This book is a lot longer and a lot more expensive than it needs to be given the amount of information it provides. A lot of it is repetitive but ther...moreThis book is a lot longer and a lot more expensive than it needs to be given the amount of information it provides. A lot of it is repetitive but there are a few interesting facts and ideas for play at different stages. The main thing that actually makes this a three star book rather than a two star for me is that it is full of baby pictures which my little one loves to look at and that has made it multifunctional for me. (less)
Axelia is just a normal student, studying in Rome when she falls into a sacred well and emerges a vampire. If that weren't bad enough, her unique meth...moreAxelia is just a normal student, studying in Rome when she falls into a sacred well and emerges a vampire. If that weren't bad enough, her unique method of reincarnation as a preternatural creature was foretold in ancient vampire folklore and she is forced to go on the run, with only a grumpy vampire sword-smith for company, in order to avoid losing her life.
The folklore reminded me a little of Queen of the Damned but it's such a different style and focus that it's not really that big a deal. I haven't read a vampire book in ages and I found this one a refreshing return to the genre. Although there is a romantic element, it's not particularly strong and the story focuses more on the action, which is constant and vividly described. The pace of the novel is non-stop and I found the first half a real page-turner. I felt the second half became a little repetitive (view spoiler)[with Zee and Lucas arriving somewhere, being found, having a fight etc (hide spoiler)] but there was development and it was still entertaining.
I thought the characters were well-drawn, even the incidental characters were fully imagined, although I would have liked to understand more about what was going on with Lucas (view spoiler)[his grief for his father, who he'd been with for 600 years was quite short-lived, which could have been due to stoicism but I couldn't really be sure (hide spoiler)] - he was quite an enigma really and I think the relationship development between him and Zee suffered because of it. In some ways I think the story could have been slowed ever so slightly to allow for us to get to know them better. As Lucas himself mentions at one point: "You're going to live forever. Pace yourself." but I guess that would have spoilt the sense of urgency. Overall, an enjoyable light read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
World renowned assassin Celaena has been a prisoner in the salt mines since she was betrayed a year ago. A chance to win back her freedom arrives in t...moreWorld renowned assassin Celaena has been a prisoner in the salt mines since she was betrayed a year ago. A chance to win back her freedom arrives in the shape of the Crown Prince, offering her a place in his father's secret tournament. If she wins, she will become his Champion and earn liberation after four years - if she loses she will be sent back to the mines - that is, if she is still alive.
Originally, I gave this 3.5 stars but I've been trying to sort out how I feel about this book in order to write this review and the conclusion I have come to is that I am kind of ambivalent towards it, so I've dropped it back to three.
I read all the prequels, which were (on the whole) very good, and I thought my main issue with the full length novel would be Celaena as she's a vain, immature, materialistic and atrociously arrogant character. That wasn't the case however, she has mellowed a little, gone through quite a lot and, even if she's still not particularly likeable in my opinion, I didn't hate her. I liked the author's decision to make her enjoy clothes and dancing, like a teenage girl would, and show that it isn't mutually exclusive to being athletic and smart - I just think there were a few too many descriptions of dresses and not enough trials.
There weren't really many other characters I liked or hated either. I found the interactions between her and Chaol, the Captain of the Guard, the most interesting, but was pretty indifferent to the Crown Prince, which made the love triangle dull to me. It also felt as though around midway through the novel there was too much going on and none of it was being focussed on enough to get me to care about it.
The whole book started off really well, the description of the Glass castle, the beginning of the trials for the would-be Champions, but the mysterious deaths just sort of happened in the background so there was no real tension because of them. Then the love triangle and the magic element started to squeeze out the actual competition. The action, when it was happening, was exciting, but I wasn't sold on the magic - it just came off too contrived for me.
The writing style is also very simplistic and sometimes over-exaggerated, with people snarling and growling and striding around all the time. I think I missed the varied world that I was introduced to in the prequels and also the complex character of Arobynn, the King of the Assassins. I hope that both will make more of an appearance in the second book of the series. (less)
So, in case you were living underneath a rock this summer, FSoG tells the story of an innocent young student called Ana who meets and falls...more2.5 Stars
So, in case you were living underneath a rock this summer, FSoG tells the story of an innocent young student called Ana who meets and falls for mysterious, millionaire businessman Christian Grey. Their mutual attraction is obvious but before they get intimate with each other, Christian stipulates that Ana must sign a contract, agreeing to be his submissive. Cue much soul-searching, arguments and sex scenes...
It is almost impossible to write a truly objective review about a book which has been subject to so much attention - both good and bad - but I really did do my best to read it with an open mind. I tried not to expect too much and equally tried not to nit-pick.
