Can I just really quickly share my history with this series with you? I won't blath...moreFind this and more reviews at The Demon Librarian.
Stars in my Eyes
Can I just really quickly share my history with this series with you? I won't blather on about myself for long - promise. It's just that this series was kinda pivotal to my transformation from "occasional reader of mystery novels", to "carnivorous reading fanatic and devourer of all things paranormal" because it was the first true Urban Fantasy series I ever read and the one that opened my eyes to this amazeballs genre. It was also the first book I ever read with a sex scene in it! Are you having that? At the ripe old age of 29 I had the blinders firmly ripped off my eyes by a Ms Karen Chance and her scorching and (as I thought then) scandalous love scenes! I finished book one wondering what the hell I'd just read, and why the hell I couldn't stop thinking about it and all the amazing and endless possibilities there were for a character that could shift through time and space - and immediately ordered the rest of the series! The rest, as they say, is history and four years later I have the sixth book in the series as an ARC to review! If I had Pythian powers and went back to tell 29-year old me that little nugget of information, she'd probably say I was deluded or crazy or both.
I'm a lucky, lucky girl:)
So, with that intro in mind, I think it's safe to say that I love this series! And that's not only because of what it did for me as a reader, or because of any sentimental attachment I have to it, but because of its brilliance, its wit, and its unrivalled cleverness. I cannot even express how mind-boggling some of the time-shift stuff is! Scenes that take place in one book that don't make sense until much later when you realize how much time travel back and forth has been going on. The amount of planning and foreshadowing involved in all that... I can't even. It's just too awesome to compute. And Ms Chance's world, although complex, is so solid. There's not a single grey area in her worldbuilding, and even if there were, it would be because she planned for it to be there three books ago. 'Cause she likes grey. And because she can. Seriously, people quiz her nigh on a daily basis through her Facebook page as they try to get their heads around some of the more head-bending aspects of her plots, and she's thought of everything and then some. There are no chinks in her armour of awesome that I've found.
Moving on to this particular book, now that I've paid my dues for never really reviewing any of the others back in the day (lol). Cassandra Palmer - Cassie to most - has advanced as the series has progressed, as all good main characters should, and as evidenced here in TEMPT THE STARS. Resolutely putting the kibosh on people - vamps, mages, and now witches! - trying to manoeuvre her from point A to point B all the time, and just being more dominant and forthright in general. She could also possibly maybe hit the side of a barn with a gun now, too, thanks to Pritkin, and her power quotient has gone through the roof when compared to that of the smiley face T-shirt-wearing girl we met back in Touch the Dark. Having said that, it's not a complete transformation - the girl whose first instincts are to run and hide hasn't been completely smothered. Indeed, running and hiding are sometimes the best options available to a savvy heroine. But recently, and most especially in this book, she's been letting her "take no prisoners" side out a lot more. That, combined with the intelligence and common sense she's always shown around the vamps, who, in this series are about as sneaky and manipulative as they come, though rarely evil, and you've got yourself an incredibly well-rounded and sympathetic character - who now also kicks ass! Don't you just love it?
In TEMPT THE STARS, Cassie is also forced to take a look at her somewhat closed-off emotions. Not that she's ever been cold, exactly, but wary? Reserved? Oh, yes. Letting people in is extremely difficult when it's been proven time and again that those people will be the first in the firing line by any who wish to control her and her powers, which are now more than just potential - they're a smack-you-in-the-face reality. But being a closed book can be lonely, and there are certain characters who have been slowly chipping away at her emotional shields for quite some time now, and it might just be time to let them in, whether she wants to or not!
Of course, the BIG thing everyone wants to know about TEMPT THE STARS is where the heck Pritkin is, right? Well, I'm not going to tell you. Ms Chance herself is notoriously strict about spoilers so it would be more than my life's worth to spill the beans. But, let's just say that being the world's chief seer - officially now, even - has its perks as well as its pitfalls. And it also has the potential to make the impossible... slightly less so.
And that's it. That's all you're getting from me.
As with all instalments in the series, TEMPT THE STARS is bursting with incredible action scenes with spells whiz-popping here, there and everywhere, often followed directly by the most exquisite introspection scene or a hushed conversation with one of the now treasured stable of characters such as Marco (LOVE him!) or Billy Joe (LOVE him, too!). Some people might say the pacing is too up-and-down, but not me. I think the balance is perfect. For fans of the series who already know this world well, I'll just say that it was business as usual - though with a slightly different feel to it as we explored different settings and magics - and just as incredible as you thought it would to be. Plus twelve. Some authors just seem to have a Mary Poppins-like carpet bag full of endless ideas, and Karen chance is definitely one of them.
There's not a lot else to say without revealing naughty things I'm not supposed to, so I'll just leave you with this: TEMPT THE STARS IS THE BEST OF THE SERIES SO FAR - BY A COUNTRY MILE!
And I love John Pritkin.
5 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.(less)
Into the Hollow picks up right where On Demon Wings left off and begins with a tough decision for our gal Perry Palomino. A dec...moreAww, this was so good!
Into the Hollow picks up right where On Demon Wings left off and begins with a tough decision for our gal Perry Palomino. A decision I was silently squeeing over going "SAY YES, YOU NUMPTY!" It also shows us a side to Mr. Declan Foray we've never really seen before since he's always been in a relationship in the past. I think I rather like the free and single version of Dex. Again, SQUEE!
And there's not just the changes in Dex's behaviour to get used to, but you'll also recall he'd transformed a lot physically when he (eventually) showed up in On Demon Wings (he was all buff and stuff). And that's not the only difference we see in him over the course of this book.
If you'd asked me before I began Into the Hollow I'd have told you it wasn't possible for me to love Dex more than I already did, but it turns out that's total bumf because I found him even more irresistible in this book than ever before! He was just so patient but still determined, cheeky, badass, adorable, annoying and absolutely everything in between. I just love him!
The plot wasn't quite as creepy or scary this time but it was definitely action-packed and full of some great dramatic scenes (which I loved). In fact, I'd say this instalment was more Urban Fantasy than Horror—much like Red Fox was—and it was super duper fun and got the old adrenaline pumping nicely.
As well as dealing with the emotional fallout from the last couple of books, Dex and Perry are asked to investigate a potential "creature" sighting in the Canadian Rockies. But even with everything they've seen, they're unsure how much credence they can put in the testimony of one of its supposed victims, so the only solution is to go check it out for themselves.
There was also a moment or two of this book that made me very interested in things to come with regards to Dex and his past demons. Very interesting developments indeed.
My new favourite nickname for an animal (or vegetable, or mineral) ever has to go to Twatwaffle the llama. Pure unadulterated genius and my new favourite word of the week.
Sigh. Of course, the sad thing is now I've run out of books! I knew this would happen, obviously, but I didn't think it would feel quite this crappy. I've got the shakes, withdrawals, extreme lethargy (although I think I had that last one already) and just general uninterest in anything anybody whose name isn't Karina Halle has written. Ever.
I think I'm going to have a problem here because I already gave book one, Darkhouse, 5 stars because I thought...moreI love this series. It's now official.
