I didn't love this dsytopian book nearly as much as I thought I would. In fact, the word 'disappointed' hovers in the wings as I think back on it. May...moreI didn't love this dsytopian book nearly as much as I thought I would. In fact, the word 'disappointed' hovers in the wings as I think back on it. Maybe part of the problem was that it's a compilation of short stories contributed to by eleven authors, and not all of those authors are adept at condensing their work into such a short format. Some of the stories felt very rushed, others fell headlong into tell and not show, and in a few, the endings were just plain contrived.
I was however hooked by the cover - alluring - and the title - compelling. Well done to Atom for those.
To me the winners were:
Branded by Kelley Armstrong. As usual, I was riveted by Kelley Armstrong's writing. She delivered her usual kick with a gut-wrenching twist at the end. Action-packed, suspenseful storytelling. Four Stars.
Necklace of Raindrops by Margaret Stohl. Beautiful. Original. Inspiring. These are just some of the words that spring to mind. Her character development in these few short pages was astounding. And as for the ending . . . read it! Four Stars
Love is a choice by Beth Revis. Perhaps my favourite story? I think so. But then I do love Beth Revis's writing and am an eternal fan of her Across the Universe series. This story gives us a glimpse into the early life of Orion, Elder's nemesis in the Across the universe series. He makes a great character, rich and full-blooded. This story was a tantalising taster and I'd love to have more on him. Five Stars
Dogsbody by Rachel Caine. I loved the twist at the end of this pretty brutal tale! It's definitely worth a read. Three Stars
I really expected Veronica Roth - another of my perennial favourites - to be in my loved it list, but her story, while hugely original, didn't press my buttons. But then, Erin, my daughter, who also read it, is raving about Hearken, so maybe t's just me. Three Stars
The 'they're okay' stories included Corpse Eaters by Melissa Marr, Burn 3 by Kami Garcia, and Miasma by carrie Ryan. Two stars each.
There was one story I really hated - but then I didn't like her Wolf Chronicles either - and that was Pale Rider by Nancy Holder. it was utterly cringe-worthy in its writing, storytelling and concept. To me, the inclusion of these scribbles robbed the book of a a star. It was that bad. One star.
All told, would I recommend Shards & Ashes? If you like short stories and dystopians are your thing, then sure, you'll probably enjoy this. But if you are a Beth Revis fan, then YES, YES, YES. It's worth buying the book just for her contribution.
What can I say? Lindsay Buroker has done it again. A cracking short story, structured on a strong plot, and filled with the living-breathing character...moreWhat can I say? Lindsay Buroker has done it again. A cracking short story, structured on a strong plot, and filled with the living-breathing characters we've come to expect from her. Thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be reading more.(less)
I have mixed feeling about this book. I really enjoyed it, but I wish Hazel and Gus were more realistic as teenagers. Still, the pathos was wonderful...moreI have mixed feeling about this book. I really enjoyed it, but I wish Hazel and Gus were more realistic as teenagers. Still, the pathos was wonderful and, yes, I did shed a few tears. (less)
The Dream Thieves and I got off to a very slow start. I was half way through and I was still thinking of abandoning it, but then it clicked and I fina...moreThe Dream Thieves and I got off to a very slow start. I was half way through and I was still thinking of abandoning it, but then it clicked and I finally got into it. I won't say it was brilliant because it wasn't. But I'm intrigued enough to carry to carry on with the series. One positive though, Maggie Stiefvater is a queen of single-line descriptive writing. Very, very excellent. (less)
This book wasn't nearly as strong as Lindsay Buroker's other works. I don't want to say I was disappointed, but it did feel a little predictable. The...moreThis book wasn't nearly as strong as Lindsay Buroker's other works. I don't want to say I was disappointed, but it did feel a little predictable. The only spark came from our two mysterious bikers. On their own, Delia, Simon and Temi didn't have enough oomph to cary the day. I will however read the next one because of the ending. It definitely had promise.(less)
The book is definitely fun. A wonderful romp through the ton, following some interesting characters. I especially liked the heroine, Sophie. She has p...moreThe book is definitely fun. A wonderful romp through the ton, following some interesting characters. I especially liked the heroine, Sophie. She has plenty of spunk, coupled with a fair dollop of naivety. Due to a disability that renders her unable to dance - and makes her the contempt of the ton - she is quite retiring. Her life has been spent in the country, mastering the violin. She's a pro. Now in London for her first season, she little expects to go home with a husband - and certainly not a hunk like Lord Trowbridge. Or one with as many skeletons in the cupboard as Lord Trowbridge has, either. Wading through the effects of his previously debauched life, she has a tough time securing her happy ever-after.
