Artemis Fowl has been a longtime favorite series of mine. From the first pages, Colfer lures you into the criminal world with Artemis’s dealings with faeries, continuous outsmarting of them, and the first inklings of his awakening conscious.
The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Artemis and Holly Short, but two of the many memorable cast of characters that Colfer introduces. Others include Butler (Artemis’s… butler!), Commander Root heading Recon, Foaly the technological genius of a centaur, and Mulch Diggums the kleptomaniac dwarf.
Artemis is a criminal mastermind and speaks at an advanced level for any age. Still, there are telltale signs that he’s only twelve. He worries over his mother, and he’s desperately seeking out his father to restore the Fowl family’s status. He also believes in faeries. Plus his genius brain, and he possesses the power to do one thing no Mud Man (faerie jargon for humans) has ever done before: part the faeries from their gold.
Opposing him is Captain Holly Short, the first female member of Recon and also someone who is continuously getting into trouble. While she’s definitely one of the best officers under Root, he pushes her to excel above the others to her dismay at the unwonted prejudice. She has a colorful nature and will never fail to amuse readers with her smart aleck comments.
As someone who has read further installments in the series, I can say that while this first book seems clichéd with the whole humans are bad deal, you can see the stirrings of potential development. Holly Short jeopardizes her life to save humans even after they hurt her, and Artemis is beginning to soften up. He realizes that what he’s done is evil. Remember, he’s a kid despite his genius nature.
Forget lollipops, rainbows, and sunshine. Artemis Fowl’s dark brilliance and criminal exploits will leave you hankering for the next installment in the series. With his wit and great sense of humor, Colfer brings to readers of all ages a genius antihero, futuristic technology, mind games, and a bit of magic....more
I love Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, and I was excited when I found out that she would be writing a spinoff series off it. It was an unbelieI love Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, and I was excited when I found out that she would be writing a spinoff series off it. It was an unbelievable feeling to finally hold this book in my hands and spend the day reading it.
Sydney's collected voice is a sharp contrast to Rose's passionate nature. Whereas Rose plunges straight to the point, Sydney bides her time and observes the situation before acting, the scientist in her coming out. Learning more about the Alchemists has been a blast. I was curious about them when Rose first ran into Sydney, and with Sydney taking the stage in Bloodlines, I got to see more of her world--its structure and the limitations that are placed on her through her duties.
I'm happy that we get to see more of Adrian. He's a bundle of fun, sexy fun, and it's amusing to watch his interactions with Sydney. Everyone has already written him off as no good, but Sydney brings out the best in him, including his witticisms, because they're a central part of him. They banter, they argue, and Sydney just can't leave him alone despite the trouble that he continuously puts her through. Between attending a normal high school for the first time and spending time with Adrian, I'm thinking that Sydney will learn more about friendship and romance in the near future.
While Sydney initially goes to Palm Springs to protect Jill, a couple other plots emerge from Jill's unusual relationship with Adrian to a secret among the students at the school to the impending sense that the turmoil back at court isn't the only danger that the group faces. Sydney's skills as an Alchemist are put to the test as she fights to prove that she is fully capable of carrying out her duties and that it is time for the higher ups to trust her once more.
Bloodlines is a brilliant continuation to the world that Richelle started in her Vampire Academy series. Old characters grace the pages, including Abe, Adrian, Jill, and Eddie, and it looks like we'll see more of some familiar faces in book two. I cannot wait to read The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) and see where she takes it. I am especially curious about Trey and Mrs. Terwilliger, in addition to a unique trait of Sydney's that comes out near the end.
There is always drama, excitement, and fear brewing in a scary school. This time, the students learn that six of their own will be chosen to become exThere is always drama, excitement, and fear brewing in a scary school. This time, the students learn that six of their own will be chosen to become exchange students to their headmistress's alma mater Scream Academy, where no one expects them to survive. Needless to say, they aren't thrilled about it, and few hope to be chosen to attend.
Trouble brews in paradise as Charles gets off to a bad start this school year and finds himself wondering how he can right things. The poor guy. Though he's such a rule stickler, he always finds himself getting into trouble. In this book, he's going to learn something about the rules he loves so much and find out what matters most to him. The way he defeats the big bad guy is hilarious and says something about how he's grown over the course of the series.
The plot is much more streamlined than the other two books with Charles taking a prominent role in the story as an ancient prophecy comes to pass. With ominous whispers about a looming danger floating around, the story takes a darker turn as well. There are still some light-hearted moments, but they aren't as frequent as in the earlier books in the series. Nevertheless, I was still greatly entertained with the introduction of new monsters and characters, especially Lattie -- an overly serious ninja girl -- and her pet millipede.
