(hefty sigh) Cripes, the journey is over! All that happens in these three super long books really built to an incredibly satisfying point, and I think...more(hefty sigh) Cripes, the journey is over! All that happens in these three super long books really built to an incredibly satisfying point, and I think that can only be properly managed with such length. But this was a fantastic story. The character development was top-notch--props to Jill for a job well done. The romance, though a bit dragged out, was pretty rewarding by the end, too. Rarely do you find something so perfectly paced, and by no means insta-love, leaving room for the characters to really get to know each other for who they are. The two leads, when together and happy, are super sweet in this installment with their charming banter and bloodvoicing.
(view spoiler)[But there was such silliness in the first half of this book... I found myself laughing even as I rolled my eyes.
"I hear the prince pines away for you. Whilst he is engaged to... to you!"
Vrell's attitude towards Achan before she loses her memory was really tiresome, too. There was no good reason for her to be such a stick in the mud about it, I wanted to smack her upside the head. It was all induced drama though, and I suppose we'd have less a story without it. ;)
I enjoyed Nathak's villain, as well. The life he fabricated for Achan, the fear he had of killing him because of what Arman would do to him. Really excellent. He essentially single-handedly made the story as awesome and multi-layered as it was. Props, as always, to those dastardly villains that give our characters so much opportunity for growth. Yay! (hide spoiler)]
Because I shared so much time with these characters, I find they linger longer than that of those from most books I read. I don't usually find myself thinking about them when I'm not reading, but these characters I do. I'll miss this series, but it had a tremendously satisfying ending, which must have been pretty tough with a world as big as this one. And all the characters! I love how Gren and Noam and even Harnu who used to bully Achan got their time in the spotlight. Very nicely done. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Not since reading The Hunger Games last year has a book so utterly captivated me from start to finish. I rarely feel like giving a book five stars, bu...moreNot since reading The Hunger Games last year has a book so utterly captivated me from start to finish. I rarely feel like giving a book five stars, but this one properly deserves it!
When I read the summary some time ago, this book stood out. I was interested, but honestly not expecting it to dazzle me like it did. I could not put it down. Most people say that about books they've enjoyed, but despite the avid reader I am, I think I've only meant it once or twice. This book was wonderful! Maria Snyder is immensely talented, and when choosing books, I am always looking for a certain writing style. Perhaps not all of them both begin and end with a bang, but you know you've found a winner when they do! And I'm excited about it because I feel like I have been looking for this book (or something like it) for a while. Finally!
Snyder compiles a unique and energizing story in Poison Study, with fabulous characters; nothing faltering or unfeeling about it, I thought. The romance even caught me off guard when I eventually came to, thanks to my image of Valek as an old man! (I'm not sure how I got to that conclusion... heh. I think it also was due to Yelena not slobbering over his handsomeness when they first met. I recall it took her a while to even notice his appearance. How refreshing! I love it.)
I enjoyed very much traveling around in Yelena's mind. She manages to remain strong and mysterious, to her credit; a piece of work slowly unraveled. From the beginning, we know Yelena murdered Reyad because he was an evil man, but until her disturbing past is brought to light you don't understand the severity in her conviction for murder, or the complete justification she had for it. It is very good that she killed him, I should say! I was chilled by his lingering presence both as a phantom and in Yelena's flashbacks. I don't remember the last time I felt such indignation towards a villain, which again proves Snyder's talent to me. Easily worth getting excited about.
I'm looking forward to the next two installments in this series - thank goodness they're out already so I don't have to wait! :)
...Wow. That was just the book I've been looking for, I think. I've read a lot of Christian historical, to the point of tiring of the genre (I worked...more...Wow. That was just the book I've been looking for, I think. I've read a lot of Christian historical, to the point of tiring of the genre (I worked at a Christian bookstore for several years), but this novel won me over. Ms. Camden won me over. I've also read Lady of Bolton Hill, which was excellent, but I enjoyed this one even more.
Solid, well thought-out, meticulously researched... this novel surprised me again and again. I became completely engrossed. Both Lydia and Bane were great characters (lacking a certain overload of sugary cliche characteristic of the genre. I couldn't be happier!), both were true heroes. Instead of the heroine becoming a damsel in distress, she rose up, banded together with Bane, and fought a tough but clever battle that kept me on the edge of my seat. Often, novels in this genre dry up halfway and become somewhat sluggish until the end (or are suffocatingly sappy as a storyline), but Against the Tide never did. In fact, halfway through it catapulted forward with Lydia's risky new mission--I didn't want to put it down.
I don't give five stars lightly, but this novel is well deserving. It's blissful to read writing this good for once--I love historical fiction, but I've gotten quite picky over the years and am easily dissatisfied, so this book was a happy find.
