Actual rating: A very low three stars or 2.5 stars. I'm undecided right now.
I fell asleep while reading this book. True story, ask anyone (and by anyo...moreActual rating: A very low three stars or 2.5 stars. I'm undecided right now.
I fell asleep while reading this book. True story, ask anyone (and by anyone, I mean my husband. I hope you're not able to ask just anyone and they can assure you that I fell asleep while reading this. That'd just be creepy). I settled down in bed, all cozied up, preparing to read more of Delirium because I've been putting it off for much too long, hoping to get a big chunk out of the way.
I think I lasted about thirty minutes before Delirium used its superpowers and put me right to sleep. Seriously, I think this book may have some special sleeping powder instilled in its pages. Either that or it's just really freaking boring. But I'll give Delirium the benefit of the doubt and go the sleeping powder route.
But the thing about Delirium is, I don't think it could have exciting even if something actually happened throughout the first three hundred pages, because the subject matter was just dull and uninteresting to me. I knew before going into Delirium that it'd be all about love, and how dangerous it is, but oh no! The main character finds out love is really a beautiful thing and shall be cherished, and that..
Crap! I fell asleep just thinking about Delirium this time! Anyway, while I did find the dystopian world in Delirium thoroughly interesting at first, and the concept of love as a disease original and fascinating, I soon found that this dystopian world is similar to most undeveloped dystopian worlds on the YA market today, and it almost seemed to follow a cliché dystopian checklist:
1: Does your world have an implausible story that is never actually given any depth as to how it came to be? Check! 2: Is your world inconsistent and full of plot holes? (ie: Saying that the word 'love' can get you locked up in an instant, and our main character claims she's only said love once (view spoiler)[*childish giggles* to a boy! (hide spoiler)], yet she said that her aunt loves children early on in the novel?) Check! 3: Is your world full of ... *looks around* secrets? Check! (This seems to be a necessity in anything YA, and normally I wouldn't have a problem with it if every damn secret weren't reminiscent of each other.) 4: Do your characters fall in ... insta-love? *shudders* Check!
and the list goes on and on.
I see that many of my friends have read Delirium and have really enjoyed it, but unfortunately, I found it to be a bit too same-old, same-old and predictable for my tastes, and that's coming from someone who doesn't even read many dystopians. However, the last hundred pages or so were interesting, and the book ended in a big cliffhanger, so I will read Pandemonium, but I just don't know how I'll feel about it when I'm just not interested in the story or romance. (But the writing was pretty! So there's that, I guess.) ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Originally, I gave The Wolf Gift four stars, because I did like its story, and it was fun to read (despite a few boring parts and many infodumps), but...moreOriginally, I gave The Wolf Gift four stars, because I did like its story, and it was fun to read (despite a few boring parts and many infodumps), but there's a reason I'm giving The Wolf Gift three stars, which I will explain later on in this review.
Pros of The Wolf Gift
1: First off, I loved the descriptions of the Nideck house! They really painted an image in my head of this big, elegant house overlooking the sea.
2: Marin County was one of the main settings in The Wolf Gift! I loved seeing names and places I'm familiar with in this book, such as the Muir Woods and Mount Tam.
3: The unique take Anne Rice had on the werewolf, making it different than the werewolf story we all know where the person turns into a werewolf every full moon and rampages everything in sight.
4: The descriptions of change in Reuben, the change in his sight, hearing, and smell, and also how how Reuben dealt with becoming a werewolf, and used it to become a (and I use this term loosely) "hero".
5: The mystery! There's not much I can say about the mystery of The Wolf Gift, but what I can say is get ready for some twists later on in the story.
Cons of The Wolf Gift
1: There's icky human/werewolf sex going on in this book... And not just one scene. There's also sex scenes where he's not a werewolf, but he's not single either...
2: Corny "poetic" sayings, such as : Yet it terrified him that he might surrender his conscious soul to the heart of the beast pumping within...You've got to be kidding me... The beast pumping within?
