I was so excited to read this because of all the amazing reviews about it so far but I fear I seem to b...more2.5 stars Review also posted on The Paper Planes
I was so excited to read this because of all the amazing reviews about it so far but I fear I seem to be the only person who just doesn't see what everyone else does. Which is a shame because I really wanted to like this!
First of all, Born Wicked prides itself with it's unique premise of witches in a alternative historical setting and yet… where is the magic? When a book promises witchery, you expect witchery right? And so I was incredibly disappointed when I found myself already three quarters of the way through and there still hadn't been a great amount of witchcraft going on because the author decided to focus on the romance instead of advancing the story. Personally, I'm not a fan of these kinds of books -- when the romance completely overrules the plot, especially since the romance in Born Wicked wasn't entirely all that engaging either...
I wish I could say that the characters saved this for me but no, unfortunately every character, with the exception of Finn and Tess, were either rip-your-hair-out annoying or flat and one-dimensional. Cate herself was a hard protagonist for me to relate to. While her loyalty to her sisters was charming and admirable, it didn't hide the fact that she was controlling and thought she could dictate how Maura and Tess lived their lives! That's not to say that Cate is the only sister with faults though. Maura is constantly in one of her sour no-one-understands-me moods that literally had me throwing the book on the floor to go read another book. But I adored little Tess, she's wise beyond her years and was definitely one of the only characters I actually enjoyed reading about!
As I mentioned before, the romance left much to be desired. A love-triangle is a tricky thing to get right and this was indeed another example of an attempt gone wrong. There is no equal balance as to who Cate is going to end up with, it's blatantly obvious from the start that Paul is out if the equation once Finn steps in. And while I love Finn, I wish there could have been more of a challenge for him to win over Cate's heart. Because again, we're given the opportunity to read about insta-love in it's prime state! Ugh! I really do love Finn, he's different, he wears glasses, he's smart, and he's not the best looking guy out there but I just wish his relationship with Cate was a little more... developed? Realistic, maybe?
The writing, however, was superb and I loved the beautifully woven prose Spotswood presented us with. The language itself is entirely appropriate to the time-frame in which Born Wicked is set and this, since historical fiction is like my absolute favorite genre, had me jumping with joy!
Overall, Born Wicked was definitely not what I expected it to be. I know most people who've read this really enjoyed it though so if you were thinking of reading this, it just might appeal to you more than it did me! (less)
Pure is one hell of a roller-coaster! It's amazing at times, but has a slow beginning, gets freaking brilliant,...moreReview also posted on The Paper Planes
Pure is one hell of a roller-coaster! It's amazing at times, but has a slow beginning, gets freaking brilliant, then fades to a dull series of events. Never have I ever felt as conflicted as I do for this book!
Pressia and Partridge are decent leads. They're brave, strong and determined to get through the toughest obstacles! However, for the most part, you feel disconnected with them until the novel picks up at the end. I don't think it's necessarily their fault, like I said, they're likable, but writing in third person and also in present tense is a pretty hard feat to accomplish. That being said, we don't only have Pressia and Partridge's POV's but two others who I don't even know why are there! I feel like I was looking through too many different pairs of eyes and it made it harder for me to relate to our two main characters.
A lot of people have mentioned Pure to have a lot of too-good-to-be-true coincidences and I'm not going to argue. Pressia and Partridge live in a large post-apocalyptic world yet they somehow manage to meet all the people they need to meet and find all the clues they need to finally get to where they want to be in the end! A few coincidences I can take but Pure is built up of so many that it went way beyond the point where I drew the line! This was probably the biggest downfall for me.
But fear not! Pure does have it's redeeming qualities. It's a romance, yes, but Pressia's been living in a world where the need to survive overcomes the need for a love life and so the romance takes a back seat in this! It's not at all predictable and though I am a HUGE romance fan, I enjoyed how it wasn't focused so much on the lovey-dovey scenes. Pure is more about family more than anything and I liked that. Plus, the end is where it really gets interesting, if not a bit tragic, and you'll find that the ending would be perfect even without a romance.
The stand-out of Pure for me was undoubtedly the world-building. It's grotesque, gory and sometimes makes you want to empty your stomach of your recently eaten dinner, but I think that's what makes it great! It's scary to see what our world could become, with the surviving humans bearing such realistic deformities. Baggot doesn't shy away from the horror's of a post-apocalyptic world like most other's. It's one of the more believable worlds out there just because of how easily you can picture it in your head!
