Yeah. That’s how this one is going to go. The expectations were high with this one. I first discovered this book when I found out it was being made in
Yeah. That’s how this one is going to go. The expectations were high with this one. I first discovered this book when I found out it was being made into a movie so of course I was all about getting the book read first. Especially when I realized this author also wrote one of my favorites of all time: The Secret of Nimh. Naturally I couldn’t find a copy anywhere but FINALLY! Some luck blew my way and my library came through. I started it immediately. I finished it within 24 hours. And now I’m sad.
First off, a few things you need to know. 1. This is a post-apocalyptic novel with not a whole lot of post-apocalyptic action going on. 2. If you picked this up based on the movie trailer, you’re going to be disappointed and/or confused because they have practically nothing in common. 3. There’s some animal cruelty that for once didn’t actually make me cry. Nah. I was enraged instead. And 4? There will be spoilers, but I’ll put them in tags.
We’re introduced to Anne who is sixteen years old and has been living on her childhood farm alone for the past year now. She resides within a valley that because of an inversion has escaped the havoc that the rest of the world has suffered. Her parents and two brothers went out searching for survivors after the nuclear war that happened that we never get any other details of besides the fact that it happened. They never returned. She’s cultivated a garden, has cows and chickens to keep from starving, and fortunately there is also a country store nearby that was pretty well stocked. Anne has done a pretty amazing job surviving all on her own but is understandably curious when she sees smoke in the sky indicative of a campfire. She watches it day after day as it gets closer and closer to her farm; closer and closer to whoever is lighting the fire to discovering her home. She retreats to a nearby cave with her dog Faro to monitor the individual and determine whether or not to let him know there’s one other survivor besides him.
John Loomis is a scientist from New York. His team was researching/developing radiation proof suits but there was only a single prototype in existence which is the only way he was able to survive the fallout from the bomb. Trudging through the remains of the Earth, he comes upon a strange sight: a green valley. After a year of walking, seeing nothing but Earth, the valley is a spectacular sight. He takes his helmet off and realizes he can breathe the air there as well. Unable to help himself, he dives into a small lake to bathe. Unfortunately, the stream that flows into that lake was still affected by radiation and he falls deathly ill.
Spoilers, ahoy!(view spoiler)[So Anne decides she can’t hide in her cave while she watches quite possibly the last man on Earth slowly die from the contaminated water. She brings him food and water and nurses him back to health. What does she get for her good deeds? Nada. Because naturally dude turns out to be a fucking creep. For weeks, Anne maintained the farm and even expands on her plans to include him in the future. And then one night he comes into her room to undoubtedly sexual assault her. She escapes and runs back to the cave that fortunately she kept secret from him. Sure, she’s only 16, but she’s taken perfectly good care of herself up till the point he showed up. In my mind, defending yourself is the reasonable response. But nah, instead Anne tries to make peace with the crazy man and still shares half of all the food and water she gathers. That doesn’t go over so well because apparently he intends to capture her so he uses her dog Faro to hunt her down. He at one point shoots her in the leg too. He’s a real pleasant kinda guy, I totally get why she doesn’t shoot his ass. At the end he finally gets Faro to follow her scent and the dog is about to lead him right to the cave. What shall we do? 1. Shoot the creeper or 2. Shoot the dog so he can’t lead him to her only home? YES, SHE SERIOUSLY CHOSE THE SECOND OPTION. Except she doesn’t get a chance to go through with it because she missed her opportunity. So she goes with her backup plan: run through the contaminated creek so that Loomis won’t follow. But of course the freaking dog follows her. “…instead of following my trail on the rocks he had plunged into the water.” What fucking dog isn’t going to just jump in the water but instead stand on the bank looking for stepping stones. Poor Faro takes his last swim and dies of radiation poisoning.
Z for Zachariah is actually an epistolary and is told via Anne’s journal entries. This style helped build Anne’s characterization and her day to day life before her peaceful valley was encroached upon, however, this style lacked in getting a proper feel on her emotions. She talks about her family that drove away, never to be seen from again, in a very disconnected almost robotic way. Even with passages she’s written immediately after shocking things happen, I still felt a disconnect from how it seemed like someone in her position would feel. It’s a post-apocalyptic book (much like recently read Blindness) which is more a study of human behavior rather than a focus on the reasoning behind the war that caused the devastation. This is all well and good but I felt the characters were very black/white with Anne being the good, wholesome girl and Loomis being the mysterious stranger that we never learn enough about to make his actions comprehensible. One could argue that his last year of surviving alone was enough to change him, however, Anne had to work just as hard to survive. The character study could have gone a bit deeper to better understand the inner-workings of these two characters since they were the only two characters in the book.
I wanted to love this one so much but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I kept thinking that there would be some final twist but I reached the final page without it happening. The ending left me feeling very indifferent and just as emotionally disconnected as Anne. All in all, it’s not the worst post-apocalyptic book I’ve read but it’s certainly not the best.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
‘Once upon a time,an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts and started the apocalypse.’
