Even though one of my few legitimate phobias is anything Stephen King-related (I read one of his short story collections when I was far too young and have been unable to sleep in a room with an open door ever since #truestory), all the hype surrounding The Dark Tower movie, made me curious . . .
Of all of His work, it's always been THE DARK TOWER that I've been the most interested in. B/c fantasy.
What does Stephen King fantasy look like?
I'd heard enough whispers to feel my hesitation was warranted, but curiosity and me . . . We're bffs.
And FYI, Stephen King curiosity + new(ish)found love of graphic novels = duh.
I figured it would be safer. I'd get the gist and some cool artwork without the dread and fear.
I was right.
This is where my basic outline of the plot begins, so if you don't want to be spoiled, get thee gone. BUT. I'm just giving the gist, so I'd consider it safe--I'm not going to tell you anything that I wouldn't want to know.
Roland Deschain is a Gunslinger.
I don't know what that means beyond the obvious connotation and that it's kind of a Big Deal in this world. Also, this world is very chauvinistic, so be aware of that. Anyway, Roland and his peers are trained by an abusive drill sergeant-type, until the day they challenge their master to a duel.
If they win, they become Gunslingers in their own right.
If they lose, they're banished, ostracized, shunned, etc. They leave their families and their lives, never to return.
This is the first thing I learned.
The second is that Roland is being manipulated into throwing the gauntlet years before he'd be considered ready by his nemesis, the Man in Black.
Fortunately for Roland (and apparently everyone and everything Good in his world), he wins the challenge and isn't sent far, far away.
But his actions cause complications, so his father sends him and a couple of his friends to scout out a kind of in between area.
From there things get . . . more complicated.
Were parts of it gross in the way I imagine all things Stephen King to be?
Were parts graphically violent?
But in a manner most unsurprising (if you know me), I sped through those parts, not looking too closely at the images, and overall, I have to say this was an excellent compromise. Recommended unless you have a fragile digestive tract and/or are unfamiliar with the practices of ostriches.
First of all, I have no idea what previously led me to give this 3.0 stars. Obviously, part of it was not rereading vol. 1 beforehand,Updated review:
First of all, I have no idea what previously led me to give this 3.0 stars. Obviously, part of it was not rereading vol. 1 beforehand, so a lot of the details flew over my head (b/c crappy memory), but it was more than that, b/c I had tangible feelings of resentment over the "lesser quality" of this second volume.
*rolls eyes at self*
I still think vol. 1 was slightly better. The ending socked me in the FEELS in a way this one didn't, and (despite vol. 2's content) I connected more to the previous leg of Maika's journey, but overall . . . Definitely not a 3.0 star read.
Would that be a seal to whatever prison is holding the old gods??
2. There's still so much about this relationship that we don't know:
Dammit, what promise?
3. And when Maika put the mask fragment to her face?
WTF was that?
4. Then there's (maybe) Maika's father:
So we know, at the very least, Maika has a half-sibling. BUT. If this is the other potential host that Monster God mentioned in vol. 1, then he or she would have to be a full-blooded sibling, which means also means they're older . . . And since Momma Wolf asked Crazy Fox about the prophecized descendant, if the answer was "the second child" in whatever union, then Big Sister has a lot of reason to harbor resentment given the glimpse we were given of her circumstances.
The second collection of MONSTRESS is centered around Maika Halfwolf retracing her mother's steps in an attempt to discover how to rid herself of the monster that lives inside of her.
Like that's going to be possible. *rolls eyes*
The journey is interesting despite its pointlessness. We learn much about Maika's family and meet her goddessfather, who is both a giant tiger and a pirate), and we see more of her glorious violence as third parties try to keep her from her goal.
There was something missing from this volume . . . Maybe several somethings. The art, while still beautiful at times, was somehow less overall. The story, while informative, lacked the heart that had previously punched me in the feels.
Then there was the was the vulgarity for the sake of . . . I don't know . . . a splash of color? I'm not a prude, and I can even appreciate the creative use of four-letter words if it serves a purpose. But it didn't. And that's so boring.