I'll be reading all Ms. Camden's future releases as well, I think. (less)
This was a fascinating read. A story about a girl who can collect the heat from all life around her, feel it thick in the air, draw it within her and...moreThis was a fascinating read. A story about a girl who can collect the heat from all life around her, feel it thick in the air, draw it within her and cast it out as fire; wild and reckless. Enna's struggle with the very ability she'd seen consume a loved one from the inside out was real to me. Hale's writing resonates. It begs the question to a writer like myself: who really can contain, or claim to control fire? Its flames cannot burn without destroying, and even Enna, who manipulates (or speaks to) fire can't hold it inside without it overwhelming her, searing her.
The only part of this book that dragged was where war was directly concentrated. The battles, the talk of war. Nothing nods me off more easily than a storyline threaded through with war. It's worse still when war is at the heart of it. I see enough of war in real life without it invading my fantasy novels, so this I certainly could've done without. In fact, whenever war is mentioned in a book like this, I feel like groaning, and hoping it passes quickly and somewhat interestingly. If that is possible. But when the story blissfully shifted away from battle, I was pleased. Because of that element, I would give this book 4.5, though since I can't, it's rounded up to 5 stars.
Anyway, another highlight of the book was Finn. Charming Finn. Watching in the shadows, silently protecting Enna, quietly seeking after her. I wish there had been more of him in the story, but Hale manages to pace things to near perfection. Never too much, never too little. She doesn't handle romance like most do, either, and I find this refreshing. The story is the heart of the book, not the main character's obsessive attraction to another. Actually, Enna thought of Finn very little throughout the book, I felt, which was an unusual but welcome angle. ;)
I love Matt's passion. I love how he can't stand to be grounded, how he has this crazy drive to live for and it overtakes him. This book was surprisin...moreI love Matt's passion. I love how he can't stand to be grounded, how he has this crazy drive to live for and it overtakes him. This book was surprisingly fantastic. It was super fun without a dull moment! Being plopped into the lives of a bunch of brilliant kids was pretty exciting, too. Matt and Kate are ridiculously smart for their ages, but that made it all the better. I loved the airship setting, the main character, the villains, the island, the cloud cats! And I must mention the snake chase, because that was just hilarious:
“I whirled to see the snake springing up from the ferns and bouncing towards us, fast. This time we turned and ran. Every time I looked around, the snake was still there. I wanted to laugh and scream at the same time. The little creature was ridiculous. It was terrifying, and it was also gaining on us.”
"I looked over my shoulder and there was our little red friend, sailing towards us and only needing two or three more leaps before we had a happy reunion."
I don't know why this whole scene just cracked me up; the melange of ridiculousness and horror, I suppose. But it was excellent. xD
Also, Matt and Kate are so fun. I loved their banter, Matt's impatience with her, her ridiculous suggestions and expectations. Hee.
“I'm glad being shipwrecked appeals to you."
"Captain Walken made a point of avoiding that word."
"Well, he was trying to keep everyone jolly, wasn't he. It's no good having everyone running around screaming and eating each other."
"I wouldn't run around screaming," she said. "I can see eating someone in a pinch, though. If it really came down to it, I mean."
"I don't doubt it."
"Come on, Matt Cruse, don't you find it just a bit exciting, being here?"
She looked at me as if I'd suggested we stop breathing for a few hours.
I love Kenneth Oppel's writing. I think I need more. (less)
I love the moment of standing in a field lit with sunlight, a gold so bright it glows, and the wind against your skin. The moment where you realize yo...moreI love the moment of standing in a field lit with sunlight, a gold so bright it glows, and the wind against your skin. The moment where you realize you've got something around you that is also inside you and you can speak its language.
It was amazing how I felt right there with Ani, Hale's words drifting off the pages as though Ani wasn't there but I was, and Ani wasn't Ani, but I was. I felt that way when she came to understand wind. When she stood alone, and warm, and finally free.
This was a beautiful read; endearing and wistful. (less)
I don't know why. This story, these characters burrowed inside me. They reintroduced themselves long after I'd finished the series. They will stay wit...moreI don't know why. This story, these characters burrowed inside me. They reintroduced themselves long after I'd finished the series. They will stay with me, I think, which is such a rarity I must draw attention to it. And somehow applaud it. (less)
4.5 stars. What fun this book was! The pace is meticulously executed; I can understand some people's impatience with it, but I quite prefer it this wa...more4.5 stars. What fun this book was! The pace is meticulously executed; I can understand some people's impatience with it, but I quite prefer it this way. It's refreshing, and presses you to move along, entertained all the way.
Through it all, you're misted with enchantments, clouded by dark mysteries. The circus is a gorgeous and enthralling world of its own, enhanced deeply by Erin Morgenstern's gorgeous, inveigling descriptions. I want to go to this circus. To make you feel a place so deeply, a part of you longs for it personally... I'm breathless.
