**spoiler alert** When Copper Suns Fall, by KaSonndra Leigh (e-ARC provided by the author) Series: Copper Suns book 1 Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Supern**spoiler alert** When Copper Suns Fall, by KaSonndra Leigh (e-ARC provided by the author) Series: Copper Suns book 1 Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Paranormal, Dystopia Published: November 2011 Pages: 381
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After eyeballing this book for its gorgeous cover and appealing contents, becoming Facebook-buddies to KaSonndra Leigh and shamelessly offering her my review in return for a free copy of ‘When Copper Suns Fall’, KaSonndra was kind enough to indulge me with an e-version of her book! THANK YOU once more for that, KaSonndra. And good luck on the book sales!
Let me start off by saying that digital reading and I will never, ever become friends. I find it harder to feel a connection with characters, kind of like the same way chatting to someone on your computer makes you feel. You *know* it’s them you’re talking to, but it’s not as good as the real thing. Something personal is seriously lacking.
Maybe that’s why it took me a little time to get into the story, but once I did, I really did! KaSonndra’s writing strengths truly lie with action sequences, because these happen fluently and believable. Her story-telling skills are great. Exciting plot turns, fencing scenes which made me hold by breath (unbeknownst to me) and mysterious boys slowly being unravelled. The plot has been given much thought and the story has a good build-up towards the climax. Great potential exists to develop this whole world even more in further books. I was confused many times though, about who the good guys were, and the bad guys. Which in my opinion does make things even more realistic: in real life there (usually) isn’t ‘just’ good or evil, there are so many shades of grey in between!
For the biggest part this a very fluently written story, it reads away easily in an agreeable, but sort of poetic prose. Some beautifully written, poetic comparisons are easily woven throughout the entire story:
Or maybe they thought I was a little bird waiting to be given an award for staying quiet.
Feelings however, are kind of suppressed -or get repeated in words (‘telling rather than showing’) several times. Also, sometimes there are (tiny) jumps leaving me confused and wondering whether I missed a bit. Then there were times descriptions of some things were lacking, like the depiction of the other world beyond the graveyard. Also, I stumbled across some wrongly written referrals which made me wonder who edited the book before it was published.
The romance between Chela and Faris, much like the time they spend in the other world, evolves rather quickly. Too quickly. They share some time and memories together and somehow out of the blue, a kiss happens. Without really reading about Chela’s change in feelings. It felt shallow somehow. Overall Chela is an easy-to-sympathize-with-character, as are the other characters. There’s some growth, some struggle. They’re not cardboard cut-outs, but they’re not the best-written characters I’ve encountered either.
I realize how hard it is to write something original, something nobody has thought off yet. Everything has been done already. And most of this story was very original in its plot, setting and time. But there were many details that felt familiar to me (you can play a guess-game if you’d like), like the fencing, body-tattoos, paintings that come to live, the mansion where kids with special abilities are being trained, the other world not susceptible to normal persons’ eyes, etc.
Of course, no author owns the rights to any setting unless it’s a world they created themselves, so there’s nothing actually wrong with KaSonndra’s choice of having an important part of this book take place in an amusement park… So what if it happened to play a big role in the 'Hush, Hush' books too? (Which, by the way, dealt with angels also...) Mind you: since ‘When Copper Suns Fall’ trumps ‘Hush, Hush’ on various levels, there’s no loss here, only gain.
All in all I enjoyed the story in itself, but it felt like a draft version, still rough around the edges. It definitely has potential, it’s a promising story, but it needs some more editing and tweaking. ‘When Copper Suns Fall’ deserves those extra pages to improve the story, in my opinion! So it can truly shine like a copper sun, not fall...
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan Series: Immortal Beloved, book 1 Genre: YA, Fantasy Published: September 2010 Pages: 407 My rating: 2 stars UNFINISHED! Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan Series: Immortal Beloved, book 1 Genre: YA, Fantasy Published: September 2010 Pages: 407 My rating: 2 stars UNFINISHED!
