Publication Date: December 18th, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin MIRA ISBN: 0778314189 Age Group: Young/New Adult Genre: Adventure, Fantasy Source: Provided by t...morePublication Date: December 18th, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin MIRA ISBN: 0778314189 Age Group: Young/New Adult Genre: Adventure, Fantasy Source: Provided by the publisher through NetGalley Lootability: ****
About the book – beware, spoilers from Touch of Power Scent of Magic is the second book in Maria V. Snyder’s Healer series. Avry, the last healer in the Fifteen Realms, was kidnapped and forced into service in order to save Prince Rynn – except, somewhere along the way Avry and her kidnappers formed a comradery and Avry volunteered her healing powers in an effort to save her world.
Now Avry is on the move again, hidden in plain sight, Avry is practicing caution and keeping her healing powers concealed now that everyone believes the Healer is dead.
Meanwhile, Avry’s partner Kerrick, our stony hero from Touch of Magic, must let Avry walk away from him and return to his protect his own kingdom from a new threat – one that could threaten the success of Prince Rynn’s attack on the maniacal King Tohon’s undead forces.
My Thoughts I’m a big Maria V Snyder fan, I did a happy dance earlier this year when she did an interview for Raiding Bookshelves (and offered a giveaway!), and I might have busted out some moves when I was given the opportunity to read an ARC of Scent of Magic.
I took to Scent of Magic with the same enthusiasm with which I’ve taken up any of her other books. Yet, I found Scent of Magic was lacking some of the fun I remember from Touch of Magic. The characters are just as real, Avry still has her ass kicking style, and Kerrick is as impassive but passionate as Mr Darcy (for whom women all over the world have a gigantic soft spot).
I had two problems, that I think explained my reticence when giving a review of Scent of Magic. Firstly, though they made an appearance, there was hardly enough show time for the Monkeys and Belen. That group of mischief making was a big factor in why I enjoyed Touch of Magic so much. They were Avry’s family and I missed the regular interactions between the group. Now that I think about it, I can’t recall all of them being together for more than a page (or two depending what you’re reading from). I needed more Monkey business.
Secondly, a lot happened in this story. There were storming armies, traps, dead and undead, telepathic flowers and deceptions left, right and centre. It was exciting and yet, when I finished, I was left with a sense of incompleteness (this is apart from the utter disbelief caused by the ending – but I’ll get to that). So much happened, and yet I don’t know that the narrative progressed that far. It felt like Snyder used Scent of Magic to give her characters a good work out, but it didn't flow as well as Touch of Magic.
Enough Complaining – I really enjoyed it and plan on getting my hands on a paperback ASAP Avry is becoming a much stronger character. She has an opportunity to grow beyond her identity as a Healer. Being a healer might be the focal point of her life, but she takes the opportunity to develop herself beyond the sickroom. She puts her survival skills to the test and comes up triumphant. Kerrick becomes a more open personality. His time away from Avry allows him to reflect on his feelings, while his experiences with the children shows a sweet and protective side that will make all the girls say “awww”.
Get Reading Scent of Magic is a worthy companion to Touch of Magic and has so many mini-cliff hangers (almost one per chapter), it literally kept me on the edge of my seat. There is one amazing, soul filling surprise that will have Snyder fans everywhere doing fist pumps, as well as several heart wrenching moments and a closing scene cliff hanger that you will feel like a kick in the teeth. Scent of Magic comes out December 18, 2012. Get excited and get reading because Touch of Death is promised for December 2013 and I'm already giddy with anticipation.(less)
Publication Date: October 1st, 2008 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ISBN: 015206396X Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Fantasy/Adventure Source: Library Lo...morePublication Date: October 1st, 2008 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ISBN: 015206396X Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Fantasy/Adventure Source: Library Lootability: ****
In the Seven Kingdom some children are born different, its not immediately obvious but within the first years of a child's life their eyes will settle into two different colours and you'll know. This child has been Graced. Each Grace is different. Some have photographic memories, voices like songbirds or, like Katsa you could be Graced with the ability to kill a man with one hand.
What I Liked: I've read lots of stories about people who are born Gifted (Tamora Pierce's Tortall series, or Alison Croggon's Gift) but I appreciated the new direction Cashore took it in. No one was any more supercharged than any one else; they just had different depths to their Grace. Katsa is a dynamic character - the niece of a King and Graced with killing she is forced to do his bidding, while in secret she fights against the cruelty of monarchies in the Seven Kingdoms. She is disgusted by her Grace and what she is forced to do because of it; Katsa tries to find a reality beyond her life as a glorified murderer. Prince Po is a bit of a mystery - also Graced, he alternatively pushes and pulls at Katsa, wanting her close but fearing the consequences. When together they set of to Monsea, to discover why Po's aunt and Queen of Monsea is hiding away in her rooms. Together they grow and learn more about each other, themselves and their Graces. The main crisis, the persuasive gift of King Leck, is thrilling. They must save Princess Bitterblue from her abusive, and psychotic, Father while avoiding the reach of his persuasive magic.
