**Thank you, THANK YOU, HarperTeen, for giving me this ARC. <3**
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog.(Note: due to copy-and-paste, form...more**Thank you, THANK YOU, HarperTeen, for giving me this ARC. <3**
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog.(Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost. Except for one of them that I manually linked.)
I devoured this book the way a starved man engulfs food.
Tiger Lily has this addictive quality to it, kind of like a drug. It's beautiful and sad and terrible and heartbreaking; it's merciless and benign and desperate and raw. It's feral: words that spill out in this incredibly gripping formation, hidden surprises waiting to spring and shock. I highly doubt I have the right words to describe just how amazing this book was, but I will try. That's all I can guarantee.
I'm a restless person. I always have to be doing something, and I often don't do the same thing twice. I'm kind of like Peter Pan. It's why I never read a book again right after I finish it, but immediately upon completing Tiger Lily, I had this irresistible urge to drown myself in Jodi's words again and again: I can't get enough of it. I was crippled by this book; I read in class, in the car, everywhere, and it is so predatory it almost made me cry in class. I don't even know how. Quite honestly, I have a strong suspicion that this is now my favorite book--of ever and ever and ever and ever.
The characters--mostly Peter--sliced through me with a canyon's depth.
This is the Peter Pan I swoon over so badly it's not even funny. This Peter is broken, but he's trying to mend himself and he doesn't want to be broken, so of course he'll lie--to himself, to others, but... mostly himself. That's what made me just stop: at one point, I just had to set the book down and bury my head somewhere. Probably in a heap of tissues. I fell in love with Peter the way Tiger Lily did, and the moment you get to see him past everything--his exterior, his defenseless self--it's like having someone very, very carefully cut your heart out. It hurts, obviously, but it's also defeating. I think that's what made me love this book so much; I guess I'm just a masochist for being such a sucker of bittersweet love stories. Peter Pan is a bewitching boy; I think this song describes my feelings about Peter much better than I can. Of course, now that I've spent so much time on Peter Pan, I've totally neglected Tiger Lily and Tinker Bell, our unexpected narrator who actually turned out to be vital to the plot. I'm sure you're all asleep now, so I'll sum up these two and everyone else in the book in a sentence: the characters in this book are all independent--they are wild, but so in very many different ways--yet at one point or another, the decision was dependence, or nothing at all. It's astounding the choices we all make, to see them reflected in these characters so real they were like people burning through the pages.
Keep living through Happily Ever Afters; we can just watch them eventually fade. But Tiger Lily does something else: we don't live through the Happily Ever After. We live through the true stories crackling against its wishful disguise.(less)
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...more**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.
Romantic, beautiful, this follow up to Firelight is, unbelievably, even better than the first. I want to make clear here that I was actually a little reluctant to start reading this series. I'm not exactly sure why, but dragons have not always been my thing. I am so, so, so glad I gave it a try. I liked Firelight, and I was hooked enough to read Vanish, but Vanish... Oh my goodness, it was amazing. Sophie Jordan outdid herself.
The bumpy road of the plot started from the very first chapter. I remember reading Firelight and thinking repetitively, I can't believe how much Jacinda's life sucks! It was the same feeling in Vanish, except... it was bearable. I understood Jacinda's pain, her actions, and I could really relate to her. Yet despite all of the horrible things that happened in her life, her faith never truly dwindles, no matter how much she wants it to. I really enjoyed learning more about the Darki world and Jacinda's thoughts on them, and I'm glad Sophie Jordan added even more depth into the characters. None of the characters were one-dimensional. Even the most minor ones had a personality, a depth often missing in so many books nowadays, and not just YA.
The romantic tension rose to a whole new level, too, in Vanish. I couldn't leave my hotel room and had to keep reading it on my lap top even during vacation. It was that good. Sophie Jordan did an excellent job of portraying both boys of the love triangle. A good love triangle, to me, is often one where you can sway towards one side with a scene, and immediately recoil to the other in the next. This was how it was like for me. I actually started to sway towards Cassian, even if a little, but then Will came back and... Wooooooot. I won't spoil it for you, but that was pretty exciting.
Firelight exceeded my expectations, but perhaps that is because I wasn't expecting too much out of a dragon book (I will now! Thank you, Sophie Jordan, for showing me that dragons can be truly a wonderful YA read, too). Vanish will blow you out of your mind. I am definitely anticipating the third book now. Ah, that's the sad thing about ARCs. Now I have to wait even longer. But I'm happy with the ending Sophie Jordan chose for Vanish. It wasn't as big of a cliffhanger as Firelight (which would have driven me crazy if I didn't have Vanish), instead, it is the perfect mix of intrigue and contentment.
The reason this book is a 5 and not a 5+ really boils down to my own personal preferences. It's actually because of Severin. I wish we had an insight into why he did the things he did and why he chooses what he chooses. Hopefully, this will be explained in the third book. Nonetheless, I absolutely loved this book.(less)
*DISCLAIMER: While I did receive this ARC on behalf of the author, it does not, in anyway, influence my opinion or review of the book.*
Liesl & Po was an absolutely enchanting story! It captivated me from the very first sentence to the surprising and fulfilling last pages. Brilliant! This story is absolutely magical and more than satisfying.
