For the past two installments I've always questioned whether my anxiety for each 1 half years of waiting was justified. I really liked how quirky CleaFor the past two installments I've always questioned whether my anxiety for each 1 half years of waiting was justified. I really liked how quirky Clean Sweep was (I mean, how many innkeeper books in mainstream urban fantasy are there out there, right??); Sweep in Peace was surprisingly even more enjoyable than Clean Sweep; and now One Fell Sweep has sealed my obsession for this series. I LOVED IT SO MUCH it hurts.
It's funny that I've never been a fan of the Andrews' Kate Daniels series, but OFS is easily my best read this year. There's something really simple and matter-of-fact to the author duo's writing style, but it's just so addictive. I mean, I just want to keep reading about Caldenia's serene Mello Yello-sipping, and Orro's adorable gruffness. Even reading about Dina decorating a Christmas tree MAKES ME SO CONFUSINGLY HAPPY.
We really got to explore more of the ginormous cosmos of the Innkeeper Chronicles, and usually the problems Dina faces is within the compound of Gertrude's Hunt, but now a whole new species is bringing their conflict to her doorstep. So much action, we learn so much more about innkeepers and Dina's crazy lovely connection with her inn, more characters are introduced WHO ARE JUST AWESOME BTW. And Sean. Yes. Mmhmm. Wow. Yum. Luvin' the progress there, thank you Andrews.
And I really love that I can't really categorize this book?? It's an amazing blend of every genre I love (PNR, UF, a little sci-fi, fantasy). It's just a corn soup of brilliance....more
*4.5 stars* There's a reason why I stay away from hefty epic high fantasies - they run longer (thus hefty) but that means we have more time with the c*4.5 stars* There's a reason why I stay away from hefty epic high fantasies - they run longer (thus hefty) but that means we have more time with the characters, getting to know them and being thoroughly invested. Thus when a tragedy does hit, and that seems to be an inevitable trademark of this genre, it hits that much harder. (I'm still stinging from that final one I don't think I'll be picking up Well of Ascension nor any high fantasies any time soon or ever. Yes, it was that fatal. At least to me.)
Final Empire is told in third person, multiple POVs but focused primarily around the two main characters, Vin and Kelsier, and then a smattering of the secondary casts that added a great deal more depth and excitement to the plot. Usually I'd hate multiple POVs but Sanderson kept them short and tight, not enough to drag the attention away from all the fun, but only when the story moves a little to the side and we'd want to know how their side of the story played out. So it's cool and very refreshing.
But that character development for Vin and Kelsier though. LURVE. They're really far from perfect, even when they at first seemed to be. Perfect, that is. Kind of. Vin's that easy-to-love protagonist who's been dealt a shit hand in life, who's beaten down and suspicious of the world, but who's still kind and have I mentioned powerful? Yes, she's that #kewl YA protagonist everyone loves. But along the way she has traits that are questionable, which makes her that much more relatable. For example when a friend is in danger, the unrealistic loyalty the usual YA heroines almost always possesses makes them rush into the fray and save the day against the odds, but Vin tries to persuade Kell and the gang not to and gains the disapproval of the crew? That's realistic human behavior, ok? And Kell. I love that man - he appeared charismatic, witty, irreverent, smart, and just larger-than-life and generally infallible a guy when we first meet him, then we start to see how his character starts to have lingering grey areas around the edges.
“I warned Sazed I’d be dropping by sometime during the trip.”
“And you didn’t tell me?”
Kelsier winked, pulling the door shut. “I figured I still owed you for surprising me in that alleyway last week.”
“How very adult of you,” Vin said flatly.
“I’ve always been very confident in my immaturity.”
But have I mentioned I loved Kell? I want my firstborn son to be called Kelsier, First of His Name, Lord of the Mist, and (view spoiler)[BRINGHIMBACKPLEASE my bleeding heart please stitch back together sometime in the near future I can't function like that (hide spoiler)].
