Quick Reaction: This book is far from perfect. Some of the dialogue felt misplaced. Some things were portrayed more stereotypically**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick Reaction: This book is far from perfect. Some of the dialogue felt misplaced. Some things were portrayed more stereotypically than realistically. And oftentimes the voice was excessively passive.
And I. Don't. Freaking. Care.
You know, the funny thing is that I read Shannon's YA book LET THE SKY FALL last year as an ARC, around the time Keeper came out. It feels right that I've finished Keeper in the month LtSF released. But man do I understand the crazy praises people sang for this.
Sophie- Oh Sophie. Poor darling. T.T She reminded me so much of my favorite Disney character: Dumbo, of course. Not because Sophie's dumb, but because she's always stuck out (and in a different way than the cliché--though not unrealistic--portrayal). There's this one scene in Dumbo--and I don't know if you remember this, and it's been such a long time since I saw the movie on an airplane flight to China that I might even be remembering the movie name wrong--but anyways, Dumbo finally finds his mother and she's in this jail-like containment, so she can only push her trunk out between the window bars and there Dumbo cuddled while she swayed him gently back and forth, and it was night and Dumbo finally found his mother and you sob because it's heartbreaking and because Dumbo's bliss in finding that home is so freaking terrible because it makes you feel all the feels.
That scene, I think, is a metaphorical theme for this book. Sophie is lost and has to find her home, but there is so many things--the window bars, per se--that rob her of that child life and it's beautiful to see her undergo this transformation, to see her become so strong and fierce and brave but at the same time everything she's had to go through is horrific and yeah, I cried.
So I wish that a little more time was spent on detailing Sophie's feelings a bit more during certain... I'm not going to say spoilers, but certain very very very traumatic events. Not because I enjoy pain, mind you. My head was ringing from all the mental screaming I was doing to just somehow help this beautiful and so impossibly trapped girl. But I feel like that part was skimmed over a bit too quickly. Though obviously Sophie wasn't conscious enough to remember a lot of it, and I would've been too heartbroken to write anymore on the subject if I were Shannon Messenger. Thus this is really not a complaint, but my own illogical opinion.
Alrighty, so this is not really a quick reaction anymore. I think I'll just use this as my actual review. After I tidy it up a bit, of course. But that's for later.
Right now I want to talk about Keefe and Dex and Fitz and Biana and Marella and all those other characters. Shannon Messenger is- stunning. The characters can often be attributed as stereotypical, but their actions eventually deepen them into someone else, someone whose lives I can imagine, whose personality is alive and well. And the worldbuilding is fantastic, too. Though things may often seem a bit idealistic, it is but a facade, and it makes sense. It honestly is too much to ask for an author to convince the reader of every minute detail regarding their world, but Shannon was well on her way there. She suspended my disbelief, and I could clearly sense and understand the motivation behind each setting or character.
Overall, I loved this book. It certainly has its flaws, but the sometimes stereotypically-attributed characters are more than made up for by the unique and fantastic premise and the absolutely illuminating (heh... puns... you'll see) feelings I suffered/triumphed because of this wonderful, wonderful novel. I truly cannot wait for EXILE.
(P.S. If you like my reviews, please check out my blog!, if you don't mind. Thanks!)...more
Quick reaction: Freaking awesome, was this. Anyone who knows me knows I practically never get into Historicals. But as The Fray (and**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick reaction: Freaking awesome, was this. Anyone who knows me knows I practically never get into Historicals. But as The Fray (and some Bieber kid) says, Never say Never! SSaD was absolutely amazing. Eleanor is who I'd be if I were white and lived in 1876 Philadelphia. She's freaking kick-butt and so brave and strong. She's smart and she realizes that society's darn freaking expectations can go to the underworld. And that made me realize something, too:
I actually like Historicals. I just don't like the oh-dear-society-will-think-so-badly-of-this type of Historicals. Which is almost every Historical I've read. (Think The Luxe. Yeah... I'm still cringing over that societal puppet show.) I mean, those stories aren't bad. They're usually realistic. But I like my heroines with some grit and--god-forbid--emotions other than lust/love/fake concern/wealth. (So what if wealth isn't an emotion? It might as well be, seeing as people are quite obsessed with it, and oftentimes justifiably so.)
Yeah, this is just me rambling a bunch of nonsense again, isn't it? I apologize--it's midnight over here and I just wrote a pretty scary chapter in my WIP so I'm not exactly in the best state of mind.
