Well, my experiment (to read a book I would never ordinarily pick up) was both a success (I read it) and a failure (I remembered exactly why this is tWell, my experiment (to read a book I would never ordinarily pick up) was both a success (I read it) and a failure (I remembered exactly why this is the kind of book I would never pick up!).
In the interest of fairness to the book, I'm going to leave my biggest issue with it to the end, recognizing that my biggest issue might just be a matter of taste, and other people might like that sort of thing. I'm first going to look at what I thought of the book apart from that issue.
I thought it was well-written, in that the author clearly understands and can use grammar, and may be familiar with Strunk and White. I probably wouldn't have gotten through this book at all if not for that. So that's a mark in it's favour.
The book opens with our "hero" (heavy air-quotes around that, since he's basically a huge asshole, pardon my language) in a prison filled with flesh-eating bats, basically waiting to die. That's a pretty awesome set-up. Obviously we know he must escape, since the book wouldn't exist without him, but how and why and what happens are pretty interesting questions to me at this point.
Unfortunately none of them get answered. There's a torturer, and then a girl who appears in the prison (somehow, we don't know why or who she is) and then she knifes the torturer and makes a prophesy about the hero and his boys, and then... who knows. The chapter ends and the next scene is of our heroine, several years after the hero escaped. And we never find out how he escaped. We learn who the girl is and what happens to her (she gets eaten by the bats) but never why she risked and lost her life for them. Not to mention that the hero and his boys had wounds from torture and what, they just walked out of this death prison? I doubt it! There's a huge opportunity here to tell an awesome story, but the author sets it up and then fades to black, abandons it for (IMO) a much less interesting story. I was disappointed right from the beginning.
The second opportunity for a great story comes in the second chapter, when the 'hero' and his boys and storming our heroine's castle, intent on it's capture. It's here that we're told our heroine is super feisty and vivacious. She refuses them entry, they break down the door, she submits unwillingly, blah blah. If she was REALLY feisty, the next part would have hear either trying to murder the 'hero' (she has ample opportunity since he makes her share his bed, and yes that sound you hear IS my eyes rolling) or escaping and bringing some sort of freedom fighters or something to take back her castle. But no, the whole time we're being told she's feisty really what she's doing is bitching about being captured and not doing anything about it, except for minor displays of defiance.
So if I had written this book, the whole dungeon escape would have gotten airtime or I wouldn't have started in the dungeon, and the heroine would have been feisty enough to actually do something about her lot, instead of just acting like a petty three year old who can't get what she wants.
The characterization and character development is pretty bad... like I said, we're told the heroine's feisty but she doesn't do anything to prove it. And the 'hero' is a total asshole. Obviously they fall in love, since this is a romance, but we're more told that now they are in love instead of shown. I can maybe believe him falling for her. But he treats her like shit the whole book and is a complete ass, and his only redeeming quality appears to be his sexual prowess, which brings me to the really big reason this book is not for me, and that is...
Completely unrelenting sexism. This book might be fantasy fulfilment to some, but to me it reads like Stockholm syndrome and sets feminism back several millennia. The hero is a TOTAL ASS. And the heroine falls for him for no other reason than his dominance, rape (I'm sorry, just because there was no penis-in-vagina action doesn't make the sexual violation of another human being ok), and apparently giant member (oh yes, her mouth even falls open in shock when she sees it, and I'm not kidding!) somehow become attractive to her. Any book that contains the phrase "what she thought was an intimate evening despite his near rape of her" is not a book for me.
I debated with giving this one 2 stars just because that kind of thing (submission, etc) is appealing to some people, just not to me. But I've decided that I just can't really support rape fantasy in any form. I am all for people pleasing themselves as they wish, but I just think it's wrong to want someone to treat you like garbage. So I'm giving it one star and steering clear of this subset of the genre. Are all historical romances like this? I'd really love to read one that wasn't... ...more
This was a decently written book, and I enjoyed it. But it felt like a betrayal of the first book. Santa Olivia was all hardcore and fighting-opressioThis was a decently written book, and I enjoyed it. But it felt like a betrayal of the first book. Santa Olivia was all hardcore and fighting-opression-y, but Saints Astray felt disconnected from that. It was an ok beachy-fluffy read, but it sold out its soul along the way. That's why I'm giving it a two... it was an ok book but did not live up to its potential, and, worse, failed to deliver on the promises of its predecessor....more
This is my review of the entire Iron Fey series. Loads of potential spoilers.
(view spoiler)[ Things I liked about this series: -- Interesting plot, faThis is my review of the entire Iron Fey series. Loads of potential spoilers.
(view spoiler)[ Things I liked about this series: -- Interesting plot, fast-paced, good amount of action -- Likable characters (at least, I liked them) and I wanted good things to happen to them. Things that could be really cliche (handsome prince anguished over lost love) were pretty well developed, as far as those things go. -- Clever concept of Iron Fey, very nice -- The story developed well -- Meghan was occasionally pretty kick-ass, clever, good heroine -- Grimalkin
Things I didn't like: -- I totally believe that Meghan fell in love with super-sexy Ash. And I can kind of get on board with Puck having feelings for Meghan, seeing how he's looked after her since childhood. But I have lots and lots of trouble believing not one but TWO handsome fairy princes (ok... Puck's not a prince but he is a freaking legend) fell in love with ordinary little Meghan. -- Sometimes Meghan is super self-deprecatory and hopelessly moaning over her problematic love life and ooh poor me does Ash love me? She was really annoying in Mab's palace in book 2, especially -- Sometimes the SUPER TERRIBLE THING that's going to happen didn't seem that terrible. Like, Ash's Gauntlet that he had to run? Didn't seem like a really big deal. And likewise almost every other thing they had to battle. Just didn't live up to the hype. -- The "Last time on the Iron Fey" introduction... every book but this one starts with a totally pointless recap of the last book. GRR! (hide spoiler)]
But overall, I liked it and would recommend. I didn't like the love triangle, but at least Meghan wasn't a completely backboneless sap like other heroines in love triangle books. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I really like Graceling. This is actually the second time I read it, I just forgot about the first time. The concept of Graces is really cool. I alsoI really like Graceling. This is actually the second time I read it, I just forgot about the first time. The concept of Graces is really cool. I also liked the characters and the romance wasn't so sickly sweet as some other YA books... they had disputes for legitimate reasons and it was well developed IMO.
I'm giving this three stars because hey, I did enjoy it. It's a nice, light, fluffy beach read.
However, it's only getting three stars because it hadI'm giving this three stars because hey, I did enjoy it. It's a nice, light, fluffy beach read.
However, it's only getting three stars because it had a bunch of things that I just thought were dumb- heroine is SOOO unhappy to be sent to Paris (wtf?!), heroine falls in love with the dude EVERYONE wants and omg he wants her back...
I wish YA chick lit writers would realize that when you're in love with someone it doesn't matter how many other people want or don't want them. Love has nothing really to do with the person's attractiveness to other people. When YA heroines fall in love with the super popular guys who like them back, it kinda makes me cringe because that is SO much more about self-esteem and wanting to feel wanted than it is about actual love.
But anyways. There are definitely reasons why this book isn't great literature, but it is a fun, happy beachy type of book... a good light summer read. ...more