There weren't a lot of characters in this book, maybe a dozen or so. And every single one of them was strong. They were all integral to the story, all were interesting, and none were flat. A lot of the times in third-person omniscient books, I find myself to prefer one character's POV (Point Of View) and finding another irritable, but this book definitely did not belong to that category. I looked forward to every single character, and experiencing the story through the multiple POVs really enhanced its quality, instead of deducting it with unnecessary information.
The plot was magical. Compete it with Disney, and this book will win. Seriously. It's mesmerizing and the world building was great, and the story really emphasized the "sacrifice" part of a fairy tale--great endings don't come for free, a lesson we should all learn.
And finally, Lauren Oliver--the author--herself. In my opinion, she is the most talented, versatile writer out there today. Before I fall (Contemporary) was stunning, Delirium (Dystopian) was astonishing, and Liesl & Po (Middle Grade) was just plain unbelievable.
All in all, Liesl & Po is a must-read for all ages. It will definitely bring out the inner child in you. And if you're a kid? Read it! It'll blow you away!(less)
Quick reaction: This book is so funny it will make you laugh until you start to cry. Then you'll actually cry--because this story is so raw, so comple...moreQuick reaction: This book is so funny it will make you laugh until you start to cry. Then you'll actually cry--because this story is so raw, so complete, so fantastically satisfying that you'll marvel at how, yes, such brilliance finally, finally got published!
I. am. in. love. with. this. book. Head-over-heels sort of love.
If you love Divergent by Veronica Roth (which should be everyone of you out there reading this), you will be completely blown away by this book. Pre-order it! Now!
Actual, full review: Original will be posted on my blog on 6/14/2012. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Insignia is insane. It is beautifully simplistic and complicatedly evocative. Crushingly despairing and hilariously witty. Intelligently phrased and bluntly honest.
I am completely, head-over-heels in love with it.
This book was not what I expected at all--in fact, I didn't expect anything. And the power this books holds is incredible: it is so subtle that you will not feel the choking grip the story and its characters have you until some thing called reality shocks you out of your numbing shell. The story isn't even just completely frightening in its very realistic interpretation of our future, but that it's also so funny. I laughed out loud so many times that it wasn't even embarrassing anymore since everyone was used to it (though I did get a few weird looks still...).
Kincaid has delivered a tale that rocked books off of my favorites shelf like a hurricane. In other words? This book is dominating my love right now. And I can't even pinpoint what it is I loved about the book so much. Everything. It's just so not fair to pick one amazing aspect and laud it, you know? That would be like staring at the rainbow and calling one particle the best of them all. Inefficiently vague and insufficiently degrading.
I can't say much about this book: too much and I will spill out a heap of feelings no one cares for, and too little so I would be incapable of expressing my love fully. I never say this, but if you loved Divergent, you will love Insignia so hard it'll hurt like plunging into the most dazzling lake from a hundred-feet cliff.
Take my advice and snatch this book. It's the most amazing blend of humor and anguish, authenticity and dystopia, evasiveness and blunting that I have ever read. And you know I wouldn't ever lie to you about something like that.(less)
Quick Reaction: So fantastic, so unexpected, and soooo many questions. To those who think this sounds way too much like Beautiful Creat...more starred review!
Quick Reaction: So fantastic, so unexpected, and soooo many questions. To those who think this sounds way too much like Beautiful Creatures: Perhaps so, but the humor in this book is unmatched and way too hilarious. Also, I have many, many questions for Sarah when I see her this Saturday.
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. I've met Sarah Rees Brennan a total two times, both times at the RT Teen Day event. The first time I met her was back in 2011 at the Los Angeles RT Convention. At the time, I didn't read a lot--I loved reading, I just wasn't obsessed with it--but I fell in love with Ally Carter's books and saw on her website that she was going to be at RT, so I went, with the sole intent of wowing Ally with my Supreme Coolness and Complete Un-awkwardness (hahahahaha I must've been way more ignorant than I thought I was), but of course, I ended up being both Supremely Uncool and Completely Awkward.
Which would have been really sad. EXCEPT SARAH REES BRENNAN WAS THERE.
And she made my day.
You know those people in your life who are just so full of this untamable energy that they seem to explode whenever they're by you? The type of people who make jokes that are so funny that you can't even breathe, and they're just smiling all crookedly at you 'cause they're just glad to have entertained but isn't really sure just how they so completely blew you away?
Well, Sarah is one of those people. In fact, if that type of person had a name, the name would be Sarah.
So you can imagine that I was absolutely freaking out when I got accepted for an e-galley (e-ARC, basically) of Unspoken. And there is one thing I will tell you:
SARAH REES BRENNAN IS LIKE TECHNOLOGY. She gets better and better and addictive-r and addictive-r.
Going into this book, I had the suspicion that most people did: this sounds awfully like Beautiful Creatures. I mean, even the main character's name is Kami! But oh, I couldn't have been more wrong.
Yes, Unspoken is gothic, it's got a mystery, it's got a Kami, it's got creepiness. But it's got the key component: originality. While its synopsis resounds crazily with Beautiful Creatures, it is its own novel, its own Sarah-esque humor, its own amazing characters, and its own story that is in no way a retelling of anything but the awesomeness of Sarah Rees Brennan.