But anyway, my point is this: whether or not you like historicals, whether or not you like zombies, as long as you can handle a little bit of gore, THIS AWESOMENESS IS FOR YOU.
**Actual, full review to come** (Meanwhile, why not check out my blog?)...more
Original will be posted here on my blog on January 15th, 2013.
Man I love Rae Carson.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns was the first A**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW**
Original will be posted here on my blog on January 15th, 2013.
Man I love Rae Carson.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns was the first ARC I've ever received, and I can't say how amazing it was to meet Rae Carson during ALA. What would be really cool is if I received an ARC for the third book, The Bitter Kingdom. Probably not happening, but that'd make this whole thing come full circle. Also, oh yeah, I kind of NEED the third book to survive. No, seriously. You think I'm joking, but I really am not. This series does this to me:
That's my beloved Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Also know as the best TV series ever. (*waits for Whovians and Browncoats to go all Avatar State on me in the comments*)
So yes. I feel a lot of angst. Largely due to Rae and The Crown of Embers.
Now, note: I read this book last year. I just figured it's time to review it since, yanno, I haven't actually been reviewing any books I read this year except for Seraphina so far. (That's because I'm scheduling all the January posts on January 1st, LOL.) Gotta keep up the tradition.
Alright, so, this book was amazing. Oh, did I say that already? Because it deserves the compliment twice. No, heck, thrice. The Crown of Embers was impossibly better than The Girl of Fire and Thorns. The love interest makes me want to go run into a wall due to insane amounts of swoooooon-factorization, and also the fact that this series has some of the most exotic and immersive settings doesn't halt my need to jump into the story one bit. In fact, if it weren't for the heart-attack-granting assassination attempts, or the incredibly tensile court intrigue, or the insanely brilliant plot twists, or the mindblowing characterization, I might actually consider myself worthy enough to trek through deserts and paradises with Elisa and her gang.
Also, I am not worthy enough here to be writing a review, because I have largely forgotten the details in this book. I only remember the overarching amazingness and also most of the scenes. And since I'm pretty much useless to you now, let me just sum this whole ifherioagijrnajigjaergkaegkgijoajh-ness up with one big ole GIF to show Rae some love:
It says "Let me love you", for those of you with an internet slower than a slug.
Oh, last thing. I was totally going to give this a starred review, but then that ending made me so distraught that I can't handle it just yet. So yeah. Sorry, Rae, but also, I love you, Rae. Even if you made me feel like-
Tony Stark says "I literally almost just died". It's Tony Stark. I feel like I should quote this after one of my exams.
**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW** Original is here on my blog (or it will be, come January 24th of dear ole new 2013). Note: due to copy-and-p**STARRED REVIEW**
**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW** Original is here on my blog (or it will be, come January 24th of dear ole new 2013). Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links will be lost. Oh well.
"Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy,
but here's my number, so call me maybe?"
I thought so. Now, before you go all Avatar State on me, let me just say that I brought that Call Me Maybe back for a legitimately good reason. It's this book's freaking theme song.
So I read Will Grayson X 2 (as will I later refer to is as, due to my absurd laziness. Actually, I'm going to call it WGx2. Ooo it looks so pretty as a mathematical equation). Anyways: the point is, I didn't just meet this book, but this is still crazy, because I really want to give the Wills my number, so they can call me maybe-
OKAY FINE I'll stop now with the song.
But you guys, this book. I'm sorry, I was joking all this time because I just don't know what to say. It's so... unflinchingly loud. Not loud like a scream, but loud like war pipes. Bagpipes that are warm and familiar that screech something thunderous inside your heart and burst into little staccatos of halted heartbeats. That's what this book is. Completely unaware of personal bubbles and slashing them apart with knives made of jokes.
This book is... a lot like me. Man, how dare I, compare myself to this masterpiece. But you know, it's very hilariously stoic in its exterior and so colorfully confused on the inside. I like that. And I'd like to think that it resonates with me, and with everyone else, too, because no one with a thread of a fine mind can pass up the recognition that despite the fact that one of the Wills was gay, despite the fact that this situation seems unlikely (I didn't think so. I had the exact same name as someone in my school. And our personalities are so similar it's eerie), there is something in it so real and fierce it's like a blizzard whipping against your face. You want to ignore it, but you can't, and the more you try to back away, the quicker it streams. WGx2 made me want to tumble into an abyss and just curl up into myself for a while, because it was so brilliant and so bright and the world was so shabby and savage and inside the book there was something more than words, there was an entire universe dappling the sky like invisible threads of personalities waiting to plummet upon us in pillars of stars.
