Magical and enchanting as the blurb promises, but as a result of that nothing really made sense even when all the answers were seemingly ans 3.5 stars
Magical and enchanting as the blurb promises, but as a result of that nothing really made sense even when all the answers were seemingly answered - characters, world and magic alike. The plot twists were definitely unexpected, but altogether felt too convenient in order to get to the desired ending which, while surprising, kind of left me unsatisfied considering everything it took to get there.
Either way, I enjoyed it though! A lot of creativity went into creating the world of Caraval, and it's so easy to get swept up in the magic of it all that the pages just fly by. Having not been able to get back into reading for three months now, Caraval was the perfect book to restore that passion for reading and I'm certainly intrigued by what Garber seems to have planned for book two, considering that cliffhanger of an epilogue :O...more
Apart from the epilogue which as predictable and cheesy as it was, still managed to elicit MANY happy sighs throughout, the rest of the stories in thiApart from the epilogue which as predictable and cheesy as it was, still managed to elicit MANY happy sighs throughout, the rest of the stories in this were pretty mediocre. I did enjoy hearing about Michelle Benoit and Wolf's past, and seeing Kai's first meeting with Cinder from his POV was very cute (not to mention nostalgic!). However, Thorne's story just served to reiterate what an ass he is while Cress's was just boring especially since I feel like we heard the whole story in her titular book anyway!
Ultimately I ended up skimming those chapters as well as Winter's, though admittedly the latter may also be in part because of me just wanting to get to the epilogue as quickly as possible, because KAI AND CINDER GUYS. AND WEDDINGS. AND SEEING THE RAMPION CREW REUNITED. I swear, my heart literally broke at the end of Winter when everyone parted ways T_T (view spoiler)[Also, Iko and Kinney? I KNEW IT. I FREAKING KNEW IT. Been shipping it since Winter! (hide spoiler)]...more
3.5 stars. I honestly don't know how to feel about this - I'm left unsatisfied but still happy with the ending, and I come away from it feeling not sa3.5 stars. I honestly don't know how to feel about this - I'm left unsatisfied but still happy with the ending, and I come away from it feeling not sad but wistful about saying goodbye to these characters that I've come to love.
These books have never made the most sense, but I was at least hoping to understand most of it come this last book and while some questions were answered, they weren't necessarily answers I felt did Stiefvater's characters and writing any justice. Because no matter what I have to say about the plot of The Raven King, the faults will never be with the prose or characters, which have always been Stiefvater's strongest points and the things that keep me coming back for more of her writing. Her writing is effortless and magical, as if I really am stepping into a dreamscape whenever I delve into her pages, and her characters are real and broken and so genuine. This book was also slightly different from the others in its atmosphere - it was creepy and foreboding, positive milestones for Blue and her Raven Boys mixed with the unsettling feeling of something always watching, waiting.
However, the ending just lacked something. Noah? It felt like he completely disappeared from the narrative and I sometimes forgot that he was one of the four original Raven Boys back in the beginning. (view spoiler)[I also don't understand what happened at the end? Why was Noah the one telling Gansey that he was alive thanks to Glendower? Was he trying to ensure that Gansey would look for Glendower in the future, thus leading to him meeting Blue, Adam, Ronan and Noah? In which case awww but also why did no-one mention Noah in the epilogue? Surely he deserved at least a memory. Or did he disappear from everyone's memories once he disappeared from the circle of time? I DON'T UNDERSTAND HELP. (hide spoiler)]
Also, Gansey? Glendower? (view spoiler)[So Glendower is actually dead, and we spent four books trying to find a dead king... Okay, so I'm actually not too fussed about him being dead, but still, really? And I already knew Gansey wasn't going to actually die in the end, but I was at least hoping for a reasonable explanation as to why he's still alive to tell the epilogue. And the explanation we got was just so unconvincing, especially when I expected something so much more from Stiefvater's imagination. So Cabeswater revived him, even after saying they couldn't make him the same as before, but he did end up being the exact same Gansey as before. I kind of wished they at least made him something other ie. maybe he could have become a dream-thing but instead of Ronan dreaming him, he was Cabeswater's dream, or maybe he only existed in everyone's dreams. It would have been sad, but I would have accepted it as a bittersweet ending that made more sense than the one that we got. (hide spoiler)]
There are so many other questions I have as well, such as wanting to find out how the demon was trapped in the cave in the first place - what was its origin story? But I guess Stiefvater always does like leaving things open to interpretation. Henry Cheng though, was cute, even though I don't really understand what the purpose of his character actually was. Also Pynch, I ship. ...more
3.5 stars. Thank god for that second half. I was honestly so ready to give this book two stars -- Agnieszka started out incredibly annoying, very weak3.5 stars. Thank god for that second half. I was honestly so ready to give this book two stars -- Agnieszka started out incredibly annoying, very weak-willed and constantly making stupid reckless decisions acting on emotions rather than actual thinking. Not only that, but its another one of those "protagonist is the super special witch who can do spells no other witch can ie. the most powerful spells." *rolls eyes* Which is actually such a shame because I LOVE my high fantasies, and this one was right up there with my most anticipated reads.
