My rating: 3 of 5 stars I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or t...moreMy rating: 3 of 5 stars I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
“Most people, even the ones we hold dear, are seldom what we think.”
Zoe is struggling to cope with the recent devastation of her father’s death. He left Zoe and her mother destitute and the two were forced to move into a small, dingy apartment to make ends meet. Zoe and her father both shared a love of music, of punk music, and when she stumbles upon a record store one day to browse the stacks she uncovers far more than she could have ever expected. The old records contain far more than classic music; they contain the contents of a persons very soul including Zoe’s father.
The most interesting aspect for me about Dead Set was the Egyptian lore that was incorporated into the story. Zoe travels to the underworld in order to see her father and they have a wonderful time together yet she doesn’t realize until after that she was only shown this peaceful place by her father in hopes that she would leave and never return. When she comes back and witnesses the horror of what truly goes on, Zoe refuses to leave her father in this hellish place. Queen Hecate is the moon-goddess that rules this nightmarish underworld, a place called Iphigene. Her children, enormous black dogs and black cobras, feed on the people forced to reside there. Iphigene is a terrifying and fearsome place when you consider these people are forced to remain there for all eternity.
Zoe’s character was troubled yet she remained spirited and was a fantastic main character. Her father’s death left her more devastated than we get to witness first-hand with the only reference being a rubber band she keeps on her wrist that she snaps as a reminder not to cut herself. At this point in the story she’s been able to overcome the damage she inflicts upon herself but while her wounds aren’t as deep they’re still not fully healed. Presented with this situation that her father is in she seeks to help him in anyway she can so as to assuage her own suffering.
Dead Set is an extremely violent and horrifying tale but was immensely entertaining. This is Kadrey’s first YA novel and my first read by him. His Sandman Slim series is widely touted and is definitely being added to my to be read pile.(less)
Indexing was first released as a Kindle Serial and was a bi-weekly mini-party every Tuesday considering how eagerly I awaited...moreMy rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Indexing was first released as a Kindle Serial and was a bi-weekly mini-party every Tuesday considering how eagerly I awaited the latest installment. The first episode is epic and I can’t even begin to express my love for it. The introduction to this fairy-tale world was perfection. It got a full 5 stars from me and set the bar extremely high for the subsequent stories. This fairy tale world was extremely similar in scope to the graphic novel series ‘Fables’ but in comparison I found the characters were more vibrant and witty and infinitely entertaining. Each Kindle serial, for the most part, managed as a stand-alone and didn’t leave you too exasperated with having to wait another two weeks for more. I say ‘for the most part’ because something happened around episode 8 (out of a total of 12) that took the series into a total nosedive, but I’ll get into that more in a minute.
The ATI (Aarne-Thompson Index) Management Bureau is a covert government agency that monitors fairy tale manifestations and prevents them from getting out of control. According to Wiki, "The Aarne–Thompson tale type index is a multivolume listing designed to help folklorists identify recurring plot patterns in the narrative structures of traditional folktales, so that folklorists can organize, classify, and analyze the folktales they research." This index system is used as the basis for classifying manifestations that happen in the real world, where children are born predisposed to being a Sleeping Beauty or a Snow White or even a Pied Piper. If unleashed, their fairy tale influence could wreak havoc on the world. All manner of fairy tales are covered: Peter Pans and Cinderellas, Donkeyskins and Beautiful Vassilisas, a Mother Goose, Wicked Stepsisters, Billy Goats Gruff, The Showmaker and the Elves, etc.
So what worked well? Personally I loved the combination of fairy tales and urban fantasy that ultimately made up this story. It was imaginative and creative and really enjoyed the details that went into this. Each individual was given a bit of back story although I believe this could have been further expounded on to showcase their growth. While I didn’t end up preferring one character over another, they all as a whole really added life and charm to this story.
In the end though, I was left ultimately disappointed. When thinking back on the story as a whole, I think it was easy to overlook the choppy feel of the writing since we’re only given bits and pieces at a time. If read as a whole I think it would have been far more obvious and apparent that the story lacked a fully fleshed out plot and was really rather feeble. It didn’t feel as if it was planned as a full novel and was instead planned out as each episode was written. Ultimately, the ending felt strange and disconnected from where it seemed like the story was going and left me with far more unanswered questions than I like.