The book is majestic in its own grotesquely grandiose way, and I think that's what I loved the most about it....more
**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW** Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
You know what I think?
I think**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW** Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
You know what I think?
I think Audrey was right. She shouldn't have waited.
I can't even start this review right if I don't talk about the amazingness that is James. Holy rock stars, did you know that food > music? Okay, fine, food = music. But still. Man. That boy is something. Now I realize that I just sounded like your grandma with her "back in the dayz" talk, but hey, I'm just being honest here, k? Now where can we find a James in real life is the question...
Anyways! Audrey. Gosh, I love Audrey. She's quirky and so hilarious that you'll find yourself crying "THAT'S A KNEE-SLAPPER!" more than once. She's going to rock your socks off (so many puns...) if you haven't read this yet. I want her to be my best friend. (JK. I love my best friend. But come on, Audrey is just too awesome to not have as an IRL friend.) She reacts like an actual female teenage human being to situations that does not bestow upon the average actual female teenage human being. Quite a phenomenon, this one.
Now, moving on. The plot of this book was amazing. Contemporaries and I usually clash because they are too loose all over the edges, but this one was focused, straightforward, and had a beginning, middle, and end that I could see the arc of, but could not have predicted everything about. Not saying, of course, that contemporaries aren't cool--if you haven't noticed, my last star review was for a contemporary. I just wanted to point out that contemp skeptics can rest their hearts easy with this one, because Robin Benway knows what she's doing.
Also, the music: my gosh the music. It's everywhere, and it's frexing beautiful. I want to hug this book and drink it and somehow just, oh, I don't know, I just love this book so much. I'm sorry, that sounded really creepy, but I can't help it. These reviews are me spilling my feelings, so tada, there's a pot of TMI for you to waddle your way through.
Overall, there is nothing overall to say because Audrey, Wait! is utterly too mind-blowing to actually allow the mind the manifestation of an accurate description. The only advice I can give you is: go read it, then report back to me after you've indulged in this pure gleeful, Anna and the French Kiss-fun novel that ultimately answers sophisticated answers with simple eccentricities....more
Second half: scared me as heck and the writing got better and so did the plot and now I feel violated in the most haunted delighted waFirst half: meh.
Second half: scared me as heck and the writing got better and so did the plot and now I feel violated in the most haunted delighted way because this book will do strange things to those who stick through.
I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't terrified at parts, aye....more
Original will be posted on my blog on January 17th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lo**Actual, full review**
Original will be posted on my blog on January 17th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I liked Unravel Me. There isn't much in my memory about how exactly it impacted me, but I remember that I liked it.
But I don't remember that I loved it.
Tahereh's writing is quite gorgeous (but also very egregious and takes a lot of patience to read and get used to, and isn't exactly everyone's cup-of-tea), and her metaphors perfectly represent a mentally unstable girl who's been hated since her first touch. But sometimes writing isn't enough to masquerade the fact that just because the heroine hates her life doesn't give her the privilege of acting (or, rather, not-acting) stupidly while everyone else is putting their lives out on the front line.
I get it, I get it. Juliette is a mess. Thank goodness Kenji yelled at her to stop being a mopey TSTL protagonist right before I shut the book, though. Man, Kenji, I gotta give you props. You're awesome. We should be friends.
Anyways. So, let's talk about the romance really quick. Adam, it seemed, had little impact on me in this book. I prized his and Juliette's relationship, but soon he became to tumultuous and emotional for me to really connect with him. He was too... unruly. Not in a lucid sort of making-you-blush-ness, but moreso that he was... ah, yes. Unraveled. He and Juliette were both unraveled. Granted, I felt sympathy for them, but it's hard to feel much when your feelings are put next to the melodramatic proclamations of a mentally loose girl.
I feel like I'm a jerk for not sympathizing much with Juliette, but then again, people were furious over Tris in Insurgent (I had no problem with it, actually). I'm not angry at Juliette for being mentally crooked; I'm angry because it took her a long to realize that she had all the help and support she needed right by her side, all servile and patient and understanding until it was all too much to wait for.
Overall: I am now Team Warner, despite the fact that he disgusted/amused me in Shatter Me (which my starred review of is here, by the way). Juliette earned back my trust in the end. The writing still conforms me to Juliette's fear more claustrophobically and talentedly than many authors I've read. And the story is incredibly engaging, if unoriginal and predictable. Unravel Me fell a bit short of the phenomenon that is Shatter Me, but that's largely due to the fact that my feelings about the writing has slowly changed and faded over time. Yet, it's not a story to be missed, especially if you're in for some fantastic action scenes.
