Well, as calm as I can be after reading a Courtney Summers book. If you've read any Summers book, but particularly This4.5 stars
Please Remain Calm...
Well, as calm as I can be after reading a Courtney Summers book. If you've read any Summers book, but particularly This is Not a Test, you know how this goes. The writing is glorious, beautiful perfection, the story raw and heavy and heart-crushing, and the ending the literary equivalent of seppuku. And it is amazing.
I have no idea how Summers manages to breathe so much life into her characters in just a handful of pages. The feel so real, so achingly authentic, that her novels always manage to take my breath away even if they are somewhat slow paced and, in the great scheme of things, slightly uneventful. Summers has the ability to make me care about every little thing her characters go through, and she delivers each moment with an impact that scars my heart forever.
In this one, there's the desperate need for survival and the crushing psychological weight of trying to stay alive in a world where there's really no reason to do so, both of which made This is Not a Test an instant favorite of mine, but we also get to experience Sloane from the outside and see her through Rhys' eyes, and I didn't think it was possible, but Rhys is almost as compelling a narrator as Sloane was.
Gut-wrenching, deeply emotional and beautifully written, Please Remain Call is a perfect epilogue to This is Not a Test, even if the ending is left only slightly less open than the one the first novel left us with. ...more
A nice addition, though not really necessary and definitely not what I expected. I enjoyed spending time with Tarver and Lilac again, but I h3.5 stars
A nice addition, though not really necessary and definitely not what I expected. I enjoyed spending time with Tarver and Lilac again, but I honestly can't say that the story did much for me. Fairly simple and straightforward, just a bit of cute fan service for the shippers, some cool action and some more intrigue and conspiracy for LaRoux Industries. Nice diversity and kickass female characters, as well. Plus, it's free, so there's really nothing to complain about. ...more
Like it's companion novel, Not a Drop to Drink, In a Handful of Dust is a bleak, gritty, and brutal but lyrical novel about human determinati3.5 stars
Like it's companion novel, Not a Drop to Drink, In a Handful of Dust is a bleak, gritty, and brutal but lyrical novel about human determination and unbreakable will in a world where everything's lost and few things are worth living and fighting for. This time around, the novel focuses mainly on Lucy, the little girl Lynn gave everything to protect in NADTD. While Lucy is an interesting lead, I think Lynn is by far a more fascinating and engaging main character. It was refreshing to have Lucy, a more upbeat and whimsical kind of girl, as the focus of the novel, opposite hardened, practical and taciturn Lynn, but, at least to me, the story lost some of that heart-wrenching and beautifully harsh quality that was abundant in the first one when the story followed Lynn.
It's not that bad things don't happened in this one or that Lucy doesn't suffer in the slightest,- heavens, no. Brutal things still await these characters in their journey, but I felt the emotional impact with far more intensity when it was through the eyes of Lynn, a girl that expected nothing from the world and was still brutalized and disappointed by it. Lucy looked at the world through more positive eyes and always carried in her a sort of naive but stubborn hope for the world and her life. That is truly admirable in a main character, especially in such a ravaged and brutal world, but I liked it better when that quality in her character was appreciated through the eyes of Lynn, a girl who had none of that for her own.
The journey across the US is engaging and leads to some very interesting developments, but, to me, it didn't feel entirely natural and didn't flow all that smoothly. In the beginning of the book, we are introduced to what forces Lynn and Lucy to embark in this journey, and to me it felt exactly like that, forceful, particularly in Lynn's case. I liked that, once more, McGinnis explored humanity in all its different aspects, from good to bad, through the people Lucy and Lynn encountered in their journey and how those people tried to survive in this barren world, but some of them were a bit hard to believe. The struggles along the way were far-fetched on occasion, and though I wholeheartedly believe McGinnis is a genius at capturing the human spirit in its many different and often terrible ways, most of the characters in the novel never came across as realistic to me and felt forced into the story.
