I really wanted to like this book. Even now, after a year since I read it, I try to focus on the good things about it so I can convince myself to rea...more I really wanted to like this book. Even now, after a year since I read it, I try to focus on the good things about it so I can convince myself to read the next one, but I fail miserably. There is no part of me that’s interested in what is to come in this series or in the mysteries that were left unanswered in this first installment. Whatever promise this books had was completely destroyed for me by underdeveloped characters and a half-thought out plot.
Intrigued with the premise, I expected to find in Fallen a set of compelling, believable characters, a breathtaking, heartbreaking romance, a gothic, well-thought out setting, a riveting story and magnificent use of mythology. Well, I can honestly say I found none of the aforementioned in this story.
The story begins with a look to the past in which it is shown to the reader the misery the protagonists have to endure every time they find each other and fall in love. I was ready to let go of my grudge with the “destined lovers” thing if it was done right in this story, and at the beginning, I was very intrigued by the concept of being unable to actually be with your destined one. Until I met our protagonist: Luce.
I expected her to be strong, smart, capable and complex. I wanted someone who visibly struggled with the mysteries surrounded her and the horrors of her past, someone who stood her ground and didn’t allow anyone to manipulate her as they saw fit, and someone who demanded to know what concerned her. I wanted a protagonist that could find confidence within herself to carry on the burden she had been given. I got a half-wit, pushover, stalker, with no self respect or personality. She can’t even make her own decisions since there is a scene in which she is invited to a party and waits for Daniel (love interest and guy who treated her like crap at the moment) to nod his approval of her assisting that party.
Speaking of Daniel, what a hateful love interest he is. He is supposed to be this passionate, deep and tortured guy, but all I saw was a bipolar ass who felt he had the right to treat her like a yo-yo and pull her in and out as his moods shifted. Not like she complained. No, she decided she loved him and began to stalk him. In fact, they had already declared their undying love for each other before they had one meaningful conversation with more than five lines. Well, he didn’t make it exactly easy for them to talk since he ran away every time she tried to talk to him. And then when he does open up with her and tells her the big secret we’ve all know since the first page but Luce was too dense to figure out, she runs away like she and her feeble mind can’t handle the possibility of there being angels around her when she has been followed by shape-shifting, murderous shadows her whole life.
What is there of a plot in this story is incredibly predictable as it follows the normal progression of a high school drama/young adult paranormal: new girl comes to a new environment where she doesn’t fit in, some like her, others don’t and set out to make her life a living hell, she sees this incredibly gorgeous, secretive guy that pays attention to no one until she comes along and treats her kind of badly at first but then shows his sensitive side, other hot guys showers girl with attention but she is set on guy number one, they fall in love, and he turns out to be a supernatural being. The rest is just ridiculous. I am well aware that all secrets are not going to be revealed in the first installment on a series and that is not my problem. My problem is the lack of foundation for the plot. Things are going to be left unanswered and unclear, but the battle over Luce, the battle of the angels with each other, the fact that there are dark and light ones and they go to the same reform school, Cam’s interest on Luce and even the bad guys are just plain ludicrous and no amount of explaining will make any of those sound believable. The absence of a real bad guy in this book is also a serious fault for me. The only absurd attempt at a bad guy they had was quickly brushed aside and it involved the unnecessary death of a secondary character just to make that person really evil. Speaking of secondary characters, the book could’ve only featured Luce and Daniel and it would’ve turned out exactly the same way because the supporting cast is flat, mostly absent, undefined and, quite honestly, unnecessary.
The book it's too long when you consider just how little of all that is told is truly meaningful and contributes to the development of the story and the characters. Half way through, I had already lost all my interest and was praying for someone to just kill them all and release them and me from our misery.
Kate’s prose is pretty. Her words carry a sense of melancholia and a hint of nostalgia that is just perfect for this kind of story, but for some reason, it just didn’t flow naturally and effortlessly when I was reading this book. It all seemed kind of forced. The romance is not believable and their deep declarations of love made me roll my eyes. You can’t feel their connection just like you can’t feel the setting or the progression of the story and, rather, you are told throughout this book instead of shown what it is you have to believe and that is not how a story works for me.