Some would find the dialogues and world-building draggy, but I honest-to-Lord Ruler didn't feel it at all. I have just started my internship (and work life sucks), so I only got to read Final Empire in bits and pieces, but it's been thoroughly engrossing. I felt that Sanderson did a brilliant job interweaving world-building in those dialogues - the cultures, the magic the people and their CRAZYMILLIONS of religions. I wouldn't say it's the most masterful of world-building because we've only really seen the Central Dominance and some of the outlying areas, but the vastness that is talked about is enough to paint the picture, I feel. And after the build up from the planning and training and subterfuge, I inhaled the last quarter of the book (kind of, until that happened) and neglected all manners of sustenance and hygiene. The whole plot and ending was ingenious and the twists were so masterful, it was such an adventure the whole time. #RESPECT
I would definitely recommend this to fans of adult high fantasy (which I don't really read and my only real comparison is Game of Thrones?? Hehe ops) or those just now only wishing to dabble in it, but I forewarn it is not for the faint-hearted, or really not for those who likes their happy airy-fairy HEA in YA high fantasies....more
Finally! A truly sensible heroine that is content with what she has, doesn't take crap from anyone (in a mature and realistic way), and knows how to sFinally! A truly sensible heroine that is content with what she has, doesn't take crap from anyone (in a mature and realistic way), and knows how to separate reasons of the heart and mind. A fun, fast plot with a slow-burn romance.
What a fun blend of paranormal romance, steampunkish historical/urban fantasy! I have a soft spot for the femme fatale in men's garb, but can I just sWhat a fun blend of paranormal romance, steampunkish historical/urban fantasy! I have a soft spot for the femme fatale in men's garb, but can I just start my whole review with Lincoln Fitzroy? After the 910071526383029 alpha males in these general genre pools, it's quite hard to build a man that'd can this jam (ahaha such bad English phrases ohmylord). But he did.
He was almost a Victorian version of Jericho Barrons, but slightlymore realistic. And Charlie was the perfect amount of sass, guts, brains and feminine to compliment Fitzroy, and the household staff of 3 at Lichfield Towers were the perfect (albeit generic) secondary cast and such a joy to read about. (But why do all cooks across all genres have the same personality?!!?!?? It's unnerving with its sameness but oddly still endearing)
Such a great introduction to the world (even though I'm assuming Archer's other series overlap with this), an engrossing plot and superbly fun cast of characters. AND THAT SLOW BURN ROMANCE BETTER AMOUNT TO SOMETHING.
Ok, WHAT. DID I JUST READ. This has got to be the most disappointing book I've read in a long, LONG while. Who in the Underworld said this was FantasyOk, WHAT. DID I JUST READ. This has got to be the most disappointing book I've read in a long, LONG while. Who in the Underworld said this was Fantasy with a good dose of Romance? THIS IS NON-CONSENSUAL INSTA-LOVE ROMANCE SET CONVENIENTLY IN A HIGH FANTASY SETTING.
I shall endeavor to plead my case in as professional a way as I can. Endeavor.
Catalia "Cat" Fisa works in a circus, hiding from a past and heritage that has brought her nothing but pain. One very random and fine night, she meets buff, handsome and gruff warlord (Griffin, wow combination of the king of the skies and king of the pride lands. Please hold a moment while I lay myself at your feet). They start eyeballing and stripping each other with their gazes, but due to the powers that be, Cat accidentally lets slip a hint of her powers and Griffin and co proceeds to whisk her away on a crazy adventure.
The beginning was actually the most promising and engaging part of the entire story. It kept with the initial premise teased in the synopsis, and there was enough action and friendly character dynamics that good ol' YA Fantasies usually had. The secondary cast was..a bit of a conflict for me. Kato, Flynn and Carver formed Griffin's Beta Team - brothers who travel, fight and tease each other. They watch each other's backs and have the easy, boyish gang thang going on that was very easy to fall into. Though I can only just barely tell them apart. Kato is Adonis-reborn, and Flynn is the buff charmer who wields the ax. I think. And Carver is...handsome and funny too I presume. They're altogether fun and can have a merry good time together, but individually very 2-dimensional. We don't know anything more than their amazing good looks, body, and humor. Meh. And then we meet Griffin's sisters. They're annoyingly child-like for a ruling family, even though Bouchet uses the excuse that they're only the ruling family of a small Southern Tribe, they are still part of the elite and should thus have a sensibility when it comes to having some general knowledge about magic (which rules the class system in their world), the noble families and I don't know, like common sense? I wanna just reach in there and give those airheads that perpetuate the bimbo stereotype of the world a good shake. GURLS PLEASE.
