Having read The Awakening, I have a better appreciation for what's happening in this series now.
We left Kat at the end of Episode 1 hiding from the Bi...moreHaving read The Awakening, I have a better appreciation for what's happening in this series now.
We left Kat at the end of Episode 1 hiding from the Big Bad Directorate in Paris, away from her Unalil protectors, and getting along with Dominic, who works for the Directorate. In this one episode she meets with Dominic's employer, and makes a few new friends. Meanwhile, Ben is gearing up to approach Yara about the secret they both share (also, I understand why she's so important now, her father is Very Important).
I didn't understand Kat's motivations in this episode. She met with someone who represents the Big Bad and seemed more concerned about how she was under-dressed for the dinner than actually how she was in danger. She also trusted her safety to Dominic, without even letting her Unalil protectors know what was up. Then she met up with the other group of Shape-shifters.
Kat is also thinking a lot more about Alek and Amarok, so I think they're about to rear their heads soon. Actually, the way that men treat her is starting to make me uncomfortable - Unalil and Tabérin men are making all these oaths, and they are bound to cause conflicts later. And I really want to know about the bracelets.
Ben and Yara have a more predictable plot-line here, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes. Their chapters seem to dominate this Episode, and I didn't mind, but I am curious to see how it will link up with Kat's. Ben's chapters have lack the maturity of Kat's, and he is very much ah hormonal teenaged boy who has a major crush on the popular girl, who is also half Tabérin.
Again, this episode ends really well and I'm glad I have the next one ready to go!
Momentum Books is publishing Adina West's Dark Child series as serialised novels. In 2013 they published the first book, The Awakening, as a 5 part se...moreMomentum Books is publishing Adina West's Dark Child series as serialised novels. In 2013 they published the first book, The Awakening, as a 5 part serial, and are doing the same with the sequel: Coven's Rising. I wish I'd read up on the series more carefully, because the titles on Netgalley and Goodreads are confusing. It doesn't help that the books are called Dark Child (The Awakening): Episode 1, or Dark Child (The Awakening): Omnibus Edition, or Dark Child (Coven's Rising): Episode 1. Even the covers imply that Dark Child is the name of a book and not the series.
Since this is the first part of the second book in a series, I was a little lost as soon as I started the Episode 1. Names were thrown at me from everywhere and the main character kept referring to important events that had already happened. I finally figured out I was missing a whole book's worth of information. I've since bought The Awakening and plan to read it before continuing.
However, you are probably smarter than me, and won't be picking up Coven's Rising before reading The Awakening. So let's forget about my confusion for a second.
I really like the main character, Kat. She's got heart and courage, and I think her predicament is interesting (she seems to be transitioning from human to something ... else, and it requires the ingesting of a lot of blood. A lot of blood). Coven's Rising is written in dual point of view - we have Kat, our awesome almost-vampire girl, and Ben, who's going to become a vampire one day and has to keep that a secret from everyone around him. Since Kat had all this history that I initially found confusion, but Ben didn't, I inevitably ended up enjoying Ben's chapters more. I also liked the secondary characters (or rather, the brief glimpses I got of them in this fifth of the novel), especially Jackson.
The world of Dark Child is interesting, and I can't say I fully understand it yet, but I love that Kat is a scientist and that she approaches her vampirism as an experiment. I like that there are differences in the blood of vampires, humans, and half-breeds, that vampire blood reacts differently when put under stress, and that Kat's blood is different again from these three.
As with Troll Mountain, the other serialised novel I've read this year, I was disappointed when Episode 1 ended because I finally had a handle on the world and what was going on and then this part finished! Luckily I have the second and third parts ready to go!
So: read the first novel (Dark Child (The Awakening): Omnibus), and then jump into the sequel with Dark Child (Coven's Rising): Episode 1. I've enjoyed the first part of this serialisation and will be continuing to read (and review) them :) I'm looking forward to finding out more about this world!
Troll Mountain is a serialised story that will be released in three parts, and is Matthew Reilly’s first foray int...moreEpisode I: The Tyranny of the Trolls
Troll Mountain is a serialised story that will be released in three parts, and is Matthew Reilly’s first foray into young adult literature. I’m a huge fan of his, so it’s great to finally have a book of his that I can review on this blog (well yes, I can review the Jack West novels here too, but I’ll wait until “Four….” is released).
