I really loved the Prologue, and the world-building, but the characters and the story just somehow fell short. I think the main problem was that it wa...moreI really loved the Prologue, and the world-building, but the characters and the story just somehow fell short. I think the main problem was that it was just sooo tedious. Everything took extremely long, and the same conflicts came up again and again. Overall it made the book feel boring quite often. This was just too slow, even for the epic-fantasy genre.
I'm not sure if I'm going to read the next book of the trilogy. It looks much like more of the same.(less)
Well, I certainly would have survived without reading this book. It's barely (!) worth 2 stars.
The world is kind of interesting, although nothing is e...moreWell, I certainly would have survived without reading this book. It's barely (!) worth 2 stars.
The world is kind of interesting, although nothing is ever properly explained. All these different kinds of races, living together - there is much potential in it, left unexploited.
The story was fast-paced, but at a lot of times, it didn't make sense. There were whole paragraphs where I just couldn't figure out what they were supposed to mean. The idea was certainly very interesting, but the implementation terrible. Even the action scenes didn't offer any redemption: they were boring and dull.
The characters were also very gray. Marcus was perhaps the only slightly interesting personality in the whole book.
Overall, don't bother reading it: simply not worth your time, not to mention your money.(less)
I have enjoyed the book, although it's not nearly as good as Bitten, the first book of the series was. It clearly set up a world for a series - a pret...moreI have enjoyed the book, although it's not nearly as good as Bitten, the first book of the series was. It clearly set up a world for a series - a pretty unoriginal world, to be fair, with nothing too fancy: demons, witches, vampires and of course, the werewolves. However, it is a more realistic world in a sense that all these supernatural "races" are rare and also that none of them is demigod-powerful (as opposed to the creatures of the Mercedes Thompson series, for instance).
The story is decent, fairly interesting, but again, nothing groundbreaking. The book does have its moments, but still, I expected more. Elena takes her captivity very well, we don't see her struggling too much, as if she believes to be indestructible.
The characters are simply shallow. We have our share of dumb people, then we have the evil people, there are the tranquil, sometimes naive white witches, and so on. Basically all new characters can be easily categorized as either one of these stereotypes, and they really don't do anything that would defy their major traits. There is really no controversy, no depth to any one of them. Even the characters from Bitten - Elena, Clay and Jeremy - remain absolutely the same, we don't get to know them more, and there's certainly no character development.
That's pretty much everything there is to it. Overall, Stolen is a light, entertaining read - just make sure you don't expect too much of it after the excellent first book. I'll give the third book, Dime Store Magic, a try later - I have to admit, I've lost my interest in this world for now.(less)
That was a good one. An excellent sequel to Kitty and the Midnight Hour! I always get a little worried when reading sequels, because they are usually not as good as the first books of their series, but I found it not to be the case here. In fact, I have enjoyed this book more than the first one!
The world is opening up quite well: we were just scratching the surface in the first book, but now we see that there is a lot more to it than we initially realized.
The plot primarily revolves around the supernatural beings (werewolves and vampires mainly) getting publicity - a process first started by Kitty herself, in her show The Midnight Hour (see the first book). Immediately power struggles arise as people all want to use this for their purposes - for some, it's wealth or fame; for others, it's purely power. And Kitty finds herself right in the middle of it. The story was quite good, there were quite some unexpected turn of events and it also has its share of exciting moments. There are also what I would call 'episodes' - stories within the story, that were only marginally related to the main plot.
There were a lot of new characters, which is great, although we only really get to know a few of them well, which is just as right. There is also a sort of romantic trail, but it's mostly neglected, which is just as well. There are way too many all-romantic books in this genre than it's healthy.
My biggest problem with the book was that I missed the werewolf packs. We get to see some of the pack dynamics in the first book, but it's really something that would deserve some more attention in my view. Wolfs are supposed to live in packs, by their nature - and werewolves are much like wolfs. Or, at least, they are supposed to be. This is purely personal preference, so I don't count it in my rating.