I think the premise was great and it offered a lot of thought provoking themes, like the balance of give and take in relationships, sexual exploration, feminism and independence. Some of the scenes when Ana allowed herself to be bullied, or compromised what she felt comfortable with, just to ensure she didn't lose Christian, made me feel uncomfortable but if this book had been written by a 'literary' author, those kind of conflicts might well have made it a masterpiece. Instead, the writing was pretty average and the ending was somehow both inevitable and underwhelming.
The style was such that I could never get truly engaged in the scenes and therefore I didn't find it particularly erotic, though it was different to the standard fair in a romance novel. I didn't find it a great page turner but it did keep my interest by putting in constant dates between the pair that left me anticipating what would happen next.
The element I liked most was the emails between the two main characters and I think if their relationship in person had been along those lines it would have been more enjoyable for me. The element I liked least was Ana's constant referral to her sub-conscious and her inner Goddess. It was too over-used to find funny and made her seem like a nut-case: the point of a sub-conscious is that you aren't aware of it after all.
It was entertaining but I didn't love it or hate it. I'm not particularly bothered about reading the rest of the series either as it seems obvious where it will go and I'm not sure I need to buy two more books to get me there. I might pick them up one day just for closure or I could wait for the films to come out...(less)
When Eva, the daughter of a New York socialite, moves to the Big Apple and starts a new job, she immediately runs into Gideon, a dangerously...more2.5 stars
When Eva, the daughter of a New York socialite, moves to the Big Apple and starts a new job, she immediately runs into Gideon, a dangerously sexy billionaire business man. They embark upon a passionate relationship but it is frequently put under strain by the issues leftover from similar past traumas they have both suffered.
I think some of the issues I have with this book are more genre based and some are more specific so in an effort to be fair I'm going to try to be clear about that in this review. I don't often read this type of Mills & Boon romance/erotica but with the FSoG furore at the moment I decided to check out a sample of that and Bared to You (which I heard had been likened to it). I can't compare this book to FSoG because, after reading the samples, I picked BTY. Though I am aware of the basic plot similarities, I thought the writing seemed much better in BTY and I still stand by that.
The first few chapters of the novel were very enjoyable and addictive with quite a variety of settings and characters. They showed Eva to have a well-rounded life and to be a sociable person. I was never particularly taken with Gideon but as I said, I think this may be more of a genre-issue than specific to this book. I like confident, assertive hero's that are strong and offer protection/a sense of security to their heroine but I don't find over-bearing men growling orders at women, invading their privacy and pursuing them like a stalker particularly attractive and that seemed to be pretty much all Gideon really did when he interacted with Eva. Unfortunately, that seems to be the MO of virtually every hero in this genre at the moment.
Then the relationship started properly and gradually the other characters and plot strands seemed to fall away until it basically became a cycle of Eva and Gideon going at it like rabbits and arguing. I felt a bit overdosed on all the sex-scenes. Also, despite the sensitive emotional problems they both had I never really felt like the conflict was real, it seemed a bit too melodramatic and was resolved too easily. Gideon's abrupt switch from someone who didn't have relationships to virtually moving Eva in with him was too fast and didn't feel very realistic.
I know some reviewers have expressed annoyance at the author's portrayal of survivors of sexual abuse and I can see why, though I think it is wrong to ever say how a person would or would not behave after suffering something like that. In fact, when I read the blurb, I thought it was a very bold and interesting move to have two characters with those issues embark on a highly physical relationship in a way that promised to exorcise some of those demons. However, other than one or two times, I didn't really feel that was what actively happened in the book - it was almost more coincidental and when it did happen I don't think it was handled with the care and attention it deserved.
Overall, by the end I wasn't convinced by the depth of their emotional connection because there wasn't enough normal, getting-to-know-eachother time; it was just too quick - I think the whole novel takes place over about three-four weeks! The actual ending was also very abrupt and I didn't really feel like anything had been concluded. I know it is one in a trilogy but I couldn't discern why it ended there, when it could have ended fifty or even one hundred pages earlier with a similar resolution. I won't rule out reading the sequel but I'm not feeling overly enthused for it at this point in time. (less)
Sybella has been placed in the household of d'Albret, awaiting either instruction from the Abbess or signs from Mortain Himself, as to which traitors...moreSybella has been placed in the household of d'Albret, awaiting either instruction from the Abbess or signs from Mortain Himself, as to which traitors to kill. Constantly walking a tightrope with the bloodthirsty and lecherous inhabitants of Nantes, she is eager to make the nightmare worth it by ridding the world of the vile d'Albret. Instead, she is informed that there is a prisoner being held who she must free.
