This book was super awesome and I am tempted to give it 4.5/5, but I think I am...moreA video version of this review also appears at: A Match Made in Heaven
This book was super awesome and I am tempted to give it 4.5/5, but I think I am gonna have to stick to 4/5 for a couple of reasons. The first being the major info-dumping that happened in the first 50 pages. I had some trouble getting through that, but I hope you will find it easier, after reading this and knowing that greatness is waiting on the other side. The other reason this loses half a star is because of the amount of different clairvoyants there are, and trying to keep track of them all, and their weird names and what they all mean. Some are straightforward; like soothsayers, and mediums, and necromancers. Others are not; like drymimancers, astragalomancers, and cleidomancers. These kinds of words kept getting thrown at us as if we were supposed to know what it meant. Eventually I had to just give up and skim over them. Although, you can sometimes pick up what they mean from the context.
One of the first things you need to know before starting this book is that there is absolutely no basis for any comparison to JK Rowling. That is a ludicrous claim that no one should have ever made. If Samantha Shannon's writing emulates anyone, it would be Veronica Roth. World and tone-wise, I would compare it to The Hunger Games. And characters and romance-wise, I would compare this to Shatter Me and Half-Blood. I thought it was absolutely engrossing, but its still just a YA paranormal. A great YA paranormal. Story and mythology-wise there is nothing I can think to compare this to.
The story starts out with Paige in Scion, explaining to us how clairvoyants have become feared and hunted over the years, starting with the alternate history of King Edward VII. The info-dumping explains Scion's underworld, but its not really that important. After less than 50 pages Paige is taken away to Sheol. Sheol is a hidden city where supernatural beings who have made a pact with the Scion government, take clairvoyants to enslave them. The Rephaim of Jewish mythology are giant, beautiful beings from the netherworld. Its a complex mythology and I am sure there is still a lot more to learn about them in the future books.
Paige's new master is Arcturus, usually called Warden. He is intimidating and a strict task-master as he taught her to use her gift to become a soldier fighting the Emim, creatures that followed to Rephaim from the netherworld. I hated him so much at the beginning. He never beat her like the other keepers, but he let bad things happen to her and other people, and he tried to force her to cooperate. But Paige's spirit was strong. She was a fighter. In that way she reminded me of Juliette and how she fought against Warner in book 1 of Shatter Me. How she refused to play his games.
But unlike in Shatter Me, there is no love-triangle in this. As much as I hated Warden in the beginning, I suspected he would become the love interest, and the book actually brought me around to that idea. I ended up rooting for Warden way sooner than I would have expected myself to, considering how much I hated him in the beginning. He was stoic, and mysterious, but you could tell how much he was watching out for Paige. He took care of her as much as he could get away with before it would become suspicious. And in that way, he reminded me of Warner, and I really recommend this book for fans of Shatter Me. I am very curious where their relationship will go in the end. It is a planned 7-books series, so they have a long journey ahead of them.
This series is a lot darker than the average YA novel, though. The Rephaim were torturing and killing humans left, right, and center. There was always a sense of danger and mystery, because we didnt know how much danger Paige was really in. How many of the Rephaim knew what she was up to? Did Warden know? What did he want from her? You never really knew, until it was too late. Its a really unique, complex world that captivated me. I highly recommend this book!(less)
I really enjoyed this book for the most part. It might deserve more of a 3.5/5.
It was wonderful seeing a different side of the characters that we tho...moreI really enjoyed this book for the most part. It might deserve more of a 3.5/5.
It was wonderful seeing a different side of the characters that we thought we knew so well. I really enjoyed the new perspective. I also really enjoyed the characters of the servants. They were all wonderfully developed and, in Baker's story, even more dynamic than the Bennetts. But that could also be a complaint. The Bennetts, for the most part, seemed to be washed-out versions of the wonderful characters that we know them to be. And some of the behind the scenes additions seemed out of spirit with the Pride and Prejudice we know and love. I am not entirely sure how I feel about some of the additions, such as (view spoiler)[Mr. Bennett having an illegitimate son with Mrs, Hill, and Mary being in love with Mr. Collins (hide spoiler)].
But I loved the heroine, Sarah. She refused to accept what life had given her and wanted more and was going to take it. Even if her head was temporarily turned by a pretty face, she eventually found happiness with James and a better life for herself. Her story was wonderful.
So I would say, if you are a die-hard fan of Jane Austen, that you might want to check this out, but read it with caution, and be warned that it may not be what you expect. It had a wonderful HEA and many moments that had me crying. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I ended up enjoying this a lot more in the end. The first half of the book was so slow that I was struggling through it and thought there was no way I...moreI ended up enjoying this a lot more in the end. The first half of the book was so slow that I was struggling through it and thought there was no way I was going to enjoy it as much as book one. But the second half of the book really picked up and ended up being better than book 1. So it evens out and I am giving it the same rating.
Overall I dont think I care enough about this series to give it a proper review, but I love the depth of emotion that everyone has in this series. How much Rain and Ellysetta love and need each other. How much Gaelan loves and cares for his sister. How much Gaelen and Bel care for Ellysetta. The Fey are full of so much devotion.
(view spoiler)[I am so glad that Rain and Ellysetta are finally married. Their need to resist each other was getting pretty tedious, as was the wedding planning. Although that was her mother's fault. As much as I hated Lauriana and as glad as I am that she is dead and out of the story, I still cried at her funeral. I think I was crying for Lorelle and Lillis. I cant wait to see Rain and Ellysetta complete their bond. I assume it will be pretty epic. I also really want the Fey to find out about Shannisorran and Elfeya. (hide spoiler)]
I am going to be taking some time off this series. I wont be ordering King of Sword and Sky from my library right away. I would probably frustrate myself too much, knowing that book 3 wont progress as much as I'd like. But I look forward to reading it some time in the future. At the right time to appreciate it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I would like to give this 3.5/5. When I asked for recommendations for High Fantasy Romance, this is not exactly what I had in mind. Romance was about...moreI would like to give this 3.5/5. When I asked for recommendations for High Fantasy Romance, this is not exactly what I had in mind. Romance was about 2% of this book. This was a High Fantasy court intrigue through and through, with a touch of magic.
I really liked the main character, Cazaril. He was intelligent, loyal, humble, unusually kind and selfless, determined, and brave when fighting for who and what he believed in. But as a love interest? He was not at all what I look for in a love interest. He was bookish, quiet, and sickly. He was also 16 years older than his love interest.
The romance in this was by no means a focus. There were a few random moments that were enough to make it known that Cazaril had feelings for Betriz, but it was not an epic love. It was a common love. The kind that is good in real life, but not in books. In books its rather disappointing. Its the kind of love that is mostly respect and fondness. The kind that results when a modest girl finds a good husband who will take care of her and provide for her.
The story was somewhat epic though. The story of Cazaril, the most loyal servant anyone could ever ask for, risking life and limb, risking his very soul, facing long avoided enemies, and traveling across mountains and countries to protect his mistress and free her family from the shadow of a curse. And of course, Cazaril is not particularly imposing or physically capable. The fact that he can barely walk and usually vomits after a day on horseback perhaps makes it more impressive that he does it at all.
So, if you cannot tell by now, I think that Cazaril carried this book, but even he wasnt enough to make me care about the "romance", if you can even call it that. All in all, it was engaging, if a bit slow. I was very invested in his character, and it had a pleasing HEA. But I will not be continuing the series, or perhaps, ever reading any more books by this author. They are not really up my alley. (less)