My first read of theMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
‘Once upon a time,an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts and started the apocalypse.’
My first read of the first book ended on a low note. I reread and my opinion changed enormously. Unfortunately, I’m ending once again on a low note and I fear that no rereading will be able to change that. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a wonderfully inventive story of angels and demons, of romance, and friendship, and something magical. Days of Blood and Starlight was decidedly darker, and puts its total focus on the coming war between enemies that has been culminating for centuries upon centuries. Dreams of Gods & Monsters is a passive blend of the two and while the writing never fails to inspire praise, I felt the story left a bit to be desired.
‘Once upon a time, there was only darkness. And there were monsters vast as worlds who swam in it.’
For the most part, my sole issue was the inclusion of a brand new character/storyline that could have benefited from an introduction in the previous books so that her addition in this one wasn’t such a jarring change. There was a vast amount of time spent on her character build and while her presence ended up being an inevitably necessity, it still didn’t make the massive amounts of dialogue and general confusion as to her purpose any easier to handle at the time. It was all the more obvious when it wasn’t something I could breeze through on pages since I was cemented in place by the ridiculously long audiobook (18+ hours).
The other issue that detracted from my ultimate enjoyment was Karou and Akiva. *gasp* I know, but let me explain. We’ve been told from the very beginning of their all encompassing love for one another in all their lives. They’re in mad, passionate love with one another; we get it. But we don’t need to be reminded of this every time they manage to lay eyes on one another. It got repetitive after a point. Also, the constancy of issues they ran into giving them one reason or another to not fall into each others arms and fly off into the sunset together got tiresome. How many roadblocks can one pair stand before they scream in frustration? If I was almost there, they had to be screaming for sure.
‘Happiness wasn’t a mystical place to be reached or won–some bright terrain beyond the boundary of misery, a paradise waiting for them to find it–but something to carry doggedly with you through everything, as humble and ordinary as your gear and supplies.’
Despite my not so fabulous rating, I still remain completely dazzled at Laini Taylor’s beautiful way with words. She manages to imbue a wondrousness in the ordinary and completely transforms it. I might not be completely satisfied with this story/series, however, Taylor still makes it all worth it. I can’t wait to experience more of her writing excellence....more
‘Once upon a time, a girl lived in a sandcastle, making monsters to send through a hole in the sky.’
Having finally discovered who she truly is, Karo‘Once upon a time, a girl lived in a sandcastle, making monsters to send through a hole in the sky.’
Having finally discovered who she truly is, Karou finds herself on the side of the chimaera, in a pivotal role, in the impending battle against the seraphim. Including Akiva. Bitter and resentful for the memories that bombarded her, she’s still unable to stop her heart from missing him despite the damage he has done. But harden her heart she must, because war is coming and with so few chimaera remaining there is much work to be done. In the back of her mind is a tiny whisper, that contemplates how this all could be avoided without further bloodshed. And while she ponders this thought, Akiva does the same.
Days of Blood and Starlight took a completely different approach from its predecessor that I was not anticipating. Daughter left us with a tragic ending, Karou having remembered her past love of Akiva, subsequently emboldening her current love for him, except his admission of wrongdoing throws her heart into complete and utter turmoil. Feeling that she must do what she can to help her people she joins forces with the unlikeliest one, Thiago, in order to help him save what is left of their people. Thiago has a different goal in mind though and is hellbent on slaughter and vengeance, even at the risk of his own people. The pain that Karou suffers both internal and external is a hard pill to swallow, but is nonetheless a necessary evil. Akiva’s story was equally impressive and his unexpected decision was shocking and one I didn’t see coming.
Days of Blood and Starlight was a dark and grisly story that lacked the passionate romance I loved in Daughter, but only served to strengthen this story as a whole. I didn’t realize the lightness of the previous installment was almost overdone and that the darkness was a necessary building block that made this an exceptionally strong installment. And it must be mentioned, but the writing? It continues to make me swoon. All this carnage leaves only a sole book remaining and I am quite nervous to see how it all pans out. I can’t wait.
‘I am one of billions. I am stardust gathered fleetingly into form. I will be ungathered. The stardust will go on to be other things someday and I will be free.’...more
‘Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you‘Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.’
Daughter of Smoke & Bone is one much raved about series. I never quite jumped on that bandwagon having read this first book as soon as it was released and not finding it to my liking. I quickly slid into the shadows after I realized I was the illusive black sheep uncertain whether I intended on picking up the future installments. Well, we can all praise Bookish Bingo for pushing me to do a re-read and deciding to give this one a second chance because I really, really enjoyed this one.