The characters are just completely flail-worthy. Kami is so funny, I kind of exploded from laughter. (It's so nice that heaven has computers, isn't it?) I was reading this on the plane to Chicago for RT and I'm pretty sure my entire back got melted by the glares of trying-to-sleep businesspeople. But wow--if you've ever seen Sarah in person, you know she's extremely funny. Unspoken is like a sitcom where everything is humor magnified until you're bursting in this bubble of Ultimate Happiness.
But it's not just the characters. The romance, the creepiness, the mystery--they were all so thoroughly juxtaposed with the humor that, even though they are a sudden shift away from the wittiness that thrives in this book, they also lure the reader in even more with their full ambiance and complete chillingness.
Unspoken is the type of book that you crave for no matter how many bad/good/genre-specific books you've read. It's always a relief, it's always a suspense, and it's always, always, the type of awesome that is so completely awesome, if it was not unspoken, the universe may have had another Big Bang.
Quick reaction: Kirsten Hubbard's books are so good they kill me.
Actual, full review: This review is scheduled to post on my blog on 2/29/12. It is h...moreQuick reaction: Kirsten Hubbard's books are so good they kill me.
Actual, full review: This review is scheduled to post on my blog on 2/29/12. It is here on Goodreads exclusively first. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
There are two types of flutters in your chest. The first type is when you read something sensual, something evocative and you know you should stop reading it, but you can't help it, so something quick bursts out among the fragments of seconds as you devour every single letter of every single word, savoring the strange inappropriateness of the scene. The second type is full on cardiac arrest. Where every part of you is shaking, fluttering so badly you don't even realize you're doing it until all of a second, you stop, and your heart just drops like a pebble; when you are a butterfly slowly flying away, wings straining against the pounding wind, and you can no longer ignore the fact that this--this feeling of complete fulfillment, complete satisfaction--has almost never happened before, and you are so desperate to feel it again you can't help but try and capture the wordless depiction into actual words.
Wanderlove is both, but especially the latter. I gave it everything, and it hurt me too much, made me ache, and at the end, I cried tears of relentless joy. I was so happy--I can't remember the last time a book made me this happy. I need something strong to grip on to, so that I can take a deep breath and tell myself to calm the heck down, because this review is so, so hard to write, and I'm so, so tired of running away and not looking back.
I was worried about this book at first. The whole synopsis of traveling and backpacking? Eh. Not really what I'm looking for. But... it's Kirsten Hubbard, a small part of me had whispered, and so, even as I dug through the first few chapters where we didn't know Bria very well, when she was still a stranger, I gave it a try.
I should have known that it would enchant me to the end of the world and shatter me all at once.
This book is about so much more than just traveling. It's about love, about trust, about running away and not running away. About staying still and not staying still. About watching the world spin around like a merry-go-round ride while you're standing in the middle, and as it sweeps you away into a land of endless confusion, you learn to eventually grab on to a horse and climb on, fighting your way through the hurdles of life. But, at it's heart, it's also a beautiful love story. There is no such concept as insta-love here. It is a fascinating and eternal and aching journey of learning that, yes, it's alright to fall back into someone else's arms, even after everything you've lost. It's okay to be afraid. It's okay to be angry. But you have to learn to discover the when, so that when the time comes, you won't miss it.
Sometimes, Wanderlove is magical. Sometimes, Wanderlove is heartbreaking. Kirsten Hubbard's books are so good they kill me.
But always, always, Wanderlove will find the piece of your heart that wandered away, and return it to you, so that finally, you are whole and new.(less)
Actual, full reaction: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
There's a very distinct reason why the Sha...moreActual, full reaction: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
There's a very distinct reason why the Shade trilogy is one that I fall in love with again and again: its intensity is unmatched, of both romance and need.
I think... I thought about this book a lot after finishing it, because I didn't know how I felt. Was I content? Of course. Was I angry? Perhaps. Was I depressed? Yes. But now I realize that my mixture of emotions were really my way of denying that this old friend of mine is done. Finished. (There's still Zach's novella Shattered coming this summer, of course, but you know what I mean.)
"If you ask me how I'm doing, I would say I'm doing just fine. I would lie and say that you're not on my mind." -Not Over You, a song by Gavin Degraw.
If you mentally replace "you" (except the first "you") with "this book," then that's the perfect description. I'm a bit crushed, honestly. It's been so long since I've actually finished a series, since now so many books are series and we're still waiting for the next installments. I've forgotten how it feels like to lose such a dear friend, one who you could count on for years. They don't disappear, but now it's more like something that you try so hard to grip and understand, but can't anymore; they're like liquid water: unholdable yet familiar.
Of course, this won't be a sufficient review for #TeamKilt until my GIFs start stealing the page, no? Ah, here goes! (Note: Click on the GIFs to view them in a larger size.)
