I love that feeling you get when you read a synopsis and all you can think is 'must read now!' That was definitely my gut reaction when I first came
I love that feeling you get when you read a synopsis and all you can think is 'must read now!' That was definitely my gut reaction when I first came across Cobweb Bride. Although I would say now that, in my opinion, the synopsis was just a tad misleading on a couple of plot points, since the overall story ended up being better than I was expecting I am not complaining!
Persephone aka Percy's role in the story, for example, takes on a bigger/different role than initially suggested (but then again with a name like that it wasn't the biggest of surprises) yet it was so much better and refreshing that she had that role I was pleased my expectations had been turned upside down.
I was also very impressed with how Vera wrote the consequences of death essentially turning around and telling everyone to get lost. I've read stories/seen films where characters fear death and where its horror is explored sometimes subtly, sometimes gruesomely, but what this book does so well is to show what people often forget - that death can be a blessed relief. Don't get me wrong, the battle scene at the beginning and a couple of scenes later when people have yet to cotton on to what's happening are a wee bit...graphic, but also necessary to the story so I guess my squeamish self can't have it both ways!
One of this story's biggest strengths was definitely the characters and how they reacted to the chaos of a world without death. Percy's development was a real gem to read, and it was also particularly satisfying to read about about both Claere and Beltain's journeys, seeing how Claere and Vlau interact is such frankly abnormal circumstances and how all the girls Percy gathers together navigate their way to the Keep.
So, while Cobweb Bride might not have been exactly what said on the tin, Vera Nazarian certainly kept enough up her sleeve to make this an engaging read that I'll certainly be coming back to. And since the next book in the trilogy, Cobweb Empire, is released on 25th September, having such a short wait in between books certainly made for another pleasant surprise :)...more
For me, this book is the very definition of a page-turner, the kind of book that will keep you hooked until the very last page and leaves you despera
For me, this book is the very definition of a page-turner, the kind of book that will keep you hooked until the very last page and leaves you desperately wanting more. Writing detailed, realistic and gripping books is difficult in any genre. But when it’s seventeenth century London you need the reader to embrace – and when you need to write decent time travel transition scenes to boot – the fact that this book is so gripping, so detailed and just so brilliant is even more impressive.
Sometimes when a story flits between two settings and two sets of characters, there is usually one that comes out on top as being just that bit more interesting. I think one of the things that makes this such a good read is that (possibly for the first time ever) I genuinely couldn’t pick between the two. Yes, I wanted to know what Ghost was going to do next but no way was I skipping ahead when the next bit resolves Pen’s last cliff-hanger!
The characters are well-developed individuals who get you firmly in their corner (or, in some cases, firmly in their opponent’s), and while you can figure out what links the past and the present before the solution appears to the characters there’s enough action in the ‘present’ and hints at future twists and turns to keep even the most demanding of readers entertained. The only reason I haven’t given The Devil’s Apprentice 5/5 is because the stories to come promise to be even better, and I have no doubt they will exceed even my (now very high!) expectations. ...more
Once every four years the School Master comes a calling to the village of Gavaldon and two children disappear, never to be seen again. While all the
Once every four years the School Master comes a calling to the village of Gavaldon and two children disappear, never to be seen again. While all the other children are terrified of being taken, little Sophie cannot wait to be stolen away with all the other princesses to the School for Good to take lessons in Princess Etiquette, Beautification and Animal Communication and, of course, to meet her dashing prince. As far as Agatha’s concerned, it’s all hogwash. A School for Good and Evil that turns children into heroes, villains and witches? Fairy tale nonsense, as far as she’s concerned. But when the School Master snatches her best friend, Agatha has no choice but to believe when she too is taken along for the ride. And when Sophie with her flowing, golden locks and love of pink is given a place in the School for Evil and Agatha who lives in a graveyard and has a penchant for shapeless black frocks is put in the School for Good, things start getting complicated.
There were two things that drew me to this book: an eye-catching cover and the promise of something original. I have to say, I was not disappointed. It is said that there is no such thing as an original story these days and rehashing fairy tales is now more popular than ever, but I have never before read a book that managed to capture the magic of so many different tales before whilst seamlessly incorporating something new for readers to love. It’s pretty obvious from page one that Sophie is more than a little deluded with her own good nature and that Agatha has more to give than it initially appears, but the way these characters grow into their fairy tale was very, very well handled by Chainani. I think every girl who has ever felt less than perfect will be able to identify with Agatha as she finds her feet in the School for Good and shows the other students and, indeed, the reader, not only that what’s in your heart counts more than the features of your face, but that the only person stopping you from being who you want to be is you.
The plot is fast-paced but not confusing, with enough meat on the bones to stay fresh and enough twists and turns to keep you surprised but without making your head spin. I admit, I was very naughty and snuck a quick peek at the penultimate scenes. To my detriment I’m one of those people who, when I’m really into a book, simply cannot focus on something else until I know how it ends. With quite a big project at work to get on with, I caved and shot to the end. But even knowing the direction these girls were heading in, the depth of the characters (which, I will hold my hands up and say I was not expecting and was very pleasantly surprised by), the richness of the plot and the world still kept me enthralled when I got back to it. It may be targeted at a younger audience, but this is one book I would recommend to anyone looking for a thoroughly engaging read that will steal you away to a land of fairies, magic, heroes and villains, a place where you really should learn to look past the surface.
The first thing I did after I finished The School for Good and Evil was look up the release date of book two, and I for one will be counting down the days....more