This book was an odd combination of genres. With all the reading I've done, I have never before read anything that was a blend of fantasy and steampunThis book was an odd combination of genres. With all the reading I've done, I have never before read anything that was a blend of fantasy and steampunk. However, it manages to work. The world is well put together and the characters are enjoyable to read.
In most books where there is any romantic development, it's the man who is pursuing the woman. Quite the opposite is true in this story, but it was done well, and the female protagonist manages to avoid coming across as desperate. Anyway, it was nice for the sake of variety, if nothing else. I will also add that any romance in this book is tasteful and understated. No revolting teen soppiness or love triangles, thank heavens. My only complaint is that the next book isn't out yet, so I'm going to have to wait. I hate waiting. ...more
I haven't hated anything else by Robin McKinley, but this book was really bad. It's told in first person, which is unfortunate, since the main charactI haven't hated anything else by Robin McKinley, but this book was really bad. It's told in first person, which is unfortunate, since the main character is pretty boring. No charisma, no wit, probably even more boring than any real teenager could be. She fell pretty flat. But what was even worse was the made up slang, which was the most annoying made-up slang I have ever had the misfortune to read. And since the book is told from a first person viewpoint, the reader is treated to plenty of it.
The world building was pretty bad. The author hardly bothers to explain the system of magic at all, or why some people have magic, or why people who never registered on the magical scanners before suddenly have all sorts of power, or why the main character's childhood nickname just happened to be the same as the foreign term for someone of extraordinary magical ability. Ugh.
It's the classic "child grows up ordinary only to hit his/her teen years and suddenly discover he/she is the most powerful ever!" except without sufficient explanation for any of the steps along the way. Every new revelation serves not to explain past things that have happened, but to confuse things further. And it's way too convenient that not only the main character, but ALL HER FRIENDS coincidentally turn out to be super powerful magic users.
Nothing is explained well, and therefore, nothing is interesting. The very basic bones of the world, with Oldworld, and Newworld, and cohesion breaks, could have become interesting if they had been clearly put together and explained. But that's it. ...more
I worried quite a bit about the second book in this series living up to the promise of the first. The rags to riches aspect of it had already taken plI worried quite a bit about the second book in this series living up to the promise of the first. The rags to riches aspect of it had already taken place, and therefore I thought there wasn't much more room for character development and interesting conflict. I was wrong.
Jaron is just as charismatic and witty in the second book as in the first. One nice thing about the second book is that you don't really see the ending and all the plot twists coming from the second chapter on, like you do in the first book. It's less predictable.
I really love that Jennifer Nielsen hasn't left either of the stories in this trilogy hanging with no resolution. Each book has its own story line that is resolved well and completely, and only then does she add a little lead-in to the next book. Therefore I am spared the annoyance I feel when the ending is a total cliffhanger, the story feels no closer to ending than when I started, and it feels like a cheap trick to get me to buy the next book.
No complaints again. I really enjoyed this book and will probably reread it sometime. ...more
This was definitely one of those series where the first book was by far and away the best of the trilogy. Not to be overly cynical, but it's like theThis was definitely one of those series where the first book was by far and away the best of the trilogy. Not to be overly cynical, but it's like the unknown author has to work really hard to create a fan base/following, but once that's established there's less need for careful editing and effort. It dragged occasionally. Not that it was terrible, but I certainly wasn't riveted the way I was during Divergent.
I won't ruin the ending with a spoiler but what I will say is that I think the author took the easy way out. The ending she chose saved her a lot of thought, trouble, and planning. Like many series, this one fell short of its initial promise. ...more
It took me a while to figure out what I found so compelling about this book. On the surface, it is nothing special. It is in many ways a typical teenIt took me a while to figure out what I found so compelling about this book. On the surface, it is nothing special. It is in many ways a typical teen fantasy novel, based on mythology, even containing its own version of the dreaded love triangle. The plot didn't grab me, nor did the world. The writing and dialogue was nothing out of the ordinary. It was the emotions described that I related to. In this book is probably one of the best descriptions of depression I have yet read. Sure, the protagonist isn't technically depressed (her altered mental/emotional state is a result of the Everneath rather than her own psyche. But the descriptions of the way she feels are true to life in many depressed people. It's common for depression to manifest primarily as a numbing, deadening force, rather than uncontrolled crying or frequent surface sadness. The entire book felt like the protagonist was gradually coming out of a deep depression. Not everyone will relate to this, but I did. And that is something that, among YA fiction, is fairly unique to this book. There's quite a few angsty protagonists out there, but very few with true depression. As I said before, I realize that Nikki's emotions or lack thereof in the book aren't truly supposed to be the result of depression, but all the same she came across as a deeply depressed character. She's not as "fun" to read as many characters, but I think she is uniquely relatable to those who have dealt with this type of depression. ...more
This was a good book, like all the others in the series. It probably would have been somewhat less good if I had not read all the previous books. LikeThis was a good book, like all the others in the series. It probably would have been somewhat less good if I had not read all the previous books. Like most Ranger's Apprentice novels, the plot is nothing spectacular, but the characters are great.
It had less humor and fewer laugh out loud moments than most of the preceding books. It's more bittersweet; less lighthearted. I didn't necessarily like it less because of this, but it was definitely different in tone. Readers who read Ranger's Apprentice primarily for its playful banter and wit may be disappointed in The Royal Ranger, but I was not. A very solid four stars. ...more
I loved this book. Yes, it is 100% completely predictable. No surprises at the end. But I really enjoyed the protagonist's unique voice and irrepressiI loved this book. Yes, it is 100% completely predictable. No surprises at the end. But I really enjoyed the protagonist's unique voice and irrepressible personality. This kind of story has been done before plenty, but not often this well. Quite funny at times, and always interesting, from the first page on. No complaints.