I think I'm going to have a problem here because I already gave book one, Darkhouse, 5 stars because I thought it was awesome on toast with a side order of shamazeballs. But this one was undeniably, unquestionably and indisputably better in almost every sense. So where do I go from here? I do not have 6 stars, people! Everyone knows all books have to be rated out of 5 and that half stars are against God's plan, so how can I express the, the...betterness of this one? Yes, I am aware betterness isn't a word. But it should be!
In my first joint review with Janice I said that I suspected there may end up being more to the series than just ghosts and ghost-hunting. And I was right! There's so much more. I really, really loved the storyline for this book. And the setting. And all the extra paranormal elements. And the fact that it was more mystery based - almost a whodunnit. And most especially, I loved the developments between Perry and Dex!
I'm just flabbergasted at how much they both seemed to change before my very eyes in this book, and in each other's. They say that scary, life-threatening events will form an emotional bond between two people, and I certainly think that was part of it. But I also think Perry and Dex are two people who just fit together anyway. Like slightly broken puzzle pieces, they each may not be completely whole, but they still fit.
I have to admit to a certain amount of fangirl squeeing when it became apparent they would have to feign a higher level of closeness during the case they were working on down in Red Fox. Anything that might have forced them to be in the same room where they could get to know each other more would have made me happy, but the deception they had to maintain made it even better!
There were some really interesting secondary characters in this book including a blast from Dex's past who provided us with some much-needed back story on him. I loved all that but I'm not yet convinced I like the person who delivered it. His motives are highly questionable.
So, to sum up, in case you missed your cue—yes do I recommend this series! If book one was awesome on toast with a side order of shamazeballs, then book two was spaghetti bloody marvellous with Parmesan genius.
I'm really enjoying this series. I particularly enjoy Deuce's characterisation. She gets so confused at times. Normally overly innocent or naive characters wouldn't be my thing, but her lack of understanding comes from her upbringing—or in her case, a distinct lack thereof. She plainly doesn't understand many things about regular relationships or male/female interactions in particular. When someone is displaying what to us are quite obvious signs of hurt and jealousy, she's totally clueless. She has no frame of reference for dealing with it. And I also like that she acknowledges this lack and rather than jumping wildly to conclusions all TSTL style, she queries it. She just says look, I don't understand all this stuff so unless you talk to me—actually say the words out loud—I am never going to guess what the problem is, 'kay? (Those were not her exact words but you get the general idea).
(How many times can I use the word lack in a paragraph...?)
The main four characters that entered the town of Salvation at the end of the last book: Deuce, Fade, Tegan and Stalker, are all there but have all been separated out into different "foster" homes. Some with more success than others. Fade isn't talking to Deuce and she has no clue why. Tegan is also avoiding her but she thinks she might have figured out the reason for that one. And Stalker...is just Stalker, and nothing seems to phase him and no town's rules will ever truly determine his actions. I've never really said what I think of Stalker. I am a bit conflicted on him, to be honest. His past actions are horrendous to me, but much like Deuce he's a product of his upbringing. He lived wild with his "wolves," more like animals than people, so I'm trying to keep that in mind and not be too hard on him. If Deuce can understand this about him, I should be able to too.
The town is pretty insistent that the new arrivals conform to their rules. Rules which would dictate that Deuce is now back in the "child" category even though in her former life she was an adult, and also that girls are suppose to wear dresses, sew, be pretty, bake, look nice, clean, be demure and polite. All things which Deuce is not and doesn't want to do, of course. She a Huntress, and as it turns out, the town might just need a Huntress a helluva lot more than it needs another pretty girl in a pretty dress.
I found some parts of this book a little slower than book one, if I'm honest, but the ending was excellent and quite moving. I'll definitely be picking up the next one to see how that all progresses from here.
I'm going to assume that if you're reading a review for book 13 in a series, you already are familiar with it and therefore...moreAnother great read by Robb
I'm going to assume that if you're reading a review for book 13 in a series, you already are familiar with it and therefore don't need me to go into what these books are about—just whether or not this one was any good.
It was good. Very good, actually.
We got some progress on the McNab-Peabody situation (two more stubborn people I have never met), and of course Charles as well.
We got some nice scenes with Eve and Roarke. I love how much he worries about Eve when she runs herself into the ground. It's been about a year in book-time since the pair wed now. They are such a great couple.
We got an interesting method of delivery for the crime in that we had knowledge of the killer's games and even their identity way before Eve did. That was different but good. Even though being in a sicko's mind like that is never a fun place to be.
As always, I love reading about how the future technology either helps or hinders Eve in her investigations. In this instance, it was the use of facial putty, synthetic hair and other futuristic enhancements that enabled characters to look totally different and it was very enjoyable to read. ('cause you all know how much Eve loves visits from Trina the beauty technician, right?)
It was another great Audio production as well, with one caveat—
seems to have totally changed how she does Peabody's voice. It used to sound quite nasally and, well, a bit odd, but now she sounds just like Eve which makes it difficult when they are conversing since Robb isn't one for using he said/she said in her rapid-fire dialogue sections. Are you trying to confuse me, Susan, because I will not be bamboozled, dognammit!
I'd seen many favourable reviews for this book before reading it myself, which is always a dangerous thing. Hype and hoopla surrounding a book can often lead to high expectations not being met. And although this wasn't quite as mind-blowing as I'd hoped it would be, it was still a very good, very well-written read, and has great potential for future plots.
I loved the whole idea of the different factions and how it forces our young characters to examine their own personalities and decide exactly what kind of person they want to be. The system initially seems to work well, although it's odd to our eyes, but soon cracks begin to show and insurrection seems inevitable.
There were a couple of great characters in there, including the main one, Tris, a girl with unique qualities and a great sense of honour, as well as others that were not quite as well fleshed out as they could have been.
It's quite a violent world for ones so young, but anyone who's read the Hunger Games will be accustomed to reading about those type of things by now. And they are also handled realistically here, which I appreciated.
Unlike the Hunger Games, which gets off to a very quick start and maintains a fast pace throughout, Divergent slowly creeps up on you instead, culminating in a fantastic tension-filled ending. The training section is long (perhaps overly so), but the plot twist at around 3/4 of the way through was thrilling and slightly terrifying.
The romance was pretty cute. The boy (I shan't say his name for fear of spoilers) is a total sweetie-pie, and admires our heroine despite her own insecurities about being so small/looking so young.
I will definitely be reading the rest of the series, but since I've heard Insurgent has a killer cliffhanger, I've decided to wait until book three comes along, which will be on September 26th 2013.
Recommended to fans of the Hunger Games and other YA dystopians.
Another good one, but lacking in any moments of levity to break the tension.
Even the ever hilarious and good-for-a-laugh Peabody was subdued in this...moreAnother good one, but lacking in any moments of levity to break the tension.
Even the ever hilarious and good-for-a-laugh Peabody was subdued in this one, no thanks to MacNab being a total wolly. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't as much fun as others have been.
There's an assassin on the move in Eve's New York, one that's been on the FBI's most-wanted files for decades. His methods are brutal and hard to read about. I find that sometimes having to listen to the details of the crimes and get inside the killer's head along with Eve, is quite disturbing for me. Especially when it's rapists. I have a really hard time with it so that's why it's always so important for there to be a funny scene (or two or three) to lighten things up a bit. This book was missing that. Peabody was in it very little. Mavis was absent for most of the book too, and even Roarke, who's so often cheeky and playful, was too preoccupied with the crimes going on right under his nose to be his usual charming self.