Episode 1 - 5 stars This is not only immensely entertaining but incredibly original. LOVE THIS. Episode 2 - 4 stars Episode 3 - 3.5 stars Episode 4 - 4 stars DUN DUN DUN! All other episodes wrap up rather nicely but this one had an unfortunate cliffhanger. And I only get an episode every 2 weeks? GAH. Episode 5 - 4.5 stars Episode 6 - 4 stars Episode 7 - 4.5 stars Episode 8 - 3 stars Episode 9 - 3 stars Episode 10 - 2 stars Episode 11 - 2.5 stars Episode 12 - 2 stars(less)
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars Source: Library Checkout
‘If you remember one thing, even above remembering me, remember that there is not a monster dreamt th...moreMy rating: 4.5 of 5 stars Source: Library Checkout
‘If you remember one thing, even above remembering me, remember that there is not a monster dreamt that hasn’t walked withing the soul of man.’
Dreams and Shadows tells the tale of two young boys: Ewan, who was stolen from his family by fairies when he was a baby, and Colby, who befriended a djinn that granted wishes which changed his life forever. The fates of both become entwined the second they meet and a battle between magical forces ensues.
This could have honestly been a disastrous affair what with the strange mixture of fairies and changelings, angels and the Devil, sorcerers and genies, and the list goes on. But it’s far from a disaster. This was an absolute delight and the exact type of fantasy that I yearn for. I have to make note that despite the inclusion of angels and the Devil this is far from religious and never digs in deep to that aspect; they were just supporting characters of a sort. The characters were fictitious and fanciful but managed to be extremely well-crafted and developed. The male characters were at the very least. It didn’t occur to me until later that the female characters all seemed to be incredibly weak and only described in terms of their looks with the one exception to that statement being Ewan’s scary-as-hell mother. All in all, it’s easy to overlook because of the thrilling plot.
My least favorite aspect of the book ended up being my favorite. In addition to the story being told from three separate points of view, there are excerpts from a book titled ‘A Chronicle of the Dreamfolk’ by a Dr. Thaddeus Ray, Ph.D. They are surprisingly informative pieces on the factual aspects of this fantasy world but it’s initially unclear as to why they’re included. It’s a vital piece of the puzzle that becomes clear late in the novel so don’t skip these sections.
Dreams and Shadows is a story full of magic and mystery and outlandish horror. I so enjoyed the rawness and twisted darkness of this tale and the unique and unusual world-building that fortunately isn’t lacking in detail. Dreams and Shadows possessed a plot with room to grow and is one instance where I’m thankful for it being a series. Queen of the Dark Things is the next installment which is due out in mid-2014. I cannot wait.(less)
Banishing the Dark picks up weeks after the explosive ending in Binding the Shadows. Cady is back at home after recuperating in the hospital but there...moreBanishing the Dark picks up weeks after the explosive ending in Binding the Shadows. Cady is back at home after recuperating in the hospital but there is still much to be concerned about, primarily her violent mother who will stop at nothing to take Cady’s powers. In an attempt to protect Cady and her loved ones, a memory spell is cast that ends up causing even more problems. It’s a race against the clock to find out reverse the spells performed on Cady as a child, before her entire life is taken from her.
I wouldn’t have thought it possible that by the fourth installment the character growth would continue to dig in deep making me love these characters even more and have them ranking right up there with my all-time favorite characters. Lon is such an amazing male lead and ranks right up there with Curran as one of the very best in Urban Fantasy. Cady is such a realistic and strong female lead that I love just as much as Kate Daniels and Kara Gillian. There was also an added bonus with the writing where dual POV’s were used: Cady and Jupe. Jupe has always been a favorite character of mine because of his crazy antics so it was enjoyable seeing a part of the story through his eyes.
The Arcadia Bell series has easily become one of my all-time favorite Urban Fantasy series. And now it’s time to say goodbye.
What I loved most about this one was how everything was sufficiently wrapped up yet didn’t have that perfect cherry on top sort of finish. There were still slight issues that the characters were dealing with and issues that they anticipated having to deal with in the future. They didn’t have a perfect fairytale ending but they did have a satisfying ending and I loved that. While I would not complain about more installments, I must say that in retrospect this was the perfect time to end it. There weren’t so many loose ends to tie up that Banishing the Dark turned into one major info-dump to answer all ongoing questions which is an issue I have with many series enders.