It all just went downhill after we're introduced to the sisters. I'm not a stickler to plot-heavy fiction, it's just that if the plot isn't as well-developed, the characters/world-building better be astronomically mind-blowing to carry the reader through. I'm kidding (kinda) but above average works too.
**Mild spoilers ahead**
So, the world of Thalyria is split into three - Fisa, the land closest to the source of their version of magic and thus the strongest; Tarva, a country we know close to nothing about and is just there to send mercenaries to let Cat show off her powers and get hurt so Griffin and the rest can fret over and worship her; and Sinta, the southern third and where the non-magics called Hoi Polloi reside. The lands are usually ruled by power-hungry, selfish, and basically cookie-cutter-antagonist-style Magoi families (people who wields magic), but Griffin and co from the south managed to cut down the royal family ruling Sinta and is trying to bring a rein of peace. But Griffin can't hold the fort with only Hoi Polloi, he needs a powerful Magoi to navigate court politics and keep his people safe. He needed the Kingmaker (which he very conveniently found and very conveniently kept with half-assed protests from said special snowflake Kingmaker herself).
As I've mentioned, the premise of APoF was honest-to-the-Gods refreshing and intriguing. Bouchet wove in elements of Greek mythology, DRAGONS, magic, fantasy and an overdose of romance. AND DROGON. I mean dragons.
But APoF turned out to be a train wreck of Griffin semi-forcing himself on Cat, her outwardly disagreeing but is secretly begging for some kinky sex I kid not intimacy, a sluggish step forward in the plot where Fisa and Tarva sneak mercenaries into Sinta, Cat wiping them off of the world, then fainting and rejecting-making out with Griffin, and the cycle repeats. In every novel, there are (usually-please don't kill me with my generality I'm just speaking from what I observe) 3 peaks in the storyline that ends with a final climax and epilogue. Each of them in APoF felt too centered on the romance, directly or otherwise. The whole story became about the couple, and I started skimming about half to three quarters of the way through. The final climax was the most disappointing, I wouldn't even call it one. It's like THE PLOT JUST FELL OFF THE EARTH AND INTO HADES' UNDERWORLD AFTER CHAPTER 3. WHAT EVEN.
And don't get me started on the Gods. Why in the world are the three most powerful gods so in love with her?? Because she is speshul snowflake kingmaker?? Her annoying kindof-sass?? HER KINDOF-BRAVERY BUT NOT BECAUSE SHE CAN OBVIOUSLY FRY EVERYONE WHERE SHE STANDS ITS NOT EVEN A WALK IN THE PARK?? WHAT? They're supposed to be at odds with each other, just on principle. And even if they are genuinely fond of her, please provide a damn convincing reason or one of them should bitch slap her just to spite the other gods. She's a mortal, and Zeus, Poseidon and Hades have enough bitchy history between them to trump Trump and to prove just how much/little they think of us.
A PROMISE OF FIRE has been on my radar for awhile, and the hype proved too irresistible. I was intrigued, and now utterly disappointed but glad I saw it through. I would recommend this only to those who are looking for a Fantasy heavy on its Romance, almost to the point of being only a Romance. APoF is written in a style reminiscent of Gena Showalter and Denise Rossetti, so if you're a fan of either authors, you might want to check this out....more
This...sounds like Throne of Glass...legit. That tournament in the first book, complete with love triangle that involves the prince, and magic. But liThis...sounds like Throne of Glass...legit. That tournament in the first book, complete with love triangle that involves the prince, and magic. But like how I loved both An Ember in the Ashes and Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins even though they're carbon copies of each other, I have a feeling I'm gonna really like Crown's Game.