3: Really? The Man Wolf? That's what you choose to call yourself? I cringed every time I read that, along with the word "orgasmic"... How can a bestselling and well respected author use the word "orgasmic" countless times in one book! I think she forgot she isn't writing one of her erotic books....
4: The ending was disappointing, especially considering the huge build-up throughout the whole book, but, eventually we are all let down and left with an ending like.... That....
5: The characters in the book really just weren't good. Yes, Reuben's brother is a priest, but don't worry. That doesn't make any difference in the book. Here I was, hoping there would be an inner struggle in Reuben's brother between fighting for what he believes in in Christianity, or letting Reuben go around, doing whatever the hell he wants, whenever the hell he wants. There was none of that. Reuben's brother was surprisingly accepting of everything his brother did, which really was a shock to me... Then there's Reuben's mother, who's a doctor. Do I care? No. Did she make a difference in the book? Hardly any. This con ties in with my last con, because my last (albeit biggest) con in the book is...
And here is the major reason I gave The Wolf Gift three stars instead of the original four. After finishing The Wolf Gift, I reflected on the four-star rating, and thought of something that turned me off in the book. And the one thing I could come up with that really got to me is Reuben.
At the end of the first chapter, Reuben has sex with a woman named Marchent. And no, that is not a spoiler, because it happens so early in the book (like I said, the ending of chapter one). This happens, within, what? One, maybe two hours of them two even knowing each other? And to make it worse, Reuben has a girlfriend... Oh joy. But this isn't the first time he cheats on his girlfriend... Oh, no it's not. The second time, he has sex with the girl within minutes of meeting her, and goes into detail of his erection and whatnot (it's even more disgusting because he's a werewolf at this moment), but then he tries coming up with excuses on why it was acceptable to cheat on his girlfriend (twice, the reasons being that his girlfriend cheating on him, so it's okay), which extremely turned me off.
Also, when describing himself, Reuben says he is, and I quote, "a liar, monster, killer, beast... An abomination...''. Well....
I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way, but the character of Reuben really made me enjoy the book less than I would have if he was a little more... Hmmm... What's the word... Likable? Yes, likable. However, if you choose to read this book, and you aren't bothered by Reuben, I think you will end up enjoying it. (less)
*sigh*. This is going to be a hard review to write, but here’s my attempt at writing a review for Masque of the Red Death, even though I know it will...more*sigh*. This is going to be a hard review to write, but here’s my attempt at writing a review for Masque of the Red Death, even though I know it will not do it justice.
I’ll start off with saying this: I. Loved. This. Book. I loved it with a burning passion, I loved it from the first page, all the way to the last. There was honestly not one moment of this book that I didn’t love.
As I’m writing this review, I’m overcome with so many emotions I’ve received from this book. I cried a little when reading this (view spoiler)[especially when Elise went to give Araby a good-bye kiss (hide spoiler)], I laughed a little when reading this, and most of all I was grinning from ear to ear throughout the whole entire book.
I love how, from the beginning of the book, I’ve had my opinions set on each and every character, and I thought my opinions were set in stone, but Griffin somehow managed to switch everything up and make my opinions the exact opposite. (Though I still think April is a bit selfish).
I wasn’t prepared for an ending like that, and, while it was a bit abrupt, I still loved it. I did not see any of the plot twists coming (I believe there were three, well, at least there were three for me), and what I absolutely loved is that even when Araby finds out the plot twists, she doesn’t flat out say what they are and gives you some time to think, and then you finally realize what the plot twists are on your own. (view spoiler)[An example of that is when Araby met Malcontent, and she noticed that he had a scar across his neck. It took me a minute or two to realize why that was such a big deal, but then it hit me. (hide spoiler)]
I really, really loved the characters in this book, especially Araby. She was sweet, thoughtful and caring, and I absolutely loved that about her. Then there’s also Will, who I really liked, and his two siblings, Elise and Harry, whom I loved. Then there’s April, who’s Araby’s best friend, and sister of another main character, Elliott (who I didn’t like at first but ended up really liking in the end), who I think is pretty selfish (when Araby hurt her shoulder severely, April’s reaction was “Aw, you’re never going to be able to wear a backless dress again.” She wasn’t joking). Despite that, she was a good friend to Araby at times, and genuinely cared for her. But of course, there are also the two antagonists of the book, Prince Prospero and Malcontent. The only complaints I have with these two are their names.
