**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)
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
It's always terribly depressing when you ha...moreActual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
It's always terribly depressing when you have to write a negative review for a book you have been so viciously anticipating, but candidly, in the case of Kill Me Softly, what started out as an intriguing and deliciously creepy dark tale quickly sunk below the level of no-return.
The focal point of my irritation for Kill Me Softly is its main character; when readers say a character can make or break a story, it's true. Mirabelle is blessed with kindness and intelligence--neither of which she turns out to possess. She started out interesting, and she was even acting like how I would've acted in her situation, which made me instantly like her. But though the beginning and end of the novel were strong peaks in a typical genre, the middle was as frustrating as trying to split cement with chopsticks. (Bad example, I know. But hopefully you know what I mean.) She was constantly furious and acted extremely selfish, and was again and again endowed in insta-lust. No, not love, though she repeated the ILY enough times to make me headdesk just twice as much, but she was truly blind to the fact that it was lust she was trapped in. I mean, if you're buying a sexy nightgown the day after you meet a hot guy you don't even know, and then when some... really bad stuff happen, and you discover terrible secrets, you run back to him anyway and scream "I LOVE YOU!", do you call that love? Intelligence? Or perhaps lust and the incredibly narcissistic need to claim someone, even someone infuriatingly evil and insane, as her own?
Speaking of which, here's the other thing that contributed to the trickle-turned-waterfall of my unprecedented distaste: a ferocious passion for possessions that are so obviously dangerous, fatal, and frankly, completely unnecessary. For example: There's a pair of brothers in this book. When Mira falls in "love" with one of them, and then she sees the other one, she literally thinks that he's hers. Which begs the question: is the gift of loyalty truly misplaced in such a conundrum soul as Mira's? And another thing: "kindness." There's an incredibly chivalrous guy in the book, and Mira is a complete... to put it mildly, jerk, to him. And when she insults him in a way that makes me want to punch her, she feels sorry... for herself, because now whatever chivalrous act the boy was going to do for Mira, she's afraid he won't do it anymore. Ah, see, now I'm sick of talking about Mira the Beewitch, so I'll quickly address the last major problem I had with this novel before I go on to explain the one and only redeeming point that let me finish the book. This book glorifies death. Not a few pages go by does it not mention the beauty of death, and here's a direct quote:
"She'd never looked more beautiful, more perfect, than she did when she was dead" -The very first page.
The problem with this is quite simple and moral: the glorification of death is often indirectly influencing the minds of unaware youth--that no, don't worry about death, it will make you beautiful and perfect. Such aggravatingly insinuating thinking just leads me onto one road: the road of not-wistful despise.
Yet through it all, there was one reason that I continued, and it's not my friend's vow that the ending will be worth all the suffering. In truth, I literally stopped and DNFed this book while I was 3/4 of the way through. But my friend urged me and I read on, and I discovered how I held on for so long when the book frustrated and angered me distressingly: the way the story is told. It's a dark fairy tale that rings as true and frightening as the ancient, authentic versions of Cinderella, where the sisters cut off their toes and heels to fit in the shoe, and Sleeping Beauty, who... well, don't read on if you're easily disturbed, but she was raped by the prince.
Yeah. I know. Glorious.
But that's what's truly innovating and solely successful about this book: that it's unapologetically messed up. And so, it's a book I definitely will not recommend for everyone, because not only is the main character a complete pain to force through, but the story is creepy and deadly and gory and brutal.
Yet that's what many seem to appreciate about this book, putting me in the minority. Who knows? You might like it where I failed to see its brilliance, and saw instead its disturbing and potential influence.(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)
**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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Quick Reaction: This book made me feel so bipolar, it wasn't even funny. I don't think I've ever read a book that made me cry just as much as it made...moreQuick Reaction: This book made me feel so bipolar, it wasn't even funny. I don't think I've ever read a book that made me cry just as much as it made me want to rip it apart. The Catastrophic History of You and Me features a protagonist who felt shallow and like a 5-year-old with the way she treated everything, yet though I detested her during the "Anger" and "Bargaining" parts (this book is told in parts labeled as the stages of grief! And every chapter is a song title! So freakin' cool.), I cried bucketfuls in sadness and acceptance. In the end, I think it's the transformation of Brie that finally redeemed her in my eyes, as did the quite honestly well-thought twists. One thing, though. There's this giant big twist at the end that affects everything, and it involves a bargain, but... (and this is when I went from a 4-star to a 3-star) if it changed everything, does that mean everything Brie did during the book is just illegitimate? Non-existent? Gone? If so, there was no explaining nor backing on that aspect, and though it was a fantastic fairytale-esque ending, that plot hole cracked the ice.
Actual, full review: This review is also on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Brie died of a broken heart, and she left me with one, too.
This book was definitely original and compassionate, but Brie has a voice that rivaled a five-year-old. Everything Was Capitalized and Of Course OMG Abbreviations! But this book--my goodness--made me feel so bipolar, it was like slowly inching up on a roller-coaster, only to have the ride be stuck at the highest point, staring down at a trail of steepness below. Brie frustrated me and made me cry. She made me want to throw the book against a wall and hug it so fiercely my ribs hurt. She makes immature decisions--and talks almost nothing like a teenager, if you ask me (a teenager. Yup. Hi there!)--but the things she goes through are so heartbreaking, I broke down into terrible sobs. I don't even know what to think.
This book is cool, though. It's broken into parts--each one being a stage of grief. Every chapter is a song title (I didn't even know until a friend pointed out that Total Eclipse of the Heart was, in fact, a song, and not a supremely cool original chapter title). And though Brie sometimes annoyed me so much, and I would have smoke steaming out from my ears if I was in a cartoon, she did make me laugh.
