Before I start this review, I would like to say thank you to Anne Bishop for not taking an Urban Fantasy template, rearranging some of its elements...more
Before I start this review, I would like to say thank you to Anne Bishop for not taking an Urban Fantasy template, rearranging some of its elements and calling it a day! I could just give you a big, fat, wet kiss right now for not wasting my time.
When they said that no one creates realms like Anne Bishop, they were not lying. I was very impressed with her world-building skills, from simple details like renaming the days of the week to creating a spectacularly dark and twisted history of mankind and otherkind, she had put the capital E in Effort.Though her map-drawing skills kind of sucked, it was ultimately forgiven.
As the book blurb stated, this novel is about a blood prophet and human-eating shifters and vampires. Meg Corbyn is a human blood prophet who would rather die than return to her escaped prison/institution. And when you spend your free time trying not to kill yourself by excessive cutting, that is saying a lot. After she stumbled into the clutches life of broody and will-seriously-ripped-off-your-throat-and-some-other-bits-when-pissed Simon Wolfgard, he became confused on whether to eat her or shampoo her stinky hair.
Simon is the Lakeside Courtyard leader and reluctantly hired Meg as the new Human Liaison. Being a Human Liaison is a fairly easy job, so easy that previous liaisons were either lazy bums or rule breakers. No one held the position for a long time and since Meg was neither lazy nor stupid, she became an indispensable employee. Not to mention that she was well-liked by the monsters.
After they're done with you, the butcher's shop will have special meat for sale. *shudders
And speaking of monsters, these are the Earth Natives: weres, vampires and other nasty beings that ruled the whole continent of Thasia (North America). As a short comparison, Earth Natives are like the Native Americans and Humans, the European Colony, except that the Earth Natives were not colonized (duh?!) and they leased the land to the humans with a huge string attached. I will not elaborate on the political aspect of the continent, you just have to read the history included in the book.
I liked how the villains were depicted in the story and strangely, all of them were humans. They were so crazy and evil that they had me rooting for Meg and her band of monsters the entire time. Leave the man-eating monsters alone!!!
If I have to describe this novel in one word it would be dark. The kind of you-don't-want-read-this-while-eating-something dark and so-the-plot-thickens dark. I have a very tough stomach for gore but there were some parts of this novel that made me a little bit squeamish and I loved it. The only thing that I could possibly complain about this book is that Meg is too likable that it's a bit questionable.
And so, I will abruptly end this review with the note: Come to the dark side, we have doggy biscuits and comfy beds!
Just to get this out of the way, I haven't watch the movie yet.
THERE! Judge me.
Let me tell ya, last year when I heard about the movie coming out, I...more
Just to get this out of the way, I haven't watch the movie yet.
THERE! Judge me.
Let me tell ya, last year when I heard about the movie coming out, I was jumping like kangaroos on steroids. I flooded updated my Facebook newsfeed like any decent, obsessed Veronica Mars fan would do. Well, I am an obsessed Veronica Mars fan, so no harm done.
THEN! Then just to find out that the Philippine movie theaters did not have this for their scheduled showing! What. The. Fudgety. Fuck. And then I ranted like a mad obsessed Veronica Mars fan! Then last, last month, I visited a video store to ask for a DVD copy, right? THEN this chick with a bad hair dye that looked like a matted, dirty, dry brown dog fur gave me a blank look when I asked for the title. AND THEN she asked her co-worker and he had the same response that she had. So I went out of the store before I could hurt somebody. THEN I cried. Like a baby.
There are things in this world you just don't miss out on!
It had been toooo long. I was thirsty. I will hold on to anything, even a butchered Veronica Mars graphic novel would do. AND THEN. AND THEN. The BOOK CAME OUT. And then I cried like a baby, again. And then, for the first time in my life, I knew what tears of joy felt like...
So I skipped the movie - not for the lack of trying, but I knew enough gist of it so I figured my marshmallow knowledge would surely help me get through the book. It's not like I watched every single episode of VMars thrice! *gulps Right? So with nonchalance coolness, I listened to The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line narrated by Veronica herself and...
All the feelings of a whimpering fan left me speechless. In fact, I felt so much that I listened to this whole audio book twice.
I mean HOLY CRAP. This book just have enough of you think you're smart enough to guess this? type of mystery to keep holding out for your breath. Veronica is just as sassy, smart, and fluffy as I had remembered her to be. But this time, she is already an adult. They tend to do that, don't they? Grow up.
And as a grown-up woman, she could no longer pull off the let me take your information and I'll tell Detective Mars you stopped by, cause, you know, she is now the Detective Mars. But good news is that Mac is now working for her so she gets all that handy tech whiz assistant that she didn't have before. And Wallace is still looking out for her as well.
