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.
*** The Beautiful Ashes contains potentially offensive content that I've highlighted in my review. I'd recommend taking note of them before picking th*** The Beautiful Ashes contains potentially offensive content that I've highlighted in my review. I'd recommend taking note of them before picking this one up ***
The Beautiful Ashes presents a haunting world on the brink of a supernatural war. Ivy's situation feels reminiscent of that of Aislinn from Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series. Both have been able to see the supernatural world for as long as they can remember, and once they find themselves entangled in it, there is no escape for them. This is a dark and dangerous world that you cannot escape once you've entered it.
That said, while the world is one that many may find intriguing, however, the characters are a hit or a miss in this one. Ivy has a character that's pretty out there. One minute, she's calm and collected—and proud of herself for it. The next, she's a raging inferno. This is evident not just in her emotions but how she acts around people. She vascillates between feeling the hots for Adrian and reminding herself that he's a deranged psychopath, not to mention someone who essentially kidnaps her. And with Zach, she alternates between hating on him for not being there in her time of need and reminding herself that his boss (God) lets everything happen for a greater purpose. She can also be pretty manipulative, oftentimes so that she can go off and do something stupid and reckless. Besides the fact that there's little character stability in Ivy, I just couldn't like her because of the way she's so quick to change her mind about people without thinking about the possible reasons for them doing whatever they did that offended her.
Romance-wise, I just couldn't feel it. I think if events progressed differently I might have liked Adrian, but the way things are worked against him. First, he kidnaps Ivy, and almost immediately it's apparent that they're hot for each other. While Ivy eventually learns that he's a good guy, it just feels so wrong. I couldn't get rid of the creeps I felt. Maybe it's because of the "forbidden romance" vibe I later got. Maybe it's because it's all about the hots, and I don't see Ivy and Adrian getting in some good bonding time. Nevertheless, while it wasn't for me, I can totally see people loving Ivy and Adrian's characters and cheering them on.
What kept me reading on is the world building. The idea of the demon world being interconnected with and drawing upon resources from the human world is really cool, and I enjoyed exploring the different sections of the demon world with Ivy. The world of demons is grotesque and horrifying yet awe-inspiring at the same time. It's impressive how much they've managed to do with what they have. I wish that the demons and their world were better characterized because it's definitely by far the most fascinating part of the novel—for me at least. And while the plot was fairly predictable, it was solid and accomplished what it set out to do, and I appreciate how it has a solid conclusion while setting the stage for the next stage at the same time.
The Beautiful Ashes is a book that I can see people either falling madly in love with or having to put down because they can't connect with the characters or the world. If you're interested in the premise but don't like the world so much, I'd recommend checking out The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams. It too features another world connected to our world with doorways, and it too features a girl who gets kidnapped and finds herself strongly attracted to her kidnapper—but there's more world building and character development. It didn't feel like insta-love like with Ivy and Adrian (though there is a reason given for the connection they feel). The primary differences are that The Shadow Reader has more of an urban fantasy feel and the supernatural creatures are the fae instead of demons and angels.
I do have a warning to give about The Beautiful Ashes. The characters, primarily Ivy and Adrian, do say some pretty offensive things. They say whatever comes to mind, and they aren't afraid of offending anyone—demons and angels alike. They also seem to think that God should fix their problems for them and not let such suffering as they have seen in the demon realms go on. At one point, Ivy does admit a belief that God lets things happen for a reason, but for the most part she does seem bitter about what happens. And she isn't afraid to let His messenger know that. . . which results in some very irreverant comments. Some of the things said really shocked me. If you're a Christian, you might want to take this into consideration before you pick this one up. I know that it's a fictional work, but if it's something you'd take great offense to, I probably wouldn't read The Beautiful Ashes on the basis that Ivy is the main character, and you'll be seeing a lot of her.
Overall, I did enjoy this novel in spite of my inability to connect with the main characters. The writing flows well, and the world is interesting. And it might have me convinced to pick up the second installment when it comes out.
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.