I've no doubt many of you were scared that one of your favorite authors was starting a vampire series b...more3.5 stars Review also posted on The Paper Planes
I've no doubt many of you were scared that one of your favorite authors was starting a vampire series but as I'm sure you've all probably heard by now, there was really nothing to fear! The Immortal Rules is definitely a whole lot darker and a whole lot grittier than her faerie fluff of a series, yet Kagawa's managed to take a paranormal creature I'm sure we're all tired of and make it work!
-- Characters Perhaps I'm being a little biased here because I mean, hello, first asian protagonist I've ever read about, but I loved Allie! She's fierce, feisty and incredibly stubborn. I had my doubts with her at first, because I thought she was trying a bit too hard to be all mucho-woman and all but I warmed up to her guys, I seriously did. Also, adding to the fact that she's totally kick-ass, is that fact that she's also completely relatable. I laughed with her, cried with her, hurt with her -- she just possesses a voice that calls on your empathy.
Unfortunately, except for Allie and Kanin, Allie's vampire daddy/creator and mentor in all things dead, I was disappointed with the rest of the characters. The love interest, Zeke, for example, wasn't my cup of tea and didn't exactly make my heart beat a thousand miles per second. He's sweet, caring and utterly perfect, but see, that's the problem. Zeke? He just didn't stand out. He's too kind. He's too understanding. And really, he was just too perfect. And then Kagawa went and created a jealous mean girl to be added into the mix... I mean, why?
Luckily, there was no insta-love, so I can at least say that I enjoyed the romance. Sadly, I just didn't love it.
-- Plot As much as I disliked the secondary characters, the same can't be said about the plot. It's action, action, action with no pause for breath. It's exciting, exhilarating, electrifying! And it's surprisingly action-packed for, you know, a vampire novel where usually it's all sparkles and stalkers. I mentioned Kanin before as the one secondary character I loved and it's solely because without him, the plot wouldn't have flowed so well together. He's a bit of a mystery and Kagawa manages to weave his story into Allie's journey whenever you least expect it!
The pacing perhaps is a little up and down with some parts dragging longer than necessary, but during the last hundred or so pages? I was captivated, my eyes glued to the book. And the cliffhanger ending has made sure that I'll be getting the next book as soon as it's released!
-- Overall In all honesty, I didn't fall in love with the Iron Fey books, however Kagawa's new Blood of Eden series is one I'm sure I'm going to love! Though it's not very strong character-wise, it has a plot that pulls you along with it's unescapable string and like me, you'll definitely be wanting the next book pronto!(less)
1. Male point of view? Whoa, wait—really? Having a male narrate a story in YA is such a rarity! It was so refre...more10 things I thought about Lies Beneath:
1. Male point of view? Whoa, wait—really? Having a male narrate a story in YA is such a rarity! It was so refreshing and different to read a mermaid and romance story from Calder's perspective. His voice made it a whole lot more interesting than if it were narrated by a female character like Lily!
2. So yeah, Lily. You know what I loved about Lily? The fact that Calder was definitely creepy-psycho-stalker for the majority of the book and she actually did the realistic thing and tried to avoid him. She admitted that Calder scared her, because I mean, who wouldn't be scared if a random guy you hadn't known before showed up and started following you? I really, really kind of loved her for that.
3. And then there's Calder, a.k.a. Edward Cullen turned fish. I love that this was told from Calder's perspective, but to be honest, I wasn't really digging him in general. He was so arrogant and cocky and seriously, in real life? That would be an immediate turn-off. Plus I thought I'd be okay with that whole slinking-around-in-the-dark-to-watch-a-girl thing by now because we see it in most YA these days, but guys, it's still just plain creepy. He freaking slept in her backyard to watch her at night! *shivers*
4. But they're killer mermaids! They eat people! So that was pretty cool, even though they don't actually eat humans—just drown them and suck their emotions out. I just loved the idea and the concept, it was so different from the usual mermaid story! And when a book starts off with a line like this: "I hadn't killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that," you know you're in for some awesome shizz.