If you didn't watch VMars on a regular basis, then you might missed out on some of the inside jokes. And speaking of comic relief, Dick was there. You know, being Dick. It was funny how they manage to insert the Dick scene (no pun intended) on such a dangerous situation.
Despite minimal Logan exposure, it was not bad because the action, the mystery and the drama (oh the drama) were enough to compensate for that particular lacking. Not to give away too much, Veronica was hired to investigate the case of the missing Spring breakers. There were 2 girls missing on Neptune and one of the girls has an indirect relation to Veronica. Now, how could it possibly be? And is this going to be a conflict of interest?
You will just have to read the book to find out more! Or better yet, LISTEN TO KRISTEN BELL narrate the story. It's like an episode of Veronica Mars, only with no moving pictures! As talented as ever, Kristen-sloth-loving-Bell, was able to inject personalities to different characters she worked on with precision. Amaze-balls! Rest assured you fellow marshmallows, it was worth the epic wait.(less)
Disruption is about a boy named Matt who was sent to Camp Friendship by his father as a form of punishment. His dad supposedly pulled some strings in...moreDisruption is about a boy named Matt who was sent to Camp Friendship by his father as a form of punishment. His dad supposedly pulled some strings in order for him to get there and warned him to stay low. Shortly after arriving, he had met two of the camp authorities and unwittingly helped them. He also got involved in a fight that made him the target of the camp's resident bully. After that, he was designated as one of the team leaders and completed dangerous tasks along with his weird and deadly set of team mates. So much for staying low!
This book reminded me of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series because of the camp setting. Let me tell you, I had never been in a camp before so I have no idea what a real camp looks like or how it operates. Therefore, whenever I hear about summer camps, I immediately thought of Percy Jackson which I know is weird but that's how it is for me.
Okay, so going back to Whibley's book. The main character Matt is really clever and a breath of fresh air from the books that I normally read. Before I started reading it, I was fully aware of who the target audience are, so in short, I knew what I was getting myself into!
The main character is not TSTL, which is always good! I like that Matt can adapt well to his environment without giving away his own secrets. And like I said before, he is really clever for a fourteen-year old kid which brings us to the issue that I had with this book...
The way the plot was written and how the characters responded to the situation that were given did not exactly give me the impression that they are around 13 to 15 year old kids. I find it hard to believe that a fourteen year old could pull off such an elaborate prank or even think about it. It could also be due to the fact that I am used to well-behaved teenagers, but still!
You might be thinking, "But Vanessa, it's just a story! A make-believe."
Um, NO. You see, I find it difficult to imagine a kid who just graduated from middle school firing a gun in a target range or almost getting blown to bits by a bomb. I'm all in for violence in a book or movie (this is coming from the girl who enjoys katana-wielding vampire and horrific zombie kills), so don't get me wrong. I mean, okay, so it's all make-believe and who doesn't like a fun action-packed read every once in a while? Right? But if I am a parent, it will bother me to have my middle-schooler read this, so proper guidance is a MUST.
Now, overcoming that age issue, I have to admit that I absolutely liked this book and would recommend it.
The team's ensemble is interesting! Rylee was the perfect partner-in-crime for Matt. I know this is really bad and stereotypical of me to say, but she is like the Hermione/Annabeth of the story. Afterall, she brought the whole team together and gave valued advices to Matt. Then there is the computer nerd - why do they always make them geeky and defenseless? I don't know. Can't they be at least hot for a change? *winks
Despite of my earlier aversion to the plot, I have to say, it is like ice cream on a hot, sweaty summer day. It can't be good for you all the time but you crave it like, well... like ice cream! Duh. And the writing? OH WOW. Steven Whimbley was able to capture my attention with his detailed and chair-gripping action scenes.
The Seeker and the Keeper, the guardian and protector of the spirits.
Alright then. Sounds interesting.
Shadow Stalkers, vengeful spirits that possess...more
The Seeker and the Keeper, the guardian and protector of the spirits.
Alright then. Sounds interesting.
Shadow Stalkers, vengeful spirits that possessed the dead bodies of the villagers and turned them into mindless, flesh-eating zombies.
They have zombies? Heck yeah, I'm in!!!
Then we get to know the twins and hellooooo yawn kingdom! Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce are-you-an idiot Ashyn and are-you-crazy Moria. They are twins. Double the, well... frustration.
The Main Characters
Ashyn is the Seeker and her job is to find corpses and rest their bodies and spirits into eternal slumber. She had her immortal hound, Daigo, to aid her in completing her tasks. Then Moria is the Keeper, assigned to keep the spirits at bay and protect the village with the help of her immortal wildcat, Tova. I couldn't decide whom I liked worst. Both of them are exceedingly annoying characters. Honestly!
