The Creature, Frankenstein, Walton--they are all the same. Elizabeth, the father, Margaret--it's like there are specific personalities and they are al...moreThe Creature, Frankenstein, Walton--they are all the same. Elizabeth, the father, Margaret--it's like there are specific personalities and they are all categorized into one of those groups. I find this is perhaps the most common thing with young writers: the merging-together of people. And I think that it's both wonderful and questionable. Do we not all judge people based on stereotypes? Aren't we all so wrapped up in our own lives that we are incapable of recognizing the small details that changes one from the other, except in cases in which love and happiness tumbles past our horizons? I feel like this type of characterization was very appropriate for this novel, seeing as how it is told from the point of view of a wretch.
You know, this still remains one of my favorite curriculum books. Surely it makes me angry, and surely I often sigh at the melodrama, but the intensity of this book cannot be denied, nor the ways it expresses the fragility of human existence. It's not a masterpiece, I don't think. Rather, it is more of a... a type of desperate narration, if you will. The characteristics exhibited by the characters are all fundamental constituents of us, too. Everything starts relating to FRANKENSTEIN after a while.
Overall, I thought that this book was thought-provoking and perhaps a bit tedious. But the writing flows well, and the ideas comprehensible. The pacing is erratic, but the obsequious ways through which the characters bend to the plot are predictable in the most horrifying ways possible. Honestly, the only problems I really had with it are problems that are mirrored in many books today as well: the twists that should've been obvious, and characters that never tried hard enough.
But the ending was nice. A lot of people didn't like it, but I think it really emphasized how everything can change, that nothing is what we think it is, and that's a very appropriate way to close off the theme and gloominess of the story.
(Also, as a personal side-note, Percy Shelley is such a butthole.)(less)
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Now here we have something intere...more Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Now here we have something interesting.
Zombies + Greek mythology? Sounds like an epic tour de force, yeah? That's what I thought, too. But Touch of Death is about as deceptive as its cover--what at first seems like a gorgeous and dark tale is really about a girl, insta-love, plus predictive plots weaving the way. *cues drumroll*
It's not that the book was bad, rather that it was more... bland. It's interesting in the way that a rock might be in a sea of desert sand: cool compared to the unspeakable works of "literature", yet not necessarily a means by which one entertains oneself. A lot of people have geeked out over this book, so maybe it's just me, but let me explain why I wasn't such a big fan first:
1) Jodi Jodi Jodi--Oh, Jodi, where do I start? In the beginning, you were okay. But... WHY? WHY INSTA-LOVE WHEN YOU JUST- *headdesk* No spoilers, folks. Man! I saw this speech once, and the quote that comes to me right now is, "girl, you are so on a rebound." That doesn't even begin to describe the magnitude of her decision. I'm not the character, and I'm not going to say what she should/shouldn't do, but Jodi's actions and voice are often so childish that I just couldn't relate to her.
2) Twists--You're all book-lovers here, or otherwise ya probably wouldn't be reading my blog. I'm going to, therefore, assume that you've read a lot of books. You know how some books sound SO ORIGINAL and then you read it and you're just like, oh, that's great, didn't I just see the same situation happen in that book, that book, and that other one I read just last week? Same old, same old. There are definitely really cool plot elements in the story, but if you're someone who values unpredictability (like me), prepare to be disappointed by the lack of actual twists.
That said, I did finish the book, so it definitely has promise! It's intriguing in the way TNT is fascinating: you don't know whether or not everything will blow up in your face, and you're not sure whether or not you want it to. It's worth the investment of time, I think--lots of people have loved this book.
Just remember, though, that sometimes TNT short-circuits, and as much as you want something cool to happen... well, as the saying goes: "Life's full of disappointments!" (less)
**Actual, full review** Original will be posted on my blog 8/31/2012. Why yes, I am posting it two months early. Why yes, I might decide to...more 2.75 stars
**Actual, full review** Original will be posted on my blog 8/31/2012. Why yes, I am posting it two months early. Why yes, I might decide to reschedule it for a later date. Why yes, you may continue to the review now.
Quick, quick! Grab your reins and your deer--we've got an original mythological creature in La Ville de YA!
Okay--seriously though. Even as I didn't fully enjoy Valkyrie Rising, I have to admit that it's got some fantastic mythology and setting that we very rarely see in a market as crowded as YA. I can go on and on about why I think that is, but then this would not be a review but rather a rant of utter pointlessness, so let's just skip right to the good stuff, yeah?
The two biggest points Valkyrie Rising has going for it is its mythology and setting. But let's save the praises for last, because unfortunately, this book did not claim me an infatuated fangirl overall.