***(this is not part of the actual review: THE FOLLOWING INCLUDE GIFs. To see them, please click on the "original" link I provided above. Thanks!) I received Shine in the mail. The beginning: Are you freakin' KIDDING me? WHAT IZ THIZ MADNEZ. *finds out certain stuff* HUMPH! I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT! OH OH OH. That guy reminds me of Dylan... AWZ. <3 No caption needed. It's the climax!!! O.O WAT JUST HAPPENDZ. YOU GO, AURA!!!
That is me, in response to your intake of sharp breath at my last GIF. AHAHAHAHA I SCARED YA!!! :D I was KIDDING! (maybe...) So yeah, that's me at the end of the book. And Jeri Smith-Ready has therefore succeeded.***(less)
Quick reaction: Freaking awesome, was this. Anyone who knows me knows I practically never get into Historicals. But as The Fray (and...more**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?)(less)
Quick reaction: So I'm totally on a contemp junkie ride and I'm absolutely ignoring my needed-reviews. Oh dear lord. Someone will theore...more **4.75 stars**
Quick reaction: So I'm totally on a contemp junkie ride and I'm absolutely ignoring my needed-reviews. Oh dear lord. Someone will theoretically fire me soon. Oh well. Blogging without reading what you love is a waste of time, anyway. So! This book was freaking awesome. I just now realized the pun in the title ('cause I'm slow like that) and ha... haha! But anyway, I don't really have much to say, except that this is a really cute read and awesome and I loved it.
Quick reaction: OMG THIS BOOK WAS SO AMAZING. Pre-order it now! It's worth it--I assure you.
Actual, full review:Schedule for post on my blog...more4.5 stars
Quick reaction: OMG THIS BOOK WAS SO AMAZING. Pre-order it now! It's worth it--I assure you.
Actual, full review:Schedule for post on my blog,The Reviews News, on 3/1/2012. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
There is this deep mystery buried in everything, but only a handful of us can tell it so immensely well that all feelings of doubt are erased upon every suspect. Jill Hathaway is one of those people.
Slide was a terrifyingly genius and shockingly realistic story that features not only moments of sudden philosophical clearness expressed in subtle ways, but also explosions of mastermind material weaved together in a fantastic plot that will have your heart pounding, your blood rushing, and your fingers itching to turn the page way past The End.
This story revolves around Vee and a struggle mentally and emotionally that should have worn any girl other than Vee out. The secret Vee holds--a key to life and death, nonetheless--is both thrilling and fascinating. What I loved most about this book was that Jill didn't let Vee's tragedy and trauma override normal teenage feelings and reactions. Though I wasn't a big fan of the semi-insta-love between Vee and Zane, I must admit that the slim dislike pales greatly next to the epic way Jill handled the mystery and story. Most of you know I am a quick guesser of mysteries and plot twists, but this was one story that had me gripped and toss theories around, an act almost unprecedented except by books such as Across the Universe, though even that was only a question of who unplugged Amy, not the murderer, as I guessed the latter before the book was halfway through.
Slide is the epitome model of how a great mystery is done. Its themes orbit around morality and struggle in a calculatedly subtle, almost unnoticeable way that will blow your mind away, but it's not the themes nor the authentic characters and voice themselves that grants this book an instant elevation to stardom. It's the fact that Jill Hathaway knows how to write one heck of a good story, and if there was ever a book to resonated the same enigma as Sherlock Holmes, it's Slide.
Original posted here on my blog. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links are not available.)
What is it with madness?
Why is it that everyone is so burdened and broken that the only perfection that exists is a product of our own imagination? Splintered is pure madness, insane and twisted and sinister and completely seductive. You see those vines caging Alyssa's hair? Those same vines trap you, too.
Splintered is so heartbreaking it makes you want to weep an ocean of your own. Everyone is flawed and impossibly real and emotionally tumultuous. And that's the way it is: tumultuous. But Splintered is just what it is: the rock that splinters your exterior. It's not the type of book that crawls into your heart, per say, but more like the type of story that robs your breath and frightens you when you realize that its craziness is paralleled inside you.
A. G. Howard brings out the darkness in you and sprinkles it with doses of light--just enough to keep you afloat, but not enough to obscure the fear of drowning under.
The magic of Splintered, is, cliché or not, everywhere. The writing is beautiful and haunting. The words create such a flamboyant atmosphere, and the world-building is so thoroughly fleshed out that even the most illogical sequences somehow make sense. It's as if Ms. Howard smashed the world into pieces and rearranged it upside-down and backwards and all wrong all over the place, like a puzzle that fits in a darker, creepier way.
Splintered, at its heart, is a turmoil unsettled. Madness or tranquility? Self or community? Eccentric or accepted? But it's all those questions amplified to a degree that is unimaginable but by the mind of Ms. Howard and her ambient words.
There are retellings, and then there are retellings that twist everything around. Splintered is the epitome of the latter: what you thought was Alice in Wonderland is the original puzzle, and Splintered completely rips it apart. But that doesn't mean it doesn't pay homage to the classic--in fact, it is not so much that Splintered isn't Alice as that Alice cannot be Splintered. They are like twin souls wedged into one body. There are similarities, but there are differences that cannot be ignored.
Wonderland, it seems, is nothing that it seems. This journey is harrowing and completely phenomenal.