Many bloggers that had the opportunity to read this early were not aware going into it that this was to be the final installment. I was glad to be warned ahead of time but it didn’t make the goodbyes any less sad. All I can say is, as much as I’d love to read more of Cady’s story I can respect the authors decision to end it when she knows it’s right. Cady and Lon and Jupe will all be missed but there’s always re-reads. :D
P.S. One final note I couldn’t resist mentioning... I got my first review blurb published! It’s in this book and it’s a blurb from the third installment, Binding the Shadows. (Obviously it's listed under my old blog name).
A copy of Binding the Shadows was provided to me by Jenn Bennett for review purposes.
*No spoilers for any installments*
There are those kinds of Urban...moreA copy of Binding the Shadows was provided to me by Jenn Bennett for review purposes.
*No spoilers for any installments*
There are those kinds of Urban Fantasy worlds that are intricately built and detailed that you can completely envision and understand it. But then there are those kinds of worlds that are so easily envisioned that they are almost real. Sure there's a demon realm and magicians and all sorts of other craziness going on but you could swear it's really happening around you, Arcadia Bell's world is just that vivid. It's a world that manages to suck you in and make you a part of it all. That's the kind of world that Jenn Bennett has crafted in her Arcadia Bell series.
In my experience, the longer a series goes on for the less likely I am to continue loving it. Characters get old, story lines feel reused... I just prefer stand-alones more often than not. Well, that theory gets completely blown out of the water when it comes to this series. This series has managed to get infinitely better with each new story, and Binding the Shadows is the best installment yet. The character growth continues building, the relationships continue to get stronger and more involved, and I can only sit back and marvel at the complexity of the story lines.
I was in complete awe by the last page. Jenn Bennett isn't afraid to take the risk and inflict her characters with immense pain and suffering but I believe that risky chance paid off big. These characters may be fictional but they struggle despite their magical abilities and it manages to humanize them. Binding the Shadows leaves you with a jaw-dropper of an ending that will leave you desperately wanting 'Crossing the Æthyr'. Urban Fantasy fans: read this series, it won't fail to enthrall you.(less)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars Source: Purchased via Amazon
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in Ter...moreMy rating: 3 of 5 stars Source: Purchased via Amazon
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in Terror series is one of my favorites, ever, and I was anticipating this so very badly ever since I got hooked on this series earlier this year. I can't say for sure whether it was my extremely (and possibly unrealistic) expectations that made this not as good or not but I definitely had some issues that nagged at me.
I started reading this series because I love ghost novels especially because they aren't so paranormal as to be completely out of this world; that there are instances where you could really feel this being fact. I absolutely loved Perry and Dex as a team and I loved watching their relationship grow over installments. But what I loved the absolute most was the well-blended way that Karina Halle mixed the two together. It wasn't a paranormal novel and it wasn't a romance novel, it was a perfect amalgamation of the two. And therein lies the main issue I had with this novel: the lack of blending.
While Into the Hollow left Dex and Perry's relationship at an imbalance, I understood and expected drama to have to be sorted out in Come Alive. What I didn't expect was for it to take up practically the entire first half with no plot in sight. Now don't go get me wrong, I love me some Dex and Perry but it just felt way too focused on their crazy (and oftentimes unnecessary) drama and their equally crazy sex life. For those of you adverse to this, Come Alive toed the line of erotica and while I'm not against this, this is not what I've come to expect from these novels. If I wanted to read erotica, I would read erotica.
The other big issue I had: the point of view. I did read 'The Dex-Files' and while I enjoyed these short glimpses into Dex's point of view, they weren't my absolute favorite. I was a bit leery when I found out that Come Alive would be told solely from Dex's point of view but of course I reserved judgment. WELL. Dex is one crazy fucker, I think we all know that, but being inside his head and knowing each and every one of his (mostly sexual) thoughts was a bit much. He's just too much sometimes and can be quite intense. I wouldn't be completely adverse to a story from his point of view again, however, I think I'd like it more if it was shared with Perry's POV because, well, Perry is the absolute best.
Regardless, I'm still a die-hard fan and will gladly read anything Ms. Halle writes because she really is an amazing writer of truly entertaining stories. While this is not my favorite installment, the ending did hold much promise for future installments so this is far from my last Perry and Dex story.
3.5 This is Pippa... Crazy Clown Lady... I don't know. I was expecting her to be a bit more interesting. Still enjoyable and a good insight into Dex's...more3.5 This is Pippa... Crazy Clown Lady... I don't know. I was expecting her to be a bit more interesting. Still enjoyable and a good insight into Dex's childhood and the connection between him and Perry.(less)