I literally clutched this book to my chest when I finished it. I’ve never done that before.
Ms. Marchetta, I am so, so sorry for having doubted you, anI literally clutched this book to my chest when I finished it. I’ve never done that before.
Ms. Marchetta, I am so, so sorry for having doubted you, and I am so, so glad that this is one of the few books I’ve given a second attempt to.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this emotionally invested in a book, but it was so easy to do. The world is so real without ever falling into over-description, and the portrayal of war was so harrowing that I often thought about this book when I wasn’t reading it. I often read fantasy books where the stakes are high but very little is lost, and while I appreciate that lighter entertainment (I read fantasy for the escapism, after all), I know that that isn’t reality. When there is war, people don’t just die – they’re tortured, humiliated, impoverished and much worse. And of course, the worst acts are almost always enacted on women, and Marchetta doesn’t shy away from this reality.
Still, this was secondary to why I loved this so much. I just adored the characters. I’ve never come across a character quite like Evanjalin before; she’s brave, strong, spiritual, and so damn smart. For the majority of the book she keeps a lot of secrets, but every single one is kept for a reason and makes sense in the end. Like Dumbledore, or something. Finnikin, as well, was insanely endearing and hilarious. All the secondary characters had their quirks as well, and almost every single one was important to the plot. I liked that, especially because there was such a large cast.
I really suck at writing positive reviews, but I just had to gush over this one. I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I groaned, I shook my head, and ended it with a smile.
I’ve been told Froi of the Exiles is even more emotionally taxing, and I’m not quite sure how that’s possible. I don’t think I could take much more … ...more
If anything, I’m glad I read this series just for the experience of reading the magical writing alone. Laini Taylor is one of the best young-adult wriIf anything, I’m glad I read this series just for the experience of reading the magical writing alone. Laini Taylor is one of the best young-adult writers I’ve come across, and probably the most lyrical. Reading these books are like reading fairy tales – it’s crazy how easily I get sucked in once I start reading a page or so, and suddenly I’m in some eerie, whimsical fantasy world on another planet.
That’s another thing: the world. Laini Taylor’s love for her world is just oozing off the pages, and I don’t mean that she does this in an obnoxious way. She just puts so much detail into every little aspect and makes it her own, and that care she puts into everything makes the readers care too. I never think “Where have I read this before?” when I’m reading her books.
I really, really wanted to love this, but I knew by the end of “Days of Blood and Starlight” that I wouldn’t. I actually put off reading this because I thought I would be giving it one star, but the side characters were able to make up for the tumor that is holding this series off from being great.
You just cannot, in any way, overlook the romance in this series. It’s awful. It’s so, so bad. Do you remember all of those horrible paranormal romances that came out around 2005 – 2012? In my opinion, this is worse. And this isn’t about Karou – Karous’s fine. I actually really like Karou most of the time, and I don’t think she’s in any way like those awful heroines. Akiva, on the other hand, is worse than those jerkface love interests that came out around 2005 – 2012 that we all hated. “But Annie! How could you say such a thing! Akiva respects Karou!” Yes, you’re right. So yeah, okay, Daniel kisses Luce and kills her over and over for a thousand years. And I guess Patch intimidates Nora and planned on murdering her before they met. Then there’s Xavier, who yes, treats Bethany like she’s about four years old (I’m assuming – I didn’t read this one).
None of these things, in any way, shape or form, compares to COMMITTING GENOCIDE AGAINST AN ENTIRE RACE OF PEOPLE.
If this trilogy had been written badly – as badly as the books written above – would there be any difference between the ridiculous, shallow “love” those couples shared versus Akiva and Karou? They take one look at each other and are obsessively, irretrievably, in love forever and ever and their love is a love through the ages that cannot be destroyed by time or space. And why? Because they find each other hawt. That’s what it all comes down to.