Hold on tight--the rabbit hole is as twisted and deadly as ever; even a potion can't keep you immune from Splintered's alluring charms. (less)
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
There is a sky, bloody and pungent with fever. It is so red it drips so black it smothers. It rips savagely but softly, like the teeth of an animal biting a strip of meat. Imagine this. Then imagine a girl armored in leather-like fierceness and a griffin shrilling and clawing with the fervor of anger and loss, punched in deeper than a blow and scars longer than a lifetime.
In Stormdancer there is desperation edging anger and loss, and there is something very, very fierce, the face of defiance and cracking facades. That is this epic and this epic is phenomenal in every color and word.
I think what so cleanly separates movies from books is that movies generate more action and therefore often more epic than books do. Books can be epic, like Eon and Eona by Alison Goodman, but they are not images clamoring your vision. But see, I was wrong. Stormdancer is not so much of a book or a movie rather that it is a keen and enthralling combination of both, an epic that digs into your bones and words that shiver through your skin. It's very, very beautiful, in a savage, feral sort of way. The imagery is vivid and the world is so real you can feel the branches snapping at you and the thunder smacking your ears. I knew this was going to be epic, because Jay Kristoff has a knack for it, but what I did not expect was a tale woven of blood and family that is so, so, so good it is beyond capable human processing.
There is a caveat I need to say: in the beginning 80 pages or so of this book, I couldn't quite bear it. It was, honestly, slow-paced. The language was smooth like the silk of royalty, but I thought, maybe there is too much description in this. Please speed up soon. I am telling you this because hold on--hold on tight because you might want to shut the book or take a rest but do not--wait until you get to the thundertiger, the arashitora, and then close it because by then you will only be capable of doing so after you have read the entire book in a breath. It is a captivating story, but also an investment: the beginning constructs the world, not hurriedly and quickly, but brick by brick, so that it is more languid than usual but the most poignant profit of all.
In reality there seems to be a bridge between our imagination and the unknown beyond it, and we cannot cross that bridge. But Jay Kristoff scours for the water and succeeds, and he builds his own boat, a glorious, magnificent thing and on it he journeys past the horizon of our imagination and brings back with him the treasures of an adventure swelling with impossibility and luminosity.(less)
Truly magnificent. I've been meaning to finish it since I first started it some time last year, but I couldn't find my copy until I stumbled...more 4.5 Stars
Truly magnificent. I've been meaning to finish it since I first started it some time last year, but I couldn't find my copy until I stumbled across it today and finished the book. It reminds me of Gilda Joyce, which was one of my favorite series back when I was a kid. I just adore this book. Lawrence is so sweet, and Victoria is awesome in that feisty girl-power type of way. I look forward to anything else that Ms. Legrand writes!(less)
**Actual, full review** Original will be posted here on my blog on January 22nd, 2013. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and...more**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. (less)
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.(less)
Quick reaction: I have literally one minute to type this, so: this book was so good I can't even-
I used to think that Cricket Bell w...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick reaction: I have literally one minute to type this, so: this book was so good I can't even-
I used to think that Cricket Bell was exactly the type of boy and love I want in my life. Not anymore. Sean beats him. Gosh he and Eva are so amazing: Eva's passionately a dreamer and rebelliously strong, sort of like me, while Sean is quietly ferocious and intellectually witty. They are freaking perfect together.
You see reviews all over the place and they usually start with some tagline among the lines of "The Lost Girl was a disturbingly beautiful, unconditionally sorrowful, and fascinating story weaved (pun intended) with threads of the strongest characters and most tragic flaws."
Then the review continues, discussing voice, character, plot, pacing, what worked and what didn't work for the reviewer, etc. I do this all the time. We bloggers do this because it's the way a review is written, right? You review by letting the readers know what to expect and when to hang on; who they can anticipate they'll love and just how many tissues they need to prepare beforehand.
For the first time in my over-a-year blogging experience, I am at a loss for words.
I'm staring at this seemingly pointless page of review and I just don't even know anymore. I can't describe it. There's no way to transcribe the immensely emotional and staggeringly heart-breaking idea and soul behind The Lost Girl. I can't talk about the boy, the girl, the story--I can't even think about it without succumbing to the verge of crying.
This book... Well, let me put it this way:
You know how there are all these different types of instruments, how they're all so different and powerful and how, when they all clash together, the noises and sounds merge into this tinkling, spine-chilling sound? Imagine those instruments as essential parts of a book. The piano is the plot, the characters the violin. The flute is the emotional depth and the drums the pacing. These all sound beautiful on their own, but often the drums and the flutes clamor or the piano and violin are out of sync and the end product, though delightful, feels often... insubstantial. As if there's something missing and it's incomplete even though all the needed plot elements are there.
The Lost Girl is the song that meshes everything together and emerges with a masterpiece--one deserving waterfalls of tears and thousands of standing ovations. It's the arrow that snags you right in the heart. It's the poison you swallow with love. It's the air you breathe when you're desperate and a raging mess.
It's just... so hard to review this wide, haunting vision. I feel like I'll just rant on and on and I won't ever say anything remotely meaningful because The Lost Girl is indescribable. It's the feeling of a million contradictions flying at you and, in the end, it somehow makes sense. It makes sense out of the nonsense and it makes music out of the imperfect.