5. The romance. Now this is a strange one, because it's insta-love but it didn't feel like insta-love thanks to Lily's initial repulsion. Yet I still felt like there was nothing there between Calder and Lily. There was no romantic tension, none of the 'sparks' we see when we read about our favorite couples. It was like two halves of a shell coming together, but it stayed hollow inside.
6. When there's a wall, you can't get through. My main problem with Lies Beneath was that throughout the whole book I felt as if I were reading everything from a distance. I never really cared much for the story because I couldn't find it in myself to really care for the characters. They just lacked the depth I was trying so hard to look for!
7. Maris, Pavati and Tallulah I actually really liked them at the start—especially Tallulah, which is weird because she's the sister that I disliked the most by the end of it. But honestly, to put it simply, Calder's sisters are evil. And you do start to hate them for it. But you also can't help but like them for the beginning half of the book anyway!
8. The ending. Err... Well, it was strange. It wasn't a cliffhanger by any means, but I can't say it had me jumping in joy. Plus, I read the synopsis of the next book, Deep Betrayal and to be honest, I'm not exactly liking where this is heading :/
9. It was so slow! Like a turtle! Okay, so seriously? Nothing happened. Until the last fifty pages or so. And I'm sorry, but I just can't like books where nothing happens!
10. The cover. This is kind of cheating, because I can't think of any else to say about Lies Beneath. But really? It just had to be a mermaid? They could have at least put three girls on the cover to represent Calder's sisters, or better yet, exchanged the mermaid for a merman! I do still think it's really pretty and mysterious though.
-- in a nutshell There are just as many positive's as there are negatives when it comes to Lies Beneath, but it's definitely worth the read if you're into mermaid tales! The characters may not have been the best, but the lore itself is interesting enough to, well... keep you interested. While I probably won't be the first one in line to get the second book in the series, it's still one that I might consider reading if I ever have enough time to read it :-)
Kira doesn't believe in the Hope Act, the law decreeing that every female over the age of 18 must get pregnant as many times as possible. No...more4.5 stars!
Kira doesn't believe in the Hope Act, the law decreeing that every female over the age of 18 must get pregnant as many times as possible. No baby has ever survived more than a matter of days since the Partial War due to the deadly RM virus and Kira's tired of watching them die right in front of her when she, as a medic, can do nothing at all to save them. So when her best friend gets pregnant, she can't bear to see her child fall prey to the continuos string of disastrous fates and sets off to capture a Partial, the only beings that are immune to the virus, in the hopes of finding a cure before the baby is born.
-- Ms. Kira Walker As far as main characters go, Kira is a pretty damn good one. She's brave, strong-willed and persistent in all the right ways. When she's set her mind on something, she sees it through right to the end and her determination shines through even her toughest moments. Despite being told in third-person, it was unusually easy to relate to her. Though she made a lot of decisions that, had it been any other protagonist, would have seemed stupid and Mary-sue, you could understand exactly why she did the brash things she did because of how deeply her emotions ran. Her loyalty to her friends is endearing and admirable, especially towards her best friend and adoptive sister, Madison. She takes the question "How far will I go for this person?" to a whole other level and it's safe to say that I loved her for it!
-- A Family Tied Together By A World Gone Mad Partials offers us an incredible array of secondary characters, all of whom are fresh, fun and unique! But truthfully, that's not what made me write a whole paragraph about them, it's rather their relationships with each other that made them such a thrill to read about. I said Kira was loyal, but what her friends do for her is beyond even that. Loyalty doesn't even begin to describe all the sacrifices they make for that one single cause! Kira, Madison, Xochi, Isolde, Marcus and Jayden. Though most of them are part of same adoptive family, these 'plague babies' as the adults call them are as tight as a family bound by blood and the bond they share with each other is palpable and patent.
But that's not all, every character was interesting -- even those who didn't add anything to the story. I actually found myself immeasurably sad whenever any of them died and I think it's amazing that Dan was able to characterize them like that. Not often do I feel such a strong connection to characters that don't play a big part in a novel, but this was definitely an exception!