Troll Mountain is an exciting fantasy adventure focussed on seventeen year old Raf, who lives in a village that is plagued by a strange illness. The only cure is held by the trolls who live on Troll Mountain, who dislike helping humans and ask a terrible price in exchange for their help. When Raf’s twin sister takes ill and the village elders don’t help him out, Raf decides to journey alone to Troll Mountain and steal the elixir that will save her.
Raf, who has had a relatively sheltered life as an orphan in his village, meets a few interesting people along the way and soon realises the world is more dangerous than he’d first suspected.
Whereas in Reilly’s earlier works it’s been easy to really get behind the hero and love him, I found it really heard to like Raf. Not because he’s not likeable, but because very little of his character comes across in this short novella. It’s scope is much too small I don’t feel like I got enough out of it. My suggestion to future readers is to wait for the omnibus edition and read the story as a whole rather than in parts.
The characters lack nuance, and I wonder if Reilly has fallen into a trap many authors do when writing YA for the first time: underestimating the audience. The characters all seem like cardboard cutouts – Raf is the soft-hearted hero with hidden reserves of courage, Dum is a mistreated troll that will show us that not all trolls are evil, and Ko is the all-knowing Yoda type character.
The story-telling is still amazing, and as usual Reilly sucks readers in from the very first sentence. Once I began reading I didn’t want to be interrupted, but the book is over in a blink of an eye and left me desperate for more!
The world that has been created here is very interesting, and I think Episode II will have a lot to offer because our trio will get closer to Troll Mountain and have to navigate some traps in the hobgoblin caves (yay traps!)
Troll Mountain: Episode I sets up Raf’s adventure well, but I’m looking forward to see the story grow into the kind of book I have come to expect from Reilly. It is exciting to see the author branch out and try a pure fantasy story, and I will be reading Episodes II and III soon! However, I recommend that readers seek out the omnibus edition rather than the serialised version because it will be more enjoyable to read the story that way.
Ok, so I know that a solar flare killed off almost everyone on earth. There were two hundred people in the (U...moreI don’t actually know what happened here.
Ok, so I know that a solar flare killed off almost everyone on earth. There were two hundred people in the (US?) army. There are ten people left in the world, with type O blood. I don’t actually know what the adults do now, but the kids go to school (that’s right, they’re in SCHOOL!).
Not Hermia though. I think she was a dancer in a strip club? Maybe.
Anyway, Hermia, Nate and a bunch of other kids (aged 17-20) are kidnapped and then put into a freakishly lavish training centre and trained. To kill the people who are threatening the life of the President (of the US?), or to protect the President, or maybe both. Except that their training includes being killed, almost killed, and maimed frightfully. I’m not entirely sure how that works either.
The story is told in dual point of view by Hermia and Nate, who (thankfully) aren’t destined to be romantically involved. I liked Nate a lot, but Hermia was really annoying. She judges anything and everything around her, no one is ever good enough for her. She’s got issues. Any display of emotions makes her want to vomit, the charming thing she is. Nte was much more enjoyable to read about. He’s level-headed and cares for the people around him – a natural born leader.
The romances in this book are oddly clinical. I didn’t feel any passion or fire, Nate and Hermia just saw people and fell in insta-love. Oh, and there was a bizarre obsession with eyes: everyone was either falling into eyes or captured by eyes. Eyes changed colour, pupils dilated, darkened with desire etc. Eyes, eyes everywhere. Actually, I remember thinking at one point that Marina was just a pair of blue eyes to Nate, maybe with lips attached for kissing. (Har har, I’m funny).
But the biggest let down of this book wasn’t the world-building or the romances, it was the oddly clunky plotting. I really don’t have a clue what was going on most of the time. Some of the kids died in the training and many of them sustained horrible injuries. It really made no sense if they were kidnapped to be the heart of some rebellion or protection detail. Also, they were just walking around and they stumbled on the headquarters of the bad guys. Moreover, the climactic battle was very confusing, with people running everywhere and getting themselves captured or killed, and then the captured people were rescued in increasingly unrealistic fashions. And the ending really, really confused me.
I was liking the book while I was reading it – there was certainly a lot going in – and I guess I’d assumed that everything would eventually become clear. Except it didn’t. So when I turned the last page, I was mostly disappointed. Enmity left me very confused, and ultimately I didn’t enjoy it much at all.