As always, I also loved watching the monsters and humans interact. There are great themes in the story for younger readers, such as how it isn't the outside that matters. Every human and monster has potential to realize the scary or greatness within, and seemingly puny weak humans can become popular heroes in a school of monsters. This is a wonderful read for readers of all ages, and I will continue to recommend this series to those who enjoy a good middle-grade read filled with adventure and humor.
P.S. After that ending, there had better be a fourth book. Oh Charles, what is going to happen to you this time?
Russ never ceases to delight me with his antics (and side comments to the reader). After joining the Gay-Straight-Bisexual Alliance at his high schoolRuss never ceases to delight me with his antics (and side comments to the reader). After joining the Gay-Straight-Bisexual Alliance at his high school, Russ has lost the little social standing that he used to have. Sure, he no longer has to compromise who he is as a person, but it doesn't change the fact that high school life is miserable. That's why, he's delighted to have the chance to escape it all at a camp where no one knows that he's gay.
Of course, it's not that easy to hide your sexual tendencies when one of your fellow camp counselors is deliciously hot and you can't stop looking at him. Even more so when you keep running into him (it's kind of hard when you're stuck in the mountains together for ten weeks). I didn't really like Wes (hot fellow camp counselor). He always seemed like the kind to fool around. On the other hand, Otto... there's a real guy. He understands pain and suffering, he has a beautiful voice, and he talks about "nerdy" things like books and all. Another character I adore is Ian, one of the little campers. He's outspoken and drives Russ nuts, but in the end he's a vulnerable little boy looking for truth in the world, looking for evidence that the world isn't all bad.
Russ and his two best friends (Min, an intelligent, bisexual Chinese American, and Gunnar, a nerdy, straight Norwegian) all suffered failed romances in the last book. Now, Russ and Min both lust after hot camp counselor Wes while Gunnar has given up on finding a girlfriend for the moment. However, the phrase "summer romance" exists for a reason, and the three friends will find themselves involved in a bunch of drama once more in the name of love. In a way, I'm jealous of their friendship because they can fight with one another and patch things up later. Plus, it's fun to see them get angry over the most outrageous reasons (it doesn't feel like it in the moment for them, but they'll probably laugh over these matters when they're older).
I enjoyed seeing the friends in a new and different setting. Russ and his friends learn more about love and different kinds of struggles while interacting with their first group of campers. Again, there are some suggestive scenes, but they are kept clean and can be read by middle-grade readers in addition to older readers who enjoy some good humor.
After hearing a lot of awesomeness about this novel, I was really excited to finally pick this up. The plot sounds really intriguing. I love UF mysterAfter hearing a lot of awesomeness about this novel, I was really excited to finally pick this up. The plot sounds really intriguing. I love UF mysteries. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to connect with the cast and ended up dropping the book a quarter into the novel.
This is such a frustrating novel. The beginning is pretty vague with things progressing quickly soon after Mac learns of her sister Alina's death. A bit too quickly and impulsively. Though Alina was murdered, Mac wants to go to Dublin and try and get the investigators to reopen the case. I can accept that she believes that the Irish authorities aren't very invested in the case of the death of a foreigner. But I still don't really get why she even wants to investigate her sister's murder on her own. I know that she's deep in grief and not thinking clearly, but did it ever cross her mind that going to Dublin could put her life in danger? Especially after listening to Alina's last message on her voicemail.
I do like how Mac likes dressing up, loves books, and doesn't let people step all over her. However, she's of a rather set mindset and doesn't take even well-meaning advice well. In fact, Jericho's rather aggressive warnings to her serves to fuel her desire to investigate Alina's death instead of scaring her away, and she continues to ignore all the—rather apparent—danger signs and keeps bulldozing deeper and deeper into this dark business. She seems to have this sense of invulnerability and believes nothing can hurt her. This personality trait of hers is a recipe for a trainwreck.
Jericho isn't particularly compelling at this point of the novel. With the story told from the first-person narrative of Mac's perspective, all I see of him is a big brute. He seems to mean well for Mac, but all he's doing is provoking her to keep hacking away at this mystery (she's not being very subtle about it) and putting her life in graver danger. I'm sure he has a reason why he's acting the way he does, but right now he's really like a mercenery character as Mac points out. All steel and no heart for the walking victims, as he aptly describes Mac.
