DNF at 150 pages, because the pretension of the writing was just too much for me to bear, and my eyes hurt from all the rolling.
Leigh Bardugo knows RuDNF at 150 pages, because the pretension of the writing was just too much for me to bear, and my eyes hurt from all the rolling.
Leigh Bardugo knows Russian. She wants you to know that she knows. She is incredibly proud that she knows Russian. She would like a cookie for it. This is why there are random bits of Russian thrown in where they have no place being, because we are supposed to be impressed that she knows Russian (or, not realizing that, impressed that she can come up with so many words). Well, I too know Russian, and I am not impressed.
There is absolutely no reason for characters to randomly interject bits of Russian into their speech, when the world this takes place in is English-speaking and no mention is made of bilingualism. What the hell is the purpose of having a soldier say “Da, kapitan” instead of “Yes, captain”? What does that add to the story or to the reader’s enjoyment of it?
Other issues include an enormous overabundance of Proper Nouns – apparently listing enough of those now qualifies as world-building. I also did not care at all about any of the characters, because they were all so flat. In short, there is practically nothing to recommend about this book....more
The King’s Curse is Philippa Gregory’s “Days of Future Past,” tying together all her books in one fell swoop. Serving as a sequel to the utterly appalThe King’s Curse is Philippa Gregory’s “Days of Future Past,” tying together all her books in one fell swoop. Serving as a sequel to the utterly appalling White Princess, and running parallel to the meh Constant Princess and the superb Other Boleyn Girl, King’s Curse works because it is slightly removed from the action. I feel like most of Greogry’s Tudor novels work best when told from the point of view of someone who is involved, but not vying for the throne themselves – hence, her strongest Tudor books are Other Boleyn Girl and Queen’s Fool.
Margaret Pole is an interesting protagonist, because despite having one of the best claims to the throne, she is almost unique among Gregory’s Cousins War protagonists in that she does not want the throne. Margaret just wants to survive and see her family and friends thrive, and in this I related to her better than most of the others. This allows her to see the big picture of contenders for the throne and various possibilities, which provides a better sense of the wider Tudor royalty that the tunnel vision of queenly candidates does. I liked getting her perspective on the “Boleyn whore” and Jane Seymour.
But Gregory’s best accomplishment here is her villain. I flip-flop back and forth over who is more villainous in Gregory’s books, Henry VII or Henry VIII, and I think this book gives us our definitive answer. Henry VIII is terrifying and appalling, and the sense of fear that pervades this book is extremely well-done. I found myself hoping against hope that history would be rewritten and Henry would be ousted, but there is no happy ending here. And it’s so easy to see how it happened – how little things were allowed to slide until they all added up to a complete tyrant.
King’s Curse restored my faith in Gregory after the abomination that was her last book. Since this is the last book in her Cousins War series (which was a tremendous success outside of one book), I look forward to what her next endeavor will be....more
I absolutely loved Chasing Power, which finds Sarah Beth Durst back in fine form. The story of a telepath and a teleporter, a quest for hidden treasurI absolutely loved Chasing Power, which finds Sarah Beth Durst back in fine form. The story of a telepath and a teleporter, a quest for hidden treasures, intertwined and extremely dysfunctional families, with romance and humor thrown in… what’s not to love?
Durst’s imagination continues to impress – she makes the absolute most of her main characters’ powers, finding new and very clever uses for them. She also has a gift for humor, and this book had me laughing aloud at multiple points. The banter between the younger characters was great, and there is one “chase” scene at the end that had me in absolute stitches. She captures the randomness and humor of real conversation, and I loved that.
This book is also incredibly empowering for young readers, because the main plot is concerned with teenagers rectifying the mistakes of their parents. The families here are exceedingly dysfunctional, and it’s mostly because of parents behaving badly. I loved watching all the familiar drama unfold, and the teen characters come into their own. There are cool action sequences, plot twists, and much more that fills up the book and makes it enjoyable. But the best thing here is the family dynamics going on, which I feel is not as common in YA, and which I very much liked....more
I’m a longtime fan of Sarah Beth Durst, and I think her first foray into adult books went very well. The first fifty pages of the book are quite slow,I’m a longtime fan of Sarah Beth Durst, and I think her first foray into adult books went very well. The first fifty pages of the book are quite slow, and I did not really get into it until Lauren becomes a pariah in Lost and the action begins. I thought Durst did a good job creating Lost, mixing just the right amount of whimsy and gloom to properly set the stage.
Have to say, I was not a fan of the love interest, Peter. While I’m sure his bare tattooed chest (which is mentioned in every scene he’s in) is lovely, in my mind he never quite made the transition from creepy to romantic. But I did love Claire, with her relentless optimism, who was a welcome change of pace from all the gloomy adults.
The reason this book gets bumped up to five stars is actually the part toward the end of the book with Lauren’s mother. The mother has cancer and is dying, and underneath the fantastic elements, this book is really about how a woman deals with her mother dying. I, unfortunately, have plenty of experience losing family members to cancer. Durst perfectly captures the entire experience in this book, every heart-wrenching twist and turn.
I found myself really liking the protagonist, Lauren. She is flawed, and a very realistic character - I feel like a woman in her circumstances could very well be exactly like Lauren is written. She is somewhat selfish, but I never begrudged her it, because it was understandable. And I love that she is proactive, always making plans and figuring out what to do, instead of just waiting for the next calamity.
So even though this is clearly a series, and the book ends on something of a cliffhanger, I think it actually kind of works as a standalone because the story of Lauren and her mother is complete. That said, I will be buying Book 2 on release day anyway!...more