Dean Wilson is at it again, this time continuing the take of Ifferon in The Road to Rebirth, second in the Children of Telm series. I am seriously astounded that Wilson is able to create a whole world, complete with a whole new religious and mythological system, and put so much life and vigor into every aspect of his series. It took me a while to get back into the story because of the depth put into it, but once I was in I was hooked all over again. Wilson's new addition to the Children of Telm series earns itself 4 out of 5 stars from me.
As with any book, there are things I liked, and things I didn't like about The Road to Rebirth. One of the things I wasn't too fond of was how long it took me to get into the story. This isn't because of Wilson's writing or the plot itself, but rather the intense level of detail put into every part of the story. Many sci-fi and fantasy/adventure sagas have timelines, maps, lineages, or other aids to help readers remember important yet complex parts of the story, and I feel like something would have been useful to remember the different races, tribes, and gods Wilson created.
I also feel like the chapters featuring Melgales and Yavun were particularly difficult to keep track of, owing to their being in two separate places and handling different situations. I like how they were combined because of their connection with the Beldarian, although I'm not sure the ebook formatted the way Wilson had wanted because there were a few parts in these chapters that were unclear in the shifts from Yavun to Melgales and vice versa.
That being said, I have to applaud Wilson for creating a story as vivid and creative as Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. He has developed a whole alternate world, complete with a complicated mythological/religious background, and that takes immense skill. I am a huge fan of mythology, particularly Greek and Roman tales, and Wilson's work only whets my appetite for more myths.
While I was overly fond of the amazing imagery and scene-setting in this book, I was also a bit overwhelmed by the number of poems and songs throughout the chapters. They were well placed and added to the culture of Wilson's world, but I think there were just a bit too many for me to truly enjoy as they took me away from the plot itself, and I had to reorient myself to what was occurring.
As I mentioned before, Wilson's style of writing hooks the reader, and creates an emotional bridge between reader and character. The characters in The Road to Rebirth are realistic in the moral and ethical choices they make in each chapter. Nobody is all good or all evil, and each person makes their choices and has to live with the repercussions, be they positive or negative. Elithea and Delin share drastically opposing opinions in what is right to do for Theos' soul, but because there is naught but gray area, either can be right or wrong. How can anyone tell who is truly good or evil in this story, without seeing how the conclusion plays out?
One of my favorite parts of any book I read is finding quotes that really speak to me, and Dean Wilson is outstanding at making his stories as inspirational as they are entertaining. I'll leave you with just a few of my favorites:
"If you draw breath, then this is living. The question is: do you do more than just draw breath?"
"The dark night feels very long now, even if there is the hope of dawn." "There is more than hope... It is not idealism to think that day will follow night. It is a matter of knowing, not hoping."
"Do you yearn for life, even when it is often cruel?" "Yes, because it is often cruel, not always, and when it is not cruel, it is kind beyond any measure, and those moments outweigh the darker ones that precede or follow. Even when night comes and smothers day, there are stars up there in the blackness."
"To try and fail is better than to fail to try. A flower always tries to bloom, even in the bleakest of winters. Often the flowers fail, but sometimes they succeed."
"Sometimes it is best to think less of where you came from, and more on where you are going."(less)
I can't say how excited I am that Heidi Angell asked me to be a part of her virtual book tour this month. It not only gave me the opportunity to read a great book, but it got me back into reading since my move to Massachusetts nearly 3 months ago (how the time flies!) Angel's Dance is the second book based around Grant Anderson and Clear Angel, picking up about 6 months after the events that took place in Elements of a Broken Mind. This combination of crime thriller and paranormal/psychic fiction is seamless, and I'm giving Angel's Dance 4 out of 5 stars and a strong recommendation for anyone interested in crime or psychology.
Heidi Angell's books read like an episode of Law and Order, or maybe Psych. She has clearly done her research into the world of forensic psychology and criminal profiling, and as a student of criminal psychology I am more than impressed... "women feel more comfortable expressing their feelings and displaying their emotions. They also typically have a stronger network to share their emotions. Men tend to bottle things up and do not feel comfortable sharing their feelings, especially negative feelings, with others." It's nice to read a book that is both informative and entertaining.
The one issue I had with Angel's Dance was that I often had trouble distinguishing Clear's visions from reality. It was rather confusing for me to know when something was actually happening, versus something that had happened before and she was simply reliving, such as her visions of Bella in the dance studio. Other than my confusion, I was very pleased with this book and Ms. Angell's writing in general.
There was a bit more romance in this book than the first one, owing to Grant and Clear's complicated and not quite so professional relationship, and I just couldn't stop reading to find out how things were going to turn out, both in their relationship and in their hunt for Grant's daughter and the person who kidnapped her. It's very difficult to put a book down when you empathize so strongly with the characters, and I read almost the entirety of Angel's Dance in just one sitting. I dare anybody reading this to read Elements of a Broken Mind and Angel's Dance without getting sucked in. (less)
First things first, my apologies to Heidi Angell and everyone who reads this blog for my long absence. I just moved to a new state, on my own, to start a brand new job, so I've been pretty overwhelmed and busy and haven't had much time to do anything else besides get everything settled. In any case, I am very thankful to everyone for actually reading this blog, and to Ms. Angell for her patience in waiting for a review for her book (I told you it was coming though!) :) On to the book review! A fantastic tale from a wonderful author, Elements of a Broken Mind is a 5 out of 5 star book to me, for keeping me entertained and stumping the forensic psychologist in me.