Overall, it's a fun, entertaining read, a definite page-turner. It would be a sin not to read it if you have already read the first book. Looking forward to the rest of the series!(less)
This book is very hard to rate and review. It's quite different from the first two books of the series, in a lot of ways. It's b...moreActual rating: 3.5/5.0
This book is very hard to rate and review. It's quite different from the first two books of the series, in a lot of ways. It's both worse and better, in different aspects, but certainly an entertaining read. I've enjoyed most of the book, although there was a part, about halfway through the book, where it was very easy to put the book down. In the other hands, a few parts were some exciting, or fascinating, that I had trouble keeping track of the time.
The world is still very interesting, although it appears considerably darker than in the previous installments. In retrospect, the first book (Kitty and the Midnight Hour) focuses on werewolves, as we see Kitty "coming of age". In the second book, Kitty Goes to Washington, we get to know vampires better, and also a variety of other creatures appear (like fairies). In the terms of character development, we see how Kitty's view on packs changes (although this is never written down directly, we only see hints), and she learns to understand the world - and herself - better.
In this book, we see Kitty laying down the foundations of her very own pack, with her newly bitten lawyer, Ben. For me, this was the very thing that carried the whole book. We get to see numerous aspects of what it means to be pack, which were the parts I enjoyed most. However, that's not all there is to the story. The other main thread in the first half of the book is like reading a thriller or horror. I'm not a fan of these genres, and this has devalued the story in my eyes - although I have to admit that it provided a background and a cause for the Kitty-Ben pack thread. While the first half of the book is more like horror than anything else, the second part is mostly about crime investigation and courts. It was fairly interesting, although got a bit dull for me at times (especially at the beginning), but it was a decent experience.
The characters and character development is what preserved the 4 stars in my rating. There are a lot less new characters than in the previous book, and most of the emphasis is on Kitty and Ben, and their relationship. Sometimes it's romantic, but it cannot be clearly classified as such. As the book has very well managed to show it, even they don't exactly know how to relate to one other, even as they grow more and more dependent. Cormac is still a mystery, as usual, although much of his dark past is revealed. The other characters are fairly good. All of them are realistic, believable characters. We don't get to know virtually anything about the skinwalkers' intentions, concerns, so they appear to be plain evil, although it is hinted, that it is not necessarily that simple.
A spectacular trait of the series is that the conclusions are never pure happy endings. They are rather compromises, and it makes the stories feel incredibly like life. Despite everything Kitty and her friends do, they have to compromise with the world, and never come out as clear winners. Very very good.
I'm very much looking forward the next book of the series, Kitty and the Silver Bullet. I can still see so much potential in this series, and I'm very happy to see the author taking a different approach with each book, not letting it all burn out quickly. If you've liked the series so far, you really should read this one too.(less)
I just finished reading the last book currently available, A Perfect Blood, the 10th installment in the series...moreSeries-review (books 1-10); spoiler-free
I just finished reading the last book currently available, A Perfect Blood, the 10th installment in the series. Here comes my review of the The Hollows series, following the adventures of Rachel Morgan. I have accumulated a lot of impressions and thoughts throughout the series, which I'm going to try to share with you in a semi-organized manner.
The world The world-building is easily the strongest aspect of the series. It is a lot deeper and more complex than any other paranormal urban-fantasy series I've met so far (e.g. Kitty Norville, Mercedes Thompson), featuring numerous unique and exciting ideas, such as the Turn, pixies and faeries, the ever-after and of course, the very original new take on demons. (I looked for, but could not find any books exploring the concept of demons in a similar manner. Very exciting! Of course it might just be I didn't look carefully enough; if you know about a book that treats demons similarly, please let me know!)