You know, I think I know how she managed to infuriate me and break me at the same time. Brie knows she's done wrong. She's so terrified of her own mistakes that her fears become my own, and she's so afraid that she won't ever be able to fix her own self that I am surrounded by these eternal walls of impossibility, suffocating and choking and horrifying.
Brie backed herself into a steel prison, and it's not only catastrophic, it's claustrophobic. (ha, get it? Get it?)
This book has surprises, turns, and zero explanations. And it's not even the most entertaining book of all time, considering Brie's childish voice. But here's what I'll tell you: The Catastrophic History of You and Me will find a part of you so deeply hidden--so scarce and afraid--and yank it out, fast, so that you won't even realize what happened until you feel this gigantic hole in your chest. It'll stitch you back together, one attempt at a time.
But no matter how many times it tries to save its own destruction, you won't be the same. (Whether that's meant in a good way or bad way, though, that's up for you to see.)(less)
Original can be found on my blog here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and most links have been lost.)
Talk about creative! My brother and I've both been big fans of Scholastic's multi-author series, and this one, Spirit Animals, is no exceptions. Let's have my ten-year-old brother take it away first:
Roark: This book was just so... COOL. The main characters got the Fallen Four spirit animals, which is so cool. They each had better spirit animals than other people, which is really interesting because they must be awesome to have such cool spirit animals. I also really liked the plot because it tells you a lot about the spirit animals world, which is very fascinating**. It is also good because it switches from person to person so I can get more information from different places.
I think the characters are awesome**. Conor learned how to use his spirit animal faster than everyone else, which was cool. Abeke was the first to learn how to turn the spirit animal into a tattoo. They're all smart, maybe not like Meilin but, while Meilin is the best fighter which is cool because she's a girl [my sister is really good at Kung Fu but my friends don't believe me because she's a girl]***, everyone else can fight well in their own awesome way. Rollan, lastly, is my favorite because he is so funny.
Overall, I give this a 5 out of 5.
Me: Since I'm just a tad above the targeted age range and the complete opposite of my brother, I can't sing praises for Wild Born without a few (or, I suppose, one really big) reservation(s).
First off, though: Brandon Mull is excellent at world-building. I found it fascinating how he managed to twist four cultures into a cocktail of a world that, though anachronistic, surprisingly retained many of the elements of each culture when it would've been much easier to neglect their foundations. I enjoyed running on a South America-like street with Rollan, being pampered (ephemerally) in an Asian palace with Meilin (Since I'm Asian, the discrepancies in the Asian worldbuilding stood out to me more than the other ones did; still, it is a commendable effort on Mull's part to make it as reminiscent of Asia as possible without compromising the story's overarching world), shake with terror in a Medieval England-esque surrounding alongside Conor, and hunt through wild forests with Abeke that brings images of Native American tribes to the mind.
Yet where he excels, I also reluctantly found fault. Mull's writing is... dull. Quite dull.
It feels plain, especially in the first few chapters, full of telling and detached emotion. It is only after about 50 pages in that I really began to see the characters for who they were. Even then, oftentimes I found myself not exactly enthused--though certainly not unwilling--to dive back into the Spirit Animals world because something about the writing just didn't necessarily captivate me. It missed a spark; a touch of something magical, to fit in rightly with its exquisite world.
Still, I didn't care much about the writing's obtuseness after a while because the action and any scene, really, was just so entertaining. The characters were written exceptionally well in regards to their authenticity. I saw a lot of myself in Meilin, and laughed far too loudly at Rollan, and I could appreciate the humbleness of Conor just as well as I admired Abeke for her bravery. Each character could hold their own, and because of that and the excellent world-building, even with the writing being flat, the plot never ran too slowly.
The verdict? If you stick with the book through its rough beginning, you'll likely find yourself flipping the pages quickly--and if not quickly, then at least satisfactorily. After all, it's not every day you get a middle grade that mashes all the charming bits of the age group together in quite the inventive and ambitious tale. Besides, the spirit animals are, as my brother would say it... SO COOL.
*I received an ARC copy provided by the publisher in an exchange for an honest review. No monetary or otherwise beneficial supplement was exchanged. **He didn't actually say that. He said cool. I had to change his vocabulary up, I'm sorry. T.T ***He didn't include this in the actual review that he handed me, but he had mentioned it to me before and I thought it was a very valid point. ^.^
Oh! Before y'all ditch this post--Scholastic is doing this cool (GAH! Now I'm turning into my brother!) thing where you can actually play an online game set in the Spirit Animals world hand have your own Spirit Animal. I think it's very innovative, and you should totally check it out here.(less)
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)
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)
Original will be posted on my blog on January 17th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lo...more**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. (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.
*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.
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)
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.
*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)
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...more**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 spelled it like that because frankly if i wrote goooooooooooooood it would look like go for a...more**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.(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)
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)
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. ^.^
Variant was very much like a variable. There are a myriad of ways to calculate the answer, yet in this case, few actually work.
The beginning of Variant felt a bit like the beginning of The Maze Runner to me--not the plot, but the pacing. The first few chapters fell slow. Even though there was a sense of mystery in the air, I wasn't surprised at the behaviors of the school and its students--I've read similar plot before. However, Benson, the main character, has a semi-sarcastic voice that kept me reading on.
This book was an interesting read. There are definitely twists. However, not all the twists came as a shock to me, but that may just be because I tend to analyze plot carefully while reading, so few plot twists actually end up becoming "twists". The main characters were very well developed, and while the supporting characters held my attention, I felt like they could've been even more multidimensional.
Overall, I recommend this book to fans of The Maze Runner and a strong voice that will keep you captive through even slow chapters. This book was refreshing, and Mr. Wells crafts a unique spin on the answer behind traps and imprisonment. (less)