So, I was sent this book by the author for an honest review. I'm so pleased that she sent it to me, and don't really have anything negative to say about it. Elements of a Broken Mind is a phenomenal, fast paced read and I'm very eagerly anticipating the next book in the series. The writing is spot on, the characters are realistic (which, given the plot, is amazing), and I had so much fun reading this book and figuring out for myself how Grant and Clear were going to find the killer and save the girls.
I have a background in forensic psychology, and have taken classes on profiling crime scenes and offenders. I still didn't know where Angell was going with her novel, and had a great time watching Grant and Clear work on solving the crimes before the killer took yet another young girl's life. Particularly when the killer would 'return' his victims, only to kidnap more to replace them, I couldn't help but begin my own profile of the type of person who would be committing such crimes.
Even better was the fact that the attraction between the two didn't take center stage in Elements, something that appears to be becoming more and more widespread a problem in books today. Yes there is romance, but it is secondary to the thrilling mystery Angell puts in place from page one for her readers. It will be very interesting seeing the chemistry between the two in the next installment in this series :) (less)
I won't lie, I had absolutely no intention of reading this book, thanks to the creepy little girl on the cover. My bookseller friends were all interested in reading it, but I kept taking a pass, until I saw it on an impulse desk at my library. I mean, why not pick up a book then? The lesson that I learned is the age old "Don't judge a book by its cover." I was blown away at how fascinating the story was, and the originality and work involved in creating a story out of a collection of old photographs. In my opinion, Riggs did a phenomenal job introducing characters and plot out of random unconnected pictures, and Miss Peregrine is a 5 out of 5 star series/author debut.
I thought this was a well thought out story; evidently Riggs has imagination aplenty to come up with such a colorful backstory to so many unrelated photographs. I found myself dreading the moment when I had to put the book down to get sleep or go to work or something, eagerly anticipating the next chance I'd have to pick it back up and see what Jacob was up to. The peculiar children are much more interesting, and less creepy, than the photographs suggest, and it was easy to imagine what they would be like if I were to visit Wales and run into them at the crumbling orphanage.
One of the biggest complaints I have heard about this book is that it wasn't what people had expected from the cover/summary, and honestly I am relieved that it wasn't what I expected. I don't really like creepy or scary, as my overactive imagination tends to give me nightmares. Especially since I read so much at night rather than during the day.
As much as I hate being 'that guy', I've been trying to find more books told from a male POV. So many young adult novels are told by a female, and while I do still read and enjoy them, it'd be nice to be able to relate to the narrator just a little bit more (Hunger Games and Divergent are awesome, but I start fading out when the narrators are discussing the guys they are interested in). Jacob is a confused, lost teenager trying to make sense of what happened to his grandfather, and it was refreshing to be able to identify so well with the protagonist and to not have to cross any gender boundaries. Again, though, I'm not trying to be sexist or anything. I just would like to see more male narrators in the world of young adult novels (and for them not to be about sports and only sports).
Overall I found Miss Peregrine to be unique, inventive, and very entertaining, and I'm looking forward to the release of Hollow City, the second Ransom Riggs novel, in January. If you haven't taken a look at this New York Times bestseller yet, you should definitely get on that :) (less)
So, the author of this book sent me a digital version of it for an honest review, which I intend to deliver on (as I do with every book I read, whether or not the author requested a review). Killer Rumors is a gripping story that you can't help but be pulled in by, and if not for the grammatical errors and lack of proofreading it would certainly be a 5 star novel. However, I had to give this book 3 out of 5 stars because the jumps from present to past tense and vice versa, coupled with bad grammar, really interfered with my ability to truly enjoy this book as much as I could have. Again, the plot and the story development were phenomenal, but the execution of the book was less than stellar.
I was blown away at how deeply I was pulled into this story, and how quickly it happened. Not many stories have the ability to really make me wish I had a longer lunch break on which to read, but Fiore has a way with plot and character development. Frank Rinelli and his partner Nick Lorenzzo are immensely likable, filled with the wit and quips that come with the territory of being literary detectives (I highly doubt that detectives are really as sharp and witty as those that live in the pages of a book, likely due to an author's time spent developing the dialogue for his characters to deliver). I had a blast watching them try to discover who was killing off the priests and church employees, made even more entertaining by the fact that Fiore gives the killer his own voice in the novel. The reader gets to see what's going through his head, and why he has planned and executed these horrific crimes. I've read a lot of crime novels (here's looking at you, James Patterson), and this author certainly has the drive and the imagination to become a major player in this genre.
That is, of course, if there is a bit more editing done. The verb tense shifts back and forth from present to past, and it is so difficult and so disorienting to read. Add to this word salad and other assorted grammatical errors, and the incredible story loses its luster somewhat. It took away from my ability to sit and read for an extended period of time, no matter how intrigued and curious I was to see what was going to happen next. And I assure you, most of your time spent reading this will be on the edge of your seat, anxious for the next chapter and the next plot twist.
Killer Rumors is a fast pace crime thriller that I would read again and again (and probably be shocked at the ending again and again as well). Assuming, of course, that it is edited and re-released. I look forward to seeing what else the imaginative mind of Antonello Fiore can come up with in future installments of this series. (less)