Overall, Pure is a bit of a hit-or-miss really. If you're willing to get past the agonizingly slow start, and persevere right to the end, you'll be happy that you finished it! Because it does get better, I swear. And if you liked the world-building in books like Under the Never Sky, then you'll probably like the world in this one too. Though, the world in Pure is a whole lot more graphic, I warn you. (less)
Nothing gets me more excited than a new murder mystery coming out and since this was one of the very few I knew...moreReview also posted on The Paper Planes
Nothing gets me more excited than a new murder mystery coming out and since this was one of the very few I knew of being released this year, I jumped at the chance to finally read it! Yet, as much as I wanted to obsessively love it, unfortunately me and Slide just didn't quite fit like the perfect puzzle pieces I had hoped for.
-- Plot A book can be predictable and still be hella-amazing yet for Slide, I'm afraid it took the wrong turn too quickly. A few chapters in, and I was already pretty confident I had the killer nailed on the head! A good mystery makes you think hard and wrack your brain for solutions and get major headaches trying to piece everything together. Unfortunately, Slide exploits none of these traits and instead of becoming increasingly curious as to who the killer might be, I found myself going in the opposite direction!
Slide is also subject to a fair amount of coincidences that seem too unlikely to happen if applied to real life circumstances. One particular example had me pulling my hair out in frustration! Vee needs to be holding onto something important to a specific person to be able to 'slide' into them and I grew incredibly annoyed at how Vee somehow managed to get those important somethings whenever Hathaway felt like showing an important scene from someone else's perspective. I get that it needs to happen but why make it seem so obvious and contrived?
-- Characters Slide relies heavily on the characters to pull off a convincing mystery, which is why I was so incredibly disappointed with them. They're all pinned to the stereo-types of fictional high school--there's the popular mean girls you admire but secretly hate from afar, the delinquent guy who prefers to keep to himself, the jerk head quarterback. I just feel like I didn't get to know any of them enough to really relate or care what happened to them!
Vee herself wasn't without her faults--she was entirely too opinionated in regards to the killer. So say she accidentally slides into one of her class mates--woohoo! She's found the number one suspect to the murderer! And wow, suddenly everyone in the bloody school is suspect, even those who've been with her through thick and thin. Le sigh...
If there's one good thing I can say about Slide though, it's that I really did enjoy Vee's relationship with her little sister, Mattie. Honestly, I didn't like her at the start but as she and Vee grew closer, I have to say some of their scenes were rather touching.
-- Overall I hate to say it, but Slide just didn't work for me. While the concept of using the sliding ability to figure out a mystery is at first intriguing, that dies down a bit when you realize that there isn't a whole lot of suspense and the writing feels rather childish in comparison to most young adult books. However, I think it'd definitely work for readers who don't care for dissecting the plot and about trivial things like coincidences and predictability!(less)
I feel like the whole blogosphere is going to be against my review of this! Don't get me wrong, I can see why yo...moreReview also posted on The Paper Planes
I feel like the whole blogosphere is going to be against my review of this! Don't get me wrong, I can see why you all enjoyed it so much but for me, it just wasn't perfect.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone no doubt has amazing and creative world-building. It's set in the lovely city of Prague and that's one thing that sets it apart from all the other young adult books out there. But then we get into the world of Elsewhere and it will blow you away. The amount of detail and depth gone into the creation of this world is astounding! The strange half beast, half human chimaera creatures were expertly crafted and the magic involved had my mouth open in awe at Laini's clever imagination. World-wise, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is on a whole other level!
Karou, our main character, wasn't one of the highlights however. She was certainly an interesting character, with her blue hair and job at Brimstone's shop but the moment she meets Akiva, the fiery winged sexy angel, I found it hard to keep reading. I just couldn't get behind the whole star-crossed lover thing. Sometimes it works for me, but in this case it didn't. It felt overdone and exaggerated and just so… cheesy, for lack of a better word. Akiva especially, was very hard to like. I hated his attitude towards anyone who wasn't Karou. Because of that, I largely preferred the secondary characters in this one and you know when that happens, it's not good. Brimstone and Issa and Zuzana, they were all so much more likable than our two main protagonists!
The world-building, as I mentioned before is absolutely fantastic but unfortunately we don't get much of it until the last quarter of the book. Until then, I have to admit I found myself a little bored with the whole prospect of Akiva and Karou getting all lovey-dovey. I'm just not the kind of reader who likes mushy romances and by the time we do find out why they're like that, it all feels so predictable and really nothing all that special. I feel like Laini focused too much on the romance between Karou and Akiva instead of the plot that was tossed aside precariously for the two lovebirds.
Overall, Daughter of Smoke and Bone had a strong start but beyond that, I just didn't feel the urge to sit down and read it straight through in one sitting. It wasn't terrible but definitely not something to write home about. I don't know guys, this just wasn't for me but I understand that a lot of you really enjoyed this. Seriously, when this was released my dashboard was full of five star reviews for it. So I guess in the end it all just comes down to the reader.(less)