*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
I was just rereading ACOMAF and the part with the Bone Carver came up. Then I had a sudden epiphany. (?!?!)
(view spoiler)[I was super confused with thI was just rereading ACOMAF and the part with the Bone Carver came up. Then I had a sudden epiphany. (?!?!)
(view spoiler)[I was super confused with the ending of ACOMAF, why did the King of Hybern just spare Rhys and friends after Feyre pleaded with him? He could've just got rid of them to spare himself any future troubles as Hybern literally had them by the balls. (Mor's words not mine) And why would he ally himself with the mortal queens? And make them immortal?! But the Bone Carver said the Book of Breathings can only be used by people who has been reforged/Made, so Hybern is trying to reforge those queens to be like Feyre, and force them to use the Cauldron to break down the wall. He's planning to invade human lands...with humans? Lol. (hide spoiler)]
Ok it seems pretty obvious now that I've said it, but...am I the only one who got this a day and one reread after?...more
Oh. Ok. Wow there is much to think about, peoples. WW wouldn't be my first pick in this series, but that level of plot twists was just whamming into mOh. Ok. Wow there is much to think about, peoples. WW wouldn't be my first pick in this series, but that level of plot twists was just whamming into me. CONSTANTLY. SO CRAY. Definitely an award just for that plot planning. However that said, there was less action, more should-I-should-I-nots with the romance (which I get, and I admire Vhalla her strong stance. But forgive me when I say I'm a little jaded with her constant heartache), and I was pretty detached to the story the entire time. It might've been the book, or just time away from the series (due to the wait for WW's release), but this definitely removed the crazy passionate enjoyment I got from WW's predecessors.
I won't rate it (yet), cause my emotions are in a fair bit of tangle. To love or not to, psh. Kova was brutal in this one. Still reeling from so much loss. SO. MUCH.
So WW starts with Vhalla at the Crossroads after running from Aldrik at the camp up North. She's looking into information with regards to the Knights of Jadar who she has heard so much about and have tried to kill her before. But it isn't long that she has to return to the capital. She has some happy and tearful reunions, and some that are less than cheerful, but the homecoming after the war heralded the start of a new fight for Vhalla, as some power hungry fools are still clamoring for the reopening of the Crystal Caverns. It's every person for their own, and any friend can turn foe at any moment.
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
UTTERLY PERFECT and that cliffhanger of an ending didn't even faze me cause I have Earth's End in hand. Take that, Book Gods, buahahaha!
That slow burnUTTERLY PERFECT and that cliffhanger of an ending didn't even faze me cause I have Earth's End in hand. Take that, Book Gods, buahahaha!
That slow burn of a romance is making me squirm and combust at the same time and it is an utterly delicious feeling to be had. Elise Kova took our elemental power couple across quite a bit of a journey and the world that expands beyond the borders of Solaris is, though quite cliche, still interesting and captivating.
I'll admit that the plot slowed sometimes suspiciously just for the romance to develop, but the way Kova expertly handled those in between "filler" scenes was so brilliant that I'm not complaining. I'm practically thirsting for more of Valdrik moments... I'll never grow tired of 'em. <3
Vhalla is growing into her own powers and confidence, which gave her more scenes to prove her worth and intelligence as a leader amongst the soldiers. She's maturing at such a fast rate it's almost unbelievable in retrospect. However, Kova wrote it so expertly I hardly noticed actually, until a certain Crossroads scene where her boldness made me take a step back to admire where Kova has been subtly leading Vhalla (and us). We also see more glimpses of the man behind the icy Fire Lord (what a complicated, ironic man <3), insecurities, dark past and all. Daniel and the rest of the secondary cast were still pretty 2D, with almost zero-to-none backstories and motivations behind most of their actions, so they just came off as shallowly quirky in their own ways. It may be because Kova wanted to keep the plot tight and quick, but a little backstory can't hurt, right? Cause I refuse to believe someone can be as annoyingly selfless as Daniel and Larel are after a few meetings and conversation, and Vhalla wasn't even nice for most of their initial ones.
I loved Kova's style of describing the fight scenes - so vivid and exhilerating! They flowed well, and...(view spoiler)[THAT SAND STORM SCENE!! And the part after where Aldrik kneels down by her bedside... I've reread that scene twice now, and I'll definitely read it again. Among others. (hide spoiler)] And, she isn't one to spare her characters from harm. *flailsob*
But that makes the story all the more visceral and exciting, and I cannot even begin to describe how much I'm loving Kova right now for writing this series. It's been one of the most gripping, one/two-sitting books I've read in a long, long while....more
So I haven't been the best of humans, and I am wary of indie-published or self-pub books. Yes, I am horrible and elitist, but hey, my reasons are wellSo I haven't been the best of humans, and I am wary of indie-published or self-pub books. Yes, I am horrible and elitist, but hey, my reasons are well-founded. I have had my fair share of badly-edited, fan-fic-ish stories (I'm just saying the good ones are still in the minority, ok, stop with da hatin'). However, the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova destroyed me after book 3 and I wanted needed somethinganything to help tide me through the terrible wait for book 4, so Goodreads rec section convinced me to take up Paladin.