I know a lot of people who really love this book and I got to admit the concept behind this whole story is pretty swoon-worthy, but it just didn’t materialize for me. I felt nothing but disdain for the protagonists and couldn’t take the plot seriously. The book had potential and maybe all my concerns with the first one were corrected in the next book, but it is very unlikely that I will ever know firsthand since I’ve yet to find a reason why I should go back to the world of Fallen. (less)
I'll start with the good things about this book: ____________________________________________________________________________________________ _________...moreI'll start with the good things about this book: ____________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________.
Ok, now that that's out the way. I'll get on with what bothered me about this book: Everything.
From the useless female lead to that jackass of a love interest, everything about this book is insulting. This is not a book about romance; this is a book about manipulation, stalking, abuse, isolation, sheer stupidity, selfishness masked as sacrifice and rampaging teenage hormones posing as eternal love.
I want to say that I liked the mythology, but everything else about the book completely killed it for me. There is not even an honest friendship in this book, for Vee and Nora were the most pathetic excuses for "besties" I've ever read about. "That guy is a murderer!" "No, he can't be, he's hot." "No, he is!" "Opps, I invited him over and set you up with him against your wishes. See, I'm a great BFF." "I'm telling you, that guy is bad. (Thinking: She's kind of fat.)" "Ah! That guy is bad! You were totally right!"
And then, after all the stalking, all the abuse and humiliation, Nora plays martyr for who has to be the biggest, most-undeserving jerk I've ever read about: Patch. (And it is not like there isn't competition, Daniel from Fallen is still there.)
I seriously can't believe Patch is considered a "hero" or that anyone buys his "tortured" act. I don't plan to read the other books so I don't know if he miraculously changes into a better character, but judging by all I ever plan to read of this series, he is no hero, he is not romantic and he is not a guy real girls out there should be wanting real men to be. Nora is also an insult to true heroines out there. She has no self-respect or a sense of self-worth, for anyone who takes all this crap from someone and still follows him around like a puppy can't possibly have any shred of self-stem or self-respect.
Like I said, I have no intention of ever reading the sequels because I won't support such a sick conception of what a relationship is.(less)
Karou is a mystery, and it goes far beyond her electric blue hair that grows out of her scalp that way, the tattoos that adorned her body, the bizarre, marvelous drawings of demons she swears are real and her strange necklace with beads that disappear when she makes a wish. Even her closest friend, sassy and petite Zuzane or her arrogant jerk of an ex-boyfriend seem to know nothing about her. But the truth is, Karou has never actually lied to them; she was raised by demons, or Chimaera, and she meets them every time her adoptive father, Brimstone, the taciturn leader of that little group of demons, sends her on an errand to collect human teeth. Despite the dangers, the lack of normalcy in her life and the constant nagging in her head that she doesn't really know who she is, Karou is happy. That is, until strange black hand prints scorched into doorways begin to appear across the world and people start claiming the have seen angels. And one of those angels, gorgeous and fierce Akiva, has set his eyes on her.
Okay, I'll admit it: I'm an absolute Laini Taylor fan girl. I have devoured every book she has published since her first title, The Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, first came out. I love her gorgeous writing and I have spent countless hours despairing over the fact that most people seem to not know who this wonderful author is. So when Daughter of Smoke and Bone was announced, wrapped within a hype storm, I was ecstatic because 1) Yay, another Taylor novel! and 2) Yay, people will finally learn of this fantastic writer! So, having said that, I will try to be as objective as possible in this review. I won't promise I'll succeed, but at least I'll try.