It's going to be a long wait until Book 3, but I'm starting the countdown now. ...more
I got it at ALA thanks to the AMAZING Andrea. :D <3 Thanks!!!
Quick reaction: 3.5 stars.
I'm not sure why, but lately books haven't been meeting my eI got it at ALA thanks to the AMAZING Andrea. :D <3 Thanks!!!
Quick reaction: 3.5 stars.
I'm not sure why, but lately books haven't been meeting my expectations in a way that leaves me satisfied and the book a complete, awesome journey. Maybe it's because after reading The Crown of Embers, other books just paled in comparison. But Maggie Stiefvater is usually so amazing that I was taken aback when I realized that I didn't love this book.
I liked it, sure. Maggie's character-building is brilliant and I loved the characters. But I was never fully immersed in the book. I'm not sure why that is, exactly; just that I didn't really get sucked into the story. The writing was often gorgeous like usual Maggie, but it was also a bit dry in very rare moments. This is not an issue; just something I thought I'd bring up. Quick Reactions are where I dump my random thoughts after all.
I started this book two months ago. I kept pushing it back, and while it's a gripping story, it just lacked... something. Maybe it's because there's no (view spoiler)[actual kissing (hide spoiler)] in this book, which I was bummed about. 'cause I mean, it's Maggie! But romance or not, I don't think that's what I felt lacking. I think maybe it's because I never really understood the world. It was great, of course, just that... sometimes there would be these very different sort of situations that just seem out-of-place or randomly tucked in. Something about it made me restless and agitated. I'll see if I can figure out what the thing is soon, but otherwise, though, I feel like I need to say this once more:
Even though THE RAVEN BOYS didn't seem to exceed my expectations like Maggie's other books do, I still deeply enjoyed it.
**Actual, full review to come** (Meanwhile, why not check out my blog?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Quick Reaction: I feel extremely conflicted. While reading this book, I couldn't help but notice that its structure and story arc was so similar to thQuick Reaction: I feel extremely conflicted. While reading this book, I couldn't help but notice that its structure and story arc was so similar to the first book I ever wrote/completed that I can't help but feel a bit lenient. The story wasn't the epic tale I hoped it would be, but it had this sort of... quality to it that reminded me so much of my own writing that I really don't know how to feel. Honestly, I didn't like it that much. I finished it quite quickly and it was captivating, but it never wowed me. Yet I also found myself struck silent by the similarities between the way C. J. handles her characters and the way I used to handle mine. I'm not sure if I'm making any sense. I guess what I'm trying to say is, this book is entertaining, but it's not epic or breathtaking, at least not to me. But it's also very intrinsically relatable, especially if you're a writer, because I know I saw certain strategies I used to employ mirror themselves in Defiance, and this sort of self-reflection can really intervene with one's perception of a book.
All in all, I'm still not sure what I should rate this as, so my best suggestion would be to just go to the library and try it first.
**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW:** Original will publish here on my blog on January 8th, 2013. Here is the full review, without its formatting and links, for your early appétit!
It seems that, just like Seraphina, everyone else loved this one (or mostly everyone, at least). Well, lest I be defiant (absolutely dreadful pun intended), I should absolutely love this too, right?
Yeah, as you can probably tell in the title, this defiance was very exactly mirrored in my own feelings. No, I'm not a fan of this book. Well, no, perhaps that's a bit harsh. Here, let me attempt to explain:
This book was a debut novel. No, I'm not trying to state the obvious. I'm saying that the quality of it felt like what a skeptic would expect a debut novel to feel like. Unlike Seraphina, I felt that Defiance employed a lot of writing strategies that are effective in pacing, but not so much so in plotting. The plot was interesting enough, but it felt very formulaic. A girl, who needed help from a guy, even though she wouldn't admit that she needed help (which is both good and bad--Rachel was hot-tempered to the point it was just irrational, and it's also very useful to ask for help at one time or another). I understood her emotional turmoils, and I understand that Logan's personality and their history is problematic, but I can't say she really stood out to me. She reminds me a bit of Korra, honestly. Very stubborn. But the difference is that Korra knew to ask for help when she needed it, and she also had a very distinct, immediately-recognizable personality, while Rachel and the rest of the gang just felt flat to me.