In the end, this is a highly enjoyable post-apocalyptic/survival story that's nicely-written and thoroughly entertaining. I've struggled with this rating for a month now and my indecision over it has not diminished in the slightest. McGinnis is an spectacular writer. She proved it with Not A Drop To Drink and she reaffirmed it for me with this one, the only problem was that I didn't feel this one the way I felt the first one and the experience wasn't as fulfilling, even though this one had a pretty incredible ending. It all comes down to me not loving this one like I love the first one, but even though the rating will be 3 stars, this is still a pretty fantastic book. ...more
Very interesting. The writing was okay and Dorothy was a bit obnoxious, but it was very interesting to witness the corruption of innocent Dor3.5 stars
Very interesting. The writing was okay and Dorothy was a bit obnoxious, but it was very interesting to witness the corruption of innocent Dorothy and the rest of the gang. It didn't exactly sell me the idea of the novel entirely, but I'm definitely interested in it now because the concept is pretty cool. ...more
Absolutely spectacular, as can be expected from the magnificent Laini Taylor. Beautifully written, achingly and gloriously romantic, and absolutely meAbsolutely spectacular, as can be expected from the magnificent Laini Taylor. Beautifully written, achingly and gloriously romantic, and absolutely mesmerizing. A must for the fans desperately awaiting Dreams of Gods and Monsters. The dual POVs were incredible and different and gave a depth to the story that was utterly gorgeous. This little novella might not have much to do with the main plot of the series, but it is one gorgeous, delicious, magical treat from Taylor to her fans. ...more
It isn't a secret that I loved Splintered. That does not mean, however, that the story didn't have its faults, namely, a slightly forced love3.5 stars
It isn't a secret that I loved Splintered. That does not mean, however, that the story didn't have its faults, namely, a slightly forced love triangle and a very possessive and bossy main love interest that was, strangely enough, not the insane one of the two. Considering this novella promised to be exactly about the two things I liked the least about the novel, I was understandably apprehensive about reading it. I didn't doubt the novella would be a good read, - I trust in Howard's skills and her vision of this world way too much to doubt that I would enjoy it -, but, to say I bluntly, I was not that excited about being in the head of a character I don't exactly like. In the end, I did enjoy it. The world is still creepy and mesmerizing, and Morpheus is still the compelling and complex character I loved from the first one.
I was surprised at how much I didn't detest Jeb. He's not a terrible guy in Splintered, but his behavior irritated me. With this novella, I can't say that I like him much or that I complete excuse how possessive and controlling he was with Alyssa, but I think I understand him better and now I can see where his love for Alyssa comes from. He's suddenly a lot more layered to me than he was in Splintered, where he just fulfilled the super-hot, tortured-artist love interest requirement for me.
This novella doesn't add all that much to the first novel. It does provide some background info and a new perspective to some of the events in the novel, but the main point behind the story is to build a bridge between both novels based on the resolution Morpheus makes at the end of the novella. This is a very light but still enjoyable read that I recommend for the fans of Splintered that can't wait to get their hands on Unhinged. ...more
These two short stories (one for Day and one for June) don't really contribute much to the general plot of the series, nor do they expand much on theThese two short stories (one for Day and one for June) don't really contribute much to the general plot of the series, nor do they expand much on the world-building. Day's story in particular didn't really add much to his characterization, but June's did and that's the one I enjoyed the best. In her's, we get a glimpse of how she got to be the girl she was in Legend and at her beautiful relationship with her brother Metias. While I liked and enjoyed June's story better, both of them will probably sit well with fans of the series, even when it is not necessry to read them. ...more
This series is going to be the end of me, I can tell. I wholeheartedly believe Mr. Kristoff is on a quest to make me shed all the tears I have and leaThis series is going to be the end of me, I can tell. I wholeheartedly believe Mr. Kristoff is on a quest to make me shed all the tears I have and leave me emotionally spent. I'm a complete mess right now and it's not even book 2 yet. This little book, a little over 100 pages, made me experience more emotions than some of the 400+ ones I've read in the last couple of years.
The Last Stormdancer is inspiring, exciting, endearing, empowering, frustrating and heart breaking, all at the same time. The prose is even more gorgeous and refined than it was in Stormdancer. I was constantly re-reading entire passages because of how beautiful the word choice and arrangement were. Koh's narration was simply amazing, so utterly breathtaking and engaging, it was hard not to get completely lost in her words. I don't know how Mr. Kristoff managed it, but with so little space, he achieved wonderful characterization for almost every character in the novella. They were layered, complex, believable, flawed and absolutely human.
