character in a tragedy. This was seriously the most whiny, annoying Guenevere I have ever read. I understand the roles for the story are already predetermined and we all know how it is going to end up, but Miles could have written her Guenevere as a resilient, daring, and ultimately her own independent woman who dared risk her life for the love she couldn't deny rather than just being a vocal reminder of how little women actually do in this series. More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot....(less)
A childhood favorite that I still enjoy reading to this day. This is a lovely, delightful and most of all fun read. Ella is spirited, charming and genu...moreA childhood favorite that I still enjoy reading to this day. This is a lovely, delightful and most of all fun read. Ella is spirited, charming and genuinely funny. Her family and the outline of Ella's life is what one would expect from a Cinderella retelling, but Carson Levine recreates and reinvents the beloved fairytale without being boring or repetitive. Her world is creative, unique and utterly charming. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys clever writing from a deft author who never misplaces a word in her story.(less)