What I Didn't Like: The last few chapters: Leck's demise felt too sudden and too easy. However, I also think it was appropriate that he was too manipulative to lose a longer battle. It was resolved, but it was a little took easy. I'll let you make your own decision here. I really liked Katsa but I got sick of her man hate.
Touted as a cross between the Bachelor and The Hunger Games, the release of Kiera Cass' The Selection was ripe with controversy on Goodreads and Twitt...moreTouted as a cross between the Bachelor and The Hunger Games, the release of Kiera Cass' The Selection was ripe with controversy on Goodreads and Twitter (twitter commentary and the attack on Wendy Darling's review). However, despite rumours of bad reviews and mass 'likes' of positive reviews, I still wanted to give it a try.
What I Liked: The idea of the Selection, a lottery of 'local' girls who the Prince can marry. He can take time to get to know them, and the lottery allows for girls of all social backgrounds a chance to become Queen. The Caste system - a system of numbers (One through Eight) regulating what types of job is available to you, how you live and ect. Mentions were thrown in to catch my attention and then the topic changed. Some of the information about the rebellion was interesting too, but it was vague. It almost would have been better to tackle just the rebellion.
What I Didn't Like: As I mentioned the world substance is lacking. There are mentions of it in one history lesson and America (interesting name, eh?) forces one or two sentences out of Maxon but it wasn't enough. It needed to become real to me and it didn't. Another issue I had was the stilted dialogue and interactions - mostly between America and Maxon - that are nothing like the way teenagers talk. However, the relationship between America and Aspen was worse. It felt lifeless and irrational despite the way they threw themselves at each other.
Putting all that aside, I might have given a better rating if not for one giant misstep.
**Immediate Review May 2nd** Real Review to come Real review to come but I'm not happy. I was really enjoying this book until its ridiculously abrupt ending. I get the feeling that The Selection series could easily have been put together into one book. It was the last few pages that really caught my interest and it ended. Quite bluntly. I'm getting sick of YA novels splitting their stories up three ways when it's entirely unnecessary.
That said, if I read the sequel(s) and find a reasonable excuse for the split I will take back my complaint.(less)
Publication Date: November 29th, 2011 Publisher: Zonderman Country: United States ISBN: 0310727618 Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult Genre:...morePublication Date: November 29th, 2011 Publisher: Zonderman Country: United States ISBN: 0310727618 Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Fairytale/Religious Source: NetGalley ARC Buy the Book: Amazon Lootability: There's room but keep looking
The Merchant's Daughter is the second book by the lovely Melanie Dickerson which unravels as a delightfully, and regretfully magic free, retelling of de Villeneuve's Beauty and the Beast. The story establishes early on that Annabel, the youngest child of a well-to-do family run aground after her fathers death, doesn't welcome the embrace of a man; but the coming of a new Lord to their village will change her simple life completely.
What I Liked: Poor old Annabel is a sweetheart. She's sweet, naive, mostly capable and compassionate - everything a good damsel in distress should be. Her sweetness makes her the perfect marriage prospect as more than one man in her life seems to think. Lord Ranulf is the perfect beast, he is disgruntled, honest and has a roaring temper while deep down there is a vulnerable man looking for someone to love him. The story is easy, a little predictable, but it is a lovely sit down, and don't think too hard about where this is going story.
What I didn't like: The religion. Annabel's desperate determination to join a nunnery, hide away from the lusts of man and get a chance to read the bible. It all smacked of one-dimensionalism, there wasn't a lot more to Annabel's character beyond her piousness and her growing affection for Lord Ranulf. I needed more from her character, just as I needed more from Lord Ranulf than the stereotypical scorn man who detests woman flesh. I dealt with it though because the story was buoyed by a sense of self that Annabel found within the pages of the bible, and that I can understand better. The other problem was Maud...she was angry, she was vengeful, she was...gone. After things were resolved (by God) with Tom the bailiff, in a very anticlimatic way, shouldn't Maud have been even more set on revenge? But she just disappears suddenly and doesn't come back.