I did however find this passage that I thought I'd quote since it's a nice reminder of just how gorgeous, intelligent and sexxeh Roarke is. For anyone that thinks Christian Grey is the sexiest billionaire on the block...try again.
She turned toward Roarke's office, then stopped in the doorway. He was at his console; captain of his ship. He'd drawn his hair back so it lay on his neck in a short, gleaming black tail. His eyes were cool, cool blue. The colour they were when his mind was fully occupied. He'd taken off his dinner jacket, his shirt was loose at the collar, the sleeves rolled up. There was something... just something about that look that always and forever grabbed her in the gut. She could look at him for hours, and at the end of it, still marvel that he belonged to her. Someone wants to hurt you, she thought. I'm not going to let them.
As amazing as I'd hoped. I cannot wait for the next one!
I admit to being slightly scared of starting this book. I don't think I've ever seen such a p...moreAs amazing as I'd hoped. I cannot wait for the next one!
I admit to being slightly scared of starting this book. I don't think I've ever seen such a positive buzz about a book that hadn't (at the time) even been released yet. Book Bloggers and Advanced Copy readers were going wild about it; doing these amazing, gushing, hyperbolic reviews. This worried me, because it wouldn't be the first time that that's happened and then I've picked up the book myself and realised it's very prettily written, and highly descriptive, but is otherwise only an average story. And I can't get excited about the talent of a wordsmith alone. You have to tell me a good story as well. That's kind of my mantra when I'm reading: Tell the story, tell the story, tell the story. So when writers get too wordy or try and simile me into submission, I get turned off. Where did my story go?
And for the most part, I would be lying if I didn't say that Kristoff's writing is highly descriptive in places. More so, even, than some of the ones I ended up not liking previously. But holy freaking cow does he back that up with a great story, incredible world-building, phenomenal fantasy, sci-fi and steampunk elements, and to top it all off, a cast of fantastically diverse and complex characters!
Of course, anything worth having is worth working hard for, and for around the first 50-60 or so pages of the book, I was working pretty damned hard! The Japanese language; mostly used for names of weapons, clothing, races, species, gods, myths and of course, character names, made reading difficult initially. I don't really like having to struggle so much, but after all the reviews I'd seen, I felt confident the pay-off would be worth it if I persevered. It was, and then some.
So, what is the book about? Well, it's a very complex world and plot and overall story arc, so I wouldn't even like to try summarising it. But I will tell you your main character is a young girl named Yukiko. She is an excellent strong and positive heroine who needs no hot boy brooding at her to make her appear so. It's not a coming-of-age story, exactly, but definitely an eye-opening journey. It set in a futuristic, or maybe alternate history? (not sure) Japan, where a plant called the Blood Lotus has been discovered and put to great and terrifying use. It powers the great machinery; the sky-ships, the war machines, even the brass and iron body armour of the samurai warriors. But the cost to the world and its citizens is immense. The choking fumes are killing everyone and everything, slowly but surely. Breathing masks and goggles need to be worn at all times. Man is playing a very dangerous and greedy game; thinking only of the benefits now, and not the consequences later. It's quite thought-provoking in that it's not that much of a stretch to imagine our species doing exactly this--especially such an industrious nation as Japan--and its message is clear, and the most ingenious use of entertainment to deliver it since WALL.E.
So, it looks like someone needs to shake things up a bit, right? But our Yukiko is just one girl, and only 16 at that. She has no power. But perhaps she has the strength after all (spot the Princess Bride quote), if only she has the help of oh, say for example, a badass THUNDER TIGER!
Check out this awesome image of Yukiko and her Thunder Tiger—or griffin—Buruu. Isn't it cool?
Stormdancer by GENZOMAN
Buruu's character—and he definitely is a character—was a fantastic part of the story. His dialogue—which is telepathic and all done in shouty capitals—was excellent and often highly amusing. I loved him!
There were several other characters I grew to appreciate and as the epic final chapters came to a close, I found myself deeply concerned over their whereabouts and well-being. That's not to say it ends on a cliffhanger—it doesn't—but there are many unanswered questions and threads left unresolved and I NEED THE NEXT BOOK RIGHT NOW!
In summation, do I recommend this book? Hells yeah. Who to? I don't know... everyone? I'm not sure who to recommend it to specifically, because it's so unlike anything else with it's blend of genres. Even if you've read Steampunk before that will in no way prepare you for this book. My advice is to just go and buy it, if it's not for you, hand it to your friend and they'll probably read it, love it, and tell you you're a crazy person not to have loved every single syllable. And they'll probably give you a cookie or something. So everyone's a winner.
5 phenomenal Stars ★★★★★ ARC provided for an honest review.
P. S. I found some more pictures I thought were very Stormdancery:
The sky-ship with the dragon on the front. [image error] Airship by ~SnowSkadi
This was a very cute little short story. One I wish someone had instructed me to read before Fury's Kiss. Yes, I know the reading ord...moreSnack-sized Dory
This was a very cute little short story. One I wish someone had instructed me to read before Fury's Kiss. Yes, I know the reading order would suggest it needed reading beforehand, but it was so short I was pretty sure I wouldn't have been missing much. Well, I can tell you that events from this story are referenced in Fury's Kiss, and it would be nice to know what the hell they are talking about. Instead of giving it the old "Wuuut?" head scratch.
Now I just need to figure out which short story told you all about this Geminus dude. I'm thinking possibly Buying Trouble as he was involved in the smuggling and cross-breeding stuff.
Thirty pieces of silver, but what is the price of a soul?
And we're back for book 11 in the In Death series with a gruesome killing spree that puts a...moreThirty pieces of silver, but what is the price of a soul?
And we're back for book 11 in the In Death series with a gruesome killing spree that puts a taint on everything Eve Dallas stands for. As usual—and this is something that I find quite comical at this point—there's a connection to Eve's billionaire husband, Roarke.
Well, he does own half the planet!
I thought the crime and mystery aspect was a great improvement over the last one. There's nothing Eve won't do to avenge the dead, and it hits even harder when it's one of their own. The connection to Roarke and the re-emergence of a contact from his less than spotless past is worrying for Eve. In trying to protect Roarke, a wall of tension is built between them which leads to some really intense scenes that were very satisfying to read.
To break the tension...Well, what does a girl do when her husband is being a butthead? Why, go and get rip roaring drunk with her oldest friend of course!
Now, I think I've mentioned before how good the audiobook narrator, Susan Ericksen, is for this series. She's made me laugh many a time with her interpretations of Robb's characters. But drunk Mavis has to go down as the ultimate achievement in audio narration. Ever. Somebody hand that woman an award, please. It was just...ah, so funny.
So, all together a great instalment with some graphic scenes of violence, some tense emotional moments, and a drunk Mavis as the proverbial cherry on the top. How does that sound?
Murder on stage. But is it simply a case art imitating life for Detective Eve Dallas?
This was a slight dip in the road for me for the In Death series...moreMurder on stage. But is it simply a case art imitating life for Detective Eve Dallas?
This was a slight dip in the road for me for the In Death series. The quality of the wrting was at its usual exceptional level; fast-paced, gritty, funny, sentimental. All the usual good stuff. But unfortunately this time the subject matter of the crime simply didn't ignite my imagination. I'm sure it was just a personal thing.
