I liked this book but didn't love it. I enjoyed the relationship aspects (especially Terrible) and thought the worldbuilding was well done- I ended th...moreI liked this book but didn't love it. I enjoyed the relationship aspects (especially Terrible) and thought the worldbuilding was well done- I ended this book feeling like I really know this world of the Church; the slums of Downside; the dark and sundry magic of ghost banishment that Chess practices. I liked the disparity between the educated church employees who spoke correctly, and the street people of Downside was really noticeable but I appreciated it as a distinguishing factor.
What I didn't care for as much was Chess herself. I was annoyed by her drug addiction, I guess it felt like a mask that was supposed to make her more interesting. All the blatant fooling herself about what she wants and what she's capable of just served to make her kind of dull and annoying for me. however I guess I can see this as a good opportunity from a future character development perspective, since this is a first book.(less)
I really enjoyed this, found it a page-turner for sure. Tightly plotted, moved quickly. I'm not sure I loved it as much as others have, but definitely...moreI really enjoyed this, found it a page-turner for sure. Tightly plotted, moved quickly. I'm not sure I loved it as much as others have, but definitely enjoyed it. I was reminded a lot of Ender's Game, makes me want to go back and read that book again.
Katniss is an excellent protagonist. I was a little impatient at times with her quickness to grasp things - however, she is a very realistic and admirable depiction of a capable 16 year old girl. I adored her moments of prickliness. In terms of her emotional journey, the book is great. I was touched by her love and her courage - and intrigued by the juxtaposition of these emotions with the contrived, produced setting of the Hunger Games - a juxtaposition Katniss herself is also aware of throughout the book.
My vague discontent with the ending of the book is why 4 stars and not 5. Don't get me wrong, the book ends, and the conflict is resolved, and I certainly know there are 2 more books to read. But, I feel the emotional payoff would have been higher if Collins had tied Katniss' story more successfully to the world's plight. Clearly she is a catalyst and clearly there is a great need for change, but there is not really any event that ties that into the story, or even mention of this relationship. Perhaps because Katniss herself isn't aware of the connection. In no way do I feel this ruined the book for me or anything, but I feel it squandered a little bit of its dramatic impact. I doubt that the other two books will have such an impactful device to use for building tension as the Hunger Games, so when those moments come, moments of over-arching awareness between the character and the world they will perhaps be less dramatic.
In any event, I plan to read the other books. My hope is that Collins continues to include lots of action. No doubt we will get more political context as the books go on - because really how else do you tie into the overall conflict, this world that desperately needs remaking, needs a hero? - but I hope that it's balanced with the action and the deft character touches and pathos-filled moments that made this book so enjoyable.(less)
As a continuation of my very favorite of Meljean Brook's books - The Iron Duke - this was awesome! It had been awhile since I read The Iron Duke, and...moreAs a continuation of my very favorite of Meljean Brook's books - The Iron Duke - this was awesome! It had been awhile since I read The Iron Duke, and I was not as in love with the second book in the series, but this novella took me right back to where I was at the end of the first book - absolutely enamored of Mina and Rhys and their London, their story. I have to say so much of the appeal is really Mina. She is strong, smart, caring - just really well drawn. It's a testament to Brook how easily I grabbed right back onto Mina's character and felt like I was meeting an old friend. I like Rhys a little less, but he was still the same Rhys - brooding, stubborn, and totally in love with Mina.
I love how Meljean Brook can take something like the fear a husband (or wife) has for their spouse who works in a dangerous field, and the impacts that has on their marriage, and turn it into a really exciting novella. I mean, don't get me wrong - there is a plot involving a murder, some children, and danger to both Mina and Rhys, which was well-done and exciting. But because of how attached I felt to them after their book, to me this book was really about the continuing evolution of their marriage.