Well, I've preordered it and yes I'm shamelessly and eagerly awaiting that fun preorder pack Evelyn's sorta promised on her website. YAYYERS.
I need to rant. I'll rant then I'll get to my review proper. HMPH.
Now I'm just pissed. I've been rooting for Ashyn since the start because even thoughI need to rant. I'll rant then I'll get to my review proper. HMPH.
Now I'm just pissed. I've been rooting for Ashyn since the start because even though she's the scholar while Moria's the fighter, Ashyn has been trained in the ways of the sword but she's always portrayed as the burden in battle, the one that needs coddling or basically just the underdog. There's so much potential for her, but the spotlight is always on Moria.
When they're approaching enemy territory and they're being stealthy, Ashyn was to be the dumb baggage by asking "why [do we have to approach without full battle armor]" and Tyrus and Moria bristled at the interruption from their focus on the enemy camp. Tyrus then very quietly told her it was because they're on a diplomatic mission. Moria shushed them and Tyrus very "honorably taking the blame of breaking the silence to deflect it from Ashyn".
I MEAN, eeeeexcuse you. (I would snap my fingers right about now)
Ashyn is the master of strategy and she's supposedly the smartest amongst them so I don't see why in, any situation, it would be her committing some faux pas, much less in a battle. If any it would've been Moria with her recklessness and brash behavior, not understanding why they can't just charge in, guns ablazing.
And it wasn't just an instance or two, there were many more times that Ashyn was, I feel, pushed aside or made the, excuse the hackneyed cliche, damsel in very unnecessary distress just so Moria could save her older sister, or if she fails then she'll be all angry and Tyrus would find her refusal to break down or whatever very unique and all and ARGH.
Even Tova was passingly insulted by Tyrus.
I must say though, that Moria grew a lot in EoN. She's learnt restraint and is infinitely more mature. There's a lot of action where Moria was concerned, and deceptions that I really can't make any sense of, to be honest (I'll touch on this in awhile).
That said, I'd say that this book was character-driven, if only cause we got to learn more about Tyrus, his motivations, his deep sense of honor and sharp intellect, and Moria. Though Ashyn and Ronan are still pretty 2D to me. (Which is only natural with two thirds or more of the book in Moria's POV.) Gavril is still his annoying, ambiguous self (the bad boy, brooding, mysterious thing wore off probably somewhere in the second chapter of SEA OF SHADOWS), so if you're looking for fodder to swoon over him, you won't find any here. That boy ain't got nothing on Tyrus/Ronan. There were some new faces in EoN that joined the secondary cast, which was a breath of fresh air. So excited to see more of the sharp-tongued Sabre and Dalain, daughter of the lord of bandits and son of the wolf clan, the Okamis.
I would also say it's character-driven because the plot was a non-plot. I swear. Anything that moves the plot forward takes forever to happen, and everything just feels circuitous. The plot is smart, cause I can't make sense of anything now. I'm not sure if it's because Armstrong is a genius or because the writing is messy or I got bored halfway so I'm really just skimming everything or my brain cells just died along the way. Meh. But yes, so now I'm just really confused. I'm confused about the plot, I'm confused who's the bad guys and the good, and I'm confused if I'm curious enough about the story to pick up the final book when it's out next year.
I feel like this is the DARKEST POWERS series all over again. It's been awhile, but I remember being confused and pretty much apathetic to the characters. I don't think Ashyn and Moria will remain long in my memories, and so will Tyrus and Ronan and Gavril. It's been a sort of pleasant journey, but not memorable.
It's maybe a ghost of Jay Kristoff's LOTUS WAR trilogy, with their fantastic beasts and Japanese traditions, similarities between Moria and Yukiko, Daigo and Buruu, but...without Kristoff's way with words and dry wit and humor. But I'd say fans of that variety may enjoy the AGE OF LEGEND series....more
I don't know how this writing duo does it, but I was half tearing up and half laughing by the end of thisCan I just say that I WANT AN INN TOOOOOOO.