Sybella is a hard-nosed character but even from the outset, she is likeable and your sympathy for her only grows as the darkness she has lived - and is living through - is gradually revealed. The relationship with Beast is sweet but quite simplistic and not really a driving force for the story. There are some developments in the political situation but really, this story happens outside of the court manoeuvrings. Instead, there is plenty of action, some of which definitely got my pulse racing, and the sinister threat of d'Albret was well introduced at the beginning.
More than anything, this felt like a story about a young woman learning to forgive herself for things which were not really her fault in the first place. For a YA book, I felt it was daring in some of the subject matter and the complexity of one situation in particular was interestingly handled. I would have liked to see, rather than hear, about the relationship between Sybella and her sisters as I think that let down the finale slightly and sometimes it seemed Beast was a little too understanding. Not because she deserved to be judged for her numerous secrets, but because it would have been more human of him.
If you loved the political intrigue and slow-burning, love/hate relationship between Ismae and Duval, you may find yourself disappointed with Dark Triumph but it is a very different book with plenty to really enjoy. I'm looking forward to reading Annith's story but also keeping my fingers crossed that their will be more Ismae and Duval, as I feel their story hasn't quite been told completely yet. (less)
Amy and Elder arrive on Centauri-Earth with some of the remaining people born on Godspeed as well as the frozen military and scientists from earth. Th...moreAmy and Elder arrive on Centauri-Earth with some of the remaining people born on Godspeed as well as the frozen military and scientists from earth. They don't know what to expect but have the warnings from Orion still ringing in their ears as it becomes clear they are not alone.
This book exhausted me, not just because I stayed up late reading it but also because the plot is so unrelenting. It's exciting and scary and keeps you guessing, as well as thinking about the difficult situations they are in. That is one of the things I loved most about this series; the moral and ethical questions, along with its refusal to make it too easy to assign bad-guy and good-guy statuses (with one exception).
This isn't a perfect book, I guessed some of the outcomes and was crying out at the beginning for some of the characters to just take the time to talk to each other but that just added to the atmosphere of a pressure-cooker about to blow. Definitely an excellent end to a brilliant series.
I wish I could do more justice to it in this review but I always find it hard to write about the books I really enjoy. I guess you'll just have to read it yourself!(less)
Now that the four Scion houses have been reunited, the Gods are free once more to leave Olympus and war is certain. Helen must figure out how...more3.5 Stars
Now that the four Scion houses have been reunited, the Gods are free once more to leave Olympus and war is certain. Helen must figure out how to defeat the immortals and end the Fates cycle.
This was another slow starter with a lot of flashbacks into Helen's past lives, which I didn't feel were all entirely necessary. In particular I disliked the inclusion of the Arthurian mythology and didn't think this added anything to the character or plot development.
These flashbacks also highlighted the reincarnation or 'roles' aspect where Scions in the present represented those at Troy but sometimes their physical appearance was the replica of a different character just to confuse this. I found it all a bit convoluted and wished that it could have been simplified as there was a big enough cast of characters. I also thought the addition of Andy was unnecessary.
What did work was the same thing as in the first two novels: the well plotted dramatic irony to match Greek mythology and literature. The misunderstandings and bad timings that resulted in tragedy. The action was good but I didn't feel there for enough for an epic finale - although I liked the way Helen remained less of a fighter than the others despite her formidable array of powers.
On the whole there wasn't enough character development, mainly because I think the beginning of the book was taken up with too many flashbacks etc. However, it did feel like a satisfying conclusion to the series, whilst still leaving an opening for more books, whether they be spinoff or an extension of the series.(less)
Kaylee has been experiencing major panic attacks for sometime, convinced complete strangers will die and seized with a near insuppressible need to scr...moreKaylee has been experiencing major panic attacks for sometime, convinced complete strangers will die and seized with a near insuppressible need to scream when it happens. This time, whilst out at a club dancing with Nash, a gorgeous boy from school, it signals the start of everything changing. The girl actually does die, and then it happens again and again, and Nash seems to know why she is able to predict their deaths.
This is a fast-paced easy read. The events unfold like a thriller with the mysterious cause of death for the girls, alongside Kaylee's romance with Nash, pushing the story along quickly. I liked how ordinary the start of Kaylee and Nash's relationship was: dancing at a club, taking phone numbers, meeting up for a date etc, even if the banshee sideline made them grow close quite quickly. Kaylee was an okay heroine, I didn't always like her - sometimes she seemed a bit harsh and surly but she also came out with some quite witty and apt observations.