-- A Dystopia That Swings The Right Way Partials surprises us with a thoroughly engaging storyline -- one that isn't just about finding a cute guy or rebelling against a government. Instead, it's about the hunt for a cure to RM and isn't even really that heavy on the romance! Though this is just under 500 pages, there are plenty of action scenes to keep you glued to the pages and just as many twists and turns to have you guessing right till the end. I will admit though, that the beginning is a little hard to get into but once you're in, well... you're in for a night without sleep!
-- Substance Within The Science This is one of those rare Dystopia's/Post-Apocalyptic's that use science as a base for the story to grow. And let me tell you, I have read a lot of Dystopia's where the world-building leaves you to wonder "How did this happen?" or "Where did it come from?" but Partials leaves no question unanswered. It is so clear and apparent that Dan has done his research because the science and human biology actually makes sense! And not only does it make sense, it's interesting in all the ways that science classes at school aren't. I was fully immersed in what could have caused the RM virus to spread and how the genetic make up of a Partial was linked to it!
Overall, Partials is a book that I could go on and on and on about what makes it amazing but I fear that like science classes are for me, I would bore you to tears and scare you away from my reviews! Take my advice though, and go pick it up when it's released because this, fellow bloggers, is how a dystopia should be written!
This book was crazy good. I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it because seriously, who else thought that the idea of assassin nuns was too strange to even comprehend when they first read the summary? But LaFevers manages to expertly weave this into a story that I hungrily devoured and now leaves me aching aching aching for more!
After recently coming out of a book that was as interesting as watching paint dry, I was immeasurably happy when Grave Mercy started off with a bang. I love beginnings that start off as strongly as this did, with the plot already rolling into play because wow, it held me captive to it's enticing pages the minute I started reading. Fortunately, you're not left to be disappointed after such a strong start either. There's never a moment to feel bored, never a moment to feel like going off and doing something else. Never a moment to catch your breath because the action hits you like a wave -- endlessly consistent and powerfully exciting each and every time.
Plus, assassin nuns. I meant what I said before about not believing this would turn out to be one of the most incredible idea's ever seen in literature and the surprise was definitely a plus. Ismae is as kick-ass and butt-kicking as you'd expect assassin nuns to be, but she does that all without coming off as your typical Mary-Sue character. She's flawed in a good way -- her stubborn and fierce loyalty to the convent endearing rather than annoying, and her untrusting nature is all with good reason. Also, thankfully, there is no insta-love to be witnessed! The romance between Ismae and Duval is as believable as you'd expect an assassin and a royal's love life to be!
What surprised me though, was how similar this was to Maria Snyder's Poison Study series. While not exactly the same, it's enough to warrant pointing out the details. A protagonist dealing with poisons? With special powers? Working in a castle for the Duchess? With a love interest who's really close to said duchess? A romance that starts off with both characters wanting to kill each other? And a mystery to solve within the high court? Does this not scream Poison Study? However, I am definitely not complaining because I love that series, and though the basic outline is typically the same, LaFevers spins it into something that is unique yet not entirely different from Snyder's story, if that even makes any sense.
Overall, Grave Mercy is a book that kicks itself into gear right from the get-go and doesn't let up till the very last page. You'll be spurred on by the mystery and intrigue of the court life and relentless action keeping you glued to each page! This book has everything -- amazing array of characters, gripping plot and assassin nuns, because I know all of you are curious to see what that's all about! (less)
Dearly, Departed is probably the only book even mildly related to Halloween and horror I've ever read....moreReview also posted on The Paper Planes
Dearly, Departed is probably the only book even mildly related to Halloween and horror I've ever read. The reason? I'll admit that I am pretty squeamish when it comes to horror so I try to avoid it at all costs. Which was why Dearly, Departed was such a great read. It wasn't exactly horror (and not even that scary!) because the zombie aspect of this could be compared to the aspect of vampires and ghosts in other books, but it was a small start to what might be me overcoming my fear.
First of all, I love the world Lia Habel created - from the technology to the thought of the Victorian Era in a modern state. It was unique and I loved how she merged the Old Victorian style with high-tech modern technology. The world she created was fascinating and I would have loved to see it for myself.
