Review: Remember Anna Dressed in Blood? Well, *SPOILER FOR DRESSED IN BLOOD* she’s in a realm with the Obemann. Cas gets haunted by the ghost of his g...moreReview: Remember Anna Dressed in Blood? Well, *SPOILER FOR DRESSED IN BLOOD* she’s in a realm with the Obemann. Cas gets haunted by the ghost of his ghost girlfriend. With the help of Thomas and Carmel and a new girl, Jestine , he gets information about Anna from the Order and tries to find her, before she suffers a fate worse than death. I really liked Anna Dressed in Blood. Gory, great characters, ghost hunting and fun. I was looking forwards to this one. I don’t normally listen to actual audiobooks read by a person (I normally just let kindle text-to-speech read aloud to me on walks). When I started this, I listened to the narrator’s voice and just thought “8 hours with this guy. Damn. His voice is annoying”. It grew on me after a bit, but it isn’t the way I imagined Cas to sound. There’s a distinct lack of Anna, despite the fact that she’s in Hell. For a series named after her, you’d expect to see a bit more of her, and I hoped there’d be a bit more because she’s really really cool. She was very save-me when she was here, not quite as...Anna as she was in Dressed in Blood. I also missed the focus on ghost hunting. Cas wallows in pity about the lack of Anna a lot in this one. It gets a little annoying. Thomas and Carmel add a bit more realisticness, and add a bit of depth. Jury’s out on Jestine-to start with, she’s a bit unlikable, but I think you warm up to her in time. I liked seeing more of Thomas. It did the creepy thing a bit better in this one. There’s a scene where the team are going through a forest with a lot of bodies of those who have commited suicide. DON’T TURN YOUR BACK DON’T LOOK AWAY DON’T BLINK GOOD LUCK. Quantum locked corpses chasing teens through a forest. Fun times. (Ok, they’re not officially quantum locked, but that’s the vibe I got from them) The climax added to the intensity, with powerful forces at play and a lot at stake here. The resolution, I have mixed feelings about. From an in-book, plotty way, it’s perfect-it concludes nicely but not in a particularly good way, reflecting that sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expect. From a reader’s point of view,it’s all “no why did you do that???”
Overall: Strength 2.5, more a 3 tea to a disappointing end to a a duology that I loved the first part to.(less)
Review: Emma Connor moves to a fancy new school, after the latest near death experience is the last straw. Not much happens to begin with, but things...moreReview: Emma Connor moves to a fancy new school, after the latest near death experience is the last straw. Not much happens to begin with, but things start drawing her to Brendan Salinger. Such as his good looks. And his niceness. And the fact that they’re soulmates. Which shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but it is due to the fact that she’s meant to die horribly after she finds him. As they try to escape the evils of fellow students and the while idea of the curse, Emma and Brandon realise how tightly together they are bound. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from this, but it certainly wasn’t this! It’s a nice new take on the concept, and it comes off really well. Emma was very nice. You get into her head really well and she’s funny and real. Brandan was nice, but he has annoying habit of showing up to save Emma most of the time. I would have liked her to do a bit more, considering that she handles everything else pretty well-she shouldn’t need someone to come save her from the school bully. Angelique was my favourite character-the fact she’s a witch and also her general way of being makes me think that we’d be good friends. Anthony and Kirsten were realistic and good antagonists. The thing I enjoyed most was the book of the legends and the stories they tell-beautifully written and intriguing. This is very romance, which works plotwise because of the way the legend has it all set up, but when translate into actual happenings, it makes it all a bit instalovey, even when you know it’s all due to the legend. Plot wise, interest levels vary. Low to medium to start with, then you get the legend, theyget higher, then it goes down a bit, then comes up for the climax. I would have liked to see a bit more of the magic side to it all.