There were a few inconsistencies (view spoiler)[like Kaylee swearing she couldn't talk to her aunt and uncle about her 'panic attacks' one minute and then insisting on talking to her aunt just the next day (hide spoiler)] but the biggest confusion for me came at the end at the finale. (view spoiler)[How could her aunt make a pact to give the girls souls to the hellion? They weren't her souls. What kind of bargain is that? Give me youth and beauty in return for you taking something you could take if you wanted it anyway? Bizarre. (hide spoiler)]
On the whole though, it was a fun distraction, an original idea in the PNR genre and I will pick up the next in the series to see where things go.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
When Anna meets Kaidan she finally finds someone who is like her, capable of nearly all the same extra-sensory talents she has, plus a few of...more2.5 stars
When Anna meets Kaidan she finally finds someone who is like her, capable of nearly all the same extra-sensory talents she has, plus a few of his own. The only difference is that he knows what they are and has known all his life - Nephs - whereas she has always been in the dark, and as she learns more about what it means to be the spawn of a fallen angel her life begins to change irrevocably.
This was an entertaining read and I very much liked that the story took the popular fallen angel concept into some genuinely dark places. This offered the story a bit of depth in terms of exploring the nature of evil, loss of innocence and morality but sadly I didn't think it focussed enough on these elements; they felt a little more like devices to move the plot into dramatic situations. The bad things that did happen were not strongly dealt with. (view spoiler)[Scott attempting to date-rape Anna but not being punished?? Kaidan basically being prostituted by his father?? (Although that particular injustice is probably going to be dealt with in the rebellion being lined up for the rest of the series) (hide spoiler)]
Anna herself I found a bit too sweet and innocent, I was never really convinced that she was tempted by her own hidden desires (even though I think that would've been a more apt name for the book "Sweet Temptation"). Maybe that's because the 'evil' that the Neph exhibited seemed a bit tame (view spoiler)[ On New Year's Eve, she gets drunk and dances on the bar, Blake break-dances(?!), Kope plays poker and Kaidan makes out with a girl in a hallway - sounds like pretty standard stuff to me (hide spoiler)]. Of course that could just means my own moral standards are sadly lacking.
There were quite a few other things which didn't sit well for me. It felt unnecessary to have the extra sins since part of the idea of the seven deadly sins is that all bad things can fall within their categories; i.e. substance abuse is actually gluttony (or maybe even lust). I liked the idea of the Neph's being forced to go out and lead people into temptation but it didn't make sense to me that they would be made to when they were subject to the sin themselves. If you have a tendency towards binge drinking that would make it really hard to promote others to follow suit since they would see you in such a state and probably be put off. It might sound like I am nit-picking and I probably am, but it was the crux of the story and just seemed illogical to me.
Something truly illogical is the fact Anna and Kaidan choose to drive to LA instead of getting a plane when money was no object and time was of the essence. Totally bizarre decision. (view spoiler)[ Of course it gave them an opportunity for some alone time to fall in love but could that not have been done some other way? Couldn't they have got there and had to fill their days waiting around for the nun to wake up out of her coma? (hide spoiler)]
Sweet Evil was an easy, page-turning read and even though the prose could be clunky, it could also be occasionally insightful and funny. Ultimately, this was a real jumble of things that were good ideas and things that were bad (view spoiler)[like the dreaded love triangle *shudder* (hide spoiler)], hence the 2.5 star rating.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Rumoured to be the daughter of Death Himself, Ismae has been feared and abused her whole life. When she is sold in marriage to yet another vi...more4.5 stars
Rumoured to be the daughter of Death Himself, Ismae has been feared and abused her whole life. When she is sold in marriage to yet another violent man the covent of St. Mortain takes her in. At the covent they value rather than revile her lineage and serve St. Mortain by teaching their young charges to carry out his work as assassins. After three years training she is finally ready to complete the tests necessary before she can take her vows. She finds herself in the court of the young Duchess, trying to root out those who would betray Brittany to the French so that she may carry out St. Mortain's bidding.
I knew I was really enjoying this book when I got passed the halfway point and was disappointed I was on the downward slope towards the end. The easy style, great scene setting, well paced plot and yummy romance made me want to stay in it's world for longer, whilst simultaneously being unable to put it down.
I liked Ismae as a heroine a lot. She started out with a number of flaws; proud; bloodthirsty; naive; impatient; defensive - but she was also smart, kind and brave. Her flaws left her with ample opportunity to grow as a character and her development - along with that of the romantic element - was dealt with subtly and very plausible. I also liked how she never changed her opinion on things simply because someone told her to. The whole time she took in what was happening and analysed it for herself, constantly questioning herself and others to ensure she was making the right decisions.
I'm not familiar with the period of history focussed on in this book but her voice felt very authentic without being too over styled and disrupting the flow of the story. The political manoeuvrings were very entertaining, even if the good guys and bad guys were not hard to identify from the start. That would probably be my only criticism of the book and what stops me from giving this the full five stars. Whilst I'm slightly disappointed that the second in the series isn't going to follow Ismae because I've grown so fond of her and the other characters around her, as long as it offers more of the same, I am sure I will be satisfied. (less)