This is one epic novella. Right from the start, it kicks off powerfully and full of action and it never lets up, carrying on that atmosphere of a little bit of hope in the midst of desperation and hopelessness all the way to the end. I am just so glad I decided to pre-order book 2 in order to get this novella. It is simply amazing. It adds a lot of background to the world, mythology and history of The Lotus War and it is a must read for fans of the series. I can't recommend it enough. If you loved Stormdancer, you need to get your hands on The Last Stormdancer. ...more
This book was probably better plotted than Enchanted and offered a more competent protagonist that its predecessor, but sadly, what Enchanted2.5 stars
This book was probably better plotted than Enchanted and offered a more competent protagonist that its predecessor, but sadly, what Enchanted had in abundance, which was its charming magic and innocence, plus the enchanting way it retold many fairy tales in one and yet made it feel so original, Hero lacked it. Reading this book was not a bad experience, but after Enchanted, I wanted to be charmed by this novel, to smile at how whimsical and lovely it was, and to get fuzzy feelings from the clever cuteness of it all. Throughout most of this book, I was just going through the pages, feeling absolutely indifferent about it. I didn't connect with the characters and the romance wasn't engaging, quite frankly, it was somewhat irritating because of how fast and uneventful it was. There were a lot of attempts at clever social commentary in there, but I feel like it was wasted and that the story never fully committed to it. Hero is probably better constructed than Enchanted, but nowhere near as charming, which was Enchanted's greatest strength, and which ultimately made for a disappointing sequel. ...more
A beautiful and highly imaginative reinvention of Cinderella with gorgeous prose, a lovely romance, a strong set of characters and a truly fa4.5 stars
A beautiful and highly imaginative reinvention of Cinderella with gorgeous prose, a lovely romance, a strong set of characters and a truly fantastic and unique story. After Cruel Beauty, I already knew Hodge was more than capable of reinventing fairy tales in outstandingly beautiful and original ways, but Gilded Ashes surpassed Cruel Beauty because its succinct storyline and short format didn't allow space for the repetitive narration and meandering plot than I struggled with in Hodge's debut novel.
Gilded Ashes gives a fresh new twist to the timeless tale of Cinderella, one that raises the stake of the novel and allows for a fantastic exploration of the character of Maia, who would be Cinderella in this case. She was an incredibly strong and engaging characters whose complexity I thoroughly enjoyed. The same for the sisters and the relationship between them. While many other retellings keep the two evil stepsisters or at least one, Hodge played with these characters and breathed life into them, making Koré one of the most fascinating characters I've read about in quite a while.
The romance progresses quickly, but that was due to the short amount of pages available, and not because it is insta-love in any way and form. The romance feels genuine and the love interest is genuinely complex and sweet. I stand in awe of what Hodge accomplished in such a short amount of pages. This is a really beautiful short story that I recommend to everyone who's looking for well-written and original fairy tale retellings, even if they haven't read Cruel Beauty....more
Holy sh**! I adore this author because this woman never holds back. She fully commits and goes all out in every plot development in her stories, and itHoly sh**! I adore this author because this woman never holds back. She fully commits and goes all out in every plot development in her stories, and it always ends up working marvelously. Exhilarating and thrilling, I can't wait to get to The next novel, even though it really sucks that it is the end. ...more
What an absolutely gorgeous present the creators of Zelda have given to us the fans. I can't think of a more wonderful way to thank the fans for moreWhat an absolutely gorgeous present the creators of Zelda have given to us the fans. I can't think of a more wonderful way to thank the fans for more than 25 years of loyalty. But really, the games alone are reward enough. I haven't made it a secret that The Legend of Zelda is one of the things I am most passionate about in my life. I grew up with this series. Every major step I took in my life, every big change I went through, was accompanied by a Zelda game. This is the series that made me passionate about video games in general and it is also the game that made me fall in love with fantasy.