One thing, though: I adored Logan. I know some people say he was very controlling, but I didn't see it that way: I perceived it as that he used words necessary to steer hot-headed Rachel onto the path she needs to go on, and basically he just did what he had to do. He's a very straightfoward yet complex guy.
To deviate from the characters topic, a quick note about world-building: the world, I felt, was very predictable and mirrored what one would expect out of a high fantasy novel. Nothing fancy, nothing too unique (though I certainly liked the inventions touch a lot, and found that possibly the greatest asset for Mrs. Redwine). It's okay, and it's cool, sometimes. But it's not wow.
Lastly, and quickly, the pacing: This was awesome. C. J. paced her novel pretty well. It was a bit ragged and uneven at times, but overall it was quite nice and I was very engaged in the novel.
Overall: this book was good. It wasn't bad at all, that is to say. But it's also not what I would read if I wanted to go on an absolutely incredible fantasy adventure. However, I can see the potential in Mrs. Redwine, and I have a feeling that soon enough, all of this criticism I'm giving will become nothing but obstacles she's prevailed above. ...more
**Actual, full review** Original will be posted here on my blog on January 22nd, 2013. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and**STARRED REVIEW**
**Actual, full review** Original will be posted here on my blog on January 22nd, 2013. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Darn it, Marie. If I actually cussed, I would be throwing out a firecracker of expletives right now.
I read this book a while ago, so I don't remember every nook and cranny of it. But here is what I do remember: every time I think about it, I just want to weep and simultaneously punch a wall. I still freeze every time someone mentions it because I just. freaking. can't.
Gosh, Marie, why do you keep doing this to me?!?!? The writing was so concise yet impactful that it was actually more than beautiful: it was unforgettable. The plot was SO action-packed it was like watching a James Bond movie while experiencing Inception. It was so insanely fast-paced and heart-robbing that I couldn't even move until I finished the book. It's the ultimate definition of unputdownable. And also, I'd like to think, unforgivable, because it gave me such immense amounts of pain that I just- no no no no no I'm going to cry again no no no
ARGH. MARIE. Y U KEEP HAUNTING ME LIKE THIS.
You think I'm not being serious, but I really am. I just can't make any sort of "serious" sense right now because I'm so emotionally distraught. I feel very compromised. Like if I say one more word I'll topple back into the hole of GIVEMEBOOK3NOWNOWNOWNOWNOW-
Oh wait. I'm already so deep in this hole, I've forgotten about the world above.
Prodigy, though, in a word, is lost. So many sacrifices, so many fears, so many character developments, so many plot twists, so much genius that even a hundred Hershey's bars wouldn't stack up in comparison. This book was not a rollercoaster: it was a freaking cannonball. You don't even get the time to prepare with the proper goggles before Marie pushes you into the waters from a height beyond Shangri-la. Then the words wrap around you like air currents and slam you down into the water with a splash that hurt more than a hundred million bombs setting on fire.
Okay fine, so I'm exaggerating, but you know what? This book had me sobbing more than I did for my ma back as a wee lad, so if I'm gonna make some exaggerations, at least they're made out of honest sadness.
Rest assured: I plan very much on surviving this new year, lest I miss the conclusion to this tear-jerking, me-making-it-sound-extremely-melodramatic-when-it's-really-just-ugly-heart-breaking saga of unparalleled epicness. ...more
Excuse the cursing, but... I. FUCKING. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. I LOVE IT SO MUCH IT LITERALLY PAINS ME TO LET IT SLIP FROM MY FINGERS.
IT'S SOQuick reaction:
Excuse the cursing, but... I. FUCKING. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. I LOVE IT SO MUCH IT LITERALLY PAINS ME TO LET IT SLIP FROM MY FINGERS.
IT'S SO GOOD. SO SO GOOD. I CAN'T EVEN.
Definitely one of my top 3 all-time favorites, right up there with TIGER LILY.
I love this book more than words can say.
-nonono i don't want this to be over please no-
-the writing is so beautiful I want to wrap myself in it and let it sing me to sleep-
-small bone to pick: the cover is awesome except for the White Hands. I get the relevance, but :( it's so badly photoshopped in that it looks just strange. Ah well.-
Actual, full review: (Full, original review here. Note: Due to copy-and-paste, some formatting and links may have been lost.)
Sorrow's Knot is a woeful, poetic tale with a dew-dazzling quality to it, hypnotic in rhythm and unrelenting in emotions. Erin Bow's writing is beautifully quiet, with words stringed together like charms on a bracelet without ever stealing the story away from its original purpose: to give us some sense of hope, of peace and serenity, even when we know that not all is well.