This is going to be less of a review and more of an analysis. And a comparison between my first thoughts and current thoughts. Regarding my first review, there were several things that I don’t think I fully appreciated in my first read. First of those is the fantastic friendship between Karou and Zuzana. I didn’t even mention those two and I’m kind of appalled with myself. Her addition to the story added a lightness and a humor that brought Karou’s character to life. Her character was interesting already in her descriptions (the blue hair, the hamsa tattoos) but her interactions with her best friend brought out the personality that made her something more.
The other thing I clearly failed to appreciate was the romance (with Akiva). In my original read my mind immediately went to ‘insta-love’ failing to completely grasp the significance of their meeting, of who Karou is and that it was a far cry from anything related to insta-love. Initially sure, their romance might have seemed quick and reckless, especially when this is someone that is supposed to be her mortal enemy. But as soon as their connected past is revealed? And that ending? Tear my heart out and run it over.
Whether it was the audiobook that finally got me to love this one or my overdue appreciation for the subtleties that made this story so wonderful (or both) the narrator for this is still definitely deserving of praise. So rarely will I listen to an audio narration and immediately seek out all other audiobooks from that narrator because I can’t stop thinking “Damn, girl, you know how to tell a story.”
I was undecided whether I had an interest in continuing this series after my first read. This time, however, I have the second audio ready and waiting for me to finish wrapping up my thoughts. I’m definitely on the bandwagon now....more
‘So where does a story that ends in fire and death begin? It begins in the snow on the coldest day of the coldest winter of the last fifty years, wit‘So where does a story that ends in fire and death begin? It begins in the snow on the coldest day of the coldest winter of the last fifty years, with two girls on their sixth birthday in silent house. It begins with a body.’
Alice and Celia are twins who have had an arduous life, but fortunately they’ve had each other to get through it. After their grandfather died when they were six, they’ve bounced around to various different foster care homes, some worse than others. When Alice is seventeen years old, Celia intentionally sets a fire that almost kills her but does kill her boyfriend, Jason. She wakes in a mental health hospital called Savage Isle to find herself recovering from burns and a definite lack of memory surrounding the incident. All Alice knows is Celia killed Jason and revenge begins to consume her thoughts.
Honestly, the summary gives it all away and if you didn’t bother to read the summary then the prologue definitely will. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with a mystery that’s predictable because the story itself can make it all worth it, but I have a hard time becoming sympathetic towards characters and their plights when I know more than they do. Their mental stumbling, trying to uncover obvious clues becomes more obnoxious than tragic.
We’ll Never Be Apart could have been saved with some tension but I never felt a sense of urgency from Alice to uncover the mystery. She finds herself in a mental hospital being charged with a crime that she knows in her heart she didn’t commit, yet instead of attempting to work through her memories she becomes resigned to her plight and instead focuses her attention on her crush. Nevermind that her boyfriend of several years just died in a fire a few weeks ago. Becoming resigned to the situation she finds herself in would have been one thing, because can you imagine waking up in a mental hospital being blamed for something you didn’t do and being force-fed medication? That would be terrifying and I think we’d all mentally shut down to some extent, but the focus on the boy was what really ruined it for me. And all the security card stealing so that the two can carouse the halls of the hospital at night. Because that’s totally legit.
I kept reading, hoping for a twist that I maybe hadn’t foreseen. Alas, the end came, and it was less twisty and suspenseful than I had been hoping for. The resolution was also far more tidy than I would have expected given the topic. All in all, this one is far from being a terrible read, but I’ve read too many books that touch on the same topic that have just been done better.
I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
‘I only did what I did to protect myself. I didn’t have any other options.’
Julia Vann had the seemingly perfect life beforeMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
‘I only did what I did to protect myself. I didn’t have any other options.’
Julia Vann had the seemingly perfect life before the incident. She belonged to a happy family, had a twin brother she was incredibly close to, close friends, and a boyfriend she thinks she could love. The incident took that all away and left her and her family packing up their belongings to move to a new town with new names where nobody knows who they are. Lucy Black has a chance to start over, to start fresh, but her past proves to be a bit more inescapable than she thought.
Julia/Lucy was a very surprising character and her first-person narrative which carefully entwines the past and present was written extremely well. She was quite a distorted character that at first appears to be like any normal teenager, but the subtle glimpses that begin to leak through her façade tells a whole other story. Was it the incident that transformed her or does her past provide the real answers? The side characters weren’t as impressive: the dutiful boyfriend that comes over to make her homemade soup when she isn’t feeling well, the devoted best friend that asks no questions, and even the absent parents that we see very little of. The legal technicalities did manage to raise some eyebrows as well, however, despite these issues that could have brought down the whole story, Panitch still impressed me with an incredibly riveting tale.
Damage Done is quite the twisted mystery and the summary does little to prepare you for what’s in store. I think it’s best kept that way, seeing as the reveal was quite the impressive twist, even if it was foreshadowed early on. The first twist isn’t the only twist though and this is one engrossing mystery that will keep you speculating. Panitch has another YA psychological thriller coming up in 2016, Never Missing, Never Found that will most certainly be on my TBR.
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....more