Prospero I assume comes from the word “prosper”, which means to be successful, so that was kind of a corny name in my mind for someone trying to take over the world, and a malcontent is someone who rebels against an established system, which also applies to the actions of Malcontent’s character.
There’s not really much left I have to say about this, other than that I (of course) loved it, and was extremely happy with the way things ended.
I sent Bethany Griffin a message asking if there will be a sequel, but I’ve heard that Masque of the Red Death is supposed to be the first book in a trilogy, so I cannot wait for the next two books (I just hope that isn’t a rumor, and that there actually will be more books to come, but it kind of leaves with an open ending, and everyone planning to do… something that I can’t say, so there has to be another book. Right? Please say right).
Highly recommended to absolutely everyone.
And if you still aren’t convinced to read this, would it help if I told you that there’s:
Crocodiles, bats, masquerade balls, poisonings, treason, some romance, lots of action, icky diseases, and an awesome world?
Please tell me that convinced you.
I just got a response from Bethany Griffin saying that the series will be with two books, and book two will take place less than five minutes after the events of Masque of the Red Death. Book two will be released in April of 2013! (Can't wait!)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I don’t give out many one star ratings. (EDIT 7/21: Never mind. Ever since I started reading more books in the YA genre I've been giving plenty of one...moreI don’t give out many one star ratings. (EDIT 7/21: Never mind. Ever since I started reading more books in the YA genre I've been giving plenty of one star ratings. When I wrote this review, though, a one star rating was rare from me. Now? Not so much.)
So Congratulations, Skylark! I reward you with a single, lonely, star. You should be honored of your crappiness.
Just so you know, I did not finish this book, but I made it up to 53%, which I think is an accomplishment, given how much this book was a struggle to get through. Clearly, I don’t know how things work out in the end, and if the things I rant about are fixed in the end, I apologize, but I couldn’t read this any longer.
Now, let’s get this review started.
I tried to like you, Skylark. I really, truly did. You started off… Interesting, to say the least, and I wanted you to be good. But I think it was when I made it to 30% that I realized you wouldn’t be good. You started off mysterious, and I wanted to know what was going to happen, but then everything just stopped, got boring, and it hurt me to read any longer.
My first complaint I have with this book is that saying there is a war and that’s why everything is what it is does not make up for proper world building! That just shows me that the author is lazy and doesn’t want to come up with a good reason why the world in her book is how it is, so just puts something in and says that’s the reasoning behind everything, and doesn’t even bother to explain.
Here’s what I think went through Meagan Spooner’s head while writing Skylark:
Hmm… Maybe I should write a young-adult novel. Let me just come up with a few ideas…
Okay, so… Umm… It could be a fantasy… Yes, yes that’s good… Maybe throw a little steampunk in there, a little dystopia, too… Oh yeah, that’ll make it perfect; everyone will love this.
What else? Oh yeah! Maybe I’ll throw in some magic; that should be cool. Ooh! And pixies! Yeah, everyone loves pixies! Aw, but how do I make it all come together? Oh, how about this. I’ll say there was a war, but I won’t describe the war in any way, just say it was there. Perfect!
And so began Skylark (or at least what I’ve read of it).