To be fair, I barely made it into a quarter of the novel before giving up on this book, and the novel has barely begun to touch on the mystery surrounding Alina's death. However, this is also why I'm stopping here. It's been such a trainwreck with Mac so far. I don't want to see when she finally, truly, opens her eyes realizes what's really going on. Sure, I expect her to grow up and finally begin to work together with Jericho (albeit only after a lot of resentment on both sides and with a lot of arguing, which may lead to hot, steamy scenes afterwards...), but after all the vexation I went through in the first quarter of the novel, I'm not very keen to continue on this journey with Mac at this time. Did not finish.
Remy is a control freak. She likes to organize everything from clothes to her car to relationships. She wants to know where everything stands so that she knows where to go to fix something if a problem arises. Her stoicism comes from having to take care of her whimsical mother and watching said mother go through several failed marriages. That’s why Dexter perplexes her so much from the beginning. He’s her polar opposite—chaotic and optimistic—past guys.
Dessen builds Remy three-dimensionally as with her other main characters. While we know that Dexter is going to change Remy’s pessimistic view on love, Remy doesn’t hang around with him all the time or spend her time day-dreaming about him. She has a life away from Dexter, and Dessen details it just as much as her time with Dexter, if not more. As such, we really get a feel for her as a person throughout the book. We learn that Remy isn’t as much of a bitch as she thinks she is; sure, she’s pessimistic about love, but it’s because she hasn’t had a stable familial life. She has motivation for acting the way she does.
I really like Dexter. If it were another guy, the whole instant attraction deal would have seemed absurd. With Dexter, his easygoing attitude and optimistic take on life and love made it sweet and adorable. I can’t imagine how he’s forever tripping all over the place, but considering how it’s Dexter I find it believable—and endearing. He may have had a hard time making his way into Remy’s heart, but he won me from day one.
Remy’s friends and family are a delightful cast of characters. Her friends are very realistic and engaging people that suit Remy’s character. Her brother’s a cool guy with an interesting hobby of raising monitor lizards, and her mom is a whimsical woman that you can’t help liking. I love how big Remy is on family and how protective she is of them. As for Dexter’s band, they’re pretty cool guys, though it’s pretty obvious that Remy isn’t too fond of them, especially Ted and his strong opinions on his craft.
I also love how Dessen starts off each section telling us which month it is. Not only does it reflect how time passes in Remy’s mind, it shows us just how long it takes Remy to change. It shows us that it takes time for Remy to open up to Dexter, to finally open herself to love. Such changes don’t take place in a couple weeks. It takes timing, an important concept that Remy grows to recognize over the course of the book.
If it was any other writer, perhaps I would have liked the book. Perhaps I wouldn’t have. But with Dessen behind the book, I can relate to Remy. I don’t hate her. I love her and her down-to-earth attitude. This Lullaby is about learning how to open yourself to the goods and bads of a relationship. It is about learning to let go of your fears and to learn how to love. I recommend this story to those look for a contemporary read filled with laughs and tears....more
Nikki and Michael are wonderful characters that I could grow to love even more than I already do. Nikki is intelligent, brave, and pretty kickass. MicNikki and Michael are wonderful characters that I could grow to love even more than I already do. Nikki is intelligent, brave, and pretty kickass. Michael is the mysterious man with a haunted past and fierce loyalty to those he cares about. Together, they make a good team. What made me end up quitting the book halfway through is how the plot just seemed to get bogged down. I wanted a greater sense of danger from Jasper. I wanted more tension and plot development. However, this felt like another urban fantasy where the kickass girl and her vulnerable side don't really match up, and the vulnerability seems to come out mostly to set up for moments of romance. While I love a good romance, I don't want it to overtake the plot or seem to be stuck in there for the sake of having it.
The beginning of this book haunts me even now. I'd been planning on doing some light reading before going to bed but ended up staying up late, eyes wiThe beginning of this book haunts me even now. I'd been planning on doing some light reading before going to bed but ended up staying up late, eyes wide open and heart pounding. I couldn't dim the lights and curl in bed without preternatural creatures haunting the shadows, threatening to peek through the slits of my window blinds and hunt me down. I was that freaked out.
On the plus side, that also meant that I really found myself identifying with Kirby when she became one of the hunted. If that counts as a plus. The afraid-to-go-to-bed me might not agree so much, but I'm looking back on hindsight. Of course, Kirby has other traits that make her likable. She's afraid of many things, including the situation she's in and her powers, but she's also a fighter. And she stands up for herself. She also has Doyle. While they don't meet until the best of conditions (understatement), they develop a bond stronger than the one that hits Doyle when he fights meets her (think back on book one for a clue here). Adding a little spice to the mix, neither of them expects to find the kind of connection that draws them together, and the resulting dynamics are a lot of fun to watch.