There's a murder within the first few paragraphs right on the stage in front of Eve during a performance of a play that's being backed by her squillionaire husband, Roarke. So the killer is known right from the beginning, but the question really is, who switched the fake knife for a very real one?
I didn't really like the cast of self-adsorbed, borderline narcissistic actors and luvvies. They weren't supposed to be enjoyable, I don't suppose, but it also had a somewhat old fashioned feeling to the format. A bit like an old Agatha Christie or Hercule Poirot, where all the players are known, and it's just a question of interrogating each of them until somebody spills their guts. Like I said, it just wasn't for me.
However, I'd say it was worth reading it for one hilarious scene alone. Eve gets her new computer unit in her office at Cop Central. Funniest. Scene. Ever. The narrator truly outdid herself on it.
I'm also loving the developments with MacNab and Peabody. So cute, I really hope it keeps going.
So, all in all not my favourite of the series, but not without a few high points, either.
Despite taking a while to grab me and a few minor complaints about the characterization of the Wird sisters, this ended up being a really fun urban fantasy romp with some great action scenes, sizzling sexual tension and really fun magical elements.
Told from eldest sister Celia Wird's POV, she and her three sisters are introduced to us in the opening scene already in hot water with master vampire, Misha, having been summoned to "vampire court" on charges of murder. This introduction—which was used as a convenient way to tell us about each sister's unique supernatural abilities—raised instant warning flags for me as it became apparent the sisters had all been given personas so large and so extreme as to be bordering on the ridiculous. I realize the need to make it easy for us differentiate between them, to make each stand out, but for someone like myself who appreciates more subtly nuanced characters, the Spice Girl-like qualities of the sisters' personalities made me baulk.
There's the brash, crude and loud sister—Taran (Scary Spice).
There's the blonde-haired, timid and shy sister—Emme (Baby Spice).
There's the fun-loving, bouncy, calls everyone "dude" sister—Shayna (Sporty Spice).
The protagonist, Celia, however (who must be some amalgamation of Posh spice and Ginger Spice since that's all that's left) was a much more complex character (thank heavens!) and I grew to like her a lot. As the eldest sister, she's taken on the role of protector/defender of the family, having also the strongest physically ability when it comes to fighting. She's a Tigress shape-shifter with some other... interesting... abilities as well, all derived from a curse that was put on all mother Wird's unborn children. A badass when it comes to fighting, but totally hopeless when it comes to relationships and those "men" thingies, I really enjoyed discovering these two very different sides to her nature. I also felt quite sorry for her since she was quite a lonely character as well. Having an inner "beast" that people—whether they know it not—can sense, has always caused them to give her a wide berth. Her sisters are the ones that go on dates and get noticed by the opposite sex, not Celia. Until, that is, very Hot and very Alpha werewolf, Aric, who is her beast's equal in every way, comes on the scene!
I loved Aric. He was the perfect blend of strong manly man and total sweetie-pie. The romance was one of my favourite things about this book, actually. That and the action! It's not just the personalities that are big in Robson's world! Oh no. Even the Big Bads were Marvel comic book-like in their size, strength and descriptions. They could give Hulk a run for his money any day of the week! I found myself glued to these sections and up rather late at night finishing the book as I just couldn't put it down. Which is always nice.
So overall, while not perfect, this book was Fun with a capital F once it got going and I will definitely be reading the next one, A Cursed Embrace, when it comes out in July 2013. If you can accept some larger than life aspects in your Urban Fantasy, you should enjoy this book, as I did.
4 Stars ★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A cracking mystery with great characters and a fascinating world of elemental magic users.
I really enjoyed this. The mystery element was so very str...moreA cracking mystery with great characters and a fascinating world of elemental magic users.
I really enjoyed this. The mystery element was so very strong and compelling. You could get away with calling it Urban Fantasy, but perhaps Paranormal Mystery would also work as it was so centred around that aspect. It had a great cast of characters, awesome magical abilities and some surprises you just won't see coming.
The story is presented in the 1st person through Aidan Brook (f), a water Elemental (someone who can control water, call it from the air or from a direct source and basically make it do anything she wants) who has been in exile for the last decade after a tragedy forced her to leave behind everything she once knew, including her best friend, a fire Elemental called Sera.
I was pretty much hooked from chapter one. After a brief introduction to Aidan and her current situation, a blast from the past in the form of her one-time BFF sends her whole world off kilter, and the mystery that drives the book is revealed.
I thought the writing was excellent; intelligent, witty, thought-provoking. It immediately showed the interesting but highly awkward friendship dynamic that is left after Aidan's 10-year absence. Even starting out cold, not knowing these character at all yet, I felt the tension and lost years stretching between the two. Watching the former best friends walk that shaky line between wanting to fall back into their old, familiar habits and camaraderie, but holding back through fear of being hurt again. It was great stuff.
I found the character voices were very clear and distinct. It ended up being a really diverse bunch of people (and supernatural races) once the motley "crime solving" crew was fully assembled, and I enjoyed each character in turn. The secondary ones were just as well drawn as the main two, and I particularly grew fond of Simon :).
The reason for their gathering is that they, led by Sera, have all decided to join forces to end this mystery Elemental's killing spree once and for all. The killer is not being careful about revealing them to the human population, and that puts them all at risk. It was bad enough when it was happening 10 years ago, and Aidan's been having nightmares about it ever since. She can barely believe it's happening again. But when Sera reveals that another of her close friends, second only to Sera, has been murdered, Aidan has no choice but to return to the scene of the killer's, and her, crimes.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the magical abilities of the Elementals and Shapeshifters, complete with their full and fascinating origin stories. There were several expertly dispersed sections of backstory and species history. I could see the sections coming, but rather than feeling like I needed to prepare myself for a dispassionate info-dump, it was done deftly through conversation, sometimes in a story-telling format, or other times just through the narrative, and felt perfectly natural. Also cleverly interspersed were the clues, suspicions and conjecture regarding the elemental killer's identity and motivations. I did manage to correctly guess one of the big surprises, but was TOTALLY side-swiped by another. Which was awesome.
If I could wish for anything, it would have been for more indications of the budding romantic feelings between Mac and Aidan. I don't mind a slow-forming romance at all, but while I'm waiting, I love watching all the little clues, gestures and lingering looks, etc.. So there could have been a whole boatload more of that for me. Also, a bit more emotional connection to Aidan, which may come naturally over the series as I get to know her more.
To sum up, if you love a good mystery and powerful magical abilities and can appreciate well-crafted characters, get this book.
Highly recommended to fans of Amanda Stevens' Graveyard Queen series. UF for grown-ups.
4 Stars ★★★★ Review Copy: Received from the author for an honest review
Well now. I've gone from 'like' to 'love' over the space of two books. I 'liked' the plot for book one, but I 'loved' the plot book two. It wasn't tha...more
Well now. I've gone from 'like' to 'love' over the space of two books. I 'liked' the plot for book one, but I 'loved' the plot book two. It wasn't that it was better written either because the standard was already high, but it was just more interesting because it had such devastating repercussions for Duclie's personal life.