I'm not ready to give up on MONSTRESS just yet though. We've already seen the greatness this team of author and artist are capable of, and the seeds planted for the future installments are promising--who is Maika's father, and how did I never think the ask about him before? Why is that adorable fox child compelled to follow after a girl who might devour her one day? And those cats . . . What is their endgame?
Questions, I have them, so eagerly await vol. 3, I will. Recommended. Ish.
Before anything else, it must be said that SAGA is the most beautiful and hideous, the most hopeful and fatalistic, the most graphic, and the most adorable thing I have ever read or seen.
It is ALL the things.
The very first page of the very first chapter sets the tone for the whole series (thus far):
You're slapped in the face with the wonder and the ICK of childbirth. Some of you might think the bodily fluids, the wordless, guttural shouts that accompany the pushing, and the million other aspects of child labor are part of the miracle, and you're allowed . . .
In an abstract way, I'm not sure I disagree. But from an impartial bystander perspective . . . all of that is the opposite side of the bringing-a-new-life-that-you-helped-create-into-the-world coin.
It's gross, man.
And if that's a juxtaposition you don't think you can appreciate, then I'm going to go ahead and say goodbye until next time. There is nothing for you here.
B/c that's what SAGA is: finding the beauty in the ugliness of life.
It's overcoming a lifetime of ingrained prejudice only to discover your victory was merely the first hurdle in the journey. It's growing apart b/c life is life, then coming back together in the face of shared tragedy.
It's the determination to remain bitter about past slights opening the door to a new path. It is pain and loss and healing and forgiveness, and it's continuing to put one foot in front of the other, b/c more than anything else, you have to keep moving.
It's life. With all the accompanying brilliance and horror, and it is masterfully done. I flew through all six collected volumes in an afternoon, and I seriously doubt I'll have the willpower to wait for the next collection before reading the individually released chapters.
That's a first in the graphic novel arena, by the way. But I see serial releases in my future, and I'm not even going to try to fight it.
Marko and Alana are two soldiers on opposite sides of a war, who, against all odds, fall in love.
SAGA is their story, and it's the story of the ripples their love makes in the pond of their universe. There were times I thought my heart would burst with happiness, and there were times that I felt physically ill.
ALSO, that other old god is after Maika b/c she's some kind of superior host, so does that mean every old god that slithers out of their cage is going to be after her as well? (hide spoiler)]
One of the things I'm discovering that I love about graphic novels is the way they hit the ground running. The creators don't toy with you the way writers of traditional books sometimes do--they don't have the time to draw out anything beyond the most important Secrets.
MONSTRESS, for example, opens with a slave auction, and the inquiries made about Lot 819 reveal the specific brand of prejudice that governs this world. You learn of a war that seems to have ended, while the thriving slave trade continues to fan the flames of hate.
There's no guesswork, and any confusion about terminology resolves itself quickly.
I friggin' LOVE it.
Our heroine, Maika Halfwolf, is the girl currently up for bid, but (once again) it quickly becomes obvious that she's only there b/c she wants to be.
YEP. You read that correctly: dollface WANTS to be auctioned off like livestock. And not only that, she's banking on the Cumaea, a witchy faction of humans, crashing the shindig and claiming the Arcanics, a race of beings with natural magic, for themselves.
Dun dun dunnnnnn . . . For research purposes . . . o.O
Just b/c graphic novels tend to be more straightforward than their picture-free counterparts, doesn't mean they aren't twisty.
Maika, you see, is looking for information.
Before the war ended, something happened (was done?) to her . . . Something that has recently begun to affect her in ways she can't control. It's made her dangerous, and she's desperate for answers.
Along the way, she picks up a two-tailed sasshole of a cat, a girl child with a fox tail, and an angry dialogue with the thing that plagues her.