The job is quite simple, go find the angry spirits and convince them that their angst and pining is pretty much pointless since they're already dead. So Ashyn hopped along the forest to do just that, never mind that her IMMORTAL hound, who by the way is said to be the reincarnation of a great warrior, was doing his best to stop her.
Ashyn be like, "Oh Daigo. I want to heed your advise since you only exist to protect my life but I must do my best to please the villagers. Plus, I secretly aspire to be like my sister Moria. Reckless, illogical and a staarrrr. Promise, I'll be careful." Yeah, you do that. Idiot.
Then commence the disappearing sister act, zombie kills, kidnapping, bandits, and more kidnappings. Considering that most of these happened in the forest is mind-boggling. Could it be possibly a sign to stay away from the forest?! But since we have dumb and dumber as main characters, I really shouldn't had gotten my hopes up.
Now, let's talk about Moria.
Moria thinks she is a bad ass. Well, Moria is wrong. Moria lies a lot, runs around, and talks too much. She is like a banshee. Annoying. I just want to stuff her inside a locked chest and throw away the key.
I failed to see what is so special about these girls. Sure they could talk to spirits but they're not very good at doing it. In fact, they sucked! The guardian animals, whom should've added some spice to the story left me with a bitter aftertaste. Just like their masters, they were useless.
Seeking got out of hand, zombies aka Shadow Stalkers in the flesh attacked, sister got kidnapped and twin rushed in to save her. Rinse and repeat. *yawns
I think that our beloved author is going for the high/epic fantasy route but fell short.
The book is boring. But, but it had zombies! I love zombies. I adore them. I like to cage them and pet them and stare at them all day, in a non-creepy way of course. It's like, "My plot might be a bit dry and repetitive, but we have zombies!!! Love me." No, not gonna happen. You're boring.
You know what will solve the main conflict and little conflicts of this story?
MOBILE PHONES. Give the girl a damn phone and get on with it. Agghhh!!
M: Ashyn! Wr r u? What's taking so long?
A: OMG. Shadow stalkers attack!!! SOS
M: On my way. Tracking u via GPS. I also sent a Twitter alert to the council. Take pictures.
End of story.
The Romance (?)
Of course, what kind of self-respecting YA/Fantasy novel lacked the element of romance? I appreciate the fact that Armstrong did not add insta-love to the mix. KA is one of my favorite authors and the main reason I like her so much is that she molds the banters and the almost-kisses into a slow but sure dance to couple territory. You see it coming but still takes you by surprise. Well, this book is a disappointment.
The romance, if not non-existent, is underdeveloped to the point where the intimacy shown (call that an overstatement) and moments of fleeting feelings felt forced.
What Helped Me Get Through This
To be quite honest with you, I had a hard time focusing on this book. And it's not because I was listening to it, far from it. In fact, if I was not listening to it, I probably wouldn't have finished it.
Jennifer Ikeda is my savior! No, really. If it wasn't for her masterful narration, I wouldn't be able to finish this book. Her voice brought colors and layers to the story. Her narration single-handedly motivated me to finish this book. My goodness, she even made me like, just a little bit, the character of Ashyn with her innocent and gentle voice. Safe to say, this book would've gotten a lower rating if it was not for the narrator.
Main character Karou is artistic, mysterious and can exact a funny vengeance on the spot.
Fan Rendition of Karou
“She had a sadness that was so deep,
...moreMain character Karou is artistic, mysterious and can exact a funny vengeance on the spot.
Fan Rendition of Karou
“She had a sadness that was so deep, but it still could turn to light in a second,and when I saw her smile I wondered what it would be like to make her smile. I thought...I thought it would be like the discovery of smiling.” - Akiva
As an errand girl and a loyal friend, she is trapped between living in two worlds (err, not the Hannah Montana type, her blue hair is so not a wig or even dyed). It was like she's standing in the middle of a boundary line. Stuck. One foot on the side where normal things happen, and the other, on a place where mysterious magic is at work. She's not living a boring life, by all means, far from it. It's exciting, magical and scary at times. But she is lonely and empty. Like there is something missing. Do I sound like a sentimental fool? Geez.
This fantastic novel is full of vivid imagery. Most of the chapters happened in Prague.
I have never been to Prague. I have never read any brochures or travel guides about Prague.
I was not in interested in Prague until this book came along. Prague is beautiful. It's a place rich in secrets, artisans, elegant houses and horror-filled stories. I was there with Karou, Zuzana, Mik and even the good-for-nothing Kaz. I was lost in Prague while sitting on my own bed munching on chocolate-coated almonds.