It couldn’t have been just the blurb that got me to buy this book, because that still made me wonder what on earth the book was about. So, other than the beautiful cover, it must have been a review that drew me to the book instead. Because reading the summary on Goodreads didn’t do it for me either, to be honest…
Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past. Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.
So, how interesting can a book about an immortal wasting her (not so-precious) time be? After the overdose of vampires, angels, witches, faeries, dragons and other supernatural beings we’ve had lately, it was high time for a ‘new’ supernatural species. Why not drag out the old (pun intended) immortals again?! Okay, why not? Okay, why so? After reading the initial paragraphs I wasn’t even that curious to find out WHY Nastasya’s life had been turned upside down, because she sounded like a drag. But I read on anyway. (One thing that stood out immediately though: the book is written in the third person! Finally! I was beginning to think they stopped making them all together!)
However, as I said before: Nastasya’s mind, where I found myself the entire time, never stopped spinning in circles with the same uninteresting, selfish thoughts. After what happened in the beginning I really didn’t like this girl. Woman. Antique. At all. I was baffled that someone her age (about 450 years old!) still acted so adolescent. Her friends seemed like ‘the wrong crowd’ also; an elite, arrogant, sadistic, superficial, egoistic clique. Especially Innocencio. (Note: I understand people had different names in the past, but these are truly unpronounceable…) But, a good thing happened when ‘Nasty’ didn’t like herself either and ran away, ending up at a kibbutz/rehab centre for immortals. Reyn sounded like a dream come true, being, you know, the guy you usually don’t encounter unless he’s on the cover of cheap romance novel. Swoon.
Not certain whether to blame my own lack of reading mood/time, or the promise of having to continue this particular book, I choose to go with the last reason after all. I gave the book another chance last night and continued reading. It seems the only time Nastasya really had been happy was during the sixties: when she was on drugs, at parties. How shallow. How pathetic. Things became even worse (be it with a heads-up provided by Cate Tiernan herself) when Nasty found out about Reyns German background/origins and decided to act on them when he suggested she could rinse the dishes.
Proving that maturity doesn’t necessarily come with age, I saluted and goose-stepped to the sink. ‘Yes, Herr Kommandant!’
My jaw practically dropped to the floor upon reading that, feeling vicariously embarrassed for Nasty. The story proceeded to drinking herbal tea, kneading bread and Nastasya’s thoughts about those things, as well as her thoughts on the self-grown vegetables. Not only extremely boring to her, also to me. Nastasya is a failure, a loser, a quitter, a very adolescent girl despite her age. She’s all the things I mentioned above about her ‘crowd’ which makes her an unattractive person, unappealing to me and underserving of my further attention.
I don’t care what’s going to happen to Nasty, whether she will succeed in becoming a better person. It only took her 450 years to realise what a horrible person she is, I however already knew after reading the first page. (Maybe that IS a sign of good writing though?!) She couldn’t have had a better nickname. After reading about 82 pages I finally decided to give up. I’m not wasting my time reading her story, the way she wasted her eternal life.
If I happen to find myself being immortal after all, I might give ‘Immortal Beloved’ another chance. Until then it’s ‘Immortal Whatever’ to me. ...more
So, I just finished reading this, the tears are still on my cheeks, but I don’t want it to end. I want to read it again, now. Always. Somehow, Cynthia Hand was able to look straight into my heart. How is it possible she used the (almost) exact same words in her book, as my (now dearly departed) mother told me…?
'You and I have a connection that nothing, not on heaven or earth, or even hell, could ever break. If you want to talk to me, talk to me. I’ll hear you…’
Yes, this book touched me in a personal way because I have been through some of the things Clara Gardner went through. Which wouldn’t have been possible if Clara wasn’t such a strongly written character.