For all that Lord Trowbridge was a London sophisticate, he was a bit of a dunce when it came to negotiating his way through the shark-infested waters of the ton. It made for some laughs - and a bit of eye rolling. But in the end the man got his girl.
This book is definitely worth a read if you like clean romances with a regency feel. (less)
Okay, let's the get the important stuff out the way . . . this cover: it's GORGEOUS. Yes, in capitals. I would read this book just for the co...more3.5 stars
Okay, let's the get the important stuff out the way . . . this cover: it's GORGEOUS. Yes, in capitals. I would read this book just for the cover. And the title. Who would not want to find out who the traitor is: Ethan or Kerrian? Well, I'm not telling you. You have to read it to find out.
So after than fan rave, what did I think of this book? Better or worse than the The Lost Prince?
Answer? Yes, it is, but then I only gave The Lost Prince three stars so that's not really difficult.
What makes The Iron Traitor better?
It's hard to say. There were some things that really bugged me about it. Not to give away spoilers, but in places it felt as if Kagawa was running a bit short on imagination - a dramatic admission because she is The Imagination Queen - but I saw bits of other books and even a big steal from the movie Monsters Inc in it.
Also, I was afraid after reading book one that the plot wasn't complex enough to fill a whole series, and I feel I was proved right. In this book Kagawa has fallen back on some well-known tropes to carry her story, for example: a prophecy now looms large.
Those points definitely detracted from my enjoyment, but there was a lot that made up for it and most of that goes back to Ethan and Keirran.
Ethan and Keirran!
Now there are two interesting male protagonists. I really enjoy being in Ethan's head and Keirran is a fascinatingly complex character. All the traits Ethan displayed in book one - loyalty, courage, determination - go into overdrive in this book. In a word, he's great. My only complaint is that he does a lot of fighting (yah, I love that) and gets multiple injuries in each fight, but still he keeps moving with nary a flinch. I found that a bit implausible, enough so for me to start shaking my head after awhile. Still, Ethan is definitely one of my favourite male protags and I will happily read more books with him in it.
Now for Keirran . . . wow. Julie Kagawa has a wild card here. At times I wanted to hug him and other times I could have kicked his butt all the way to Ash and demanded that Ash freeze his feet to the ground. (As an aside: I rather suspect that Ash feels the same way too. That said, Ethan also got up Meghan's and Ash's noses in this book. In fact he managed to annoy a lot of people. That's what makes him so much fun to be with)
The other characters?
Kenzie and Annwyl strutted their stuff, but they are definitely not show stealers. I like Kenzie - a lot - but Annwyl really bugs me. I think she's weak and she allows Keirran to do some really crazy things for her without too much care for the consequences. But then, if she wasn't weak we wouldn't have a story. Razor the gremlin is back in force here, and I loved every page he was on.
The Ending - Urgh, No!!!
No review of this book would be complete without a comment on the ending. It sucks. There, I said it. It's a cliffhanger of note and, what can I say, it sucks! All I could do was roll my eyes and demand that Harlequin tell me how long they intend making me to wait to find out what happened. Obviously, no such answer was forthcoming. Oh well, this is me waiting at the edge of my seat . . .
Finally, the all-important question . . . How many stars?
Humph . . . tough one. Definitely more than three but not quite four. So I guess that makes it's a three and a half. Still, I did enjoy it a lot and would recommend it to readers who love fey and intersting characters. Just a quick thank you to Harlequin for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.(less)
For the first third of the way through, I had no idea what was going on. You definitely need to read the others in the series before tackling this. Ha...moreFor the first third of the way through, I had no idea what was going on. You definitely need to read the others in the series before tackling this. Had I known that, I'd never have bought it. Oh well . . . you live and learn.(less)