I think what Sorrow's Knot does exceptionally well is its delicate balance of romanticizing sacrifice and spearing freedom. It raises such profound questions, and in a way that never makes you feel as if its suffocating you with its morality. How free is freedom, and how far are we allowed to go to protect freedom before we've gone too far? Is sacrifice a smudge of weakness or is it heroic and insurmountable?
Besides the phenomenally crafted themes and writing of the book, the worldbuilding is superb as well. The world is reminiscent of Native American culture, and some parts of it reminds me of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart (Evil Forest, etc.). But that's not to say the world is a parody; if it is based on any sort of Native American or African culture at all, it is safe to say that Sorrow's Knot is more of a corollary, a refining of such traditions rather than an imitation. And the world is rich and believable and immersive, and it's almost impossible to not forget yourself when you're wallowing in lakes with Otter or hiking through mazes of crooked branches.
The characters, finally, are commendable for their depth and realism. Though they live in a world so completely different from ours, there never was a doubt in my mind that they weren't fleshed out. Every character had its own identity and even the most seething, hateful ones had qualities that allowed us to glimpse their humanity. It is truly remarkable, how incredible each character is developed.
Read this book. There's nothing else I can say but ask you to read it. It is, quite simply, breathtaking....more
Actual, full review: Review will be posted on my blog at 12 AM PST February 7th, 2013, here. Note: due to copy-and-paste, f**STARRED REVIEW**
Actual, full review: Review will be posted on my blog at 12 AM PST February 7th, 2013, here. Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.
I've heard people say that the best books are the ones that make you homesick for somewhere you've never been.
I don't think I've ever felt so much yearning to be in Japan than I have while reading Ink.
Amanda Sun is my new hero. So often--too often--you read books in foreign settings that are under-researched, not fleshed out, extremely stereotypical, or just plain misleading. But it's clear from the details in the streets to the careful dialect all the way to the food, the culture, the education, the clothing, the style, that Amanda knows what she's talking about. It's amazing. I was listening to the furin wind chimes the other day, and it, among with a few other things I searched up on Google while reading the book, was exactly as Amanda described. Honestly, I don't think I've ever read a book set in modern Asia so well researched.
Not only that, but Amanda's prose is effortless to read. It's not overwhelmingly purple, and it's not disastrously bland. It has the same impact as Rick Riordan's: often humorous, often serious, and too commonly heart-stopping, with the masterful ease of a storytelling guru. I loved the plot and characters so much. Katie is an amazing heroine. In the beginning, there were a few problems with the book that I had, mainly surrounding Katie's almost unrealistic irrational responses to Tomohiro's actions, and the ending was a bit too anticlimatic for my taste. But I got to really see Katie as a real person, and this book reads like an epic soap opera that is just stunning and savory.
Of course, we can't forget Tomohiro. Ahhhh Tomo. TOMO. AHHHH!!!!! I'm sorry, excuse the flailing for a moment. But- OH MY GOSH. I love Tomo so much I can't stand it. He's a jerk, a giant jerk, and that's not cool, but he has extremely good reasons for it and he makes up for the jerkiness with bravery, selflessness, and a desire to change. The number one thing that makes unlikable love interests is their inability to recognize their flaws, and also their unwillingness to change for the better. But Tomo is the complete opposite. And it's just- HE IS SO ADORABLE. AHHHHH. I wish I have a quote to show you, but since I mailed the ARC off already I can't. :( But there's this one part where Katie and Tomo are together and Tomo was injured, and he was talking about how Katie wasn't helping his blood flow recover. A few pages later he's falling asleep, and he just looks at Katie and smiles and says, "the blood flow." It's so cute I think I'm going to die from the adorableness. ^.^
Basically, I loved Ink so much I could probably just blissfully tumble off a cliff just for the sequel now. Hopefully it won't resolve to that...
There are books that you like, books that you love, and then books that make you so happy you just want to drown in chocolate. Ink is that last one, plus a few cherry blossoms just for hints of poison and beauty. It's truly a remarkable book. You absolutely must should check it out. Preferably now....more
So lately I've been squashed by the debate tournaments that had me dragging through the night doing random research, but now that it**Quick Reaction**
So lately I've been squashed by the debate tournaments that had me dragging through the night doing random research, but now that it's over I find myself with way too much free time, which, of course, means that I can finally go back to reading more! Yay!