I also loved the new characters that were introduced. Dea, for example, was a nice surprise. I'd grown quite attached to her by the end. I hope she's a regular feature from now on. And getting to know the characters we'd already met before more... intimately was fun too. Especially Knight and Bran. Bran has his moments, but ultimately always ruins it for himself by being a total narcissist. And Knight....ah, Knight. I love Knight Vander!!! (Extra exclamations marks were required- you have no idea). I just can't hide it any longer. I need to confess it to someone. He's too cute/hot/sweet/arrogant/funny/sexy for words. And I think we saw a different side to him in this book, too. Okay, the Knight that we met in book one- the self-confessed "cocky bastard"- is still very much there, but we discovered new depths in A TALE OF TWO GOBLINS and were it a test, he would have passed with flying colours in the "is also a pretty freaking nice guy" department.
This book wasn't perfect. The BIG BAD was unguessable (my red squiggly line maker says unguessable isn't a word, but it so should be) and there were also some pretty major time discrepancies going on between what was said in book one, and what's said here in this one, which in the end I just decided to overlook and make it up for myself. So I was perhaps a bit generous giving it a full five stars (which is not like me at all!), but I enjoyed it so much it seemed mean to mark it down.
If you read my review for book one, The Stubborn Dead, you'll know I had some reservations about the format this series is se...moreLost Souls, Episode two.
If you read my review for book one, The Stubborn Dead, you'll know I had some reservations about the format this series is set to be released in. Which basically is to have each book be novella-length, and to have short, punchy action-filled "episodes" with an overarching character development. I wasn't sure I could get behind that idea, since novellas often just aren't long enough for me to get fully engaged in.
Well, I changed my mind. I'm a female, it's allowed.
I really do think that Hoar might be onto something here. As long as they are released regularly-- i.e. a couple of months apart, not the standard 12 months-- I think the idea might just work. You'd essentially be getting four 60-90 page books a year, instead of one 300-400 page book. Sound good?
Well the way Hoar writes it, it certainly seems to work as she managed to completely change my mind over the course of just two books.
So far, in each one, there's been the main ghost issue to deal with, which takes up probably 80% of the plot, with some nice action scenes and some world-building that's coming along nicely. Then the other 20% is filled with what I'd call characterization scenes; a bit of Rachel's back story, or some nice dialogue scenes between Rachel and her new pals. If anything, the characterization is the area that currently lacks in my opinion, which is no doubt due to lack of page space or any kind of slower scenes to develop them in. You're basically going to have to get to know your protagonist and the people surrounding her very gradually, but I suspect this may make them in some ways more intriguing, and you may find they stay in your mind longer, because you're only fed such little tidbits about them.
On the negative side of that coin, however, it does annoy me somewhat that I don't even know what my main character looks like, or her age. I've basically just been going off the cover for ideas. We did at least get a little back story on Rachel this time around, a bit of her family history, which was nice. But I'll look forward to hopefully getting even more in the next instalment.
The best part at the moment for me is the great ghost stories. They're not your typical Gothic-style, creepy ghosts that are all ethereal and insubstantial, making noises and writing on your bathroom mirror. Oh no. These ghosts will kick your ass there and back again. Then maybe eat your soul afterwards 'cause, you know, they're a bit peckish after all the ass kicking.
I also love the burgeoning friendship (and maybe more) that Rachel has going with Kit. I'm dying to know more about the four presences that come to take souls to the Other Side and why one keeps lingering. And who the heck are the people with their eye on Rachel are and what do they want with her?
More answers please!
All in all, I'm glad I gave this series a go despite my reservations about the books' size. They are now something I will look forward to as a delicious little morsel that gets more interesting the more I find out.
4 Stars ★★★★ Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review
Another great instalment in the In Death series, this time with a healthy dose of personal drama.
There's a killer on the loose who seems to have more...moreAnother great instalment in the In Death series, this time with a healthy dose of personal drama.
There's a killer on the loose who seems to have more than a little medical expertise and is leaving his 'patients' all over Eve's New York. Not acceptable.
Eve Dallas is many things; brave, dedicated, tenacious, fierce, headstrong. Until this book I don't think I quite realised how much of that...spirit, comes from her job as a cop. Her status, the symbols of her position; her gun, her badge, and just what might happen if those things were ever threatened, has never been explored before. In this one it is and with shocking results.
Roarke, as usual, was auditioning for the World's Best Husband award. He certainly gets my vote. He was even seen dispensing a bit of tough love. Which was probably just as tough for him to give as for Eve to receive. Maybe more so. “Roarke, the lieutenant has just come in from outside. She wore no outer gear. She looks very bad.” “Where is she?” “She’s heading up. Roarke, I insulted her and . . . she apologized to me. Something must be done.” “It’s about to be.”
The mystery was good but for me it was greatly overshadowed by the personal stuff as I'm a bit of a drama junkie. On the positive side, it was great to see everyone rallying to Eve's defence. I hope it makes her realise how respected she is, no matter how prickly she can be sometimes.
A much, much, much better read than book one. The mystery was better, the characterisation of Kita and Nathaniel (aka The Hermit) was better and focus...moreA much, much, much better read than book one. The mystery was better, the characterisation of Kita and Nathaniel (aka The Hermit) was better and focused on more, the plot twists, turns and drama were all really good and the sexual tension has me bouncing up and down waiting for the next book.
I like slow developers. I like to be teased and tantalised by the mere possibility of a love connection over several books. Insta-love has its place when I'm in the mood for it, but those are not the pairings that stick with me long after I finish a series. I need time to grow to love the characters as they grow to love each other. But, having said that, I'm glad to confirm I was at least given some nice crumbs in this book. In book one you might have been forgiven for wondering if you were imagining the tension (If you are not an expert at spotting it like me:)). But in this one we got....some good scenes, shall we say.
More now please! But not too much more, only a little. And then maybe take it all away again for a while just to torment me and make me that much happier when you give it back again.
I'm a glutton for punishment, I know.
The plot is a kind of 'whodunnit' affair and it involves Nathaniel and Kita having to appear in front of the vampire council. This all reminded me a bit of Anita Blake, only back when Anita Blake was good and before she became a ho-bag. And for those who know how much I now detest Trampita, you'll know I don't make that comparison lightly, but you've gotta hand it to Robocrotch, when she was good, she was good. She is, after all, the original and very first UF heroine.
The vampires in this series remind me of those same types. They've lived a bit too long and are a bit too bored to be safe around humans. You've got the rare ones who are decent and good (like Nathaniel) but even he isn't totally tame; ones who are bad but maybe a little bit good if the situation calls for it and it suits them; and then there are the just plain bad; and lastly, the scariest of them all: the complete headcases. 'Cause you just can't reason with the crazies.
So, to sum up, I'm now very glad I started this series and am glad to see it's been re-released and had its third book confirmed for august 2012. I will be one of the first in line to buy it. Jolly good stuff.
This is the second instalment in the Darkness Falls series and will probably contain spoilers for those that haven't yet read book one,...more[image error]
This is the second instalment in the Darkness Falls series and will probably contain spoilers for those that haven't yet read book one, Wilde's Fire.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series- it almost got a 5- and therefore I came to this book with a relaxed, bring-it-on kind of attitude. So it really came as a shock when I found myself struggling to pay attention during the middle section of the book.
The beginning was great and it picked up straight after the cliffhanger ending of Wilde's Fire. And it was clear right from the onset that Perth's character would be playing a bigger role this time, which was great because his character, and indeed his entire race, is very intriguing. Perth's the kind of character that you want to believe is like a good egg in an otherwise bad batch, and yet something always prevents you from completely trusting him. Still, it was great that he got to play a much bigger part in it since he is a big obstacle in the prophecies of both Arland and Kate.