Every aspect of MONSTRESS drew me in--the characters, the world-building, the plot, ALL of it. Everything else became a distraction to be ignored. I didn't give any thought to the why of it, as I tore through the beautifully illustrated pages, but at the end of the first volume, Liu wrote a letter about her intent when she began this series:
. . . The root of my desire . . . was to tell a story about what it means to be a survivor. A survivor, not just of a cataclysmic war, but of racial conflict and its antecedent: hatred. And to confront the question: how does one whom history has made a monster, escape her monstrosity? How does one overcome the monstrousness of others without succumbing to a rising monstrousness within?
All I can say is, well done, lady. Well. Done.
MONSTRESS by Marjorie M. Liu is the first collection (volumes 1 - 6) of her new graphic novel series that is part steampunk, part fantasy, and ALL awesome. Maika's struggle to control the monster inside her is inspiring to watch, b/c that's what it was: a struggle. But surrender is a concept she threatens to rip out of herself every time it whispers about the easier path, and as she slowly gains the upper hand, you can't help but sing "All I do is Win" under your breath, b/c she'd rather die than quit. Highly recommended.
Okay, obviously (view spoiler)[Laurent couldn't know. Could he? I mean, if he knew, he'd've had to have known WAY back when he gave his ring to the Messenger, so, NO, he can't know . . . (hide spoiler)] In which case . . . shiiiiiiit.
If you haven't been seeing/hearing the buzz surrounding THE CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat, you've probably been living under aReviewed by: Rabid Reads
If you haven't been seeing/hearing the buzz surrounding THE CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat, you've probably been living under a rock. I'd seen it EVERYWHERE, even before one of my favorite authors recommended it in her newsletter (<------why I finally caved).
My impression before reading it was that it was some kind of pseudo-fantasy/MM/BDSM mashup . . . and that impression was fairly accurate.
Not my typical choice of reading material, but HYPE. And CURIOSITY. *shakes fist at curiosity gods*
As one might guess from the title (if one pays attention to things like titles *shakes fist at self*), the MC of this tale is a prince (Damen) made captive . . . A prince given as a sex slave to the prince and heir (Laurent) of a rival kingdom, only they don't know he's a prince, but that's a good thing, b/c Damen did a really, really Bad Thing in the last war, and if Laurent found out Damen was actually the REAL Damen, and not just called "Damen" b/c Kastor (Damen's illegitimate usurping half-brother) thought Laurent would be amused by having a sex slave named for the man he most hates in the world . . . Well, that would be Bad.
Did all of that cross your eyes? B/c as convoluted as it sounds, it's deceptively simple.
What isn't simple is everything that came after the initial introductions, and how I feel about it.
Obviously, as a prince, Damen isn't too keen on becoming a sex slave. But who cares? B/c sex slave.
And even though there technically wasn't much sex (on page), the hedonistic attitude of the nobility permeated the atmosphere, and the threat was constant, like background noise. And YES . . . I do mean threat.
But in that weird, willful suspension of disbelief way that's exciting even as you're consciously uncomfortable.
Enter Nicaise, the thirteen-year-old "pet" of a dirty old man in Laurent's court. The thirteen-year-old who's been serving in his role as "pet" for THREE YEARS. Who is maneuvering to keep his position, b/c he knows--EVERYONE knows--that he has maybe another year before he outgrows his master's tastes.
So there are two things you need to know before picking up this book:
1. There's rape. 2. There's pedophilia.
I almost stopped 20% in, when Nicaise first showed up. I'm not sure what kept me going. Could've been the remnants of curiosity. Could've been the person who made an asinine comment on one of my status updates about how pedophilia isn't being endorsed by the book, which pissed me off enough to make me want to finish it, all the better to KILL IT WITH FIRE. B/c really? Show me a book that does endorse the sexual violation of children, and I'll show you a jail cell. #GTFO
Either way, I kept going.
And much to my chagrin, I found myself fascinated by Laurent.
He's a prince with the foul mouth of a tavern brawler. Hatred burns in his eyes, but he almost always maintains a perfect calmness that is infuriating. He's a brilliant manipulator who superficially appears to be no more than an indulged royal brat.