And characters are indeed one of the many strong aspects of this book (and its predecessor). More specifically: Clara Gardner. She’s a real teenage girl who makes mistakes, even if she is part angel. She thinks for herself, tries to find the answers her mother won’t / can’t give her and she’s strong-willed (or stubborn, depending on which way you look at it…), for she’s willing to go against her purpose because of the love she feels for Tucker. Which may come across as selfish –you know, going against the Grand Design and all- but the way Cynthia Hand has written Clara, makes that choice totally understandable. The feelings she has for Tucker are so realistic, so pure, so natural you can actually feel them yourself. It's hard not to love a guy like Tucker, who is the perfect boyfriend, without being too good to be true. Still, Clara doubts herself, knowing it’s not right. Knowing Tucker should have died in that forest fire. When the moment comes that Clara realises her new vision is about the death of someone close to her, I myself could almost feel the slap she got in her face. Later on, when she finds out (through the ever curious Angela Zerbino) that she was wrong and someone else’s life is at stake, it broke my heart even more. The way she felt was painfully lifelike, the zombie-state she went in, because I have been in that place myself, alas. (Here, the staccato-writing style works marvellous.)
‘The absence of certainty’ could be the motto of Clara’s life, she thinks, when she hears Christian say those words. But amidst the craziness that is her life, Clara still manages to maintain her wits:
‘I’m having an argument with myself. And I’m losing. So not a good sign.’
Slowly, the mystery surrounding Christian Prescott, (the part-angel boy who apparently shared Clara’s initial vision) gets resolved. Again, naturally paced, because of Clara’s aversion of being in his presence at first, and the awkward conversations they have. Finally a sensible (okay, that fact is open for discussion when it comes to many other things, but in this case…) girl who admits memorizing the facts and physique of some boy doesn’t mean you know him.
‘Every time I see him I’m struck by the fact that I don’t know actually know him. In spite of all the conversations we’ve had, the time we’ve spent in Angel Club together, the way I memorized practically every detail about him last year like some obsessed little Mary Sue, he’s still a mystery to me. He’s still that stranger who I only get glimpses of.’
As time goes by, Clara and Christian do become closer, forced by circumstances, based on friendship, the chemistry (still) existing between them and their joined purposes.
And finally Jeffrey, Clara’s younger brother, gets a bigger part. You can feel his change throughout the book, it makes you wonder what’s going with him and why. (Besides the obvious.) He’s been written incredibly life-like, the way he copes with life: his anger and his denial, the way he takes off; they’re all things I recognize from my own brother. Once his purpose is revealed, it all starts to make more sense.
Another surprise is the truth concerning Clara’s dad… Which, I won’t spoil of course. But the feelings surrounding him…
I want to mention a passage/ ‘event’ which surprised me enormously and filled me with joy, awe and warmth, it made me feel a bit overwhelmed even, like the time when Harry Potter visited the International Quidditch Finals. An original idea, totally fitting the story, adding more atmosphere to it. ‘Glorious’. The angelic details are certainly present, but not overwhelming. There's room for a real story, but still room for the supernatural background. Cynthia Hand found a way to create a perfect balance between all the elements in this book: plot/story, paranormal elements, romance, humor, character depth and growth: every ingredient is mixed together in this perfect 'Hallowed' blend.
There are some fun references to popular things happening nowadays, which will no doubt make this now-contemporary read, a fun retro book to read many years from now. For example, there’s an amusing comparison to Edward’s midnight gawk/stalk sleeping Bella sessions. Also there’s a comparison of which I kinda assume it’s an ‘ode’ to one of the best TV-shows ever, where Clara borrows the epic words Angela Chase in ‘My So-called Life’ once uttered as the words she would want to hear when having sex for the first time:
‘He’s beautiful (I think), so crazy beautiful it almost hurts to look at him--’
The initial pace of the book is slow-(ish). Yes, there are many things happening, but they are all easy to follow. The writing style is mostly fluent, though sometimes a bit too staccato to my liking. A bit childish perhaps. Not very poetic. Sometimes I’m annoyed by the lack in sentence variation, other times I’m pleasantly surprised by lengthy sentences.