Unfortunately there are some elements that - I feel - don't really fit. I wouldn't go as far as to say that the world is inconsistent, because you can always step back and say "hey, it's magic, so whatever", but I have always preferred worlds that are built with logic rather than belief. Very minor spoiler to show you an example: (view spoiler)[One such thing was the "smut", that is, the price black magic users pay in exchange for altering reality. The smut covers their aura and means that the owner will suffer in the afterlife to compensate for what they've done - at least, so I gathered. But then: all magic is an alteration of reality to an extent while white charms and spells don't cost anything! This would be okay in itself, but many white charms actually alter reality a lot more than several black charms (or curses). (hide spoiler)]
Magic is quite exciting, especially ley-line and demon magic (earth magic is booring if you ask me), but as I've just showed you, it's not perfect. As with any self-respecting paranormal book, vampires and werewolves also make an appearance. Vampires work similarly to what you would expect, although I have to admit that I don't really like them (not even Ivy), to say the least. They are a lot more animal and lot less human, which, come to think of it, may have been the exact intention of the author. Werewolves appear very rarely, which is a great pain for me. There's a fairly lot about pixies and faeries however, which really was a surprise to me. They are quite lovely, I liked reading about them.
The story ... is fine. My biggest problem with it was: stupidity. As in, dumb people doing stupid things for nonsense reasons. There's a lot of this in the series, mostly coming from Rachel, the protagonist. She all too often acts like a 10-year-old would, and it's a miracle that she survives even the first book. There is improvement during the series, and I'd go as far as to say that Rachel becomes reasonable at the end of the 10th novel, but it's slow and frustrating. Quite often I found myself sighing in exasperation reading the series. (view spoiler)[The last book is the most alive in my mind, so I'm going to pick an example from there: Rachel spends the first half of the book being absolutely stupid, ignoring her being a demon. I'll allow that there is some reason behind her behavior - Al, for instance - but... seriously. When she finally decides to act like a grown-up (being forced to do so) and takes down the silver bracelet, she fixes the source of her fears in 15 minutes with a new agreement with Al. *sigh* (hide spoiler)]
Putting that aside, the story is moderately exciting, but it certainly is not a page-turner. It's mostly slow-paced, which is unusual for an urban-fantasy series. There is plenty of action, but it's not too interesting: I've read much better (e.g. Mercedes Thompson series). Some of the books in the series are of the mystery-solving or crime-investigating kind, while others have a very clear plot-line that they follow through. (Personally, I liked the latter variant more.)
The characters The series features a very slow character development for the three protagonists: Rachel, Ivy (vampire) and Jenks (pixy). They go through a lot, so it's reassuring to see their natural advancement. Unfortunately, especially in Rachel's case, this is mostly done is jumps, which makes it feel somewhat artificial. Ivy's and Jenks' development is much more gradual and I can appreciate it much more.
We get to meet a lot of characters throughout the 10 books, most of whom are pretty simple and shallow. Al (the demon) and Trent were two very pleasant surprises, both of whom go a long way throughout the books. A counter-example is Marshal, who is about as complex a personality as my dog. No offense, dog. This reminds me of another painful matter: the romantic aspect of the series. If you can call "oh-my-god-this-guy-is-so-hot" romance. It did little for me apart from making me disgusted. About 75% of the males in the book were hot, according to Rachel, and I often felt an irresistible need to punch her in the face when her thoughts were on some hot guy instead of insignificant things like matters of life and death. The sex-scenes were all right, usually one per book, but as a general rule: if you've read one, you've read them all. I really can't believe that people exist who buy books just for these (see the whole paranormal-romance genre)...
I have already talked about the stupidity of the characters. This mostly applies to Rachel, but it has sometimes made me so very frustrated that I was considering dropping the series altogether. She would have died at about the 30th page if not for her friends (who are usually much-much better, sometimes more powerful, but always have more braincells). Seriously, I can understand why it would be hard to write an exciting story about someone who is intelligent, but it's not impossible (see The Name of the Wind, the single best fantasy book I've read to date) and this is certainly too much.
Summary The Hollows is a decent paranormal urban-fantasy series, it has a lot of great, original ideas, but is lacking in the implementation. Nonetheless, I'm interested in what the next book, titled Ever After (due in 2013) will bring.