Paladin was pretty awesome, if I might say so myself. Pace was quick, action was tight, romance was (quite) abundant but slow-burning so that's a double plus, and the Victorian-slash-fantasy vibes was the proverbial cherry. Only things I'm complaining bout is the lack of complexity and depth from the plot/world-building, and that cover. Really, the desolate land, awkward sword-holding-half-squatting girl and drab colors ain't doin' the book no favors (and if there's any symbolism..sorry it's lost on me :/). Lastly, the love triangle wasn't totally uncalled for, nor was it absolutely unnecessary...but I thought it could've been handled less awkwardly. I felt pretty lukewarm towards both boys, and seeing how awesome Sam is...I don't think either boys held a candle to her.
Ok I'm not really doing this right, but I did enjoy this book. Haha, and I do recommend it to YA Fantasy readers. It's a quick, easy read that will hold you captive till you finish the damn book, but it's in that category just short of world-changing-mind-shattering that I'm not sure I'll remember after awhile....more
The first three quarters was terribly boring and slow, but the back quarter was a SOLID 5/5 SMOLDERING WHIRLWINDY STARS. The pace picked up out of nowThe first three quarters was terribly boring and slow, but the back quarter was a SOLID 5/5 SMOLDERING WHIRLWINDY STARS. The pace picked up out of nowhere in an explosion --literally-- and Vhalla became all badass and Aldrick became the drop dead Fire Lord lover boy that the hype has promised.
Air Awakens wasn't perfect. The writing style, IMO and please forgive my uppity phrasing, amateurish. But for a debut, it's a pretty darn good one, and one that's going to live on my favorites shelf with a place of honor forever.
I feel inclined to say that the world-building was not in-depth, understandably because Vhalla is a library apprentice in a medieval-ish sort of world, so not much exploring or travelling to be had for us vicarious readers. The prince's actions were also too irrational/rash/unplanned to be believed, even if this is a YA novel. Also, Vhalla's initial refusal to accept sorcerers - and any association to do with them - was borderline annoying and extreme, given that she's not originally from and raised in the magic-fearing South/West. This slowed down the plot considerably, seeing as the plot couldn't move on without her acceptance, and this was probably at the 85% mark.
The side characters - Prince Baldair, Minister Victor, Larel, Fritz, Sareem, etc - were all pretty 2D, and I'm not certain what to make of them most of the time. Some I understand was to keep the air of mystery and tension in the story, for us to guess who's the one with bad intentions (yes, I'm talking about a certain minister), but the rest I felt could've been more fleshed out.
I'm such a ball of negativity you must be wondering if I had a brain fart when I rated this book. But no, it wasn't a spasm. I'm not really sure if it's my bias towards elemental books and how short in supply we are with them (or good ones at least. Yes I have read Brigid Kemmerer and the Ondine series and a whole slew of others, but didn't particularly enjoy any), but I managed to stay through the first bit. Then the explosion happened. And everything fell into chaos and the world was right again. Muahaha!! And whaddya know, Kova can write action scenes worth her salt. Anyhow, it was all worth it and I'm off to read Fire Falling even though my college mid terms are tomorrow. #lifegoals
[This scene takes place as Aldrik leads Vhalla onto a rooftop. If I remember correctly, this is the first time they've met officially.]
Perhaps it was her enchantment with the wonder surrounding her. Or perhaps it had been the wind filling her ears. Whichever, it masked his last footsteps. The prince placed his hands lightly upon her shoulders.
"Trust me," he demanded, his lips barely brushed over her ear.
Vhalla did not even have a moment to turn her head before he pushed her effortlessly into the empty air beyond.
Absolutely breathtaking. Tho the final battle and ending was a bit confusing... (view spoiler)[I seriously don't get why Aldrik and Vhalla would startAbsolutely breathtaking. Tho the final battle and ending was a bit confusing... (view spoiler)[I seriously don't get why Aldrik and Vhalla would start shouting hurtful stuff at each other. They knew the king forced Aldrik's hand, so Vhalla had no reason to be angry at Aldrik. And Aldrik no reason to make Vhalla hate him. I know the reason Kova is using but I think it's a pretty weak one TBH. Eh. (hide spoiler)]
Still one of my favorite series of ever. So YAY WW IS OUT....more