That is, however, the only negative thing I have to say about ‘Hallowed’. It was better and more intense than ‘Unearthly’. It started out sweetly and slowly, but got so much deeper in an emotional way. The story swallows and envelopes you, in a bitter sweet embrace. Much like the moment you know you’re sharing your last painful kiss with a lover you don’t want to leave, but have to anyway. Crushing.
Despite the dissension surrounding the ‘Fallen’ series by Lauren Kate, I’ll gladly admit I enjoy the series. I’ll also gladly admit I had some trouble finishing the first book. However, the concept of 2 lovers who are destined to meet, fall in love, yet never survive their love (until now!) is heart breaking. Yes, haters, it is. Even though Daniel Grigori is a drag, I get why Lucinda Price loves and chooses him every single lifetime, despite the collision course she’s headed on.
Love where you least expect it.The Valentine of Shelby and Miles. I loved ‘Passion’ with all its peeks into Luce’s former lives, because I love reading about the past. There are many eras that still could be explored in Luce and Daniel’s history, and hopefully will be. Which is why the tale of Shelby and Miles was –besides being a good point to start- right up my alley. However short and sweet it was, it developed very natural, credible and slow-paced. Maybe the magical setting of the Valentine’s Faire in medieval England contributed to Shelby and Miles’ change in perception of one another and the shifting of their feelings, who knows. Despite the harshness, or maybe because of the simplicity in those days, I felt the happiness Shelby must have felt just being around Miles. I guess you could conclude that Shelby and Miles found love when they least expected it, not where. At first Shelby feared for a dreadful outcome though:
‘Thrilling. Twenty-four hours of feeling especially single and pathetic…medieval-style.’
Especially when she was reminded several times that her lack of knowledge of the past was eclipsed greatly by Miles’ scholarly mode.
‘Traveling with him was like carrying around an encyclopaedia.’
Love Lessons.The Valentine of Roland. Once Roland’s story began I was pleasantly surprised Lauren Kate wove these 4 stories together the way she did: each one is sort of a follow-up of the next, set in the same time and place, only seen through someone else’s eyes, dealing with someone else’s love life.
A quote that best describes the way Roland felt about his former love Rosaline is this one:
‘He might have been experienced at war, at rebellion against the divine, but when it came to romance, Roland’s heart had been the heart of a child.’
Next, add the advice of someone who didn’t have any luck with his own relationship (Cam) and you’ll understand what happened to Roland. Or rather, what Roland made happen to Rosaline. That it took him several centuries to finally come to peace with his past, was –despite my lack of affection for / interest in the guy-nothing short of heart breaking.
Burning Love.The Valentine of Arriane. Arriane’s story has two sides, like good and evil, day and night, darkness and light. I should have expected a lover like Tess I guess, but I still found myself pleasantly surprised. The sugariness was too much sometimes, but the daring proposition and consequences of the offer Arriane’s lover did, made up for that big time! This story had all the ingredients that lacked in the other stories. More spunk, more action, more epic-ness. And a devastating ending…
‘ As far as possible, Arriane realized, each soul had to be content alone before plunging into love, because one never knew when the other would move out of that love. It was the greatest paradox: Souls need each other, but they also need to not need each other.’
Endless Love.The Valentine of Daniel and Lucinda. Medieval Luce was a broken-hearted but wise girl.
‘The idea that a stroke of chance could decide my heart’s destiny does not appeal to me.’
This story actually takes place during ‘Passion’ (‘Fallen’#3) which is a fun bonus in its own way. The soul-clefting with Luce’s own old selves stays amazing. Of course, the readers already know about Bill’s intentions by now, which makes it feel like an inside joke. Other than the fact this Valentine has been the only one Lucinda and Daniel ever shared (and Cam’s cameo), nothing interesting happens. No new realizations for Luce, simply more Luce and Daniel in their own sappy way…
My overall impression of ‘Fallen In Love’.
Sugary sweet ‘n easy: as in easy to read, but also easily written.