Nora was a strong capable character and while she did break down a couple of times, I couldn't fault her for it. She had reasons to cry and weep. As a reader, I could imagine myself in her shoes and I would probably have broken down as well. Bram was a male lead that I at first had trouble liking because of his initial interest in Nora but once I delved deeper into his story, I liked him alot. His and Nora's relationship was realistic and believable. At first the whole zombie-human love relationship might seem strange but as the story progresses, you don't see them as zombie's but as humans. I loved how Bram got Nora to warm up to him. It was a cute way and I found it was a lot better than the insta-love that I read about in so many other YA books these days.
While the POV is mainly between Bram and Nora, it switches out occasionally to some supporting characters, namely Wolfe, Pamela and Victor. I found this to be a good way for us readers to get to know other characters though I didn't understand why they included Wolfe's POV to be honest. At first, I wasn't too fond of Pamela. I thought she was just the typical best friend who was only into the girl stuff of the New Victorian Era but as we read her POV, I came to like her possibly even more than Nora. Her bravery and intuitive was admirable and she didn't back down even when her parents had doubts about her. Though I so called what would happen at the end with Pamela and Michael Allister, I couldn't help liking the pairing. Hopefully we'll see more of them in the later books.
The aspect of zombies is one I've never come across before so, much-like Twilight and all it's vampire glory, this will probably be what I base my image of zombies on in the future. I never thought that I'd enjoy reading about the grotesque lives of zombies but I found each zombie in this book unique and funny. Bram's zombie friends made me laugh a lot! Despite their odd appearances, I could see Nora through my own eyes as she gradually become friends with them just because of their personalities.
Overall, Dearly, Departed is a book that most fans of paranormal and historical would enjoy. While not exactly set in the past, it takes a unique take on a historical world set in the future which fans of historical fiction would find fascinating and intriguing. I would also recommend this to readers who are squeamish like me but want to slowly edge their way into the genre of horror.(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)
What can I say? Under the Never Sky lived up to all my highest expectations and more! It is so much more than just a beautiful cover.
Aria really grew on me throughout the book. She's ignorant, fragile and completely out of place when she first steps foot outside of Reverie but that clearly changes as she journeys throughout the Death Shop. You can see how strong she becomes as she comes to terms with the fact that she's no longer protected by the walls of Reverie and also by how she copes with the surprising revelations about her once sheltered life that she discovers while with Perry. She definitely has that sense of relatability to her that makes it easy for readers to understand what she's going through.
Perry is indeed a different sort of male protagonist. What I liked about him is that he's not perfect. He has many imperfections. He's not the most good-looking character in the book. Yet Aria is still drawn to him because of the bond they share over their losses as they spend more time together. And that made the romance aspect of Under the Never Sky very believable. No insta-love here! Just a small budding relationship that grows as the story progresses. The abilities that he and other 'savages' carry also greatly intrigued me. Outside of Reverie, humans have evolved through genetic mutations so that some humans possess one of three abilities that enhance either their sense of smell, hearing or sight. What's different with Perry is that he possesses two of those three which is considered in the Death Shop to be very rare. But the burdened past he carries on his shoulders because of it is heartbreaking and you'll see that he has many greater emotions than he lets known to Aria. He may not be the most polite or the nicest guy but once you get further into the story, you'll see just how far he'll go to save the people he loves most. Other than Aria and Perry though, you'll find that a lot of the other characters like Roar and Cinder are also well-developed with their own side stories that I'd be interested in reading about.
One thing I must mention is that I absolutely love the world-building! Creative and original, it's certainly one of the more complex dystopian worlds out there. The aether sky that Veronica vividly paints in our heads is something that I really want to see for myself because of the way it's described. But while the world-building in Under the Never Sky is brilliant in itself, the build-up of it in the first few chapters was confusing and ultimately led me to bring this down to just short of five stars. Veronica fishes out words that have no meaning to us early on in the novel. It's only as you read further that you begin to understand what the different terms mean and what the world actually is.
Overall, Under the Never Sky is an absolutely thrilling debut! With a thoroughly engaging story, stunning world-building and an enjoyable cast of characters, you definitely won't want to miss out on this one!(less)