And speaking of romance, OHMYGOSHFREAKINGGOSH!!! Yes, the capslock is a must. The romance is SAPPY with an extra sauce of sappiness in an adorable kind of sappy without the puke-inducing sappiness!!! Am I making any sense? It was sweet, intense, and cute.
“He was right. It made no sense at all, but the feeling flooded through Karou, and whatever it was, it was as sweet as a patch of sun on a glossy floor and, like a cat, she just wanted to curl up in it.”
I am not going to lie, the romance is predictable. Not kind of, not even a little but really predictable. I won't elaborate on it because that might give away the plot of this book. Let's just say that I know where it was going from the start but I still lapped it up. It was the writing that mesmerized me and I guess the kind of love in it. It was the selfless kind. I was love struck with the romance and Akiva!
“Oh, Hell. Must. Mate. Immediately.” - Zuzana
Akiva was delicious. First he was scary then he was like a zombie coming back to life AND then he was delicious. And a bad-ass. He's one of those rare heroes that is totally fine whether he is an angel, vampire, fairy, prince, barbarian, zombie, mammoth, monkey, werewolf, or even just a mere human. Yes, he is that likable.
The friendship between Zuzana and Karou is amazing and believable. Zuzana is hands down the best-best friend in the history of YA!
“Hey! My body may be small, but my soul is large. It’s why I wear platforms. So I can reach the top of my soul.” - Zuzana
I honestly cannot remember a single character that I hated. Even the asshole ex-boyfriend and the main antagonist were alright.
The predictability of this novel did not hinder me from giving it a perfect rating because the plot is beyond interesting and well-written. An absolute recommended read with Bluest Ribbon's seal of approval!
“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.” - Madrigal Kirin
I've been seeing this novel in the bookstore for almost three years now. But I never picked it up until I heard that a movie is coming out. And for me...moreI've been seeing this novel in the bookstore for almost three years now. But I never picked it up until I heard that a movie is coming out. And for me, there are only two reasons why a book would be turned into a movie. One, the book is a future classic, unforgettable and absolutely addicting for all the right reasons. And two, it is a future classic, unforgettable and absolutely addicting for all the wrong reasons.
So okay, why not give it a try? Right?
The book was written by two authors, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. None of them I'm familiar with. Come to think of it, that was probably the reason why I didn't go gaga over this book when it was first released.
So the story is about this supernatural girl/boy who moved into this town and met an ordinary boy/girl, whom she/he fell in love with... BLAH BLAH BLAH. So what's new? Didn't I read about this plot like a hundred times already? Seriously, WHAT'S NEW?!
Here's what new: It's INCREDIBLY LOOONNNNGGGGGG!!!!
Ahem. Okay. Breathe. Easy.
Let me start again...
Set in the fictional town of Gatlin, South Carolina, this novel has a southern gothic feel to it. However, this town is full of walking stereotypes. And I am not just talking about the accent! You know those jesus-freak rednecks? Yep, and the whole nine yards. If I am a southerner, I would personally be offended. But what do I know, right? I'm not even an American. But whoever agrees with me, kindly raise your right hand please!
Unlike most people, the beginning of this novel captivated me. The narrator, Ethan Wate, a young male protagonist is a refreshing change from all those shallow-minded/clumsy/conflicted/self-absorbed female narrators in the YA genre. I don't want to generalized the genre, but sadly, it is the plain truth. If sex sells in movies, well, STUPID sells in YA.
Anyway, Ethan is neither selfish nor stupid. He is, however, pretty boring. I was not kidding when I told you that this novel is incredibly long. And that's what probably made Ethan boring. Don't get me wrong. He is a good kid with all the right intentions. But with the length of this novel combined by his repetitive conflicts, the story gets old pretty fast.
I did appreciate that the authors managed to create a bearable female protagonists. I mean, if I met Lena in the real life, I wouldn't bludgeon her to a slow, painful death. She is a "likable" character to say the least. And coming from me, that is saying a LOT.
Lena Duchannes is an interesting character. The fact that Lena don't even know her true nature and name before her 16th birthday is interesting. Her whole family is interesting, even the psychotic ones. Especially the psychotic ones!
The whole book is interesting. But sadly, that's where it ends.
Basically, the only main conflict of the story is...
STOP LENA FROM GETTIN' DARK, Y'ALL!
There weren't even any side quests. So this plot being a 560-page something book baffles me.
WHY?! WHY?! Answer me, dammit.
Here's why: TOO MANY CHARACTERS, TOO MANY UNNEEDED SCENES
To sum it up, the writing isn't horrific. If this book was shorter, it could have been better.
If you're thinking of reading this book 'coz you wanna see the movie, you could skip it. Trust me, the movie is much, much, more awesome than the book.