Here's the thing. I stayed up past 3AM to finish reading this book and it's so subtly vivid, so quietly morbid that it actually managed to scare me more than Anna Dressed in Blood did (though I did read ADiB in the daylight...). I think this book is pretty much awesome, like its cover. It's not just a haunting story. It's freaking chilling. And Wesley is the guy you'll root for if you are a fan of Augustus Waters.
In any case, this book harbors some major twists. Most I saw coming but one I didn't at all, which of course is always pleasantly surprising.
**more intelligently phrased full reaction/review coming closer to release date** (Meanwhile, why not check out my blog?)...more
The whole time I was reading this I couldn't help but remember this one friend of mine who, as Norah so perfectly describes Nick, is no way 100% straiThe whole time I was reading this I couldn't help but remember this one friend of mine who, as Norah so perfectly describes Nick, is no way 100% straight. Which just added to the charm of Nick, might I say, because he really was a nice guy, and that's hard to find.
Norah was awesome, for the record. She reminded me a lot of me, personality-wise, and it's kind of awesome to go on this crazy ride with her.
The only thing I have to say that's negative is that the two voices sounded so similar that often I couldn't distinguish between who was talking, even though this was a co-authorship thing. Which wasn't really what I was expecting, but eventually I got used to it.
+1 for the music.
No, + 1000000000 for the music.
So yeah. This was fantastic. I recently got uveitis so I can't really see anything, so the short length of this book was a relieving compromise. I shall report back to the book world when my eyes finally get better. Hopefully.
-Also I'm slightly afraid of hotel ICE rooms now.-...more
Quick Reaction: I had a few issues with this book (some character development stuff, some plot stuff), but overall I very much enjoyed it. Though I feQuick Reaction: I had a few issues with this book (some character development stuff, some plot stuff), but overall I very much enjoyed it. Though I felt as if it lacked a bit of sustenance (nothing really Ba-BAM happened in this book except for at the very end, and I think it could've used some more showing instead of all the telling Anna does), I still really liked the characters. Also, Kope!!! He's such a great guy. I hope he finds his happiness. *sighs* Gotta stop getting so attached to characters! T.T
Also, Kaidan and Anna have PLEEEEENTY of steamy scenes. Not that I minded. Those two are so sweet they give me cavities.
I didn't love it the way I loved the first book, but this is definitely still a series I highly, HIGHLY recommend. ^.^
So good. SO GOOD. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOQuick reaction:
So good. SO GOOD. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.
also oh my god my name was in the acknowledgments holy crap thank you so much SJ i<3you
Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting may be lost.)
First off, I should probably make the caveat that I'm**1.5 STARS**
Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting may be lost.)
First off, I should probably make the caveat that I'm not typically a fan of boarding school stories. But Scholastic was really kind in sending me this book, and it had a fun-sounding premise, so I figured... why not?
Oh, why not indeed.
It should be mentioned that this book wasn't all bad. Anne Applegate captures the life of a boarding school quite well--although, I can't speak from experience, only logical deductions. But I like that Cam really develops her character throughout the novel. I also thought that the twist was one of the cleverest ones I've read in a long time.
Unfortunately, there isn't much other praise I can sing.
Alright, look: this is probably just a personal thing. But from the synopsis (and the first few chapters alone) I guessed the twist in this book. But I'm an avid Greek mythology fan, so perhaps I should've lowered my radar just a bit when factoring that in. It' still a great revelation, just... The mystery was the only thing going for me and, once I cracked it, I had to force myself to keep on reading.
Also, gosh I know I'm so nitpicky, but the insta-love...
Cam could've thrived with her friends! But she's so obsessively in love with (view spoiler)[Mark (hide spoiler)]--I know, I know, I understand the hormones and all. But her relationship with Mark plays such a major part in her coming to terms with what's happened to her, I just wish it wasn't so quickly skimmed over and instead developed more realistically, yanno?
It's not that I didn't like Cam. It's that her voice was too inconsistent. I know that the teenage years are a growing and changing time (see above GIF), but having your eighth grade character say "creeptastic" and- actually, why don't I just give you a quote? (It's sort of a "big" spoiler, though, if you get it.)
(view spoiler)["There is haunting and there is visitation. The former involves your neediness and desire to be healed, and as I said, it damages. The latter involves your ability to deliver healing to the one you contact. A visitation is a gift to another that may damage you."
THAT, my friends, is probably my major issue with this book. The fact that it "dumbs down" the protagonist. Look, my cousin who's in third grade understood that sentence the guy said just fine. I really, really wish Cam wouldn't respond to everything with a "I'm new to this world and wow shiny what?"-type of attitude.