1) THE CHARACTERS--This is one of the biggest reasons why, though I thought the book was good, I didn't really like it. There's nothing wrong with these characters--in fact, they're very badass and easy to relate to.
Except I didn't relate to them.
Now this is probably just something personal, or maybe I'm really delusional, but I couldn't help but feel as if these characters felt a bit too... overused. Whenever they spoke or acted, even as I enjoyed their strategies and clear heads, they never spoke to me. The reason why is that they're kind of--at least, to me they are--your average YA characters. Nice girl with a oh-so-mysterious past. Boy-who-flirts-all-the-time-but-is-really-secretly-in-love-with-the-heroine. Brother-who-is-the-"better"-one-of-the-family-and-needs-to-learn-some-respect-for-personal-bubbles. Theses characters are perfectly fine. But they're not so brilliantly captivating when, say, you've read about their story quite the number of times. Also, I felt like there wasn't much substance beyond these perfectly acceptable facades. Though the characters are good, they are not three-dimensional.
2) THE PLOT--Though it was with valkyries instead of some other paranormal/mythological creature, I must say that the plot, too, felt to me very predictable. There aren't many plots under the sky, and I get that. But I really would have liked to see a *teeny tiny* bit more of unique twists to truly make Valkyrie Rising stand out among its many, many peers/competitors/fellas.
3) THE PRAISES--Finally! Even though the book was a mere okay to me due to the aforementioned points, please please please don't take that as a point to say that I didn't like it. I actually did. It just never captivated my attention the way I would have loved it to. (Sorry for all the italics. I don't know why, but I feel very italic-y today.) BUT! Like I said before: the new mythological interactions and setting really enhanced this book's quality to me. If you like YA and mythology, I think you'll enjoy this one.
Overall: Despite its overt plot and often-flat characters, Valkyrie Rising is, at the very least, a fresh take on something we see too much in the market, and, at the very best, quite the entertaining read.
Give this book a try! Who knows--you just might fancy it quite the bit more.
Original will be posted on my blog on January 10th, 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 10th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I'm going to try really, really hard to make this review as gentle as I can let it be. But make no mistake: I did not, at all, like this book.
Let's just discard some misinformation first. That first line in the summary? "An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure"? That is not true. At least, not for me. Let me explain.
This book is not exotic, because I felt the writing was very bland. The story was told with a sort of detachment, and no real emotions were really explored. It was very "this happened, now this, now oh look here's something else that's happened, and oh my, this is all very tragic". Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Ms. Forster can't write. Surely she can. But her style was just really not my type. Also, this book is not "entirely original". Sure, it sounds absolutely amazing and original. I thought so, too. But upon reading it, I realized that it utilizes the same variation of court intrigue that Alison Goodman's Eon series does so well, except it doesn't do it so well. It's a flurry of events that do have consequences, but are not developed. It's like watching a movie unfold when nothing seems important to you because nothing connects. Not the two-dimensional characters, not the paper-cut out world, not the misuse of Asian culture, and certainly not the absolutely unscintillating romance.
Romance first: I'm so unsure as to where the whole thing was going. It was a nice tentative thing at first--no insta-love here, and yay, a backstory!--but... it was so flat. I wished I could proclaim what so profoundly breathes life into characters, because then and only then will some people deem me qualified to talk, but as a reader and a blogger/reviewer, all I can say is that I didn't feel anything. It was more "meh" to me than anything else, and the whole thing seemed to be going in a thousand different directions at once (do you see the pun tucked in there?).
I told you this review was going to be negative, so I'll wrap it up with this last bit of complaint that is quite personal and most likely won't affect most of you.
I'm 100% Chinese. I grew up in China. I'm quite sure I'm of enough caliber to analyze my culture, so let's look. I realize that Miriam mentioned somewhere that this book is based off of South Asian cultures, and I also understand the gap in translation. I've gone to enough museums to know that "the green-leafed Spring" is an acceptable, translated painting name, etc. But this book had so. many. of the long-named translations like "in the name of the Long-Tailed Cat" that it was ludicrous. I've never read an Asian-based fantasy that used this many "translations". Most of them didn't even contain any, or just one/two. This whole bizarre use of Asian culture/terminology (whether or not it's Chinese, I've Asian blood in me, and I've studied this whole shebang enough times that I see a book not fully researched when I read it the first time) was just distracting. I could barely focus on the story when the meh writing and misused culture/terminology made me want to just, oh, I don't know, headdesk really really hard.