Honestly? Most side characters never interested me that much. Besides Cam, obviously. Who happens to be left out of this novel, much to my regret. Then again, given the high doses of sweetness presented in this novel (yes, I’m aware it’s about Valentine, but still…) Cam’s absence is probably a good thing.
At times it feels like Lauren Kate knows her characters too well and they’re not exciting to her anymore. (Enter the ‘easy’ part!) Which is why my favourite, most surprising and most epic story from this novel, has to be Arriane’s story. Because despite the fact this Valentine was the only Valentine ever Luce and Daniel got to share, the story wasn’t refreshing and shared no new insights. Same old Luce and Daniel.
Even though I enjoyed the setting (the medieval Valentine’s Faire in England), it felt easy too. Some parts were described vividly, but the entire setting felt shallow and functioned like a backdrop rather than a well-described, detailed society.
Also it struck me that some sentences that could have been beautiful, life-altering and epic, failed to deliver their message because it was like Lauren Kate couldn’t find the right words to express her feelings. She simply told the stories she felt the need to tell, but neglected to use the prose it should have been accompanied with.
Enjoyable but slightly disappointing, fluently but shallowly written, a nice bonus but abundant in some ways, extremely sweet… but average. I'm giving it 3 stars because I like the series as a whole and this books adds some background.
To my regret… I haven’t ‘Fallen in Love’ with this book. ...more
Review will come... Lovely read, maybe too elaborate for the rather small plot but like the first instalment a great world with great characters to reReview will come... Lovely read, maybe too elaborate for the rather small plot but like the first instalment a great world with great characters to reside in. No disappointing sequel at all!...more
Finley Jane kicks ass. Literally. So does Kady Cross for creating her.
This was a short and sweet read. Kady's way of writing is beautiful, I enjoyedFinley Jane kicks ass. Literally. So does Kady Cross for creating her.
This was a short and sweet read. Kady's way of writing is beautiful, I enjoyed her sentences as much as the steampunk world she created. It sort of felt like an ode to 'Frankenstein', with its dark atmosphere, mystery, intrigue and even a mad scientist. But on the other hand it was sweet and feminine too.
It's so good to finally read about a strong female heroine, even though the heroine feels her 'other self' is sort of evil. From what I've read so far, I don't think she's evil. She has a strong sence of justice and is willing to defend the innocent. That she enjoys the process doesn't seem wrong to me at all. She hasn't killed anyone yet, only maimed them ;)
I love Finleys sarcasm, her honesty, her big heart, her bravoury, her wits, her quick reactions. I love how she throws the failure of Lord Vincents steampowered horses (the same horses she saved Lady Phoebe from, during a carriage-ride spun out of control!) right back in his face when she finds us his nasty plans. I love how she's overwhelmed by the riches and kindness she finds herself in when becoming her employers daughter's companion. The poor girl, Lady Phoebe, is married off to Lord Vincent, a middle aged inventor who will ensure her fathers gambling debts will be paid for. I like the way Finley *finally* realises why she's *really* hired after having a conversation with Lady Morton, Phoebes mother. I like the way all the girls seem to bond so easily and enjoy each others company and the treats of life amidst all the peril surrounding them.
The world Finley lives in is amazingly cool, steampowered inventions all over, such as carriages, sewing machines, mechanical horses and automatons.