And the worst part is all the potential this book had. A boarding school full of intrigue? Prepping for something that is a new twist in an overfilled genre? Middle school protagonists? FRIENDSHIPS! :D And, from the beginning of the book, actual parents?
But to my deepest regret, none of those potentials were fulfilled.
Even the friendships. Read the first chapter and I dare you not to hate Lia. I literally was like this:
I felt so bad for Cam, but somehow in the end everything is just magically solved and it just depresses, depresses me, because there was potential for so much character growth and all that just fell incredibly flat and cliché. And though Cam became a better person at the end, I didn't really see the transformation occur--and I didn't see even a hint of development for so many other characters at all, even though they had a perfect opportunity to learn from their faults. Isn't that what makes a book triumphant? The beggar finding the hero inside?
Overall, this is one of the hardest reviews I've ever had to write. I'm sorry that it's not the best review I've ever written--this is one of those books that you just don't know how you feel about. Because there's so much potential and you sort of idolize that premise but the way it just flops breaks your heart.
Give this book a try, if you're into boarding school and Pretty Little Liars-esque stories.
But if my feelings are anything to judge off of, don't expect a phenomenal tale.
I liked it. I think the thing that surprises most people about this book is that it has a grittier edge to the love ride than books like ANNA AND THEI liked it. I think the thing that surprises most people about this book is that it has a grittier edge to the love ride than books like ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. I know the cover looks incredibly cute and fresh and that is this book as well, but I think it explores the fluctuality (not an actual word, but you know what I mean) of human nature (especially teenage human nature) so well that the love isn't as perfect as we expect, and that can be a bit, well, disappointing. Also, there is one big twist at the end that isn't exactly difficult to guess, though I wouldn't say it's obvious. Either way the novel was still enjoyable and I loved the London setting.
Goddamn. Despite all my usual reservations about urban fantasy paranomals, i effing loved this book. But I should've known from its author's name thatGoddamn. Despite all my usual reservations about urban fantasy paranomals, i effing loved this book. But I should've known from its author's name that I wouldn't be disappointed. STIEFVATER4LYFE...more
^ i spelled it like that because frankly if i wrote goooooooooooooood it would look like go for a**STARRED REVIEW**
^ i spelled it like that because frankly if i wrote goooooooooooooood it would look like go for a really long time and that's mentally confusing. not sure if gawd is better.
anyways! wow. amanda effing sun is trying to murder me. i have no effing idea how i survived the wait for RAIN (hint: i didn't. i had to get an ARC or else i would've died. thank you first reads thank youuuuuuu!!!) but RAIN makes the wait for the third book f****** IMPOSSIBLE. GOD(S). THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK. I CANNOT ACCURATELY DESCRIBE MY FEELINGS.
I love this book so much i wanna eat it and let it settle in my stomach and then do some weird book dance or something idk i just gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
^that was really weird. but anyways. onto what i liked about the book: (SPOILERS FOR INK BELOW, BUT NOT FOR RAIN)
-I had thought the ending of INK was a bit anticlimactic, but oooohhhh boy am i glad she stayed. -TOMO TOMO TOMO TOMO TOMOHIRO COME HERE YOU -^ i swear i'm not that shallow. Tomo undergoes a lot of growth in this novel and we get to see him depending on Katie and realizing that he isn't alone. And that is just a phenomenal shift. -Katie has to figure out her priorities and must struggle through lies and facades to protect herself and those she love, and that means she gets in some pretty deep trouble with some people you reeeallly don't wanna mess with. -What Tomo says to Shiori about the thing. When you get there. Ahhhh yes. I was just like OH TOMO YOU GO TOMO YOU TELL HER. YES TOMO -We find out some INSANE history and hypotheses in this book and it is FABULOUS. I cannot overstate how happy I am about Japanese (and accurately described.... *cough* "City of a thousand dolls" and my billion hatred seeds for it) culture and mythology being so thoroughly described in a YA book where the market is saturated by white gurlz. Nothing wrong with Caucasians, just.... DIVERSITY MAN. Now we just need someone to do that for the Chinese... like I know there are some out there but most of them take place in the US... hmm... I should get on that.
Annnnd I could go on and on. But the thing is, I loved how I could smell the cherry blossoms and hear the furin and see the ink flow and feel the earth rumble and live with the characters as they despair and evolve and realize that they aren't alone.
I love it. I love it all. And now someone PLEASE for gods' sakes give me the third book as soon as Amanda Sun is done writing it and stuff....more