You can't tell because of how I schedule posts, but I got this the day it came out and devoured it right away. This was after pre-ordering it and doin...moreYou can't tell because of how I schedule posts, but I got this the day it came out and devoured it right away. This was after pre-ordering it and doing a mental countdown every day a month in advance.
Straight from the horse's mouth: I'm an Artemis Fowl fangirl.
And as far as ending to series go, I wouldn't have had this end any other way.
Yes, it was a little cheesy. Every Fowl book is. Colfer brought back crazy villains and crazy friends; he upped the antics and upped the stakes; most of all, he managed to capture how every character had changed from when we first met him.
And I loved him for it.
This series, regardless of the excellent writing and the fun plots and the awesome world, is a character driven book. You can't get through these books without bonding with the characters -- loving them, hating them, laughing, crying.
And boy, did I do all of that here.
If you're going to read this series, or if you're hesitant about reading them, or if you're hesitant about reading the finale: don't be. Colfer does such a good job at developing all of the characters from where they start in Artemis Fowl to where they end in Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian. The story is more about Artemis discovering what it really means to be human than it is anything, and how this story ended was absolutely perfect on so many levels. (less)
I just know that one day, I was talking to the fabulous Donna at BookExpo America about how much she loved it and t...moreI have no idea how I got this book.
I just know that one day, I was talking to the fabulous Donna at BookExpo America about how much she loved it and then when I went home to clean my shelves it was there. I don't remember getting it in the mail. It suddenly was.
I figured, between Donna and it's magical reappearance, it was a sign that I should read it.
Best. Sign. Ever.
I knew nothing about Shadow and Bone going into it -- I actually had to remind myself to read the back so I had some basis for it after I read the prologue and the first two chapters -- and I tore through it in a matter of hours.
Here's the deal: If you absolutely loathe all kinds of fantasy in any way shape or form, stay away from this book. If you don't, it's definitely worth a read.
Because this book is damn good.
I dawdled on writing this review for a few days because I wanted to make sure I really thought it was as good as I thought when I first finished it. And it is. It's got great character development - in a real, human character - with a great plot and a great world. There's only one snag with the love plot, because it's pitifully obvious even from the beginning where it's going to end up, but I looked past that because the rest of the book was definitely worth it.
While Alina makes some stupid decisions and isn't nearly as badass as some of my other heroines, I liked her. This is definitely a more traditional fantasy story -- girl gets powers, girl nearly gets killed, girl needs to save the world. I appreciate my traditional fantasy stories.
I didn't love it as much as Donna did, partly because I prefer my heroines a little less on the love-obsessed side, but I understand why she adored it as much as she did. It's a great book with a fast pace and a really, really great world -- which is, of course, the reason I read fantasy.
Here's the thing about A Natural History of Dragons: it's a young adult crossover; it can be classified as either adult fantasy or young adult fantasy...moreHere's the thing about A Natural History of Dragons: it's a young adult crossover; it can be classified as either adult fantasy or young adult fantasy and it would fit right in. Honestly, it's what I think the new adult genre could be: a story where somebody has come of age and knows who they are and is now struggling with what to do with that.
And it was good.
There's a few little things, of course, that matter in the long run. The book, divided into several mini-Books, let its pacing slow considerably after book two, and that is in part to the focus on non-dragon related activities. (I do wish that dragons had been featured more in the book, but I loved how they were handled when they were there.)
It's also told in a biographical style, meaning it has the tone of an older woman reflecting on her younger stuff -- lots of heavy foreshadowing on what will occur, mentions of other adventures, and reflections on the fact that she made some stupid decisions. A lot of people don't like that kind of style, but I found that it worked rather well for this story.
And that leads me to the most important point:
I, Nicole, am in love with Isabella Trent.
Not the romantic kind of love, of course, but the kind of love that you find in a kindred spirit; it's as if the character was written for me. With the exception of her being much more scientific than I am, I understood her and loved her and her story. Her excitement was mine, her discoveries mine, her pain, her love.
I wanted both to see dragons, and to understand them. I wanted to stretch the wings of my mind and see how far I could fly.
Needless to say, I love this book because of her character. Her own obsession with dragons, of course, is tied inherently to my own, but I loved everything about her: her humour, her intelligence, and how she refused to be trapped within the box of her time. Even her taste in husband - who I also adored - was impeccable.
I liked the setting as well -- the alternate world to ours suited me quite well, though I know there have been complaints about renaming everything. Why not just do it AU-style, like His Majesty's Dragon? But I understood it well enough, so I didn't mind. This, of course, could also have to do with my blind love for Isabella; I highly suggest reading The Book Smuggler's review of this on Kirkus for a more objective opinion.
But as far as I'm concerned - oh, I loved it, and yes, I will be reading it - or at least the first two-thirds! - again.(less)
Here's the thing: if there were flaws in this book, I was far too caught up in the story to realize it. I loved it, the entire...moreAlina, let me love you.
Here's the thing: if there were flaws in this book, I was far too caught up in the story to realize it. I loved it, the entire story, the way the narrative was crafted. Even though there's a giant war going on, Bardugo doesn't try to encompass the entire thing -- everything is focused on Alina, and how her decisions affect the world, and how her emotions are completely bonkers, and how she's changing from the young mapmaker we met at the beginning of Shadow and Bone.
And I loved it.
Alina's character arc is totally what I'm here for and why I loved it so much. (To be fair, the setting, the side characters, the plot itself were all beautifully well handled; it's not a small book, but it moved at a fast pace -- the story never dragged.) But Alina's development is fascinating to watch. Her struggle with power - her hunger for power - her refusal to be a warrior - her need to be a warrior - I just - ladies. Power hungry warrior ladies make me happy.
Definitely as good as book one, if not better.(less)