Overall: Strength 3 tea to a book for people who want a lot of romance with their magic.(less)
Review: This world knows about the existence of angels, and the angels make a profit of it. Jackson Godspeed is a rising star in this world, and every...moreReview: This world knows about the existence of angels, and the angels make a profit of it. Jackson Godspeed is a rising star in this world, and every girl wants to date him. Apart from Maddy. Guess who ends up the lucky girl? Anyway, among that, someone’s killing angels. And going by the pattern, Jackson’s next. I generally love the world that has been set up here. The angels are wonderfully consumerist, refusing to save a guy from a car crash when they save the one sitting beside him because the first one didn’t have insurance. They’re also humanlike in other ways, chasing after celebrity and fame over the things that you would normally associate angels with. And in Jackson’s case, falling to emotions. Maddy and Jackson are good characters that make a great couple. I like the fact that she’s not totally lovelorn with the angels, and that he cares enough for Maddy to majorly defy what’s expected of him in a society guided so tightly. It was well paced. Something was always happening and I never found myself getting bored with the plot or world. It’s a little predictable, but a lot of fun. I’m still really confused why Jackson was next on the list of angels. It might have been done by fame, but I don’t think he’d done anything major in the angel world by then other than be born pretty. It can’t have been by age, because there was an older guy before him. It seems like a random plot point to be fussing over, but I must have either missed it or not had it explained, and I get a bit picky over things like this, I’m glad there’s room for a sequel, what with the reveal of the antagonist. And then there is a sequel! I’ll read it some time.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a starry supernatural romance with a good murder mystery added in too.(less)
Review: In this dystopian, the population are sorted into classes, Alphas through to Elipson and are this class for life. The conditioning happens eve...moreReview: In this dystopian, the population are sorted into classes, Alphas through to Elipson and are this class for life. The conditioning happens even before they’re born-only Alphas and Betas are individual, whereas Gammas, Deltas and Elisions are mass-cloned. They are then conditioned to think the things typical of their class, and to be useful to the society. Through recreational sex and drugs in free time, everyone is happy and no-one wants to leave. Except Bernard Marx, an Alpha who wants to visit a Savage Reservation. There they meet John, the Savage, who changes his world view completely. I was excited to read this one. I read 1984 a few years ago and really enjoyed it, and was looking forwards to the other big classic dystopian around. The idea of this, the cloning and the keeping everyone happy, is entirely different, and seeing it all keep everyone satisfied is interesting. You can see clearly how Huxley is parodying the consumer society of the time, taking it to ridiculous lengths. The world of worshipping Ford, the idea that making a new thing is better than mending it for the good of the consumer society, and such are obviously taking off boom-time America. The first thirdish of Brave New World is the best. The middle of the novel, the visiting the Reservation, is a complete contrast to the Britain in the way of thinking. John is a character who is a bit interesting, the rest of the Savages also. But I was kind of bored throughout this section. The ending, a confrontation between John and World Controller Mond, brings back the interest a bit, but not that much. Characters, I didn’t really care for them. Maybe at a push Linda and John. But those from the Britain were just a bit samey, boring and they didn’t help you get into the story at all. The plot is mainly characters questioning world views. Others may enjoy this, I didn’t.
Overall: Strength 3 tea to a book with a wonderful new world, but a story that wasn’t that interesting.(less)
Review: Jane and Allison have always been best friends. They’re practically all the other has. So they’re in their senior year, and they’re meant to p...moreReview: Jane and Allison have always been best friends. They’re practically all the other has. So they’re in their senior year, and they’re meant to pair up with a new girl. Jane doesn’t get anyone, but after a small fuss, Allison gets Lanalee. And then Allison really changes. No transformation should be this sudden. Jane does some investigation. And discovers that Allison has done a deal with a devil. I was looking forwards to this- Maureen Johnson plus devils. It’s definitely an original and amusing take on such an old topic of selling your soul to the devil. Jane is quite cool. She does so much for Allison, which is nice. She’s still getting over the breakup with Elton. She’s very funny, and a great narrator. Allison is a bit annoying in that she doesn’t do that much on her own. Lanalee is a really great version of a devil, tied up in bureaucracy and sassing her way through most conversations. Owen was really sweet and the teachers at Jane’s school, once we got to know them for real, were pretty awesome. Devilish is a really quick read. It’s well paced, and things happen quickly. the friendly narration works well and speeds it up further. I would have liked to know the characters and their relationships a bit more before Lanalee showed up. It’s mainly for younger people, but there are some unexpectedly violent scenes.
Overall: Strength 3 to a relatively light take on Faustian contracts.(less)
Review: There's a killer on the loose and Will Graham, FBI man who's good at profiling mad people, as well as visualizing the murder, must find him. W...moreReview: There's a killer on the loose and Will Graham, FBI man who's good at profiling mad people, as well as visualizing the murder, must find him. Wouldn't be so bad if last time he'd gone on a madman hunt, he'd almost been killed by Hannibal Lecter, and wanted to retire. But seeing as this guy is killing a lot of people, and I read this because I watched Hannibal and quite enjoyed it, and, as always with book to screen adaptations, I try and read the source material. I like that this book is very plot focused, as opposed to the TV show (which I know is very very different because that's a prequel and Red Dragon hasn't happened yet and is a TV show and totally different) which is very character focused. I like the plot focus, especially by the end, when the plot really gets along quickly, which is nice, especially when the start is slower. you feel for the characters. Well, Will Graham and the killer. Guy had an awful back story. Will Graham, you feel bad for because of the whole empathizing wholly with killers driving him insane, and I liked him, though I'm not sure how much Hugh Dancy looking like a kicked puppy influenced that. Hannibal Lecter, despite being the guy the series is named after, doesn't appear much in Red Dragon, but what we see of him is intriguing. The psychology aspect is interesting to start with, but after a little while, you do want it to just speed up a bit. Some parts of this were creepy, in both good ways and bad ways.