No seriously, during all those many, many passages where they stare yearningly at each other, do they ever once, EVER, mention each other’s personalities? No. Not once. Which would be fine if Akiva didn’t murder Karou’s race of people in cold blood because one guy killed the girlfriend he knew for a month. Just think about that for a second. Just imagine you’re sleeping with this really hot guy for a few weeks, and then someone kills you, and then you find out that the hot guy not only killed your entire family, but your entire species, who are a bunch of innocent people that had nothing to do with your murder. That’s fucking insane. No human being would ever forgive that. Ever. In any dimension. No matter how fiery his eyes are.
I was under the impression that the series was going in the direction of Karou and Akiva being enemies on different sides of a war, which would have been more interesting. And then I realized, about halfway into Days of Blood and Starlight, that this was not the case. That Akiva murdering Karou’s entire species was just a roadblock to their happily ever after. Y’know, like how Clary and Jace thought they were siblings, or how Dmitri being Rose’s teacher was frowned upon. We always knew those crazy kids would work it out.
“But Akiva’s sorry!” No, actually, he isn’t. He’s sorry that he hurt Karou, and he’ll do anything in his power to make it up to her after murdering her entire family and her race of people. So yeah, he respects her, and doesn’t care about literally anything else. He’s that boyfriend who treats you like gold but treats your friends like shit (except he kills your friends instead). Read the passages carefully where he reflects on his guilt. It’s never actually about killing the chimera that’s he’s remorseful about, it’s always in relation to how he hurt Karou and how he can’t be with her anymore because of what he did. His empathy only extends to her.
“But he started saving chimera in the last book!” Oh, that’s right. I forgot. Yeah, saving like four chimera totally makes up for killing the other thousand that put those four chimera into the vulnerable position they’re in in the first place. Totally the same thing.
“But Karou resurrected the chimera! No harm done!” Yes, but Akiva didn’t know she could do that. That’s not the point! His intention was to kill them.
“That was a long time ago! They’ve moved on!” I don’t get this. I really don’t. Unlike Akiva, Karou genuinely wants to save her people, so I cannot for the life of me understand where her forgiveness comes from, and why it comes so easily. She admits she loves him near the beginning of the book, and is almost angry at him for his guilt. At one point in the book when they think their friends are all dead, the two of them are shyly touching each other and eating fruit together the next freaking day after the massacre like nothing had happened. They just don’t care about anything but each other. The breadth of this stupidity is something I can’t even articulate into words – I’m not a very good writer. I can’t comprehend this. I can’t comprehend how she loves this boring, personality-less robot who murdered her entire family and race of people (yes, I’m going to keep repeating it until it sinks in because apparently I'm the only one who seems to care about that) all because he’s sorry. Especially when you’ve got this sweet, brave boy at your side who’s actually putting in some genuine effort into The Cause you keep going on about.
Ziri. Thank God for Ziri. He and Liraz deserve a star alone in this mess. Good on Liraz for calling her stupid brother out: “Dude, there’s a war going on! Get your priorities straight. You can make out with your soul mate later.” Eliza deserves a star too. Unlike Karou and Akiva, they all demonstrate real sacrifice, and are the real heroes. And of course, like all side characters, they get about a tenth of the credit and reap none of the benefits.
I’m just so frustrated with this. The story started out promising, and yet it was drowned by romantic angst, overwritten, purple-prosey passages that are about nothing, and a weak plot that could have been written in about half the page count. This book is all style, no substance. The Big Bad was so unremarkable, serving as nothing but a plot point to fill in the passages between Akiva and Karou having eye sex, which was boring as hell. The messages in this book are so fucked up and so, so stupid. Romantic lust trumps the love of your family. Peace just happens if you naively want it to – deus ex machina will fix the rest. All ugly people are evil, and all beautiful people are good. Relationships are smooth sailing all the time, and the only hardships are in regards to the mean people keeping you apart. Urgh. Whatever.
Laini, I promise I will read whatever you put out if you put romance on the back burner. You really suck at romance, but you’re good at everything else. ...more
To put it simply, the "strange and beautiful" part worked for me, while the "sorrow" aspect did not.
The writing is whimsical and lovely (some peopleTo put it simply, the "strange and beautiful" part worked for me, while the "sorrow" aspect did not.