And that's why I am so thankful that it eventually got better. Agnieszka went from unbearable to someone I could root for, despite her special magic, as she grew into her powers to become a confident and eager young witch. The story is also backed by a fantastic villain in the form of The Wood. It's terrifying and everytime the characters went deep into the woods, I could feel my own skin prickling in fear. Novik builds atmosphere wonderfully, capturing details that fully immersers her readers right into the heart of the valley and the world-building itself is just as well thought-out and complex.
I also love the female friendship in Uprooted and though I still question some of the actions that were taken because of this friendship, I love that perhaps even more than the romance, Agnieszka and Kasia's friendship drove the story. They love each other but also resent each other, for all of those missed opportunities in their childhood and the unfairness of the situation, knowing one would eventually be taken away. But it's the resentment that ultimately makes their friendships stronger, fuelled by an equal understanding between them, taking in each other's fears and jealousy.
The romance between Agnieszka and the Dragon, I honestly wasn't sure of at the start. Again, it wasn't until the second half that everything started to come together for these two and I actually started shipping them. At first, there is just no chemistry between them, mostly because they didn't consider each other as equals and then the romance just came out of nowhere and was so sudden. But as I said Agnieszka grows into role more comfortably as the story progresses and it's then, where they're actively working together, picking up on and covering each other's strengths and weaknesses, that I really began believing in them. Not to mention there is one scene in particular that had me swooning and I just love love love that the cover is so middle-grade and then you get scenes like THAT. Just a heads-up that this is decidedly NOT a middle-grade book ;)
Overall, Uprooted does take some time to get into, though it definitely does get better in the second half and especially towards the end. The world-building is so so great and vivid and imaginative and while I didn't completely buy into the magic side of it, I did enjoy the character growth that Agnieszka (literally been CTRL-C - CTRL-V-ing this ridiculous name the whole review) goes through and her relationships with others in the book. If you're a big fantasy fan, then don't be hesitant to try this, because it definitely has all the elements that a good fantasy should!...more
After having written this, I realised that there were a lot of things that I was pretty disappointed with, and so I'm nudging my rating down2.5 stars
After having written this, I realised that there were a lot of things that I was pretty disappointed with, and so I'm nudging my rating down to two and half stars rather than three. I was really looking forward to this book, especially from what we'd seen of Sofia in This Shattered World because I knew I was going to like her. And I did, but apart from that this book fell a little flat for me. Being very romance heavy, the few intense moments are scattered far and few between a lot of teenage and hormonal indecisions, and it unfortunately lacks that excitement and pull to finally see how the series finally ends.
THINGS I LIKED:
+ GIDEON AND SOFIA I love their individual personalities! Both are fully capable of getting things done and surviving on their own. They’re strong, resourceful and rightfully mistrustful of anything and everything around them. The one thing I love about Kaufman and Spooner’s characters especially is that they've given their females an actual backbone and Sofia is no different. There’s nothing I love more than female characters that can fend for themselves and that, I think, is one of the strengths of this series.