Favorite book in the series: Pale Demon (book 9) Least favorite book: A Perfect Blood (book 10) Series rating: 3.6/5.0["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This one was quite good, one of the best urban fantasy book I've read so far. I would have given it 4 stars (maybe), if not for the book conclusion (l...moreThis one was quite good, one of the best urban fantasy book I've read so far. I would have given it 4 stars (maybe), if not for the book conclusion (last 10%) - it was unnecessarily, dumbly horroristic. It was more a horror book at the end than anything else. I didn't like it, and I have absolutely no idea why it had to be that way - it's a pity.
The world is an original, well-invented one. I especially liked the whole magic-fluctuation concept, and the part about magic being flexible - that is, if enough people believe in something, sometimes it actually becomes true. Very interesting! The world also gives host to all kinds of supernatural creatures, as usual in the genre. I really preferred vampires to be mindless drones than anything else! :)
The story was okay, although certainly not the best one I've known. It was your usual kind of urban fantasy story: there's action and mystery, but really no tension - as if the characters believed that they are invulnerable. Kate (the protagonist) is completely stoic about her imminent death, or, at least, we don't get to see any of her troubling thoughts.
The characters were accordingly too shallow for my taste. We get absolutely no sense of getting to know any of them, we don't know their inner thoughts, feelings. This is a big minus for me, but it makes the book a very light read.
All things considered it was fun, but I don't think I'd read it again. I think, however, that I will continue on with the series - at least for the next book - because I feel much potential in this world.(less)
It's been a few weeks since I've finished reading the Mistborn trilogy, and I've been putting off writing this review ever...moreTrilogy-review; no spoilers
It's been a few weeks since I've finished reading the Mistborn trilogy, and I've been putting off writing this review ever since. It's an interesting thing really, how hard I find to review the most outstanding books.
So let me know fix this now by starting with: each and every book in this trilogy is among the very best books I've ever read. I enjoyed them much more than George R. R. Martin's famous A Song of Ice and Fire saga, no matter how excellent they are. This is however an entirely subjective opinion: I'm not claiming that either series is better than the other. They are both very good, but in different ways. George R. R. Martin's series is brutal, and it's as realistic as a fantasy story can get. It's also not a light read by any definition. The Mistborn trilogy is in contrast very approachable: easy to get into, easy to read, and it's not too heavy on your soul.
The world of the Final Empire is a dark, foreboding one - at the first glance. Humanity is in slavery, ruled by the handful nobles and the god-emperor Lord Ruler. Only a very few people dare to try and fight him, but this is how the trilogy starts: a handful people, planning to overthrow their god. Throughout the trilogy, the protagonists will gradually discover a much-much greater scheme behind all this, as they uncover lies upon lies.
Brandon Sanderson has managed to create a fascinating world, with the constant ashfalls, the unique magic system and the gods. It it an every bit believable, breathing and living world. You won't get this, not at first, reading The Final Empire. The world is full of mysteries, at first, operating by laws and rules none of the characters understand. But they learn, and you'll follow along as they discover thrilling truths and uncover impossible lies. I think this is the thing I liked the most: the mysteries, the discoveries. In the end, everything makes sense, even if you have to see things from the perspective of a god to see it.
The world I just described sounds like a dark, unforgiving one. And it is, but it doesn't really feel like one (until the third book - that one can get very dark at places). The reason is simple: the core component to a world being dark is that the characters are helpless, and have no real control over the events. However, the protagonists in this trilogy are hardly helpless.
The story is every bit as epic as any I've ever read. I can barely believe how much happened between the first line of The Final Empire and the last one of The Hero of Ages. If there ever was a story about saving the world, this is it.
There is a lot of action throughout all three books. By action I mean combat, employing the magic system. These are exceedingly well written, and easily followable, in spite of the complex underlying magical mechanics. They gave a faster pace to the trilogy than you would expect from an epic fantasy production.