There's room for it but keep looking If you enjoy The Merchant's Daughter, Melanie Dickerson has written another novel, The Healer's Apprentice which looks worth checking out.(less)
Publication Date: February 7th, 2012 Publisher: Atom ISBN: 1907411054 Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Romance/Dystopian/Adventure Lootability: ***
In her deb...morePublication Date: February 7th, 2012 Publisher: Atom ISBN: 1907411054 Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Romance/Dystopian/Adventure Lootability: ***
In her debut novel for Young Adults, Veronica Rossi explores what it means to truly interact with the world around you after a lifetime of isolation within a virtual world. Aria has spent her life living within the small dome of Reverie, making things more beautiful and more exotic through the use of virtual reality and living in fear of the outside. Then her mother goes missing and Aria finds herself exiled from Reverie and relying on strange, uncouth Outsider Perry for help.
What I Liked: Aria and Perry were naturally antagonist in the beginning, seeing in each other everything they know to fear from the unknown world. But, with only a short time to get to know each other, Rossi creates a believable sequence of events that would make friends of anyone. Rossi has tackled the idea of a world of virtual reality and gone straight to the crux of the issue: in a world where nothing is real, how can you tell the truth from the lies?
Characterwise, it was Perry's best friend Roar who was the easiest to like. He was open, friendly and loyal. He was also the only character who wasn't carrying a damaging amount of bitterness towards life's lot.
What I Didn't Like: So, ummm, Aria, what's the deal with the domes, the Aether, the Unity, the Outsiders, and ummm, every other aspect of your world's history? I need some more to go on please! I would, at least, like to know what the (regularly mentioned and never explained) Aether is and how it destroyed your world?
The plot progressed well enough but if you want to write a post-apocalyptic story, with some much potential, then I'm going to expect a little more world building from you. Especially with so many options! Flammable gas clouds created by global warming, remenants of a nuclear war (which would explain the necessity of the Domes and the extra sensory mutations of the Outsiders), what about a radical change in the Earth's axis throwing us closer, or further away from the sun? A lethal, and visible, highly contagious disease? I wanted more!
Publication Date: April 15th, 2012 Publisher: Smashwords ISBN: 1461001528 Age Group: Young adult Genre: Urban Fantasy S...moreMore reviews at Raiding Bookshelves
Publication Date: April 15th, 2012 Publisher: Smashwords ISBN: 1461001528 Age Group: Young adult Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: Provided by the author, through Smashwords, for an honest review Lootability: ***
Ordained is the story of Abby, kick ass vampire and demon slayer, with more powers than a body could conceivably contain. As danger approaches the Order, her old training grounds, a place blacked out of her memories because of the atrocities committed against her, and by her, in her thirteen years as a student, Abby and her husband Noel are the only ones who can help. But Abby has secrets that could put her in danger again, despite how desperately the Order needs her.
What I Liked: I always like when old myths and legends about paranormal creatures are given an ancient context. The Order trains hunters, born with a tell-tale birthmark, to hunt vampires and keep them from preying on ignorant humans. Of course, this means they have some annoyingly old fashion values, preferring male hunters over their obviously superior female hunters, as well as some cruel and bizarre training methods. Abby might have been the real protagonist, but since Devon Ashley provided us with a multi-perspective novel, I found getting inside the head of Emily, and even Valerie, far more interesting. They felt more human to me (perhaps, there is a reason for that?) and were more easy to relate to than the all powerfully Abby. It was good to see both girls rebel against the Order (thanks to the inaction of the school causing the deaths of other Hunters on their 25th birthday) in their own unique ways. Emily's anger felt real and burnt through the page (e-ink?) while Valerie's utter contempt and disdain was easy to empathise with. The demon Morpheus was an intriguing antagonist. He was always one step ahead of the 'good guys' and caused as much chaos as his nature promised.
What I Didn't Like: This book felt like it needed some work. I'm not against multiple perspectives from different characters, but the move between characters often felt too sudden or vague. It made the story a little disjointed and I hope that is something Ashley considered when writing the sequel Metamorphasus. My real problem was Abby. Miss I'm-Too-Powerful-For-My-Boots. While I love a well prepared heroine, I can't stand one that comes prestocked and Abby's enormous arsenal made her less appealing to me. There was next to no struggle to come to terms with her powers beyond fighting the 'evil' of her Father's blood. She just felt too convenient, virtually invulnerable, ridiculously powerful and even her memory loss was convenient because it had her returning to the Order.
I did enjoy Ordained. It had some spectacular ideas and I would love to further explore the pure vampires. I just find myself hoping Abby loses a little of her crazy powers in further instalments of the Immortal Archives.(less)