I was disappointed that the thrills and suspense that hooked me in the first pages didn't continue throughout the entire book. While there was a good bit of action going on, the lack of adrenaline rush after the first pages made the later parts of the book fall flat in comparison. It was interesting how Kirby's past plays a role in the plot, and I would have liked to see this played up a bit more. In comparison to other UF crime novels I've read, this one doesn't play up the suspense and investigation portions as much. At the same time, I love how Kirby's vulnerability is exposed more and how she isn't overtly badass like many UF heroines are.
Fans of Keri Arthur's Damask Circle will enjoy this second installment in the series. I recommend this for readers who enjoy a good dose of romance in their UF crime reads.
An intense urban fantasy / crime novel from a powerful voice in urban fantasy.
After having read a good portion of Keri Arthur's Dancing With the DevilAn intense urban fantasy / crime novel from a powerful voice in urban fantasy.
After having read a good portion of Keri Arthur's Dancing With the Devil, so I knew going into this that she has solid writing skills. Thus, though Dancing With the Devil didn't quite manage to hold my attention (it may have been my fault, as I didn't quite find the time to sit down with it like I did with this one), I was more than willing to give her writing another try, and I wasn't disappointed.
From the first pages, the writing worked to immerse me in the story. I could feel Maddie's fears and hesitations about believing in the "ghost" that appears to her, summoning her back to civilization, and I felt my own fears for Maddie and Jon in their dangerous quest to rescue the missing teenagers. In fact, though I read Circle of Fire in a brightly lit room, albeit past sundown, and I wasn't alone, I was really creeped out. When I had to leave the room to run errands, I was almost sure that the bad guy was going to magically appear in my room and spirit me away like with the missing teenagers—even though I'm not a teenager or magically endowed.
The characters are equally compelling. It was easy to connect with Maddie and her fears of losing control of her abilities because we really get a feel for them in the first pages. Jon was harder to connect with, mostly because he's had a lost of experience with denying his heart's desires. Each of them has a story behind these fears, and their stories causes them to deny the connection between them. More internal dialogue could have really helped with building up the tension between Maddie and Jon by playing up how their respective fears motivate them to conceal their feelings for each other. Especially with Jon, as he dallies quite a bit in the love department.
I would have also liked to see more danger coming from the bad guys. There is talk of old magic, and experienced as he is, Jon fears that he will not be able to come out safely. Despite the suspense, however, I never quite had a strong feeling that he was truly in imminent danger. A lot of the twists that come their way are predictable, and most of the danger seems to be directed towards Maddie, an obvious target as she doesn't have experience dealing with crime. Nevertheless, the pacing is fairly quick and keeps the plot moving.
Overall, this is a highly enjoyable read that I recommend to those who enjoy a good urban fantasy with crime mixed in.
I came very very close several times to dnfing this book, but my curiosity to learn the answers to all my unanswered questions coming out of GeneratioI came very very close several times to dnfing this book, but my curiosity to learn the answers to all my unanswered questions coming out of Generation 18 kept me pushing through to the end. Only to read the last pages and realize that they'll never be answered. Not to mention that the big war that's been promised to us from book one only really begins at the end of this book, so really what we've been reading is the prequel to the war that never happens.
This is too bad because the series had a great premise and was interesting enough that I kept reading it to the end because I wanted to find out what happens. Though Penumbra is supposed to reveal and conclude everything, however, I feel like it served primarily to push Sam and Gabriel's relationship into becoming something. Past Keri Arthur books have had a large focus on the romance, so it normally wouldn't have been overly problematic for me. Nevertheless, with so many gaping plot holes in Penumbra plot-wise and character-wise, it overtook the rest of the plot. There's also minimal world building, but that's a problem I've faced accepted comes along with Keri Arthur books because it does let us get to the action faster.
The romance was also poorly developed, something I thought would have still been there even if everything else fell apart. There was a lot of potential to explore Gabriel's psychology here as he struggles with his loyalty to Andrea and his hawk form that mates once only for life even as he feels an undeniable attraction to Sam (for reasons we never find out). However, he seems to get over it pretty quickly, which meant we don't get to see Sam fulfill her plans to try to seduce Gabriel. . .that seems to have gotten lost somewhere.