By no means is anything perfect, but The Lost Girl wins a medal for being one of the closest books to ever achieve it.
Maybe you'll hate it, maybe you'll love it. But no matter what, there's one thing I can guarantee:
You will feel. This book will yank out all of your emotions and smear them side by side so that when you finally finish it, you will feel.
And that's an entire masterpiece in itself. (less)
Quick reaction: I really enjoyed this one! Very fun and quick read--with lots of good stakes. There were a few parts I felt could've been smoothed out...moreQuick reaction: I really enjoyed this one! Very fun and quick read--with lots of good stakes. There were a few parts I felt could've been smoothed out, but overall, a definite page-turner.
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
With a fresh twist on the faery lore, Feyland: The Dark Realm will slowly find its way into your mind... and your heart.
Anthea Sharp proves that self-publishing does not equate poor quality. The prose of Feyland is wonderfully simplistic and to-the-point, the novel is entirely polished, and absolutely enjoyable. I loved the characters--Tam, Jennet, Marny, heck, even The Bug. Jennet and Tam felt a bit generic at first, but after a while, they sprang to life in a sudden yet subtle way that I hadn't realized until the stakes tumbled over themselves in a dangerous hurry. And that's another thing I loved--the stakes don't drop, and Jennet and Tam know it. They're not trying to ignore it or deny it. They're straightforward and fight against it.
The only thing that kept me from full-on loving this novel was its predictability. Again, I have to clarify that I can guess plot twists really, really easily, so this could very well apply to only me. But I thought that there were a few directions Anthea could have taken a few plot points that didn't happen, and I was a bit disappointed by that. I also wish the secondary characters were a bit more developed--they had personalities, but were quite predictable as well.
Overall, though, I truly enjoyed this book. It's a fun novel that will fight for your attention--and succeed. I read it in one sitting. The plot will push you forward on this crazy rollercoaster of a ride, the romance is adorable and realistic, and the characters will make you want to laugh and cry at the same time--in an infinitely good way.
Forget that this is a faery book. It's more than that. It's the story of a girl, a boy, and their brilliant strength.
Quick reaction: Think TWILIGHT and EVERMORE combined, except with aliens, and way more awesome!
Long reaction: Original is here: http://thereviewsnews....moreQuick reaction: Think TWILIGHT and EVERMORE combined, except with aliens, and way more awesome!
Long reaction: Original is here: http://thereviewsnews.blogspot.com/20... (due to copy-and-paste, formatting has been lost, though I did label MINOR spoilers with the spoiler tags, but honestly, I don't feel like they're really, you know, spoilers.)
A witty, stunning ride, Obsidian will charm you with its realistic heroine and an extraterrestrial lore comprised of fascination and love.
The characters and voice were what I considered the best parts of this novel. It was refreshing and humorous, but gripping with tension. I loved the originality of Jennifer's take on aliens, and I, for one, wouldn't mind at all to be a Luxen. (view spoiler)[I was so happy to find Katy a book blogger! (hide spoiler)] I related to [Katy] almost instantly, and she delivers a fast-paced story that does not disappoint. Daemon frustrated me, but his soft and vulnerable side had this girl blushing! I look forward to the development of Katy and Daemon's relationship in Onyx, (view spoiler)[and while their romance isn't a sweet and swift ride, (hide spoiler)] I enjoyed the realistic depictions instead of insta-love.
Now I have to admit that I was at first a bit worried. You can tell from the summary that Daemon is an alien, but we don't actually find that out until more than 100 pages into the story. And while I do wish the fact was brought up earlier, honestly, I didn't have too much trouble holding on to the story because Katy's story was definitely engrossing. (view spoiler)[I found the hot-and-cold attitude of almost every Luxen a bit melodramatic, but then again, maybe the extraterrestrial just have a thing for emotions. (hide spoiler)] Alas, I'm not one to complain, for this book truly surpassed my expectations.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. I found it at times to be similar to Twilight or Evermore, and maybe even a bit I am Number Four, but this book, ultimately, is its own story that combines the angst and desire of Twilight and Evermore, the action and high-stakes of I am Number Four, and the originality and brilliant voice of Jennifer L. Armentrout. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Actual, full review: Original is scheduled to post here on my blog) on September 3rd, 2012, when I will be hosting my stop on the Silver blog tour. St...moreActual, full review: Original is scheduled to post here on my blog) on September 3rd, 2012, when I will be hosting my stop on the Silver blog tour. Stop by! And You Goodreads peeps get an early glimpse! Yay!
When describing Silver, the words clever--or perhaps witty--astounding, and bewilderingly intense come to mind. In this fascinating tale tangling threads of ancient Celtic myth and an authentic yet strong heroine, Silver manages to do three things: 1) make itself feel as valuable as silver (pun intended), 2) sincerely pluck out the nature of desire and growth of teenagers--therefore inducing twisted plots and often frustrating, but understandable, decisions, and 3) transform the mythological genre into a new, excitingly unique, and incredibly detailed creature.