The characters are quite possibly the weakest aspect of these books. This is not to say that they are badly written, but they are just not as outstanding as everything else. There are two main protagonists (Vin and Elend), with several others who accompany them throughout the trilogy. They are all very well developed, interesting characters. I can also see how the author tried very hard to give each of them a roughly equal amount of attention. There is some very serious character development going on with Vin and Elend. Vin starts off by being a lonely, heavily scarred and helpless young woman, and turns into someone adept in the very secrets of the world as she is a major help in shaping it. Elend goes from being a literal geek into a commander who his men happily give their life for.
The romantic thread between Vin and Elend is a good one: it doesn't get too much focus, and it didn't start to bore with some clichés. Their story is a fairly straightforward, albeit a difficult one at that. I'll even go as far as admitting that I liked it.
It's difficult to convey how much I adored reading these books. How the stakes just kept getting higher and higher. How Vin and Elend discovered the true nature of their world. Even if we ignore the bigger picture, the books are engaging, fun to read. The story is not just an excuse to show off the great (awesome!) ideas Brand Sanderson came up with.
Overall, I have tremendously enjoyed reading the Mistborn trilogy. This is one of those stories: when I finished reading the last page, the last paragraph, the last letter, I felt like laughing and crying at the same time. I also felt like hiding a small place and hide in it in shame for my whole life being insignificant compared to conceiving and writing such an epic piece of pure awesomeness. I tried very hard to come up with some negatives to offset all the praise I give the trilogy, but I couldn't really find anything really worth mentioning. My hat off to you, Brandon Sanderson.
I strongly encourage you to visit the author's website for deleted scenes and commentaries (!) for all the chapters. I really wish more authors did this.
As for the future of the Mistborn world: the author is planning to have three trilogies (so two more), set apart by a few hundred years. There are no news as of yet of the second trilogy. The book listed as the 4th in the series (The Alloy of Law) is more like a short story than a whole novel. I can't wait to see what Brandom Sanderson comes up with next for this series.(less)
An excellent book, with a fascinating world, an intense story and well-formed characters. If you like fantasy books, you'll want to read this one!
The...moreAn excellent book, with a fascinating world, an intense story and well-formed characters. If you like fantasy books, you'll want to read this one!
The main character, Mercy is an independent, string-willed, survivor-type woman, living in a world in which ordinary humans are on the bottom of the food chain, in a manner of speaking. There are werewolves, vampires and the fae, all possessing supernatural powers. And we soon find that none of these preternatural creatures are exactly friendly, and even less harmless. To make matters worse, Mercy has a real talent to get into trouble.
This first book of the series is focusing on werewolves, who also play important role in all the other books of the series as well. While the main characters remain the same throughout the series, the books are all independent episodes: none of them assumes that you read the previous books, although there are a few references, and it certainly helps to really understand the characters and the world.
The characters are absolutely brilliant: unique, totally believable and consistent (throughout the whole series). Having read through the series (I'm reading the last book at the moment) I really feel like I got to know the main characters. This adds some real intimacy to the later books, especially as we see the connection of two of the main characters go from mutual respect to friendship, and then to love.
The story is fascinating, with a good amount of mystery and the uncertainty until the very end. Mercy doesn't know what's really going on and what's going to happen, and so nor do we. The story has some slower-paced parts, in which we get to know the characters and the world more, and makes the story very life-like.
The ending is great, although it somewhat stands out from the rest of the book in a way that it's much harder to believe, as in, less life-like, if that even makes sense in case of a fantasy book. Nonetheless, the real plot and its goal, that Mercy spends the book investigating, are grand and breathtaking, even though they are directed against people Mercy care about. The final outcome is written so beautifully that it made me want to cry, and that's saying something. I'm not easy to impress.
Another important trait of the book is that there are no classical, "real" villains in the world Patricia Briggs shows us. Some of the characters do behave that way, but there's always a motive, and their perspective is also perfectly understandable and we can easily relate with them. That is a great achievement, considering that the book is written in a first-person perspective.