As it is, Penumbra is a disappointing, poorly executed "conclusion" to the Spook Squad series. Not only does it fail to answer the multitude questions that have been raised throughout the series, it switches over to an epilogue of sorts immediately after Sam and Gabriel promise to fight to take down Sethanon together. If you're looking for answers and a solid conclusion to the series, I wouldn't bother reading this one. If you care enough though, you can read it for answers to Sam's past and to see the beginnings of her happily ever after with Gabriel.
Once again, I found myself hooked in by the action and intrigue. It's a bit spotty for the better part of the novel with the SIU trying to make senseOnce again, I found myself hooked in by the action and intrigue. It's a bit spotty for the better part of the novel with the SIU trying to make sense of the evidence. As the pieces come together, however, the action really gets going, and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the pages.
I still find it hard to connect with Sam and Gabriel. There's a lot that we don't know about them, mostly because we follow them as they proceed along this investigation. It's all about the work with no time for play for the partners, and little of their thoughts and backstories was worked into the novel. That's why it's pretty jarring whenever Gabriel's family makes an appearance in the story. Becauase they rarely warrant a mention otherwise. As for Sam, I understand that she doesn't know any of her potentially living relatives and that she has a big memory gap in her past, but I feel like there should be ways of letting the readers get to know her outside of her attitude at work and towards her partner.
The characters aren't the only aspect that could use more fleshing out. There's a lot of potential for more plot development. As it is, we just follow the partners from one lead to another, and the pieces just somehow come together. Given how rashly the partners act (once again, Gabriel walks right into a trap he saw coming, and once again, Sam acts against her partner's better judgment), it's also surprising that they manage to come out of everything in one piece. Cross that. They walk out because they happen to have special powers that emerge when they need them. As much as I like the intrigue and action that's already present in the novel, it could have been a lot better if I believed that the partners might not make it out alive, if I really felt the danger. The mystery was also pretty straightforward and could have used more twists. I'd also like to see more resolution to the case. Once again, things just happen, and we're expected to believe that the current investigation has been wrapped up nicely.
That said, I do have questions coming out of Generation 18. From Gabriel's words and from similar situations taking place in The Damask Circle books, I thought that shapechangers only loved once in a lifetime. So why the growing connection with Sam? (And why is Gabriel okay with having casual sex with someone he doesn't particularly care about?) What's going on in the military? What are these secrets projects that Sam seems to be connected to? Also, while this novel is titled after one of the military's secret projects, the project itself doesn't play much of a role in the novel. It would have been nice if more intrigue around the project was built up and if it'd played a larger role in the novel.
Though questions have been raised about Sam's past since Memory Zero, book one, it doesn't feel like much has been done about it in the installments. While we're closer to the truth, it just feels like it's put on the back burner until things happen to raise questions. There's a lot going on here, and I'm not sure if they can all be answered in another 400 or so pages in the next installment. Nevertheless, for all the complaints I have about Generation 18, I've enjoyed this book and the series thus far and will be reading Penumbra to see how this all wraps up.
There's something about Keri Arthur's writing that keeps me caught up in the book. Like with the Damask Circle books, I found the character a3.5 stars
There's something about Keri Arthur's writing that keeps me caught up in the book. Like with the Damask Circle books, I found the character and plot development to be weaker than the action. However, there was plenty of suspense and thrills to keep me hanging on every word, wondering what dilemma Sam and Gabriel would find themselves in next.
Sam and Gabriel are likable characters. Both carry secrets and find it difficult to trust others given their situations, which makes room for lots of sparks to fly in heated arguments. However, not many do end up going off, which was disappointing. They have strong personalities, but I never did find myself really connecting with the characters. I think it may be the result of too many secrets and a lot of history that isn't being given to us. There are just so many unknown factors floating aroundlike who to suspect and what lies in Sam's past. While this creates a lot of intrigue, it works against the plot development because we just don't know what is going on. I would have especially liked to see the mystery of Sam's past played up more, as it seems like it'll be playing a larger role in books to come.
One thing that's frustrated me with the Keri Arthur's books I've read is how we get plunged into the middle of the story from the start. While it's great to get some action early into the story, we don't get the backstory to support the current action. In Memory Zero, it would have helped a lot to get get some backstory on Sam's relationship with her partner Jack and why she would continue to put such deep faith in him when facts seem to suggest otherwise. I'd also like to know more about the Federation and how Gabriel seems to know a lot of things other people don't. . . like a certain man's position as general in a certain organization.
For all my complaints, I did enjoy this book over all. The characters were interesting as was the plot development. With the characters and their situation set up, hopefully Generation 18, the next installment in Spook Squad will prove to be an easier, more grounded read. I'm curious to see where Keri Arthur will take us next!