My problems came shortly after this good start, however. The characters had to make a journey which took probably around 80-100 pages. And during that time, it seemed as though the plot was stuck on a loop. The same things kept repeating themselves; have a long, drawn-out conversation with someone- usually a cryptic one about prophecies, or one about Brad- then encounter some demons or shapechangers and fight for your life for a bit. Rinse and repeat x 3. I'm afraid I put the book aside for several days due to this section; it just wasn't holding me.
The length of the dialogue scenes was probably the biggest factor in slowing things down. Of course, it doesn't help that the stiff and formal dialogue was one of the few negatives I found in book one, and this one seemed to only exacerbate that negative for me. In fact, in order for Kate to fit in at the place they were heading to, they were trying to get her to speak more formally, and kept criticising her every time she used a contraction like don't instead of do not. There just never seemed to be any dialogue that felt like a natural conversation. It was always a pledge or a declaration or a speech or a prophecy. I think that's why it always feels so... stiff.
The main "problem" in this book- meaning the issue that characters are facing, not my own personal problem with it- felt extremely contrived. These people are a hair's breath from extinction and I'm just not sure I believe they would be behaving like schoolchildren over who gets to marry whom when there's only a handful of them left. So the whole "pretending Kate and Arland aren't in love so as not to upset the ground Dwellers" bit, was really annoying.
Dughaul/Brad (sp?) was barely in the story, so aside from the rinse and repeat cycle of battling demons and shapechangers, there was no Big Bad for them to face. The main nemesis for Kate and Arland seemed to be the arrogance and ignorance of the Encardians who were only interested in fighting amongst themselves.
I probably will read the next one to see how it all turns out, because I do love Arland's character, and I do think the world Wade has created is wonderfully unique and interesting. I just hope it reverts back to the great story-telling of book one.
2.5 Stars ★★★ Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review
And finally it's Rionna's book! I was intrigued by Rionna's character right from book one when she stomped up to a group of warriors, in trousers and...moreAnd finally it's Rionna's book! I was intrigued by Rionna's character right from book one when she stomped up to a group of warriors, in trousers and helm, and showed them just who was bitch with the pointy end of her sword. Oh, how that doth ticketh all my boxes. When she took her helmet off and they realized it was a lass? Hee hee! I love it!
And who has she been paired with but the surliest of the brothers, Caelen McCabe. And man who's convinced all women are treacherous wenches just waiting to strike after a betrayal when he was but a young lad. It's fair to say Caelen has a few issues to work through, and only someone as strong as Rionna could have possibly tamed this particular Highlander's heart.
“'Tis a universal truth that when a lass says she's been thinking, a man ought to be wary.”
It was another emotional book but I didn't cry quite as much as I did over book two (probably since that's impossible). And there was a lot more action than in the previous book too, which I like. I wouldn't have expected anything less from Rionna's book, really.
The overall story arc has been wrapped up nicely and I have to say this has been a really wonderful trilogy. Maya Banks will be an auto-buy author from here on out.
Highly recommended to all fans of Scottish romance.
I thoroughly enjoyed the last book, Kitty Takes a Holiday, with the caveat that although all the shocks and twists entertained me, I didn't actually l...moreI thoroughly enjoyed the last book, Kitty Takes a Holiday, with the caveat that although all the shocks and twists entertained me, I didn't actually like one of the plot developments. So I decided to go straight to the next book to see if it was just a temporary place holder, or something more permanent.
Well, it's permanent, and not something I can easily accept. I think Carrie Vaughn has made an epic mistake with her characters. She set up one potential plot line beautifully, then turned you in a completely new direction, with no set up whatsoever, so as a reader you're just like 'you're kidding, right? I mean, seriously, not really. Say it ain't so!'. So much so, that I did what I almost never do, which is to peek ahead at reviews to see how long it lasts. And unfortunately it looks like it's as permanent as permanent gets. So I have actually made the decision at this point not to read any further, which is really sad considering I gave the first four books 4 and 5 star ratings. I just don't think it's good for my health or sanity to read something that's going to annoy me from here on out.
I'm sorry this review is all so very vague. People that have read it will know to what I refer (I hope). And I would never spoil it for those that haven't. Or maybe it just doesn't bother anyone else. Who can say?
But for me, for the moment at least, it's goodbye Kitty. *sadface*
This is my favourite book of the three so far. The story was very different in feel to the first two with the new setting of Kitty's holiday house, th...moreThis is my favourite book of the three so far. The story was very different in feel to the first two with the new setting of Kitty's holiday house, the strong presence of both Ben and Cormac, and the very surprising plot developments that occurred!
Also I enjoyed the mystery element over the more political plot of the last book. All in all, a much more satisfying read in terms of emotional connection and character development.
Kitty has basically decided to hide herself away for a month or so to get over the shock of her new status as the world's first celebrity werewolf after being filmed Changing on live TV in the last instalment. She's also supposed to be using the time to write a book, her memoirs, which isn't going quite as well as hoped.
I started a new page and wrote a title at the top: “Ten Ways to Defeat Macho Dickheadism.” Then I realized that most of the world’s problems stemmed from macho dickheadism, and if I could defeat that I could save the world.
I can't say a whole lot more about what else happened because of spoilers, but it was very shocking. At first I liked the development, until I realized what else it was going to affect and what it meant for other characters. Then I definitely didn't love it so much. However, I still have to give the book an extra star for entertainment, even if I don't like the developments. I'm hoping they are only temporary. I'll head straight on over to the next book to find out.
Another fun romp in the woods with Kitty. These books are so easy to read; like little delicious snack-sized morsels. I am totally lapping them up.
In...moreAnother fun romp in the woods with Kitty. These books are so easy to read; like little delicious snack-sized morsels. I am totally lapping them up.
In this one there was a lot less of the squicky submissive nature of Kitty's wolf in evidence, thank Heavens. Don't get me wrong, it's not gone completely; four years of molding and shaping yourself one way can't be eradicated overnight, but we at least see her making a conscious effort not to back down at every threat. Even if she has to manually override her wolf's natural instinct sometimes. I really am enjoying watching this progress.
I feel like I got to know Kitty a lot more this time and I like her a lot as a protagonist. She is actually quite endearing in the way that she's not all bravado and snark. It's certainly a refreshing change for me. She hasn't had the ideal start at this new life as a supernatural being, and in this book, being subpoenaed to come to a hearing in Washington opens her eyes to a new possible way to live as a lone wolf as she stumbles across more of her kind and sees how different it could be. She's not really decided where she's going to settle yet after being forced to leave Denver, and is living a sort of nomadic lifestyle at the moment. It worried me at first that there would be none of the characters I'd recognize from book one in it with her being on her own in a new city, but I needn't have worried. The hearing soon requires her to once again employ the services of her lawyer, Ben. And we even get an appearance from a certain biker-boot wearing bounty hunter :)
“How can you stand it? The way they look at us?” He said, “I know that I could rip out their guts, and I choose not to.”
It's hard to explain exactly why these books are so engrossing to read because they aren't even all that action-packed or mystery-filled compared to others I've read. Kitty more or less falls into situations rather than goes looking for them like other heroines, but whatever it is, it works for me. I guess I just like Kitty...and that's all there is to it.