I'm hooked, which is a good thing because 'The Girl In The Steel Corset' lies waiting for me. The book, that is. Not Finley ;)
The Iron Thorn (The Iron Codex #1), by Caitlin Kittredge
This book is a Must-Read! It’s got something for everyone: steampunk, romance, adventure, dystThe Iron Thorn (The Iron Codex #1), by Caitlin Kittredge
This book is a Must-Read! It’s got something for everyone: steampunk, romance, adventure, dystopian, secrets, mysteries, great characters, monsters, strange worlds, faeries, a beautiful written story, a plot with unexpected twists…
Here’s the short(ish) version of the review: * The cover seems very fitting, it projects the grim feeling of dark fantasy in the story, while bringing across the lonely feeling Aoife must have had many times, surrounded by those grey skies and spying Ravens. 5/5 stars * Caitlin Kittredge has a very poetic writing style, beautiful sentences string the pages of this book together. However, the story wasn’t overwritten: I found every word interesting, every word was where it needed to be and added only to the plot and story. The style and use of prose enhances and complements the feel of the story completely. 5/5 stars *The characters are very interesting and very real. They have good and bad qualities, they doubt themselves, they grow, they make mistakes, their relationships change. They’re actual humans, not just stereotypes, and you really care what happens to them. 5/5 stars *The story itself has many different elements: steampunk, adventure, dystopian, mystery, romance, dark fantasy... One minute you find yourself in the middle of an Indiana Jones movie with all the secret chambers and flying airships, the next minute you’ve landed in a grim, alien-like Fairytale world. Madness and alternate worlds battle over one another, which one is the actual reality? Never a dull moment, but all is blended together perfectly with some unexpected twists. The action is not too overwhelming, or at cost of the story/feelings/characters. The story puts quality over quantity (despite it being sizable enough with almost 500 pages) and lacks no depth, thankfully. The ending is not disappointing, it is truly epic in proportions. 5/5 stars *The plot and the alternate worlds built here were immensely thought through and well described with many details. The whole thing has a dystopian feel to it and steampunk it definitely is. Slowly the story develops, with surprising twists that keep you interested the entire time. It’s kind of like reading an old-school adventure, with secret chambers, traps, airship-travels, and so on. Until the story takes a turn one did not see coming, seemingly unfitting the steampunk elements. Until the author made it fit, logically and extremely well. Convincing us of the strange reality of this strange world where time ticks to a different clock. Where there is darkness, there is light. Where there is reason, there is magic. 5/5 stars *All in all I find it a very original idea, an original world. The real world, the ‘Iron’ world, is scary with its rules and demands. Dictatorial, cold, scientific; medieval even in the sense of punishing so-called heretics who do not accept their truth as the only truth. The ‘Thorn Land’ may even be scarier with its unpredictability; inhabited by corpse-drinking Mists, the treacherous ‘Folk’ and trees that could swallow you whole and turn you into part of them. 5/5 stars
Here's an even longer review: Already in the first chapter, a dizzying amount of info is being dropped on the reader. Necessary info, for building the world our main character ‘Aoife’ lives in. The story is being told from Aoife’s point of view (in the first person). The city of ‘Lovecraft’, Massachusetts, is a grim place, with its 17 asylums due to the immensely consuming ‘necrovirus’ which has infected many people. One of those infected people is Aoife’s mother Nerissa, whom she visits her every week in the asylum where she is committed as a charity case. Aoife never knew her father. The necrovirus slowly consumes ones brain until its victim becomes a ‘nightjar’: a ghastly creature who in turn can infect someone, after biting them.
Lovecraft runs on a big machine at the heart of the city, built by the ‘Master Builder’ who has become the ‘God’ of Lovecraft. There are strict rules provided by the government concerning what ‘aether tubes broadcastings’ inhabitants are allowed to listen to, where they can and can’t go, what they can read and what ‘religion’ they must have. Heretics are people who do not believe in science and reality, but practice magic instead. Therefore, they are severely punished (old style, by partial or whole burning rituals) for their ‘lack of ignorance’, when caught by the ’Proctors’. Ravens (mechanically engineered ravens who have the ability to recreate an image which can be seen my a magic lantern of some sorts) are the Proctors’ little flying spies.
Aoife and her best friend Calvin Daulton both go the Academy of Engines, Aoife as a charity case or 'ward of the state'. As a young girl she is not afraid to admit when she’s scared, especially now her 16th birthday is coming up. The necrovirus is latent in her family; Aoife’s brother Conrad has already been infected and was committed to an asylum after trying to kill his sister. However, he escaped. About 4 times a year he secretly writes her a letter to let her know he is still alive and ‘well’. When he sends her a letter telling her to go to ‘Greystone’ (their biological fathers house) in order to save herself and help him, Calvin and Aoife go on a secret mission. Will she find Conrad in time, or has he been lost for good? Maybe even dead?