Brianna is a protagonist who may not be the most cunning or responsible person in the world, but she is quick on her tongue and a do-er, not a sitter. In other words: this is a heroine who deserves the "hero" (in both the linguistic and romantic ways). The relationship between her and Blake was accidental but a powerful metamorphosis: from pure lust to pure bond, and then more, and then less, and the realistic portrayal (despite the mythological differences) of relationships enhanced the story rather than drag it down with tons of cliché romance.
I think what makes this book so compellingly rich is the way Talia Vance sneaks in foreshadowing. A fantastic story wouldn't make itself so great without some inventive foreshadowing, and Talia is the sensei: the story is a bundle of messes at one point and you're thinking what is going to happen? How? Is this what it will end up being: a jumbled jargon? and then suddenly the entire twist is thrown in your face. What makes it so special is that the carefully arranged plot pieces are not just one single storyboard, but multiple, subtle ones, so that even if you figure some things out and you believe that the story is but over, the eventual revelation that you never saw coming will only surprise--and enthrall--you all the more.
Silver may seem like simply a pretty cover and a blooming romance, but that judgment would be a mistake: In truth, the nature of Silver is like the furious scrawl of a quill, noting down myths and history. It is a platter of delicacies gifted with silver domes concealing the entrees, so that when you lift the tray and peek inside, it is a surprise, a mystery, and an invitation to a world meticulously crafted and tasteful both and at once. (less)
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 e...moreI 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"]>(less)
So lately I've been squashed by the debate tournaments that had me dragging through the night doing random research, but now that it...more**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?)(less)
Actual review: Original is here on my blog. I read this book with my brother and it's quite awesome. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and link...moreActual review: Original is here on my blog. I read this book with my brother and it's quite awesome. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I'm a scaredy cat.
It's an universal fact, really. I get scared outta my wits for the simplest things. But over the years, I've come to discern that there are two types of scary:
1) The OH I AM GOING TO SCARE YOU ALRIGHT type: This one's so common, its ratio to Type 2 is like 99:1. It's the horror movie you're psyched to see and then scared to death of. It's the jokes your friends whisper and then you have nightmares about. (Really, why would you have friends who do that, anyway?) It's the scary thing that scares you in a memorable way, alright...
A terrifying, never-again-am-I-going-back-to-this type of scary.
That is not Scary School.
2) The OH, THAT WAS SCARY BUT SO FUN! AGAIN! type: This is the entertaining type of scary that kids love on Halloween. It's scary but you expect it, and it's got a plate of humor as a side dish and fun as your drink. It's scary but it's the type of scary that makes you laugh and not make you have a heart attack rivaling a tornado.
That is Scary School.
My brother (AKA The Kid) and I read this book together. He's exactly in the age range that the story is aimed for, so I figured it'd be a good idea. I remember the first day we started reading it:
Me: Hey, kiddo, we're gonna read 'til page 70 today, 'k? The Kid: Page SEVENTY? Can't we reach that tomorrow? Me: *raises eyebrows* The Kid: *groans* FIIIIIINEEEE.
~30 minutes later~
Me: Hey, Kid, we're on page 100. You wanna stop? The Kid: SHHH! I'M TRYING TO READ HERE! Me: *secretly smiles*
As you can tell, Scary School is a clear success with characters echoing the loves of kids and a plot that's both challenging and hilariously awkward. It's strange, grotesque, and so very in character. It's like Edgar Allen Poe for kids, minus the blood and deaths--just kidding. There's plenty of deaths in this book.
Which... brings up an interesting point.
Now, this wasn't an issue for me or my brother, and you know those Goosebumps stories (totally Scary Type 1!) utilize this like I eat rice, but there are a lot of deaths in this book. Not violent, gory, brutal deaths like in The Hunger Games but deaths that are "common." At Scary School, death is not a distant ponder: it's an inevitability. Derek addresses the deaths as if they are no big deal (I mean, Nurse Hairymoles can bring you back from the dead--literally--so what's there to worry about?), but some parents may see this as an indirect way to emphasize the nonchalance of death. Or teach kids about how you should let a teacher turn your world into an autocracy. (Just kidding, Russia!) (...maybe...) I encourage parents to let their children enjoy this mock-up of a perfectly balanced novel between hilarity and genuine characterizations.
Basically, if you didn't get the memo: Scary School is perfect for scaredy cats, non-scaredy cats, and all of the cats in between.(less)
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 fe...moreQuick 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. ^.^
Actual, full review: Original is here. (note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Look at the sun and see the clouds and the f...moreActual, full review: Original is here. (note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Look at the sun and see the clouds and the faces in the sky; what do you see? There are glowing animals and sharpened weapons, an eternity of possibilities buried within our own imagination. Pandemonium is the sky, and its cloud burn with a passion.
The beginning of Pandemonium is slow. Slow with a trail of beautiful words obscuring its monotonous events. I had no simple wish of knowing the number of jars on a counter, of what sort of absurdity they contained, since they held no pertinence to the story except to express an obvious poorness. It was dragging on and on, and though yes, I needed to understand and adjust to the Wilds, I had no wish for an abundance of gorgeous, plot-less language.
Enter page 165. This one quote (note, it's from the ARC, so it may be altered in the final copy) finally grounded me into the story... and from there on, Lauren Oliver captivated me once again.