Overall, you definitely can give City of a Thousand Dolls a try. Warning, though: if you want a good Asian-based fantasy that will rock your socks off, I cannot say that this book is it. (less)
Honestly, I skipped like 100 pages in the middle. I just wasn't interested. :-S The fact that Nikki wouldn't even leave a note for her dad and brother...moreHonestly, I skipped like 100 pages in the middle. I just wasn't interested. :-S The fact that Nikki wouldn't even leave a note for her dad and brother like Jack did, the fact that she was so obsessed (and I understand, I do, but it's just--doesn't her family matter to her, too?)--it just didn't sit very well with me. And then I felt like the writing in this volume was a bit rough, so very passive all the time. It just didn't make me feel much, like EVERNEATH did.
The twist at the end was nice, though. I don't know if I'll read the next book. It will probably be a borrowed read. But I know Brodi Ashton has talent and skill; I'm not giving up on her as an author.
Yet I, as shoved and neglected as the minority often received, cannot say much but that I fear this book suffers the middle-book syndrome.
You guys, the inside of the book (or, at least the ARC), is GORGEOUS. There's all this fancy stuff going on, on the page numbers, drop-caps, chapter h...moreYou guys, the inside of the book (or, at least the ARC), is GORGEOUS. There's all this fancy stuff going on, on the page numbers, drop-caps, chapter headings, etc. I think it is one of the fanciest books I've ever read. :D
General reaction: Wow, this was hugely underwhelmed for me. Since I don't review DNF books, I'm just going to tell you why I didn't finish it. I gave it 100 pages, and was... well, alright, the voice was quite monotonous to me and an effort to drag through. Though the premise was interesting, I just didn't really care, because the heroine was quite aggravating. And selfish. Meh.
But that's just me. Maybe you'll like it. Who knows?(less)
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
A promising beginning crumbled by a...more2.5 stars
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
A promising beginning crumbled by a hypocritical yet beautiful ending, Such a Rush is a convoluted novel that's both intense and grilling.
I had hoped to love this book--my friends loved it, and it looked simply amazing. But while the setting shimmered with richness and the characters flared with authenticity, this book ultimately did not claim me a fan. I am probably more disappointed by that fact than imaginable. There are several elements that contributed to my unfortunate distaste:
1) The Writing: Jennifer Echols's writing is smooth and fleshed, but the text was quite redundant. This may very well be only the ARC's issue and will not occur in the final book, but the repetitions emerged so numerously that I realized it was devaluing my experience of the book. I no longer have the ARC with me, but for example: Leah would say something was annoying, then in the next paragraph she would say the same thing, phrased only slightly differently. Then a chapter later she would mention it again, or another character would say the same thing she said. While repetition can be used as a powerful literary tool, I felt like the redundancy dragged the plot in this case and snapped me out of the story. The most prominent example I can think of is the phrase such a rush used at least twenty times, but since the title is Such a Rush, I suppose I should exclude that one. Even then, though, my thoughts still stand.
2) Leah: This is a slightly personal opinion that might not affect anyone else, but I am not a fan of girls like Leah. Let me explain something really quick: she has had a hard, hard life; neglected and used and abused. I understand that, and it makes me incredibly solemn and sympathetic. But she claims to be strong; to be different than the other girls who grow up to be "sluts," who are flaunters and exhibitionists and nothing more than that. Leah believed she was something else.
But while she appeared to be someone stronger, different, ultimately she was not.
She said she hated her mother for the oblivious decisions she made; but then Leah makes those choices herself. And sometimes she realizes that she's acting just like her mother and would be ashamed, but oftentimes she would not. She says she is not one to be a druggy like others; but you do not need drugs to sink into a "slut." I'm using her own word here, because I believe the word "slut" is extremely subjective, but Leah is bold--too bold, too hot-headed, at least in my opinion. EVERYONE tells her how beautiful and sexy she is, and she's just like, what? I'm beautiful? Since when? But then she goes and wears obscenely short shorts and disturbingly flaunting shirts; what do you actually realize, Leah? It was her act of hatred towards things and then doing them--confused and disbelieving truths and then suddenly acknowledging them as if she knew them all along--that made me eventually disappointed with her.
There are things I must applaud Jennifer for, of course. A female pilot? How cool! It's obvious she did her homework on planes and mechanics. The brothers' tension? Talk about realistic. Romance? Steamy as heck. But in the end, despite these uniquely well-portrayed aspects, Such a Rush's aggravating protagonist and a repetitive habit resulted in a sadly unfavorable response from me.
Yet, there is not much ground I hold with my sole opinion; others have loved this book, and I urge you to give its fresh and eccentric atmosphere a try.(less)
Quick Reaction: I feel kind of bad about the two-stars thing. But the truth is, Cursed was at best just a mere okay for me...
**Actual, full review** O...moreQuick Reaction: I feel kind of bad about the two-stars thing. But the truth is, Cursed was at best just a mere okay for me...