Okay, moving onto my second complaint: Right from the start, this book just felt so rushed. It felt like I was reading a book that was going in fast-forward. So many things happened in very few pages, and I don’t know how I could’ve read the other half of the book like that. It. Was. Torture. Here’s what happened in probably the first fifty pages (I’ll put it in a spoiler tag, but they’re pretty minor):
(view spoiler)[Lark goes into the sewer pipes or something to avoid having to go to some event where people’s names get picked randomly (sound familiar?), and then she meets up with a few bullies, finds a pixie, runs away and goes home. She hears a knocking on her door, and tries escaping. It turns out it’s only Lark’s brother, telling Lark that her name was called, even though she was sure her name wouldn’t get picked because her name wasn’t entered, or only entered very little times (once again, sound familiar?). So she has to go to the Facility to get the magic taken out of her, because that’s what happens when they call your name. They torture her (by draining her magic, which is supposedly painful), remove her memory of the event, and torture her again and again. Oh yeah, and she eats a lot. (hide spoiler)]
If you read that, do you see how much happened in a short amount of pages? That’s where I thought it was interesting, too. Then it all went downhill to the point where I just couldn’t stand reading it any longer.
There’s one more interesting part, though, where Lark gets somehow trapped in a house, and a certain scene of a family’s death keeps replaying and replaying, and she can’t get the family’s attention. That was when I actually had some hope for the book, and thought it would get better.
But then she sees a boy in the house, and he’s all dirty, and he could see her. They have a stare-down for a little bit, and then he jumps out the window. At that point I was laughing. I don’t think that was Spooner’s intention.
I think I’ve read enough of the book to form an opinion and say that Skylark was boring, confusing and so bad it was laughable. I have zero interest in finishing it, or picking up any of the sequels when they’re released.
This book may be for you (it seems I’m one of the few who think negatively of Skylark) and I hope you like it, and I can actually see many of my friends liking it. I absolutely did not.
Oh yeah, another thing: If you were intrigued by
Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.
like I was, sorry, but from what I’ve read, this book has nothing to do with never seeing the sky.
Once again, another promising book goes down the crapper.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Hemlock is quite possibly the best werewolf book that I’ve read. It’s not like I’ve read that many, but this was still amazing.
Hemlock follows Macken...moreHemlock is quite possibly the best werewolf book that I’ve read. It’s not like I’ve read that many, but this was still amazing.
Hemlock follows Mackenzie (Mac), and her longing to uncover the truth about the mysterious death of her best friend, Amy. Of course, things get in the way of her journey to uncover the truth, one of those things being a group of werewolf hunters known as The Trackers. As more secrets of the seemingly quiet and peaceful town of Hemlock unfold, Mackenzie realizes she may have gotten herself into a dangerous situation, and now, there’s no turning back.
Right from the beginning, I knew Hemlock and I were going to get along well. There’s not much action for the first half of the novel, but that doesn’t mean it was boring at all. I couldn’t have turned the pages faster, and with each chapter, more and more is revealed about the mystery of Amy Walsh’s death, all the way to a boiling conclusion that I did not see coming.
The characters in Hemlock, especially Mackenzie, were handled expertly, and had so much depth to them it felt like I could reach out and hug them. Mackenzie is an amazing heroine, and didn’t take no for an answer. There’s also Kyle and Jason, who are great characters as well, although I wanted Jason to die desperately throughout most of the book. Hell, maybe I still do. But, given that’s what I assume Peacock’s intention was, I suppose that’s a good thing that she made me feel such strong feelings towards a character. I also really liked the character of Mackenzie’s cousin, Tess, because she provided somewhat of a comic relief.
The mystery of Hemlock was much better than I expected it to be, and with each and every plot twist I found myself gasping aloud. Like I had mentioned earlier in the review, the ending came as a complete shock to me, although I was a little disappointed in it, but that’s only because the theories I had in my head were a bit more complicated, and the ending in Hemlock was a little simple.
Peacock’s writing is excellent, and I absolutely loved the chapters in which Amy visited Mackenzie in her dreams (that was probably my favorite thing about Hemlock). The portrayal of how much a death of a friend could change your life, and that you’d do anything to find justice for that person was done amazingly, and I found myself tearing up quite a few times throughout this book.
Overall, I really enjoyed Hemlock, and I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a fresh take on the werewolf genre, but at the same time, something so much more than that. (less)