I don't like cliff-hangers like this, at all. It's one thing to leave suspense, things left unfinished.. but.. not done this way. This volume felt almI don't like cliff-hangers like this, at all. It's one thing to leave suspense, things left unfinished.. but.. not done this way. This volume felt almost rushed through the second half, like there were so many ideas and plot points that needed to be combined into only a specific amount of pages. Why not make it one extra volume? If it means keeping the book at a proper pace, fleshing out the villains, adding more depth, and helping us (readers) understand their motivations... why not?
Sure, it's not all that complicated to begin with, but the series arc deserves better than a rushed ending like this. Even the ending itself, which I will not spoil, felt almost like it was an after-thought, or a cop-out. It was quite disappointing ending compared to those of the previous volumes.
Still, I will give this book 4 stars. I really did enjoy it, overall, despite the issues I had with the story. Svetlana Chmakova is one of my favourite artists, and her work really does make her novels shine. I will be picking up the next volumes in the series, once it starts up again. I only hope the series strays away from cliches like that one from here-on-out....more
I am not sure what I was expecting, when I pulled this book off the shelf at my local Chapters bookstore. This collection is far more amusing than I sI am not sure what I was expecting, when I pulled this book off the shelf at my local Chapters bookstore. This collection is far more amusing than I should admit.
The idea of a machine that can predict the way a person would die is very, very creepy. It could read CANCER or JULIA or OLD AGE. However, it's never quite that simple - each of these could mean very different things based on different circumstances. Due to this, the stories were insightful, though-provoking, witty and terrible in the best way possible.
We get the romance novels that are so over-the-top and unrealistic, with the swooning and ridiculous mouth-watering... And then weWhere is the love?
We get the romance novels that are so over-the-top and unrealistic, with the swooning and ridiculous mouth-watering... And then we get the epic fantasy novels with no love at all.
Game of Thrones has a lot going on, and there's definitely political intrigue. We are drowning in political intrigue. It is interesting, sure, but only to a point. But there's a strong unbelievability to the story with the lack of love between characters. This really makes the novel less enjoyable because the characters come across as weak. There is something huge that's missing and, in the end, it makes them less real. (Also: Sex =/= Love.)
Adding to this is the lack of difference in character voice. True, the characters do have some distinct differences in their beliefs and... hobbies... but I don't get a sense that they're entirely different people. The character names as chapter titles was off-putting to start, but I can see the necessity. There would be awkward transition into the chapter as we try to identify the Point of View.
Two main characters have a lot more going for them, and I wish they would have had a lot more page-time. Arya Stark and Jon Snow (the bastard) are by far the strongest and most interesting characters in the series. Arya is curious, smart, and always up to some sort of fun. Jon (he's a bastard, by the way) is our key into the Night's Watch and the Wall. We are told Eddard is honourable, sure, but with the bastard son, Jon, we really see it in his character.
Sansa and Bran, on the other side of things, come across as the weakest - Sansa because she is a brainless parrot and Bran, no fault of his own, is not too good for much... yet. (Optimism?) He is always so sad, though, and to be totally honest - he's just not very interesting.
It's obvious but.. this is a long book, at 835 pages. It feels like a long book. It's long-winded and the author often takes us in circles with ideas and thoughts. Usually, this occurs right in the middle of some action - a fight scene, a chase, or a Grand Escape. The character starts reflecting, thinking about other things, their past, or admiring the scenery. This is not the time for that - it's awkward and really brings me out of the story that was hard enough to get "into" in the first place.
Worse, when certain chapters do start to get really interesting, especially the ones with Arya, it will end. Abruptly. And we'll get to spend some time in Sansa's head. That's not so much fun. Is this supposed to create tension? Suspense? Intrigue? Some other vaguely descriptive word? Whatever it is supposed to do, it's not working for me. As I near the end of the novel I skim more and more, picking out the more interesting points and trying to convince myself that finishing this book is not a complete waste of my time.
I started reading Game of Thrones in early July, after watching the series. The show, while amazing and beautiful, left much back-story to be desired and I wanted to fill in those gaps. Since I had just finished watching the series it was difficult to get into the novel. Plus, I kept picturing certain characters the way they were portrayed in the show, rather than how they were described in the book.
I lost interest in the book for some time, though that likely had more to do with how busy I was with work and how little time remained for reading. It was easier to get into the story later on, but it still wavered considerably in holding my interest. I finished it because it was the only book I brought with me to work in October. If I hadn't, I'd probably still have it sitting on my shelf waiting to be finished.
P.S Jon is a Bastard. George R.R. Martin will remind you of this every few pages that Jon, Eddard's bastard, is mentioned. We should make a game of this....more
I have read various Xanth novels throughout my life, and never in any sort of order. That's how it works, checking out books from the libraries (as weI have read various Xanth novels throughout my life, and never in any sort of order. That's how it works, checking out books from the libraries (as we all know) - you take what you can get, when it shows up.
In the last few years, I have searched used book stores, online and not, and finally collected the entire series, up to Jumper Cable.
For "A Spell for Chameleon" it is very much how I remember it, and it is definitely the puns the keep me interested. It's just fun. That said, one can see the book is a bit dated now. The way females are portrayed, for one, can be somewhat off-putting. I think anyone will be able to enjoy a book like this, if they allow themselves to....more
Elantris is a bit of a mix, for me. I like some aspects of the novel, but others seemed to drag on, and on, and on... It took me far longer to read thElantris is a bit of a mix, for me. I like some aspects of the novel, but others seemed to drag on, and on, and on... It took me far longer to read this novel than it should.