After seemingly saving Aoife and Cal from becoming ghoul dinner because of their initially chosen guide, the attractive but illusive Dean Harrison leads them out of the city. Dean is somewhat of a mystery, a heretic in his own way, but very loyal when it comes to standing at Aoife’s side. Aoife is not sure what to make of him at first, a liar, or not? Here’s a quote from Dean that illustrates both Aoife’s doubts as well as Deans perspective on life: "A touch of truth makes a lie worth believing." Their journey involves places Aoife has only heard rumours about, such as the Nightfall Market, the ghost of a bridge that supposedly crashed years ago (taking 21 victims along with it…) and an eventful flight in an actual airship. Encounters with deadly mud-like monsters called Shoggoths, causing one of the characters serious (possibly lethal) injury by injecting them with the virus. The ‘mad’ flashes and visions are beautifully written; truly painful, poetical craziness.
The evolving relationships are written very believable and natural, the characters seem very real. Aoife discovers and unravels more and more about her father; his strange, secretive clockwork driven house and her lost brother. When she learns of the ‘Land of Thorn’ she doubts herself even more at first. Could she really possess a power, a ‘Weird’, like her father before her? Or are these the first signs of madness, seeing how Nerissa spoke of the Land of Thorns as well? Aoife’s self-confidence and fear keep altering, the hope to find her brother keeps her going, even though the fear for the lurking necrovirus stays with her. Learning the truth, discovering who really is the bad guy, experiencing her father’s memories, realising nothing and no one is what it/they seem(s); all these things only seem to make Aoife stronger. She intends to fulfil the destiny which has been forced upon her in order to protect her loved ones.
The author really takes you along the journey of feelings Aoife develops for Dean, slowly but steadily. Since Aoife is afraid she has no future besides the one in the madhouse, she doesn’t allow herself to get involved with anyone at first, not even Dean. She doesn’t need distractions from her quest either, after all. But Dean is the first person who does not judge her for her family’s burden en believes her without a doubt. He’s an outcast, like herself. More than once he risks his life to save hers, mind you despite the fact Aoife is not your typical damsel in distress! (She’s independent, smart, brave, not afraid to speak her mind, good with machinery and doesn’t act the way a ‘properly brought up young lady’ should.)
Calvin finds it hard to believe in anything besides the Proctors’ truth and is convinced that everything happening to Aoife is just another sign of her upcoming madness. The way he looks down upon the ‘common’ people, even if Aoife is one of them too, is not a nice personality trait. The way he feels towards women’s behaviour and future may be considered ‘normal’ during the fifties, I find Calvins expectations degrading. I actually didn’t understand why he befriended someone like Aoife at first, because associating with heretics (Nerissa) is punishable and he keeps throwing that knowledge in Aoife’s face in one way or the other, practically saying she should be thankful to have him. I find him quite nasty and unbearable and cannot comprehend why he sticks to Aoife’s side. Until things finally become clear... He’s the guy you expect to turn on his friends in the end, because of his allegiance to his country/beliefs/so-called righteousness/whatever. (You know the type…) But maybe he is not what he seems after all…
I did not expect what was happening in the end. At all. Some important things turned out right, other things spiralled out of control into a huge, epic disaster. The only downside I can see? The book ENDED. With a major cliff-hanger! I am seriously DYING to know what will happen to Aoife, Dean, Cal and even Bethina. What will happen to Thorn and Iron, though we saw disturbing glances already. I’m not ready to leave this world yet, to leave Aoife and Dean behind. I wanna go along with them on their journey and I certainly will, once the sequel is out. Which hopefully will be soon. Yesterday, if possible. Pretty Please, Caitlin Kittredge????