The book is written in a way that non-native speakers can also read it easily, with a reasonable amount of English knowledge, and understand the majority of the story. I'm separately grateful for that.
Overall this book is the best one in the series, only if slightly so. The story is what really makes this one stand out from the other parts, with all its mystery and turning points. Nevertheless, if you liked this book, you'll also want to read the others.(less)
Darkfever was a very hard book to get into. While reading it, I often felt that I really should just put it down and find something that's more worth...moreDarkfever was a very hard book to get into. While reading it, I often felt that I really should just put it down and find something that's more worth my time. Somehow I got through it after all, but only because it's promised to get better in the second book. I certainly hope so.
The single strongest feature of the book is the world-building. I have to admit that I have never read any books about the Fae (besides the Mercedes Thompson series, but I don't think that counts), and I kind of welcomed its "originality". It's not nearly the best built world that I've seen, but it's a step in the right direction from your usual urban fantasy mass-products.
The story was very weak. I very much had the impression that this book was a mere prologue to the real plot. This is an alarming tendency: I don't buy a book to get a prologue. I want a book to have its story in itself; even if it is a series. A good example of what not to do is the Nightshade series, and a fine example of how this should be done is the Kate Daniels series.
My main problem was that I couldn't see where the book was heading. I mean, there was no clear plot that the book was about. Every page, the characters were just chilling around going by their business. I got the sense that the author was trying to make it an emotional book, but failed miserably.
There was very little action in the book, and even when there was, it was ridiculous. Mac as a fighter? Come on.
The characters were probably the worst thing about the book. The heroine (Mac) was a stupid, ignorant barbie doll. She was the type that I just refer to as "square root 2" (hinting the level of intelligence they possess). I got so annoyed with her from time to time that I just had to put the book down. She was the main reason that the book scored so low with me.
Barrons was the only character that I could more-or-less associate with (as in: understand).
The romantic threads just made me sick. This is one of the worst ever books in terms of romance, around the level of the paranormal-romance category.
Overall, I'm not terribly convinced that this series is for me. I may give the next book a try sometime, but certainly not now. If you're considering reading this book, my advice would be: don't bother, there are much better urban fantasy books out there.(less)
I found that I need to be in a very specific mood to be able to enjoy this. Otherwise I don't find it even mildly entertaining. This book is evidently...moreI found that I need to be in a very specific mood to be able to enjoy this. Otherwise I don't find it even mildly entertaining. This book is evidently not for me. For this reason, I will not rate it at this time, because this really is not a bad book - it is just not something I like at this stage of my life.
I'll try and return to it some years later - I find that some things do change over time like that.(less)
Holy cow, this was bad. Ridiculously so. This book is its own parody. I can't even start to list what's wrong with it, so I'll just summarize it: the...moreHoly cow, this was bad. Ridiculously so. This book is its own parody. I can't even start to list what's wrong with it, so I'll just summarize it: the problem with this book is that it has been written! I mean, seriously, this?!
The book looks like an innocent little urban fantasy book at the first glance. And maybe even at the second glance. But start reading it, and as soon as the actual story kicks in, you'll soon find yourself reading the worst book ever written. Repetitive scenes that serve no purpose whatsoever, flat-out nonsense decisions, absolutely crazy superpowers and weapons, and deus ex machina-like turn of events at every 50 page or so. Need I go on?
The core idea behind the world and the story is neat, although not really original, but it's fine. However, the implementation is horrible. And people are rating this 4 and 5 stars. Guys, what the...?!
The only other positive thing I can think of is that there's plenty of action. That would be wonderful, but it's mostly either repetitive or unbelievable even in the book's system (e.g. impenetrable defenses get penetrated like every other page or so). All right, there are a few good scenes in the book, but mostly, it's like a 10 year old's fantasy, except that it makes less sense.
So overall: stay away! You do not want to read this. Even staring at the wall for 5 hours straight it more worth your time. And I so wish I was kidding...(less)