The writing is whimsical and lovely (some people have compared the story to a fairytale, which I get), as this works very well in a strange story like this. The characters are a little too fantastical to be real, but I found their quirks and backstories to be very interesting. With these two things combined, I got sucked into the book until the last page.
The tragic love stories on the other hand, were ridiculous . I think I may just have to face the fact that I am completely detached from romantic love altogether, because even the harshest critics seemed to find this romantic. I thought it was stupid. All three women (grandmother, mother and daughter) fall in love in their early teens, get their hearts broken (because they're in their early teens), and then spend the rest of their lives miserable over it. One girl literally turns herself into a bird because the man she loves is a bird enthusiast (!?). One wears a white dress for years on end, bed ridden, and perpetually depressed her entire adult life because her childhood love left her. I just ... WTF? These are not Things people do after a breakup. They were so over-the-top that I just couldn't take their pain seriously.
I'll just be standing over here in the corner with the cold, hard stone in my chest where my heart is supposed to be ... ...more
I can pretty much sum up about 90% of my issues with this book with this magical piece of writing advice that every w 2.5 stars. It was ... not great
I can pretty much sum up about 90% of my issues with this book with this magical piece of writing advice that every writer, no matter how stupid or brilliant, should follow:
If it's not essential, don't include it in the story.
- Love, TV Tropes and Idioms
As someone who had to suffer through countless pages of boring exposition and dialogue from pointless characters that added nothing/next to nothing to the main plot (hello there LA crew, Maia and the pack, Maureen and the vampire clan, Tessa and Jem, THE ENTIRE SHADOWHUNTER COUNCIL AND YOUR BORING ASS MEETINGS), I love this rule. Trim the fat. Flex out the grey matter.
To be honest, even if this rule had been followed, there are still huge flaws, like lack of character development from some major characters, lack of tension and lack of surprises. If I hadn't already had extremely low expectations, I would be furious right now, and I really do feel for the hardcore fans who had to wait two years and are crushingly disappointed. I was actually a little bewildered how uninspired it was. But as such, I could enjoy it on some level for the fluff that it was (once I learned that skimming over the POVs that bored me would not confuse my understanding of the plot at all). Simon and Isabelle were awesome, at least. The only lines I ever LOL'd at were Simon's, and I loved his arc. Who knew he'd end up being my favourite character. ...more
*slams head on desk* Damn it, I liked it. Although to be fair, Cassie's writing has vastly, vastly improved - she's come a long way from City of Bones*slams head on desk* Damn it, I liked it. Although to be fair, Cassie's writing has vastly, vastly improved - she's come a long way from City of Bones and is finally writing in the lyrical way she's been wanting to for so long. Not to mention this is the first well written love triangle I've ever come across, and the resolving of it was - while a little copout-y - dealt with grace and maturity from all parties involved. Minus one star for too many uninteresting subplots.
Guess I'm still stuck in Cassie's thrall. *sigh* ...more
What happens in Book 5 of this never-ending series:
1) Jace is golden with his gold eyes, his gold hair and his gold skin. 2) Maia/Jordan, Alec/Magnus,What happens in Book 5 of this never-ending series:
1) Jace is golden with his gold eyes, his gold hair and his gold skin. 2) Maia/Jordan, Alec/Magnus, Jocelyn/Luke and of course, Clary/Jace fight over who gets to be the Most Epic Couple of All Time. All will give prolific, melodramatic speeches about how their love is true, how they have never loved anybody else, and how nothing in the world is, or ever will be, more important than their significant other. 3) Clary/Jace will always win, because Clary is actually Cassandra Clare, and Clare is in love with Jace, her fictional character. 4) Clary is confused if bad Jace is the real Jace because he’s still as golden and leonine as ever. 5) Maia and Jordan literally waste about 75 pages for no reason. They add absolutely nothing to this book, or this series, at all. 6) Every character acts and talks exactly the same. This is coming from someone who is actually starting to lose track of all the secondary characters and their bland names. 7) Sebastian proves to be evil by making cryptic comments and mooning over his sister. You thought the incest would end in Book 3? Pfft! 8) Simon and Isabelle are the only semi-realistic, semi-interesting couple in the book. 9) Clary needs to keep her burning loins in check from the golden, honeyed, bronze god that is Jace as he tries to ravage her. But don’t worry, this is YA, so they have to make sex the be all and end all of relationships, so the sacred act will be saved for the grand finale. 10) Pages upon pages are spent in vivid detail on the everyday clothes everyone is wearing. 11) Blood. Copious, fetish-y descriptions of blood. 12) Kissing. OH MY GOD the kissing. So. Much. Kissing. Make out sessions upon make out sessions. But no sex, because sex is bad and teenagers in committed relationships who claim to love each other more than life itself can’t have sex. Why? I dunno, they just can’t. It’s not like real teenagers without the whole “soul mate” backdrop ever have sex. Someone always walks in the room, or one party starts gasping “WE CAN’T DO THIS!” or something. (No seriously, WHY is sex such a big damn deal in YA?) 13) Jace become even more golden and heavenly and caramel-y and flaxen-y and honeyed and every other fucking adjective for “dark yellow” there could possibly be than before.