The Horngate Witches series is set in a post magical apocal...moreFind more reviews like this one at The Demon Librarian book blog.
Five action-packed stars!
The Horngate Witches series is set in a post magical apocalyptic America and features badass sword-wielding, not quite human, warriors, mildly sociopathic witches, not very angelic angels, and all manner of other weird mythological creatures and beasties. With a splash of romance enough to make me grin like a weirdo, worldbuilding that knocks my socks off, and action by the bucket load, you can see why this series is right up their with my other Urban Fantasy favourites like Kate Daniels, The Hollows, Mercedes Thompson and all those other great female-led UF series. If you haven't started this series yet and you are a fan of any of the above, add this to your TBR today! You will not be sorry.
The warriors in this series—Shadowblades and Sunspears—act as guardians for the witches and are, in fact, the main focus of books, despite the slightly misleading series name. They're woven with spells that make them nearly indestructible, as well as faster, stronger, more resistant to extreme temperatures, etc. But the downside to all that is eternal servitude to the witch who turned them. Which wouldn't be so much of a problem unless, say for instance, that witch used to be your best friend and did it to you without your permission.
Our main character is Max (that's a girl, btw), but at this point in the series, it's fair to say that Alexander is just as much of a main character as it's told in alternating third person POVs between them. Max and Alexander not only have to fight all manner of nasty things in this book as part of their role as leaders of the Shadowblades, but they're also fighting some more personal demons, as well as their increasingly complicated feelings for each other.
Following on from the giant waves of magic that erupted a couple of books back, and then Max's trials in Shadow City, she and her fellow Blades are reunited once again and decide it's time they get out from behind the safety and insulation of Horngate's wards to check out the aftermath and find out what's happening with the humans still out there in the towns and cities. Which is nothing good, as it turns out. Food is in critical demand, people are reverting back to their baser natures, and where there's chaos and panic, there's always some douchecanoe wannabe dictator ready to lead them all up the creek without a paddle. Which loosely sums up the premise of this book, in a very crude and ineloquent way.
I thought the use of the split POVs proved really useful once again; allowing us to see the action from all sides at once. The awkwardness that's developed between Alexander and Max was showcased brilliantly, too. Max, being Max, isn't handling the new dynamic with Alexander very well. She's been acting like Jekyll and Hyde with him and he is both perplexed and annoyed by it. I fully expected Max to make some mistakes at the whole "relationship" thing, and she certainly didn't disappoint! I thought that entire situation was really well-written, and with a few unpredictable twists thrown in for good measure.
Overall, I thought the story was engaging, well-paced, amusing, emotional, exhilarating, intense...I mean, I could just go on and on. It was just superb urban fantasy.
So what are you waiting for, hmm? Go grab yourself a copy right now!
5 Stars! ★★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The overarching plot for the series becomes clearer in this instalment. It's written, as Green Rider was, in th...moreA really good follow up to Green Rider.
The overarching plot for the series becomes clearer in this instalment. It's written, as Green Rider was, in third-person omniscient, which makes it feel very broad-sweeping and grand in scale. I like the way we sort of zoom in like a telephoto lens on different characters and scenes. I actually lost count of the number of different character POV's I experienced along the way, although of course the main character, Karigan, has the majority of the page time. At one point it was written from the point of view of a swirly black tendril of smoke that had sentience. Bizarre but fabulous.
It's a long book and too much happens to summarise in a review, but suffice to say I was just as entertained by it as I was first time around with Green Rider, and I was more than thrilled by a couple of developments, and completely dismayed by others. The magic, politics and fascinating characters make this an engrossing and absorbing read. One I will probably re-read at some point in the future. And the addition of the time travel aspect proved an excellent way to fill in gaps in the world's history of important events that affect the current situation with the Wall and Blackveil forest. “She was unfettered and free, a wild spirit he could not capture, tame, or confine, but one he wished would come to him, as a deer is tempted by a handful of oats.” I really would love to go straight onto the next book but as there are only two left in the series currently, and with the prospect of 3 years before the next book comes out ahead of me, I think I'll hold off for a while and read them back-to-back in a few years. I understand you can't rush or force creativity, but I really wish the gaps between these books weren't so enormous. It's a longer than average book at 600+ pages, but if authors like Kim Harrison can manage a 400+ page book every 12 months, plus anthologies, plus a separate YA series, then 4 years is just dilly dallying no matter how you look at it.
This is my first Annie Solomon book, and while not the first Romantic Suspense I've read, I'm definitely still a newbie to the genre, but this is the...moreThis is my first Annie Solomon book, and while not the first Romantic Suspense I've read, I'm definitely still a newbie to the genre, but this is the one that so far I have enjoyed the most.
I think that might be due to the fact that it's got...not paranormal elements, exactly, but there's definitely some weird woo woo stuff going on. Which is more my cup of tea. How else would you explain waking up with almost no memories of your life save for a few dry facts, having the last 4 weeks completely missing from memory (like what you thought was yesterday was a month ago), and having these seemingly instinctive badass fighting skills with no knowledge of any training?
Well, it was all very intriguing let me tell you, and I enjoyed the story, including the romance angle, very much. Your main couple consists of Margo Scott, the one with the memory issues, and Jake Wise, the guy who always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
I enjoyed the fact that, as the relationship progressed, it was Jake who wanted it to be more than just casual sex, and Margo was the one that kept trying to keep him at arms' length. It makes a refreshing change and made him seem very sweet and endearing. Which you kinda needed to balance out the deception beforehand. But it did balance out nicely because I liked him very much as a hero by the end of the book. And I liked Margo, too, once we, and she herself, got to know her!
A great suspense-filled read. Recommended.
4 Stars! ★★★★ Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review(less)
Kira and Khefar are back in this second instalment to the Shadowchaser series. It picks immediately at the point where we left off in the last book; a...moreKira and Khefar are back in this second instalment to the Shadowchaser series. It picks immediately at the point where we left off in the last book; at the dinner celebrating Kira and Khefar's revival and new goddess-blessed statuses.
I was looking forward to hopefully getting to know both of the main characters more this time around and also trying to form more of a connection to them since that was slightly lacking in book one. I'd initially put that down to "book one syndrome" because of all the world-building that had to be done etc, etc. But now I'm thinking there may have been more to it than that because at the end of this book, I still find it quite hard to muster up much excitement for either of them in the same way I have with other characters in the past. And the excuse of it being the first book in the series, which will sometimes allow me to give it a free pass to fail in certain areas, no longer cuts the mustard.
It's a shame to have to say that because I really want to like this series. And it should, by rights, be very good. All the possibilities for exciting plots are there within the Egyptian mythology base. Unfortunately, there's just something about it that's leaving me cold.
I was also a little disappointed with the slow start. It took almost to exactly the midway point in the novel for Kira and Khefar's mission to become completely clear, for the book to give me that hook. I think the goal for the storyline should have been established much earlier on than this. I don't like words with no purpose. Get to the point.
Also, the fade-to-black sex scene was a little disappointing since the main bit of interest with regards to Kira as a main character is her inability to touch anyone. Ever. She literally has to go around with gloves taped to her wrists. So to then have Kira find the only person she can touch, having sex with him would surely be quite a monumental occasion for her, and yet it was skipped over with the barest of detail.