Overall: Strength 3 tea to a good mystery thriller horror thing, that wasn't quite I was expecting.(less)
Review: Felica Ward died and did not go to heaven. Instead, she is in a blindingly white afterlife known as Level 2. There, she replays memories over...moreReview: Felica Ward died and did not go to heaven. Instead, she is in a blindingly white afterlife known as Level 2. There, she replays memories over and over again- memories of Neil, a boy who she knew when she was alive and really wants to see more of. Then, someone else in Level 2 dies. Then, she learns about a rebellion, and has to decide what she's going to do about it. I liked the idea of being able to rewatch your memories and the concept's originality made me really excited to read Level 2. It was fun when we started seeing the memories, with the whole set up seeming a bit like fantastical Youtube. I also liked this way of seeing characters' backstory. The romance, while being set up as a love triangle by the publishers, isn’t really one, but I liked the way that it was slowly built and we get to see two sides of Felicia. Felicia, she doesn't accept answers without questioning them, which I liked about her. I also liked wondering about what happened while she was a live, and finding it out. I didn't really connect or care for any of the other characters. Julian is pretty much the opposite of Neil, one being badboylike and the other one being sweet and kind. I like the mix of computer/scifi elements, and the religion and mythology of the angels and the general world that Lenore has built up. The angels aren't the ones you often see in YA, mysterious romantic things, but they’re very good new interpretations. I would have liked to know a little more about them. The plot, I got a little lost at points, but the ending was good. The little ending there was. The whole rebels vs Morati thing is finished off very quickly, possibly a bit too much so.
Overall: Strength 3 tea to a book where I was hoping for more. I’d still like to read book 2 though.(less)
Review: Adam Morton’s life is mapped out for him. As a son of a prominent family in the business, he is to become a Luman, guiding dead souls into the...moreReview: Adam Morton’s life is mapped out for him. As a son of a prominent family in the business, he is to become a Luman, guiding dead souls into the afterlife. But he doesn’t want that. He’s already going against Luman norm by staying on at school for GCSEs and trying to date Melissa. Then Adam learns of an ability he has that gives him the chance to save peoples’ lives. This is what happens when he uses it. The thing that drew me in was the title. The summary looks interesting too. The breaking free of family theme isn’t particularly original/captivating, but the setting certainly is. I liked Adam. He’s a very real teenager, with the independence and freedom-wanting side of him really showing, and I liked that. My favourite character was Auntie Jo-she’s crazy in an awesome way. Close second is sister Chloe, and her insistence against the really heavy patriarchal society of the Lumen. I also liked the group of Lumen who come round to Adam’s house for a formal dinner and move the plot along. Melissa is very sweet. I liked the fact that things happen because Adam chooses to make them happen and not just because yeah happenings. It’s good, because it shows responsibility and allows us to explore Adam’s character a bit more through his choices as well as his actions. I liked the romance as well, because Adam deserves some of the normality he really really wants. One big drawback for me was the sending fake emails to the head. I didn’t find it funny, and generally didn't enjoy what took up quite a bit of the book. The world of the Lumen is really fleshed out. I’d like to go back to it in other books.