I loved this book, like sleep-with-it-for-nights-after-I-was-done-with-it-and-daydream-about-it-and-consider-threatening-the-author-into-releasing-the-sequel-sooner loved it. As I've come to expect from Laini Taylor, this book was written beautifully, with a delicate, gorgeous prose laced with breathtaking imagery and magnificent, impeccable world building. This story is highly original and unlike anything else I've read in the YA genre. There's witty humor, violence, mystery and even a little bit of horror. The characters were engaging and interesting. Karou is one fierce and strong protagonist and I loved reading about her. Akiva is complicated and I felt his magnetism jump right out of the page. The Chimaera, especially, where fun and nicely detailed and the magic behind the story was simply wonderful.
But, sadly, there were some things that, while I didn't dislike or hate, I did feel that could've been improved in the book. First of all, the pace. This book is probably heavier than other YA novels out there that barely make it to 200 pages, and though I practically inhaled it in a record-breaking 12 hours, I have to admit that there were a few occasions when I wanted to put the book down because nothing was happening. Don't get me wrong, there are some really badass action scenes in there, but the plot moves somewhat slowly some times. Then, there was the romance. I loved the chemistry between Karou and Akiva but it felt...off. Especially when we discover the big plot twist towards the end of the book. Don't worry, I won't spoil anything, but I did feel some times that their relationship was somewhat shallow and superficial. Though I deeply enjoyed the way Taylor approached the romance aspect of the novel, I felt the relationship lacked a little bit of depth and I really hope this gets fixed in the second installment in the series. And finally, while I understand the need, I believe too much time is spent over-explaining the circumstances of the plot twist towards the end. I felt like this derailed the plot a little bit and took momentum from the climax and then we were forced back into it with a shocking cliffhanger at the end.
Despite all that, this book is without a doubt one of my favorite 2011 releases. Almost every line in this book can be taken out and quoted outside with a beautiful and meaningful impact and there is no other word than can describe this book better than simply outstanding. Gorgeous writing, fantastic world building, kickass leads and a passionate romance, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the YA book that should top your TBR list this year. I highly recommend it.(less)
I honestly don't know how I feel about this book. I think I lean more towards indifference, but when it comes to the rating, a 3 would imply that a pa...moreI honestly don't know how I feel about this book. I think I lean more towards indifference, but when it comes to the rating, a 3 would imply that a part of me enjoyed it and a 2 means that I disliked it. Neither are true.
The writing was bad, juvenile and unpolished. I sometimes read the same line several times because I couldn't believe the author had used such a terrible simile to explain a scene or event. The pacing of the actual plot is slow, although there are a lot of actions scenes thrown all over the book just for the hell of it, and the plot wasn't as neat as it should've been. There were also some pretty annoying characters, including the protagonist, whose shallowness seemed to know no end, and mainly her useless and required group of friends who lacked so much personality, they just sort of melted into one uninteresting and flat being, but as a whole, I didn't hate this book as much as I thought it would. At some point, I was fairly certain I was going to give it 3.5 stars. To be more specific, both my interest and the book's appeal rose considerably when Puerto Rico was mentioned. What can I say, I'm proud of my island. While it was nice to see that the author did some research on the tourist attractions and historical sites, the culture and even the food, I was put off by the geographical inaccuracies and seriously pissed off with the stereotyping of the men and the adjectives the author chose to use on them, some of them stinky, creepy and awful. That was simply insulting.
The whole mythology behind the story is not exactly original, but it had a cool twist to it that I appreciated. I didn't think the leads had any chemistry whatsoever, but at least it wasn't insta-love, per se, so that was refreshing as well. I really liked that the protagonist held her own and defended herself, but that was mostly because we were told that, rather than because we saw it very often. If that was really true, she wouldn't need a guardian. I felt very uncomfortable with the situation Ellie had with her parents. I thought it would have some purpose, but it didn't. It was just there for us to feel sorry for her and it felt so forced the entire time I was tempted to skip the pages every time any of her parents came into the room. Furthermore, that her mother would be willing to go through all of that emotional abuse and see her child go through the same and still say she loves her husband and imply that she would never leave him was simply disturbing.