And, no, that's not me grumbling because there was no smut in the book. There was none in book one either but there didn't need to be because it wasn't time. Here, it was time, and it should have been part of the book.
The second half of the book was much, much better it has to be said, but by this point I think I'd already made the decision to see the book out to the end then stop reading the series. At this moment I don't see myself picking up the next one, the interest in the characters just isn't there.
What? No, no, no, no, no, that's not the end! It's doesn't end there! *Shakes eReader furiously* Ah man! That sucks!
Well, aside from the book ending V...moreWhat? No, no, no, no, no, that's not the end! It's doesn't end there! *Shakes eReader furiously* Ah man! That sucks!
Well, aside from the book ending VERY abruptly, and without any warning. (Usually you can tell you are being prepared for the end, even for a cliffhanger ending. This one kind of just stops. And I REALLY didn't want it to because I was enjoying it tremendously). So aside from THAT, I loved it!
I always know when my interest has been peaked by a book a bit more than usual because all other activities cease and desist. Normally, I might read for an hour, then maybe go online, listen to some tunes, then go back to my book.
Eeeeeyyyyeah. I don't think this book has left my hands since I picked it up 2 days ago except for maybe working and sleeping.
I can't honestly say the book was perfection; hence the four stars not five. But in terms of enjoyment it was way up there. My main negatives were some slightly stiff and formal dialogue sections. A bit of repetition in the narrative (lots of hand holding, hand grabbing) and just a couple of teensy weensy niggly things like that, that as a reviewer I'm supposed to notice and comment on. Well there you go, I commented on them and they didn't really lessen my enjoyment much at all.
It's always nice to be shown something different and this book and the world(s) it's set in are very creative and unusual, which I just love. It's written in first person, present tense, which seems to be becoming an increasingly popular way of writing at the moment. I remember the first book I read in present tense felt very weird and jarring, but now I'm pretty much used to it and even prefer it in certain circumstances where you don't want your main character to have any clue what's coming. And that fits this book perfectly, because the main character, Katriona (Kate) Wilde, is literally thrown in at the deep end (and then shoved through a magical portal) and it's nice to have to figure things out right along with her.
The main themes of the book deal with prophecies, destinies, chosen ones, fated love etc. I know a few people have issues if their lead character comes across as too "special" and there are certainly elements of that in evidence here. But I don't mind it so much.
The world that she encounters on the other side of the portal I'm reluctant to say too much about as I want people to discover it for themselves. But, suffice it to say, they are having a hard time of it, and Katriona may be their only hope.
“This might be difficult for you to accept, but please know I will never lie to you. You are Encardia's only hope of surviving this war.”
If I could wish for one thing, it would be that the ending was more suspenseful and climactic, rather than just being a surprise because it came out of nowhere. I realise the author will be saving a lot of the fighting/battles to come for future instalments, and judging by the dreams and visions Kate has been having, these should be pretty epic. But it might have been an idea to have some sort of mini battle to close out this book.
Anyhoodle. I will definitely be reading the next one, and I'm now off to stalk the author about when exactly I'll be getting it!
4 Stars! ★★★★ Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review
So, we come to the end of this brilliantly gripping trilogy and I ask myself the question, am I satisfied with how it ended?
Second questio...moreSo, we come to the end of this brilliantly gripping trilogy and I ask myself the question, am I satisfied with how it ended?
Second question: does that mean it ends with all happy hearts and flowers and dancing unicorns?
Answer: what do you think? This is dystopian fiction, and when you are talking about changing the "bigger picture", not just the characters' immediate futures, these things don't happen overnight.
Still, Collins certainly puts her readers through the emotional mill and goes out with a bang. I actually think she was maybe a little too ruthless and bloodthirsty in some areas, but, hey, I guess she was just keeping it real. We never would have bought the whole unicorn thing anyway...
Here are some of my favourite non-spoilery quotes:
“They'll either want to kill you, kiss you, or be you.”
“I think...you still have no idea. The effect you can have.”
“Never underestimate the power of a great stylist.”
“Well, don't expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear.”
A fantastic follow up. Taking place around 3 months after the events at the end of the first book, we catch up with all of the characters from Distric...more A fantastic follow up. Taking place around 3 months after the events at the end of the first book, we catch up with all of the characters from District 12 to see how life is treating them in the Victor's Village.
Although this book had a much slower start than book one, the ending more than made up for any initial lack of action. And there were twists to the overall plot that have me more than a little intrigued as to how Collins plans to wind up this story. I would definitely recommend having the next book ready as it ends rather abruptly as well.
“Katniss, the girl on fire, has left behind her flickering flames and bejewelled gowns and soft candlelight frocks. She is as deadly as fire itself.”
Katniss is still very unsure and confused about the two boys in her life: Gale is like family, and Peeta has come to mean so much to her, as often happens with people who meet in stressful circumstances. Ha, did I really just call the Hunger Games a "stressful circumstance"? Anyone for an understatement?
So I have no idea how that will all be resolved, or even if it will at all. I guess I'll have to head on over to Mockingjay to find out!
Meet Deuce. A fascinating character and a creation of her time. Raised (if you can call it that) underground in what was...moreAnother really good YA read!
Meet Deuce. A fascinating character and a creation of her time. Raised (if you can call it that) underground in what was formerly the miles and miles of subways systems (I think in Post-apoc New York, just don't quote me on that). She belongs to an Enclave and has just turned 16 which means she has transitioned from Brat (child) to adult. The people of the Enclave, even the elders (who are only 25!), don't seem to know a lot about their own circumstances; like where they are, why it's safer to stay underground or what is up Topside, so we are just left to surmise along with them.
From what I've managed to ascertain it has been many years since a plague wiped out most of the population or, worse, turned them into Freaks, and what remained managed to survive by whatever means necessary. There's a lot of misinformation and so much of humanity's history has been lost that they've made up their own rules and created a new way of life that will seem completely foreign to us. Even things that you would have expected to endure; information and traditions that should have passed from generation to generation, haven't. Gone are nuclear families, people are now bred for purpose and set on a path that best fits their abilities—whatever they happen to show an aptitude for—and if you aren't good at anything else (like being a hunter, builder, cook, etc.) then there's always the occupation of Breeder as a fall back option.
Our Deuce is a hunter. Or 'Huntress', as she prefers. I was pleased to see that we joined her story right at the time when her training for that role had just ended. So often that training would have taken up the entire plot of book one in a series (been there, done that), but instead we got to see her already primed and raring to go. She just needed a partner...
That would be Fade. Another interesting a likeable character and the only member of the Enclave not born there. He came in through the tunnels a couple of years ago and no one knows where from or how he survived out there on his own with the Freaks (think snarling, salivating zombie-like creatures). It was great getting to know him and Deuce and seeing their development as well as the vast differences between them.
I'm going to struggle now to talk about much more of the plot because there was a big twist that I don't want to spoil. All I will say is that I really enjoyed this Dystopian YA read; the writing was good, the ideas intriguing and the action intense and exciting. And it even had a dash of romance too!
I moved straight onto the next one as soon as I finished because it felt like it didn't so much wrap up as go "to be continued..." So I did.
Recommended to all Dystopian fans, YA or not so YA. 4 Stars ★★★★