Overall: Strength 3.5, just about more a 3, to a book with a mixture of reality and fantasy and choices.(less)
Review: Maddy Swift is Normal. Trying to pass food class, sneaking in and out, and going out to dances. This stops when she is struck by lightning. Wh...moreReview: Maddy Swift is Normal. Trying to pass food class, sneaking in and out, and going out to dances. This stops when she is struck by lightning. Which makes her a zombie. Under the wing of some fellow zombies, Chloe and Dane, Maddy starts to adjust to life as a one of the undead. Even when you take into the fact that Zerkers, crazy ones past civilised zombie-ism, are running round her high school. I’d heard of Rusty and his books ages ago and so was happy to see he got a deal in the UK. These zombies are very original. I like the fact that there’s more to them than eating brains, but that is a big part of them. I also like the use of the lightning-not the bolt on the creators table, more a bolt while out doing normal things, and the subversion of the trope is good. The main characters, Maddy, Chloe and Dane, are all very likable and make a great friendship group. Love interest Stamp is cute, but he doesn’t really do much. I like the fact that Maddie was quite active and did lots of things despite just being throne into this new world with its bureaucracy and rules. Chloe is my favourite character because she just wins in terms of coolness. The writing is chatty, open and fun. I love the chapter titles. All the things that happen to Maddy after she becomes undead are unpredictable and crazy. The climax at the school was well done. I liked the circular structure-the way it comes back to the guy in the blue suit…
Overall: Strength 3 tea to a fun zombie romance. (less)
Review: Patroclus, son of a king, is just a boy when he is exiled for accidentally kiiling another boy. Sent to the court of King Peleus, he gradually...moreReview: Patroclus, son of a king, is just a boy when he is exiled for accidentally kiiling another boy. Sent to the court of King Peleus, he gradually befriends and falls in love with his son Achilles, growing close over training for war and despite sea-goddess Thetis, Achilles’ mother, disapproving. Carry on a few years. Helen of Sparta’s been kidnapped. Achilles is destined to go to war and be the greatest of the Greeks. Patroclus is honour bound to go to war because of an oath he swore when he was nine and being put up as a suitor for Helen. Together they go to war and meet their destinies. I’ve been in love with Greek mythology since I was...eight? maybe. And ever since we studied the Trojan War in history when I was ten, I’ve loved it (even though the thing I’ve always remembered most is that Hector dies and Achilles drags his body round Troy three times). So yeah. Retelling of Illiad. Fun times. Patroclus is really the main character, despite the title. You follow him from an early age, you get into his head a lot, you see him following around Achilles a lot. Achilles is a bit annoying at times, but also kind at times, mainly because Patroclus asks him to be. My favourite character is Briseis, a girl from one of the villages raided that Patroclus asks Achilles to claim, and then befriends. I also really liked Odysseus. Some of the Greek kings were idiots. The romance features heavily. The connection between Patroclus and Achilles is different to the typical male/male relationship structure seen in Ancient Greece-it’s a very deep one, grown over years, that you can easily see how it would set up the climax of Patroclus’ story-Achilles sulking after Briseis is taken, Patroclus going off in Achilles armour, and the following events. You get a lot of action written well. It’s all very quick, you feel as though you’re there. Madeline uses the mythology really really heavily, giving sea-goddess Thetis a starring part, and having gods like Apollo show up onthe battlefield. I would have liked to go a little more into the way that the gods interact with humans, but I guess that wasn’t really the focus. Also, there’s a lot of stories from along the timelines of Patroclus and Achilles, for example the killing that sets it up, the training of Patroclus and Achilles with centaur Chiron, the hiding as a woman at someone’s palace that Achilles does to avoid being called to war and so on. I would have liked Madeline to put in a bit more of her own spin on things like plot and characterisation, instead of the only major additions to the stories I already know being Patroclus gushing over Achilles (which he does fairly regularly). The writing is poetic, the dialogues a little less so. It’s kind of awkward going into a book knowing that your narrator dies. However, Madeline keeps the story going after this happens, really well, before drawing it to a good conclusion.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a beautiful retelling of the Illiad, with further backstory and character interaction. (less)
Review: This is the story of Hades and Persephone, in which Hades is female. Hades offers Persephone freedom from the expectations of Olympus, romance...moreReview: This is the story of Hades and Persephone, in which Hades is female. Hades offers Persephone freedom from the expectations of Olympus, romance grows between them and Zeus tries to take Persephone to do what he wants her to do. Hades and Persephone is a famous story, not particularly one of my favourites due to the fact that it can be read as rape, but anything that retells Greek myths well is my kind of thing. It starts off with Persephone falling in love with the nymph Charis and planning to leave so that Persephone doesn't have to do what Olympus says. Then Zeus rapes Charis because, well Zeus is Zeus, aka a colossal asshole and also a complete fricking monster at times, leaving Persephone alone. Then Persephone, after meeting Hades at Olympus, chooses to go with her, and, with the help of Pallas, settles in to life in the Underworld. Persephone is nice enough. She isn't particularly standout to start with, but she's likable and sweet. By the end she's standing upto people and being a bit more independent. Pallas is a bit more interesting. Hades is the best-more on that later. Charon is very interesting-a merge of all the souls he has collected payment in formats other than money. The romance, it was a bit more subtle than I would have liked because at times it didn't feel there. The plot is good, mainly involving finding a way to stand up to Zeus. There's some nice development of Persephone's character. I love Hades' resentment at the fact that humans don't believe a woman can run the Underworld, when she does it fine. I feel like this could be a metaphor for the whole ancient Greek view of lesbianism (ie, it doesn't exist, because sex can't happen if a penis isn't involved) but could also be a general rage against the patriarchy, which I'm also totally up for. Sarah's writing style is very gentle and descriptive. I liked it and it suited Persephone's character.
Overall: Strength 3.5, probably more a 4, to a retelling that added more to it's original story.(less)