So, I think that, in the end, I'll just call it a 2.5 and get on with my life. Not sure if I'll read the other one. For the moment, I am not motivated to do so.(less)
Madison Avery has a lot of problems. She is still dead and now she is the head of a celestial system she doesn't believe in and stuck with it until sh...moreMadison Avery has a lot of problems. She is still dead and now she is the head of a celestial system she doesn't believe in and stuck with it until she can find her mortal body, which would then mean she would have to make the choice of either leaving the dark reapers and therefore losing her best friends to live a perfectly normal life or to live for thousands of years as the dark timekeeper and be in charge of dark angels that would "smite" a human without a second thought just to save their eternal souls and that refuse to take on the change she desperately wants to bring. Not to mention that the dark timekeeper's bothersome abilities are starting to awaken and she is still confused about her status relationship with Josh. Talk about drama.
This is the second installment on the Madison Avery trilogy and, for being the book that sets the foundation for the end, it mostly reads like just an installment in a series of about 10 books. The length is mostly responsible for that and the plot in this book is too simple and blown up to cover 200 pages. Still, the great and colorful characters, the tight and original concept of the story, the realistic romantic tension and a really likable protagonist make up for the simplicity of the plot. Not to mention that the book grips you from the first page and doesn't release its hold until the very last page, which is something often missing from y/a books that make the reading experience painful and boring.
I must say, it took me a while to get around to read this sequel, mostly because the first one Once dead, Twice shy was sort of a "nice" mess in my opinion. The plot was confusing and hard to follow, but all that is fixed in this one, with the minimal exceptions in a few passages in which Madison's narration of what was happening at the moment was twisted with her thoughts on other things.
Madison is a great voice and, while I'm not partial to her choice of swearing and cursing (puppy presents on the rug! - seriously, she says that-), she brings the story to life with her humor and easily beautiful way of seeing things. She is, by all means, an unlikely heroine. She messes up a lot and her half-thought plans and impulsive nature usually complicate things too much which makes her endearing and a very realistic lead, especially when she learns from her mistakes and is determined to make a change one way or another. The rest of the cast is marvelous. Nakita, the single minded dark reaper that wishes to understand Madison but tends to take out her sword more often than necessary, Barnabas, the brooding fallen angel and light reaper gone rouge that is Madison's compass and teacher, and Grace, the mischievous, rhyming guardian angel are what truly make the story great and the only reason why I give this book 4 stars.
While I see the point in the hassle of the story as Madison's way of beginning to bring a change, I still consider its simplicity a con against the book. There were twists and turns but none were entirely unpredictable and Josh's absence from the story in this book affected a little the romantic development between him and Madison. Other than that, I don't think there is much to criticize since this is simply a light, fun read that happens to have an amazing and deeply original mythology working behind it and an unforgettable set characters along for the uncomplicated, enjoyable ride. (less)
I am somewhat disappointed by this book. I feel like there's barely anything original in it, starting with, but not limited to, the fact that Will is...moreI am somewhat disappointed by this book. I feel like there's barely anything original in it, starting with, but not limited to, the fact that Will is just like Jace. Oh, wait, there is one difference: Jace is blond while Will's hair is black. And I feel like punching Will in the face every time he shows up.
Jem is probably the only reason I'm giving it 4 stars and I still don't think Tessa deserves him at all.
Oh, and Will's curse has to be one of the stupidest plot-twists I've ever read about.
I'll review it more thoroughly when I start feeling betrayed by Cassandra Clare. (less)
I waited a while to venture into this one based on my previous experience with Yovanoff. I knew I would find gorgeous prose, engaging, dark characters and fantastic world building, but The Replacement, her first novel, left me feeling slightly unsatisfied because of its extremely slow pace and overly-simplistic plot, so I was wary of this one. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about as The Space Between quickly climbed its way into my favorites through gorgeous storytelling, amazing, heart-wrenching characters and a marvelous story that will stay with you long after you read the last sentence.
