*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.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...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.
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
*3.5 stars* SEA OF SHADOWS was amazing in all its undead, horrific glory. The palpable fear, heartbreak, budding love, deception, betrayals...my feels*3.5 stars* SEA OF SHADOWS was amazing in all its undead, horrific glory. The palpable fear, heartbreak, budding love, deception, betrayals...my feels were running rampant and all over the place! And that plot twist at the end... It was amazing.
“The face of something from a nightmare, gray skin stretched over bone, jutting chin and nose and cheekbones. No lips, just a slash of a mouth. And teeth. Fangs. So big his mouth couldn’t close. He let out another of those terrible cries, his jaw stretching open until all she could see were the fangs.”
Admittedly, I DNFed SoS way back last year when it was first released cause it has a prologue. Yes, it has a prologue. I think they're the most boring thing that was ever created by mankind. (Remember ERAGON? Waow, that was Boring.) So I DNFed it but saw the hardcover at a sale a few days ago...so I caved cause I love the cover. Even though I agree with everyone else I can't really tell what's up with the swirly things on it, but I'm guessing it's the shadows of the shadow stalkers (the vicious undead that can turn to shadow) with a bloodred tint as they gather. Which is cool. And I love the color scheme. Anyhoo.
The twins, Ashyn and Moria, were awesome and they complimented each other. Or so I'd like to say and what everyone else is saying. To me, they felt more...strategic than natural on the author's part. You see, Moria is the fighter without restraint, a young Joan of Arc, brilliant and fiery, while Ashyn is the quiet scholar, sensitive and gentle of spirit.
1) Even though Ashyn is supposed to be the learned one, the one who wins in games of strategy, Moria just so happen to be the repository of the tales of the land. Moria's the one to regale stories of fantastical beasts and horrors of the night. Then suddenly Moria's the one with the strategies and only occasionally it seems Armstrong remembered Ashyn was supposed to be the smart one and graces her with a spotlight moment. So now Moria seems almost too perfect and Ashyn seems almost lame in comparison. Ashyn gets dissed sometimes too, albeit subtly, but still. I'm pissed,
2) The strategic part about them I felt was that, nowadays the YA genre, or more specifically the YA Fantasy genre, is dominated by badass, take-no-shit female protagonists that are both capable in sword and wit. I felt that Armstrong split that popular, almost ideal(?), persona into two sisters, each completely opposite and complimentary. If that wasn't her intention, then maybe they weren't fleshed out enough or complex enough as individuals for me to accept them, at least subconsciously, as persons.
In terms of love interests, this disregard for Ashyn continues and is especially prominent in the second installment of this trilogy, EMPIRE OF NIGHT. I don't know, it just feels like Ashyn gets the leftovers or gets a love interest as an afterthought. I'm not sure why, but I really want Ashyn to step up and show all that potential she's got and get a real dude.
On Moria's side...they're not bad, definitely better than Ashyn's but none too memorable. (I say they but its not a triangle...at least it's only a hint but everyone can smell it from a mile away. So.)
The best part about SEA OF SHADOWS though, is the plot. The buildup, the anticipation to it. Ominous, but not overtly so. Then the trap in the forest. The death of the village. Their first encounter with a shadow stalker. And then both sister's journey to the capital and to find each other. The pace got pretty slow and it dragged for a bit at the start and many points in the middle, but the last 15% was packed with surprises and a pretty good plot twist. The world building was slow, but I loved the old medieval village setting, but then it transitioned to an Edo Japanese era landscape as the sisters moved towards the capital and surrounding warlord clans. Pretty classic fantasy, but still exciting stuff. I can't wait to see where Armstrong is taking this series to and to learn more about the different clans and culture.
So far so good! It runs pretty close to the vein in which the LOTUS WAR trilogy by Jay Kristoff runs. Fantasy with mythical creatures and Asian elements, with elements of horror and girls with big destinies. I'm still torn between 3 and 4 stars...but I'd go with 3 first.
P.S. I think I might be the only one in SHIPPINGASHYNANDTYRUS!!!!...more