"Her eyes have softened now, and I see how tired she is, and must always have been--to live for years and years and years this way, having to rip and shred just for a space to breathe."
After that halfway mark, you could hear a pin drop in the entire pandemonium of everything and everyone (pun intended). There were times when chills swallowed me whole, and I couldn't breathe. There were times when I wanted to smash the words apart, to rip the boundaries of fiction and reality and charge in for vengeance. Yet, as the action skyrocketed beyond expectation, and stakes reached above the edge of our sight, a subtle but constant annoyance slowly peaked within me.
There was nothing specifically wrong with Lena. I could understand her motivation and intentions fairly well, and I can't exactly blame her for her choices--they had to be made. Except for one choice: and that is the one you see precariously inserted in the summary, that she may just fall in love again.
That, my dear friends, is my biggest problem. Oh, Lena, I know you thought your old love was dead. I know that things have been terribly hard and obscenely intense and staggeringly scarring, but were you really so desperate you could not help but fall in love with someone who couldn't possibly compete with what your old love did for you? I know love is a hopeless trap you can't claw your way out of once you fall in, but why oh why did you fall in in the first place? Did you forget? I know not everyone feels this way--quite the number of my friends certainly preferred Lena's new choice over her old one, but I'm sorry, I just can't see it. I'm torn between sympathy and understanding for Lena and fury at her for forgetting the most important thing of all. I suppose, then, that I will have to make my mind up in Requiem. Oh, please, will someone hand that aesthetic to me? Now?
Pandemonium is well worth its name. Its roads have diverged into the then and now, and without the fantastic imagination of the mind-blowing Lauren Oliver, it could have easily drowned in the deadly sea of second-books-that-suck-in-a-trilogy.
Even if it did--and it didn't--no matter. Lauren Oliver is known for her life rafts.(less)
**Thank you to East India Press for sending me a complimentary copy of this novel. This does not, in anyway, influence my opinion.**
Original...more**Thank you to East India Press for sending me a complimentary copy of this novel. This does not, in anyway, influence my opinion.**
Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, links and formatting has been lost.)
Nightingale will change your perspective on the reading world. Buried inside the pages of this enhanced novel is the story of a boy, a legend, a destiny, and plenty of secrets that will keep you addicted.
I enjoyed Nightingale. It's a story with tons of history that adds up to one big, shattering finale--and it's a story of a boy who has to find himself, a person lost years ago when his mother first abandoned him.
The characters were very eccentric, and though I can't say I loved everyone who I was supposed to love, their peculiar personalities did make them a very interesting read. I really liked Bron--he was such a strong character once he found his footing--and David Farland does a fantastic job of grounding in reality and fantasy simultaneously without overwhelming the reader.
The only thing I wish this engrossing story had was this: trimming. Many times, there were paragraphs of description that just never held my interest, and I often skipped over them. There were also info-dumps that I didn't necessarily need. Though the author notes enhanced the book and my knowledge, after a while, I wasn't very compelled to read all of those, either--I'm an action type of gal, what can I say?
Overall, though, I think readers of intense fantasy with a sinister history will really enjoy this novel. And, oh, do get the enhanced version. It'll blow your mind away.
P.S. I have a guest post with the author, David Farland, coming up. And a giveaway of Nightingale, too, so stay tuned!(less)
*Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins for this ARC. Of course, this does not influence my opinion of the book in any way.*
An enchanting, mesmerizing book, The Girl of Fire and Thorns is just as Tamora Pierce said:
The story was beautiful, the setting was exotic. Elisa's quest to seek the power within herself is not only a breathtaking experience, but executed with a firm hand as well. I loved so many things about this book. To start off with, the cover is captivating. It depicts the almost magical feel of the story and I love how it doesn't show Elisa's features in detail. This allows the reader to really delve into the book and come up eventually with their own heroic version of Elisa. There was also the twists. I had mixed feelings about the twists, but most of them are personal. There were somethings that deeply surprised me, and I congratulate Rae Carson for taking up such a risk and succeed--that is, executed it wonderfully. I'm still a little heartbroken over the loss, but now I look forward for the sequel, even though the first installment isn't publicly released yet. Another thing I loved was the struggle of the characters, not just with others but also themselves. We see things the way Elisa sees them, we learn truths and conspiracies along with her, and even though I didn't develop a tangible connection with Elisa, I still felt her emotions and understood her journey and its purpose. The one thing I had a little bit of trouble with was the pacing. Don't get me wrong, the story moved straight into action, and there were no unnecessary scenes interrupting the flow. But sometimes a chapter felt stretched too long, or at least an experience was slightly overwhelming. Elisa is a strong, brave heroine, but during certain times I found an action that seemed a bit out of character, and perhaps it is because I miss a connection with her. Other times a scene was depicted in such detail, it felt overly extravagant. Nonetheless, this is still a wonderful, definitely must-read story. I've heard thoughts about how there is a religious element in the novel, and it's true. But I would like to state here, loud and clear, that the religion is essential to the story. It enhances the story to make it what it is. I am not the most religious person, and I assure you that even if you are not religious, you should give this book a try. I did, and I really, really enjoyed it.