First of all, I should mention the world is amazing - it's extensive, it feels real, and the magic is explained in a way that is both interesting and makes sense. There are a lot of different magical terms, country names, and religions in the book, but not once did I get lost or confused about what-was-what or who-was-who. It was gradually explained and by the time things started happening, I was all set.
And things did happen. Quickly at first, keeping my interest, and then the plot stumbles into Boring-Town. And it's a long, slow, trip through Boring-Town. Here, it all starts getting repetitive. It goes in circles between the three main characters' point-of-view's for much of the middle of the novel, all trying to decide what to do next and how to counter their opponents moves. Things really only start moving forward again (at a reasonable pace) in the last 100-or-so pages.
The last portion of the novel is where the fun really starts, and it's a shame it is so short compared to the rest. The end is put together fairly well, leaving some things open just in case. All said, it is a solid fantasy novel. It's not amazing, but it is worth reading at least once....more
Britain's Green Rider series has been one of my favourites since reading the first book many, many years ago. Green Rider is definitely the best in thBritain's Green Rider series has been one of my favourites since reading the first book many, many years ago. Green Rider is definitely the best in the series, followed closely by First Rider's Call, the second book. I found the third, The High King's Tomb, to be somewhat less impressive than the first two but was still a book I felt was worthy of the series. The fourth book, however... let's just say this one has some problems.
There are quite a number of things that were issues for me, and perhaps some are nit-picky.
1. Pacing. The length of this book was not so much an issue, but I must ask... Was it really necessary to have so many pages for how little that occurred in the book? The first couple hundred pages consisted of... very little story progression. It was slow! Additionally, there is a lot of back-story, and reference to previous books, all throughout the novel. Sometimes it works, and is welcomed, but it came across awkwardly and was not always necessary. Another issue came from the point-of-views at the beginning of the book, which leads into my next point.
2. Where is Karigan? The first couple books in the series focused more on Karigan than any other character, and that changed more notably in the third. I found it a little awkward at first, but it is understandable to add more POV's as a story expands. However, with Blackveil, it seemed as if Karigan was being shoved into the background. The book starts off following Grandmother, and then switched to Stevic G'ladheon, Karigan's father. (And Stevic is boring!) I did not understand why he was chosen as a character to follow, even briefly.
3. What's my Genre? When did this turn into a Romance? (view spoiler)[And why are there pirates? Seriously? (hide spoiler)] Yes, there has been always been someone Karigan is interested in, but it's never been enough to really qualify the novel as a Romance, to me. The second issue I have with this is that the main character (is she, still?) is not even a part of the romance(s) that occur in the novel. She's stuck away in Blackveil.
4. Blackveil Blackveil, we are told, is a creepy, dark, and dangerous place. Bad Things happen in Blackveil. We are told this, and as I read this novel I really did not get the impression was all that bad. Sure, some people went crazy, and some people died, but that happened similarly outside Blackveil, as well. Turns out the water is still drinkable, most of the group survived, and Karigan Saved the Day (again.) Mostly. Given what was eluded to in previous novels, I expected a little more out of the "other side of the Wall."
5. (view spoiler)[Drugs and Rape are Okay! So... there's a conspiracy that occurs after an assassination attempt on King Zachary. He is poisoned and lying in his could-be death bed, and his advisers are conspiring to move up Zachary's and Estora's wedding - obviously without the king's consent. It turns out this was not enough, so Britain includes that the wedding must be consummated, with an audience, to ensure heirs. Zachary (who is poisoned and dying and until this point, mostly comatose!) and Estora are drugged and eventually, well, work on marking heirs. How is having sex with a sick, poisoned, and feverish man who can hardly speak for himself be 1: possible and 2: okay? The whole scene was quite surprising, and somewhat disturbing in the implications. Even after all of this, it was presented in a very insensitive and tactless way, as well. (hide spoiler)]
6. Cliffhanger'd Returning to the pacing issue, the book felt short plot-wise. There were a lot of pages, but very little happened, and Blackveil felt like half a story. By the time the ending came around things were finally getting interesting and.. that's it. It is almost as if the majority of this book was set-up for the next - it was really missing that extra bit (of something) the previous ones had. And now we won't get to know what happens for another 2-3 years, if we're lucky. Alas..
I do want to mention that, despite some odd phrasing and spelling errors, Blackveil is generally well written - something that has been improving steadily throughout the series. Overall, I enjoyed most of the book, despite the areas that were severely lacking. Given the amount of time between books getting published, I suppose I have expected more out of this book. Still, I will be picking up the next in the series, and not-so-secretly hoping some of these issues are addressed.
(view spoiler)[And really, what is with the pirates?(hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I discovered Kate Elliot's works when I picked up Spirit Gate (which I started in 2009 and never finished, due to time..) and really enjoyed both heI discovered Kate Elliot's works when I picked up Spirit Gate (which I started in 2009 and never finished, due to time..) and really enjoyed both her writing style and her way of weaving worlds. Cold Magic was new and the premise seemed intriguing. (I still don't like the cover so much but that's really a personal thing rather than relating to the book itself.)
Starting out, the plot seemed to move along slowly and it was somewhat confusing in parts. My favourite portion of the novel was the last half when things finally started happening. I was disappointed, by then, that it seemed to end so soon. I have been eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, Cold Fire, since then. And I'll be searching out that book soon enough....more