Yovannoff's writing is exquisite, beautiful in its poetic simplicity and laced with breathtaking imagery. I found myself stopping to read some lines several times, trying to absorb the powerful images the author conveyed with the simplest of lines. The narration did slowed to a crawl in some occasions and the plot is not by any means action-packed, but I can honestly say I was never bored. I deeply enjoyed seeing the world through Daphne's eyes. Her voice in the story was compelling, a haunting song all the way to the end and her character is just as compelling.
It was very difficult at first to relate to Daphne, but I ended up loving her completely. She is innocent, for all intent and purposes, completely clueless about the world and herself, so it is understandable why she came across as completely unemotional and empty in some occasions. But she did not stay like that. That is, perhaps, what I loved the most about the book: the character development was amazing, not only Daphne's but also Truman's. Truman is the character that, in my opinion, Yovanoff tried to make of The Replacement's Mackie Doyle. He is truly and completely haunted, a tortured soul going through life wanting for an excuse to either live or die. Needless to say, he was incredibly complicated and compelling and his sorrow jumped right out of the page every time he spoke. That is what is truly incredible about Yovanoff's characters: they are not made to be liked or understood or admired, they are constructed to experience life as it really is, to convey the real emotional baggage we all have, the moral ambiguity that is our lives and Daphne and Truman are just that: so incredibly and achingly human.
The world building is just as beautiful and complex. Yovanoff gives us a very interesting new version of hell and the strong construction of Daphne's world continues long after she leaves hell. The world is a dirty, dark, dangerous place where hopes seem to be not only absent but also forbidden from entering and still there is a light in the middle of so much ugliness, a way out just within reach. It might seem like I am more in love with the concepts of the novel rather than with the actual story, and it might be true; the symbolism and lessons are heavy on this one, but while, yes, there were some plots that I didn't like, some circumstances that seemed to convenient or unimportant, a little bit of insta-love and some plots that left a sour taste behind, The Space Between is still one of my favorite books, if not my favorite, of the whole year.
This book is a study in what makes us human, how we love and how we suffer and what we live for. This story moves aside concepts of good and bad and presents life in its most basic: a search for what we live for and truly makes life worth it. A search for redemption, a journey into love and sacrifice, I strongly recommend The Space Between for readers that are willing to sacrifice a little bit of entertainment for a story that makes you think and feel. (less)
This one, at least, followed the original story line and pushed the plot from the standstill it was stuck on after Misguided Angel, a very poor filler...moreThis one, at least, followed the original story line and pushed the plot from the standstill it was stuck on after Misguided Angel, a very poor filler after the amazing Van Allen Legacy. Still, it as all over the place, shifting from past to present erratically and it focused on insignificant side plots and, I'm afraid, suffered from bipolar disorder. One second it was pushing with the drama (oh, I'll never see him again, I'll never forgive him or I don't love him anymore) and the other they were happily declaring their undying affections after a hot bed session, which, by the way, happened way too often for a YA book. I don't mind sex in YA, but tone it down a little bit, those kids were having or thinking of sex every 20 pages.Schuyler was never much of a strong protagonist, but come on! Give her a little more of a backbone instead of having her whining for Jack's protection every time something happened. Mini as well! What happened to her arrogance and pride? She was just a lusty, love-sick girl and not exactly the mighty angel of death and if this was supposed to make her seem human, well it made her seem pathetic. I did enjoy the plot twists, but whatI didn't like was just how much boring nonsense I had to plow through to get there. I'm kind of happy the next one is the last one, this series should end before it takes a turn for the worse. (less)
The good news is that this one is better than City of Fallen Angels.
The bad news is that City of Lost Souls still feels like a forced continuation of...moreThe good news is that this one is better than City of Fallen Angels.
The bad news is that City of Lost Souls still feels like a forced continuation of what should've, for the sake of the quality of the previous installments and out of respect for the fans, stayed a trilogy.