At this point, I don’t even know if I’ll read book 6. There is no passion behind these books at all, like Clare is just going through the motions. This series has become a soap opera, plain and simple, with a fantasy backdrop. I hate to admit this, but the haters are right – the author has no originality, and she never did. She recycles and recycles some more. No way in HELL am I reading “The Dark Artifices” or anything else set in this world. If she decides to step outside this damn series, I’ll consider it. ...more
This is my 200th book added on Goodreads (yay!) so I thought, hey, might as well do a review …
Definitely the weakest of the three storiesThis is my 200th book added on Goodreads (yay!) so I thought, hey, might as well do a review …
Definitely the weakest of the three stories. I’m probably biased because I absolutely adore Goblin Market (I’d go as far as to say it’s my favorite poem of all time) and I didn’t see it done justice here. Granted the story is only about fifty pages, but it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have been more enticing, reflecting its original material. There was one section where we’re told how Kizzy aches to be noticed, and that really got my heart pumping, but other than that, I didn’t find Kizzy desperate enough. Goblin Market is very much based in desire/lust/passion, and I found this too flaky – it wasn’t really the dark and alluring story it tried to be, which had largely to do with its narrator.
And another thing – I’m about to spoil every Laini Taylor book for you – it bothers me how EVERY SINGLE HEROINE that Taylor writes is gorgeous. No, not just pretty, but impossibly, ethereally, uniquely, and perfectly b-e-a-utiful. It’s almost insulting how we’re supposed to feel sorry for Kizzy, an exotically beautiful girl, who’s insecure because she’s not the “average” kind of beautiful. Yeah, whatever.
Spicy Little Curses:
This story is definitely a fairytale, but what I like about it is that it isn’t simple. Sacrifices are made, and not everything is wrapped up in a pretty little package. As always, the writing gorgeous, and the characters are cute and likeable. My only wish is that I wish more attention was focused on Estella, who I found far more intriguing than the two mains.
By Hatchling, I wasn’t very impressed with this book, but this story made up for EVERYTHING. It was twisted, sensuous, and highly creative (my favorite things, naturally).
I wish Taylor had made this one into a full book. I totally would’ve read it. Mab’s back story was heartbreaking – imagining a tiny little girl neglected and abused by those monsters – urgh! It made me go cold all over. Those pages with Mab were impossible for me to tear my eyes away from, despite my horror, and it only made me like her more as a character as an adult. And that “mating” scene was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever read.
The history of the Druj was fascinating as well, although just thinking about them makes my stomach tighten. They’re creepy, they’re horrible, they’re disgusting. As the story unfolds, and we find out why the story is called “Hatchling”, they become even more interesting – the mythos here is amazing. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. And I love the ending, giving them just a little bit of hope for a better future. In fact, the ending was perfect. That last sentence made me smile.
If you’re into “weirder” fantasy, give this a try. The writing is beautiful (Taylor never relies on clichés with her similes and descriptions, which I love!), and you won’t be able to NOT gaze the illustrations. The stories (in my opinion) go from weakest to strongest, so if you must read one, skip to the end and read Hatchling. ...more