Anyway, I gush. It was great. I am giving it 4 stars because it doesn't feel like it stands alone, it feels like it's a continuation of the first book, which I did give 5 stars to. But if you enjoyed The Iron Duke, by all means, read this. If you haven't read The Iron Duke - go do that, now!(less)
Take fantastic steampunk technology, really great well-drawn characters, high-stakes rollicking adventure, throw in a romance that is hot enough to bl...moreTake fantastic steampunk technology, really great well-drawn characters, high-stakes rollicking adventure, throw in a romance that is hot enough to blow anyone's volcano (har har, one of the main characters is a vulcanologist) - and you'll have Meljean Brook's Riveted. I was really blown away by this book - loved it like I loved The Iron Duke!
What I love the most about Brook's books - and most especially the Iron Seas books - is how well she anchors her characters and everything about their lives, in the world she has created. There is not a single shoddy detail about this world. I mean, this woman is SMART. And it shows in the world, in the characters, in the fantastically fun and science-fiction-lite steampunk details she has written. I really don't think ANYONE is doing steampunk, the way Meljean Brook is doing it.
This book centers around Annika Fridasdotter, a native of Iceland, who has been working as an engineer ("stoker") on an airship for four years, searching for her exiled sister. And David Kentewess, a vulcanologist and scientist aboard the airship, who finds that Annika has some knowledge about his dead mother's history, that he must know to honor a promise to her. There is a lot I could say about these characters... once again, Brook has written a stronger, more compelling female lead than male - but that is OK, the audience is probably mostly female.
Annika is terrific. I often found myself smiling and laughing with her good humor in the book. She is frank, direct, funny. David is a more reserved New Worlder (American) who has been scarred and lost limbs in a great tragedy, years ago. He is very unsure of himself in love, to say the least. I did spend a little time wanting to kick David for being so unsure of himself - but it's hard not to love how careful he is of Annika and her feelings, her desires. The most remarkable thing I can say about the romance aspect of the book is that Brook really managed to convey quite well how profoundly enjoyable these two found each other (no, I don't mean just in a physical way!). Here are two people who are accustomed to being alone, yet they have found each other and feel a deep, strong connection. Brook didn't gloss over this, she spent a lot of time exploring their thoughts and feelings. It felt so real to me as I was reading it, even when I was annoyed with either of them or felt it got overly sentimental, I never disbelieved it.
What this book had, that the last book was lacking (IMO) was ADVENTURE! Intrigue! Not history so much as real conflict between relatable people. Pirates, mad scientists (teehee! because they fit in so well in steampunk!), mechanical trolls, all sorts of fun stuff. And of course, the stakes are very high for the two leads - and everyone they care about.
Once again, as with the Iron Duke, I found Brook investigating how societal changes in this post-Horde occupation world, have created differences between groups of people. This is a very well-imagined world. I really respected and enjoyed the way the the characters in this book deal with issues of what is sexually acceptable in society, and what is not. It made the book feel relevant to me in a way that a steampunk-romance-fantasy novel, typically would not.
Clearly, I would recommend this book! But start with The Iron Duke, or with the novella Here There Be Monsters - both great introductions to the Iron Seas world, and both great stories and characters in their own right.(less)
My son picked this one out at the book fair (he's 5). He can almost read it by himself, but we like to read it together. I think the main draw is the...moreMy son picked this one out at the book fair (he's 5). He can almost read it by himself, but we like to read it together. I think the main draw is the illustrations, which are really great. Also, there is a separate arc if you read the side panels in the book as you go along, that provides the little boy's gingerbread recipe and shows him making the gingerbread friends. That is maybe the best part, and exciting for my son because he also likes to bake.(less)
How awesome are Ilona and Gordon for posting free NEW content on their blog?! SUPER AWESOME!
This is fun, it was definitely one of my favorite scenes...moreHow awesome are Ilona and Gordon for posting free NEW content on their blog?! SUPER AWESOME!
This is fun, it was definitely one of my favorite scenes in Magic Strikes, which is my second to favorite book in the series. I do love to hear Curran's point of view, although at this point I already know how things end up so the scene lacks the delicious tension it had the first time from Kate's point of view. But anyway - so much fun, read it!(less)