The Hyrule Historia makes a truly spectacular job out of putting together the information every Zelda game has contributed to the mythology, world-building and character with. It also offers information on the creation of the games and awesome bonus art. It is not as expansive as I wanted it to be, but I completely understand that the information is incomplete, and that, for a series with no planned consistency or coherence beforehand, the stories complement each other beautifully. This books provides a very comprehensive compilation of the history of the land of Hyrule, from its creation to its downfall, and the evolution of the legend of Link and Zelda. There were some topics I wanted more info on, particularly some tribes like the Sheikahs and the Kokiris, to which the book gives little attention, but I really can't complain because the book has a lot of info that is pretty easy to miss when you play the games. I loved the way the book made a point of showing the connection between items and colors and characters and designs across the games, like the possible relation between the Ocarina of Time and the timeshift stones in Skyward Sword, which honestly had never occurred to me. There were some mistakes, the biggest one being the illustration of Nabooru, the Gerudo thief from Ocarina of Time that later becomes the Sage of Spirit, with the medallion of the Temple of Fire and Darunia, the Goron that rightfully represents the medallion of the Temple of Fire, with the medallion of the Temple of Spirit, but everything else was either completely irrelevant or simply errors in the translation, like the confusion in the timeline of the two Linebecks from Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.
The bonus Skyward Sword comic at the end was breathtakingly beautiful. I am making my way through Himekawa's Zelda mangas, but this 30-something page comic by far surpasses all those mangas in terms of dialogue, plot and, more importantly, illustrations. That comic alone warrants a 5 star rating. It expands on the history of Skyloft and the relationship between Link and Zelda, which was one of my favorite things from Skyward Sword.
I don't think I can gush enough about this book. In the grand scheme of things, it is but a glance into the world of Zelda and doesn't answer all the questions, but this is a fan's dream come true. I know it is mine. ...more
Okay, that was pretty good. I think I'll definitely have to rethink my original decision to not read the sequel to Enclave. I'm still pissed at it, buOkay, that was pretty good. I think I'll definitely have to rethink my original decision to not read the sequel to Enclave. I'm still pissed at it, but since this novella was so well-written and offered a lot of much-needed background to the world-building, I'll probably give the second one a try. But if disgusting Stalker gets shoved down my throat as a love interest again or if Deuce makes one insensitive comment about rape, I'll be truly done with the series. ...more
Wow. I don't think I've ever encountered the word 'slut' so many times in such a small amount of pages. That was definitely a huge turn-off and it almWow. I don't think I've ever encountered the word 'slut' so many times in such a small amount of pages. That was definitely a huge turn-off and it almost made me give this one 3 stars instead of 4.
But the thing is, I love how Hand writes, from her prose to her characters, who are so realistic and flawed and easy to relate to. And I definitely loved finally getting into Angela's head. Her love affair is a tumultuous one, and the way it was developed allowed for a lot of space for her character to unfurl, which, you know, is the whole point of short stories, so that was great. This is a really good short story and helps set the stage for the last book, which is looking pretty bleak right this moment. ...more
This one is really difficult to rate, because, although it does shed light on a very important decision a character makes in the first book and sets aThis one is really difficult to rate, because, although it does shed light on a very important decision a character makes in the first book and sets a bridge between the developments of the stories in both books, it felt... off. I really don't know how to explain it. First off, it is obvious Shusterman had very little to do with the writing of this short story. He might've plotted it, but filling it in went to the other author and, while she did a decent job at sounding like him, it didn't read like Shusterman's prose and didn't carry the force his lines usually carry. It was also a bit melodramatic with the inner thoughts of the characters, and, quite frankly, I was a bit bored. I actually fell asleep in the middle of it. But, anyway, I liked the inclusion of another side of society that stands against unwinding, but somehow developed their own advanced and ethically-questionable medicine. The climax, however, felt a bit too forced for me. So, in the end, it is 2.5-3 stars with this one on concept alone. ...more
Beautifully-written, thought provoking, haunting and absolutely riveting, Madapple is nothing like I expected it to be. Sadly, as the 3.30-something oBeautifully-written, thought provoking, haunting and absolutely riveting, Madapple is nothing like I expected it to be. Sadly, as the 3.30-something overall rating this book has in Goodreads will let you know, this book is not for everyone and I see how it might turn off a whole lot of people. This book is full of hard-to-swallow topics such as incest, rape and religious obsession to the point of madness. If you can look past the horrible notions we have concerning those topics, I'm sure appreciating this book would come easily. The prose is breath-taking, the detailed arrangement of the chapters and characters and historical, botanical and mythological lessons and the magnificent execution of this novel is rarely seen in YA. Reading this book is quite an experience and I'm glad I was able to appreciate it like it deserves. ...more