**Actual, full review** Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, most formatting and links have been lost.)
If you are a frequent reader of book blogs, you're probably more-than-familiar with Jennifer L. Armentrout. She wrote the Covenant and Obsidian series, both of which are quite the hit, especially among bloggers. So I would like to preface this review with a giant sign:
THIS IS NOT A POSITIVE REVIEW. IT'S ALSO SEMI-LONG. READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Awesome. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's continue, shall we?
Here's the thing: I love me some Jen Armentrout. She's really nice and awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed Obsidian. But Cursed just didn't meet my expectations--and though I usually would have high expectations for such a great author, this time my bars were set to "mediocre" at best, since the premise of Cursed is nothing new and I was worried about clichés. But Jen has this uncanny ability to shift clichés into something actually really, really enjoyable. So why should I be worried?
Turns out I was right to worry.
Let's take a look at the story: Ember McWilliams, she-who-lost-everything, is suddenly faced with a super hot guy who she just can't seem to resist, despite his father's extreme weirdness.
This kind of sounds like Wither, right?
Let's look at it again: Ember McWilliams, she-who-suffered-greatly-due-to-a-car-accident, is faced with a dangerous power and a terrifying secret.
Hey, why does that remind me of Unraveling?
How about one last time: Ember McWilliams's touch is fatal. She then discovers a facility of people like her. And a hot guy. She is now fighting for her life.
...Shatter Me and X-Men come to mind...
Look. I'm not saying this book isn't original. In fact, though Cursed shares a lot of elements with a lot of amazing books (just like Half-Blood did with Vampire Academy...), it also stands on its own. Ember's situation is much different than Rhine's, her secret has nothing to do with what Janelle discovers, and she's a much more spunky heroine than Juliette. Besides, there are only seven plots under the sky, right?
So, no worries. But when your material is not really unique, you have to fall hard on your characters and voice to keep the reader's attention, since now plot twists are extremely easy to guess due to previous interactions with the same situations.
Here's usually where Jen shines. Her voice is amazing. Her characters are so true-to-life. It's completely addicting. But... (you were waiting for this "but," weren't you?)
I can't really say the same for Cursed.
I don't know, maybe writing like five books in one year isn't the best thing to do when faced with detailed narration, or maybe I'm just hallucinating and weird, but the voice in Cursed was not the usual spunk but rather more... dry. The characters are really, really cliché, to be honest. They remind me so much of Twilight and a lot of other books. There were no surprises at all that I got from this book. And with its uncharacteristically mediocre narration and recycled character molds, it's an understatement to say that Cursed didn't meet my expectations.
Overall, I do love Jennifer L. Armentrout. I think she's great. Lots of people love Cursed. In fact, I'm one of only three people who rated this book with two stars on Goodreads. So maybe I'm just different. But I think it also needs to be said that I was never an extremely zealous fan, so I approached this book with a here-goes! instead of a more hopeful, optimistic push of an attitude. Maybe this is just me, but alas, I highly recommend going into this book without holding your breath.
You never know how you'll feel until you let yourself feel--without being restrained by previous, fangirling infatuations--right?(less)
Disclaimer: I skimmed through this book due to my lack of interest.
Don't get me wrong, I love Colleen Houck. Her b...more2.5 stars
Goodreads Exclusive Review:
Disclaimer: I skimmed through this book due to my lack of interest.
Don't get me wrong, I love Colleen Houck. Her books are awesome--epic, even. But Tiger's Voyage just didn't work for me, mostly because Kelsey annoyed me so much I couldn't even get into the story. She's so... obstinate. She keeps on wishing for Ren's memory to be back, and when it is, she suddenly no longer wants him. Why? Because she can't break the promise she made to Kishan. Oh wait, what was that, Kells? You can't break a promise? Let's see what you said in Tiger's Quest...
(this is to Ren at the Valentine's dance):
"His expression became serious. He kissed my fingers, pressed my hand to his chest, and said intently, “Promise me you’ll never leave me like that again, Kelsey.”
I looked up into his cobalt blue eyes and said, “I promise. I’ll never leave you again.”
Ooohhhh wait whaaaa? (And no, I didn't add the italics. They were there in the text.) So, Kells, you tell me. Yeah, Kishan's a great guy, but maybe love isn't your biggest problem right now, and maybe if you really were so obstinate about what you promise others, you wouldn't even be in this predicament to start with. Ah... but that doesn't make for the most entertaining read, does it? *sighs*
I'm sorry for being snarky, and I'm even more sorry for not liking this book. Please understand that this is in no way me bashing Colleen, since I love her. I just... *shakes head* this book just didn't work for me. At all.
I guess the next one's either a library, borrow, or no read at all... :( (less)