+ THE WHISPERS: We learn a lot about the whispers in this last book. Where we got Tarver's interrogation and Jubilee's memories between chapters in the previous books, we now get the thoughts of the whispers themselves in these segments and I really, really enjoyed them. It's here that you can really see the difference between them and humans in their thought process, and sympathise with them for all the years they've been trapped within the rifts, forced to become individuals. But it was also really cool to see how (view spoiler)[they've been following our six main characters right from the beginning, pushing them in the right directions needed to eventually meet (hide spoiler)]. It really put a new perspective on a lot of the events throughout the previous books!
THINGS I DISLIKED
- THE ROMANCE: As much as I loved Gideon and Sofia separately, I didn’t really believe in their romance. While in These Broken Stars, the romance built slowly and gradually, here it felt way too sudden. There was a lot of insta-love on Gideon’s part and I’m still so confused as to what made them fall in love with each other.
- TARVER: UGH UGH UGH. I am so mad about Tarver’s character. They turned him into a mopey heartsick fool in this! I don’t like the message coming through with these characters that love comes first before saving the world and just what happened to my smart, sensible, RATIONAL Tarver!?
- THE ENDING: Really anticlimactic and lacked any tension and action whatsoever. There was never any real fear and I was seriously rolling my eyes at the deus ex machina (view spoiler)[love conquers all ending (hide spoiler)]. I'm not saying that it wasn't a satisfying conclusion in that it does tie up everyone's stories really nicely, but I personally would also have liked to see (view spoiler)[how they revealed what LaRoux had done to the galaxy and what actually happened to him at the end of the book. We don’t even know if he’s in prison or not! (hide spoiler)].
These Broken Stars will forever be my favourite of this series and while This Shattered World and Their Fractured Light weren't necessarily bad, they never quite lived up to the expectations I had for this series after falling in love with Tarver and Lilac. I'm still glad I finished the trilogy as I was always interested enough in how it might end, but it's just a shame that it didn't end quite as well as it started....more
Much, much better than The Wrath & the Dawn. Shazi really grew on me this time round and unlike previously, I actually came to appreciate her stroMuch, much better than The Wrath & the Dawn. Shazi really grew on me this time round and unlike previously, I actually came to appreciate her strong, confident, bordering-on-arrogant-but-not-quite personality. She really knows who she is, what she stands for and never lets anyone let her feel like she's beneath them - she's fiery and brash, but thankfully also willing to see reason.
In contrast however, one of the main problems I have with this duology is that the main male character's all seem to have serious anger management issues. From Khalid (who is by far the worst), to Tariq and even to Jalal! Like really? Was it really necessary to make every main male character so angry and hostile and alpha-male like? While they keep getting a pass from everyone because they're supposedly acting like this for the one they love, it was really off-putting and I grew so tired of seeing Khalid unsheathing his shamshir every goddamn page. As such, I still can't bring myself to really feel anything for Khalid besides annoyance, though I admit I may have warmed up to him just a little towards the very end.
Aside from that though, I was impressed with the whole unwinding plot in this installment. I loved Despina as usual (view spoiler)[and hOLY CRAP I DIDN'T SEE THE WHOLE PRINCESS THING COMING. Renee Ahdieh, you get a thumbs up for that twist. (hide spoiler)] (I just wish we had seen more of her and Jalal) and getting to know more about Irsa, Shahrzad's sister - seeing her growth from the insecure little mouse to the brave and outspoken woman at the end was incredibly rewarding. Ahdieh also has such beautiful writing which I always prize in a book, somehow managing to make it extremely flowery but not so much that I was sighing and scratching my head at all the metaphors used, as is unfortunately usually the case. I don't know if this is right, as it's been a year since I read The Wrath & the Dawn, but I feel like her writing has actually improved from before? At the very least, it feels to flow a lot more naturally now, which is always a good thing.
Finally, the ending was perfect - Ahdieh honestly couldn't have wrapped it up any better. It was moving and satisfying and managed to tie up all the character's stories in a way befitting to each and every one of them. Tariq especially I was surprised about. I found him absolutely intolerable and unecessary aside from his use in progressing the plot forward during the first book but I was so, so happy with his character arc here. I'm just really glad I continued on with this series - altogether this final book simply had a lot more heart to it, dealing with what a family really is and what it means to love, all the different types of it, and I'm just happy I'll remember this duology much more fondly than if I had given up after The Wrath & the Dawn....more