Like the previous installment, this one also unnecessarily dragged and ended up in a conflict that, although interesting, failed to be convincing. Quite frankly, not only is most of the story wasted away in unimportant side plots, but the main storyline is full of confusing and vague plot devices and logical flaws. Sebastian's obsession with Clary really served no purpose to the story other than to make him look more despicable. Clary's "dark mission", as the blurb described it, was nothing but steamy make-out scenes and sightseeing up until the climax of the novel. Actually, the whole book is basically just the chronicles of the romantic progress in the relationships of the protagonists. Do I like you - Do you like me? OMG, I'm so insecure in our relationship. Should we get back together? Should we have sex? There that's the entire content of 500+ page novel summarized in just a few questions.
Somehow, Clare managed to ruin characters I actually liked. Seems like I keep underestimating her capacity to destroy characters, seeing as how I thought she could not possibly make Jace any more obnoxious after the original trilogy and then she magically produced three more books that completely blew away my concept of the word. In this one, she managed to ruin Isabelle with ridiculous insecurities, that I know are supposed to stand as character development, but that, in my opinion, ended up weakening her. I also always held a begrudged respect for Clary, but her selfishness in this one was simply unbearable. Even Magnus lost his some of his appeal when she had him make multiple jokes that simply felt uncomfortably flat. I absolutely hated what she did with Maia and Jordan. I despised it on City of Fallen Angels because I couldn't forget how, in the original trilogy, Maia's ex boyfriend had been presented as an abusive jerk, and then there he is being shoved down our throats with how gorgeous and misunderstood he was and only so that Simon and Isabelle could be together with no other girl standing in their way. That was just wrong. Actually, most of these relationships are kind of sick. First of all, Simon cheated on both Isabelle and Maia. Jace is a controlling and condescending jerk, and, lastly, Alec's insecurities bordered long ago on ridiculous.
The main conflict of this addition to what still is one of my favorite series is simply silly sometimes. The plot is not as tight as in the first trilogy, the characters and their problems not as engaging and, overall, this series has lost most of the appeal it originally held for me. I aware that it could be a lot worse, but I feel cheated with these last two books. I guess I can only hope that the last (hopefully) installment somehow makes these last two worth it. (less)
I'm going to make this short because my heart is still trying to recover from the beating it got from this ending, which I do not regret for I can say...moreI'm going to make this short because my heart is still trying to recover from the beating it got from this ending, which I do not regret for I can say in all honesty that it was worth it. A stunning and perfect conclusion to the series that's pretty much Clare's biggest literary achievement. Her writing, her characters and her plotting have developed so much that I am sure no one could've made this series like her, nor come up with such a wonderful final installment. Now, please let's leave it at that, no surprise addition like with The Mortal Instruments, okay?(less)
COHF turned out to be, not only a surprisingly good resolution to the train wreck that started with City of Fallen Angels and continued with...more3.5 stars
COHF turned out to be, not only a surprisingly good resolution to the train wreck that started with City of Fallen Angels and continued with City of Lost Souls, but also a pretty nice ending to the series overall, albeit a very long-winded one. Perhaps it was due to my need to just get the series over with, but I did not connect with this ending as well as I did with City of Glass. That is not to say that it wasn't entertaining - it had to be in order to keep me interested for over 700 pages. But Clare did try to weave way too many threads into this one, and although I see their importance for further installments in this world, they felt a bit unnecessary at times to this particular story, like Emma's POV. Truth be told, the book didn't actually need to be this long. When you consider the story and the events in it, a considerably amount of pages could've been edited out and it would've made for a more exciting and succinct reading experience.
Clare toned down Jace quite a few notches, for which I'm very thankful for and which she skillfully made into character development. Clary, on the other hand, remained pretty much the same generic MC, but Clare gave almost all the characters a moment to shine and grow. It's not exactly a happy ending, but it could be considered one and it kind of bothers me that Clare seems incapable of envisioning an ending in which not every single person gets paired up romantically with someone else. It's almost like the real tragedy of it all would be someone remaining single by the end of the story. There were a few deaths and a few sacrifices, but, as expected, Clare found a way to circumvent some particular tragedies for the main characters, which also bothered me somewhat.
All in all, a satisfying conclusion to the series, and a good time for me to say farewell to the world of Shadowhunters. (less)