So I sped through this book, despite my initial wariness at its 500 pages. It went all too fast for a book I expected to drag.
My favourite element of this book was, other than Erin's fabulous writing style, the originality. It was cool water to a parched throat. True, the plot structure isn't anything to excite the toughest critics, and even at the end, a sense of fogginess remains, but really I wouldn't have it any other way. This book thrives on mystery, magic, the night, and the thrill you're taken through. There's the idea that things should be explained with more clarity, but by the end, you should have a good idea of what happened. If not, spark your imagination, and I'm sure you can figure it out. A better explanation would ruin the certain pristine atmosphere that the Night Circus ignites, in my opinion.
I love every element of this book's writing. There's layers that build and emerge when Erin strikes the match that lights a new flame. The transition in her writing is seamless. She carries her world, her characters, and her story in a way that fascinates me. Most people would not write this way. They would write more carefully. But I'm most grateful for those who try something new, risking criticism; they don't write by a formula, they write what they want to write, from their heart. And the result is often something magnificent.
This book was something magnificent, but the wonder of its enticement can't be understood by everyone. Some like a proper formula, others like a fantasy. They just want to be enchanted. I had my fill of enchantment, that's certain.
Ten out of five stars, if I could. I cannot say enough good things about this book! What an incredible read.
First, I'll say I haven't read Frankenste...moreTen out of five stars, if I could. I cannot say enough good things about this book! What an incredible read.
First, I'll say I haven't read Frankenstein, and my knowledge of the story is nothing substantial, so I'll speak purely of This Dark Endeavour as a standalone (though I was surprised to find I actually noticed some hints to Mary Shelley's novel during the reading!).
Oppel's portrayal of Victor was enthralling, to say the least. He gave me the chills. To quote Elizabeth, "There is a passion in you that scares me." I can't decide if I'm in love with him or rather disturbed by him! Both. He's real, he's nuts, he has tender moments that undo me, he becomes enchanted with alchemy. THIS GUY IS GREAT. It is he that trips with fear for his brother's illness and sets out, risking his life for a cure. It's this tenderness in contrast to the other flow of his mind—the flow that makes me think he might lure his brother to some remote reaches and push him off a cliff.
Both are believable; this not only makes him an excellent character, but a great villain. I call him villain, yes. Because no other "protagonist" will stick with me quite like him. He's a double-edged blade. He's no sappy, wonderful, perfect male lead that the ladies must fawn over because he can do no wrong (except keeping a serious secret in order to protect the heroine. bleh). Instead, they must look down their noses at Victor because he is indeed a scoundrel. The things he says, from the silly to serious, all of it just makes me believe him. His complaints, his jealousy toward his brother, his disquieting regard for Elizabeth, his defiant attitude and short fuse. Whereas other girls might think him creepy and might like to kick him, I find him stupidly attractive. Not only for those things, of course. Those I listed for their merit in Oppel's crafting a realistic character. One that breathes the air we breathe.
The story itself was convincing. Oppel's writing style was, to me, vastly immersive, and more than once I had to come up for air. I loved the historical setting and the chateau, the adventure, the friendships, the devotion, Victor's obsession, the meticulous pacing; all the way through my attention certainly wasn't going anywhere. What's more, this was a relatively clean read (except for some violence), which certainly added to its merit.
It was a highly entertaining, darkly beautiful story. I don't know how else to describe it. (view spoiler)[And it ended how the story of a conflicted villain must end; in tragedy, to fire their will. (hide spoiler)] I'm impatient to read the sequel, Such Wicked Intent. This story was utterly, utterly fabulous.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book was incredible. To me, a triumph of fiction. It was darkly engrossing, heart-wrenching, realistic. The strange format it was written in took...moreThis book was incredible. To me, a triumph of fiction. It was darkly engrossing, heart-wrenching, realistic. The strange format it was written in took a bit of getting used to, but by the end of the book, I wouldn't have had it any other way.(less)
This three novel story winds to a resonant, brilliant melody, rich to the final word. I'll admit, I wasn't in love with the first book, but I did stil...moreThis three novel story winds to a resonant, brilliant melody, rich to the final word. I'll admit, I wasn't in love with the first book, but I did still like it enough to continue. And I'm glad I did, because the series gets progressively better with each book, all the events and characters blending in sustenance of each other, spinning magic in a wonderfully crafted and enchanting narrative. I loved this fantasy. This is definitely my cup of tea.
I hope Ms. Henley continues writing fantasy, because I quite enjoy being inside her mind. (less)
Despite its 500 pages, this was a quick read. It was highly entertaining from the first page to the last, and I flew through it! I loved Chima's world...moreDespite its 500 pages, this was a quick read. It was highly entertaining from the first page to the last, and I flew through it! I loved Chima's world building, her colourful array of characters and the complexity of events surrounding them. All of it was beautifully told and quite enjoyable. (less)