I don't know how this writing duo does it, but I was half tearing up and half laughing by the end of this book. The stakes were so much higher, the plotting so much more intense (?!) and complex (!!), and the humor has definitely been cranked up. I did see some plot twists coming along, but for every one that I saw three more sprang out and very successfully. Loved, loved, loved Sweep in Peace.
I'm just hoping it's not going to take another one and a half to two miserable years to write book three. *SADDED*...more
My first Ilona Andrews book and it's pretty not bad! I have never read anything like this before, and that maOrginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
My first Ilona Andrews book and it's pretty not bad! I have never read anything like this before, and that made CLEAN SWEEP a refreshing and exciting read. Judging from the cover I was expecting Fantasy, but it turned out to be URBAN fantasy. I was in the mood for some fantasy, but this turned out to be an unexpectedly-fortunate mistake.
Dina is an innkeeper, and that means she has magical abilities and she's strongest when she's within the boundaries of her inn. Innkeepers have a sort of connection to their inns that allows the inn to respond to commands and comments from their keepers. They're sort of like a really loveable pet dog - the inns, I mean. Inns thrive with the flow of customers and guests, so with good business, the inn becomes stronger; Too little or no guests will cause an inn to go into hibernation.
Dina's parents were innkeepers that run a thriving inn, with a booming business and top ratings, a whopping five-stars. A highly-rated inn will be reflected in the directory and that tells customers that it is safe and guarantees quality. Dina's learnt the ropes and is pretty familiar with the codes and etiquettes that comes with being an innkeeper. However, about three years ago, her parents and their inn vanished without a trace and her brother and her had spent a few years attempting to find clues to their disappearance but to no avail. She decided to settle down and The Innkeeper Assembly allocated to her Gertrude Hunt, an inn that went into hibernation years ago.
With time, patience and lots of TLC, she slowly coaxes Gertrude Hunt out of its slumber and even have a permanent guest, the eccentric but elegant Her Grace Caldenia who has a thing for Funyuns and Mello Yello...and who's cannibal too. Anyway, it's all peaceful until her neighbor's dogs start to turn up at public places grotesquely mauled that Dina starts to investigate. Innkeepers are neutral ground, and that means staying out of anything that does not directly threaten their inns and their customers. But Dina can't just stand by and let this...whoever it is start killing and threatening the lives of the people in her town.
In walks Sean Evans, ex-military and resident werewolf who just moved into town a few months back. When their town is threatened, werewolves usually feel the need to protect it and establish their claim on the town. Then the Marshal of vampire house Krar, Arland, from some other planet drops by too claiming that the one responsible was a wanted criminal from their planet. And so Dina will have to work with two very big, bad, infinitely stubborn and protective dudes to save their little town.
I want to be an innkeeper too, dammit! This writing-duo made Clean Sweep such an adorable and fun read that I just want to be a part of their imaginary world for just awhile.
Dina is a very relatable character. She might not be kickass, but she has a broom that can change shape when she sends her magic into it, a Shih Tzu that isn't really a Shih Tzu but is still plenty cute and an inn that can send out roots to hold down attackers and wield guns to help defend itself and Dina. Then there's the cool, calm and gorgeous werewolf, Sean, and reserved, mysterious and muscular vampire, Arland. I wouldn't say that they were terribly unique love interests in the UF genre, buuuut they do provide comic relief that's for sure. (Watch out for Arland with coffee, hahaha. Vamps have this funny reaction when they ingest caffeine)
CLEAN SWEEP is a short, light and fun novella with just the right amount of humor, action and good ol' UF mystery. The ending provided enough closure, but I sense so much more adventure coming our way. CLEAN SWEEP was originally published free at this website, chapter by chapter each week, and it's been announced that they're doing it again for the sequel starting early 2014. I'll probably wait for the final copy of the book cause I prefer to read my books in one shot. I'll definitely be checking out the Andrews' other works in the mean time though!...more