Beyond my newfound obsession with Laurent, I was reading not only to try to understand my prince, but in anticipation of other (despicable) characters' downfalls.
So I'm hooked. *shrugs awkwardly*
But if I'd known what I was getting into, I'd never have started.
A secondary issue was the thinly veiled attempt to elevate the book above the stereotypes of its genre.
I have an extensive vocabulary. I majored in English, but even if I hadn't, you can't read as much as I do and not pick up an impressive number of words along the way.
Even so, it's not unusual for me to make use of the handy, dandy word lookup feature found on all ereaders.
What is unusual is having to use said lookup feature every few pages.
It took awhile to catch on, so I missed the early ones, but after I grew wise to the tactic, I began highlighting: appurtenances, peripatetic, damascened, febrile, machicolation, etc.
I could go on . . . and on . . . and on.
After I acclimated to the overuse of words rarely (if ever) found . . . anywhere, I began to notice that many of them were frou frou stand-ins for more common words and phrases.
A man didn't frown. His "smooth brow corrugated."
A room wasn't ostentatious, it was, "afroth with ornament."
I was pretty sure "afroth" wasn't a real word. I was further convinced when the word lookup yielded no results. BUT. Word lookup isn't infallible, so I googled it . . . And discovered that it was a real word, but had been misused. Unless Pacat intended to say the ornaments in the room were, "in a state of lively or angry excitement."
I usually applaud the Shakespearean tactic of adapting, evolving, creating words to suit your purposes . . .
In this case, it felt disingenuous.
Like the author had hangups about the type of book she was writing--SMUT. Maybe intelligent SMUT, but still SMUT--and decided to overcompensate by impressing her readers with her intelligence and/or education via the implementation of obscure words that none of us have ever heard of.
Instead, it provided a distraction, b/c constantly having to lookup words.
SO. THE CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat is a deeply flawed book, despite its low page count. If you can handle rape and sexual exploitation as abhorrent cultural practices, then you, too, should willingly fling yourself into this deep, dark hole. If you can't, RUN AWAY. If you don't, you'll probably find yourself as entangled as I am, but you've been forewarned, so you'll have only yourself to blame.
If book 2 isn't the significant improvement I'm promised . . . Heads. Will. ROLL.
SPOILERY final thoughts:
(view spoiler)[Unless Pacat is laying false trails, I think it's pretty obvious that Regent orchestrated the deaths of both Laurent's father (the King) and older brother. Both Damen and Laurent believe their side was the one betrayed by the other, and that REEKS of a puppet master.
ALSO, the second Nicaise was revealed to be Regent's pet, it made sense both why Regent didn't just kill Laurent as well, and why Laurent has such violent reactions to the strong taking advantage of the weak.
My knee jerk reaction to ARCHANGEL'S HEART is to say it was a roller coaster.
But that's not right. I wasn't up and down and sReviewed by: Rabid Reads
My knee jerk reaction to ARCHANGEL'S HEART is to say it was a roller coaster.
But that's not right. I wasn't up and down and sideways on repeat from start to finish.
It was more that I was way, way down, struggling up that first incline until somewhere between 25 - 30%, then I hit cruise straight through the next 50 - 60%, then that last 15% was so spectacular . . . It almost made me forget how long it took to settle in.
That extra 10% that kicked the MEH into a full quarter of book, though . . . Unfortunately, forgetting wasn't in the cards.
But first things first. I'm sure a lot of you are concerned about the POV switch back to Elena and Raphael. It's hard to muster up the same excitement we had for Janvier and Naasir in the last two installments for our returning alpha couple, am I right? Especially, when what we really want is Illium and Aohdan's book.
The good news is, it's a' comin'. At least it has every appearance of coming, based on my decidedly biased opinion. Regardless of whether it's the next book or three after that, the majority of the groundwork laid for future HEAs, was in reference to Aodhan. We still don't know what happened to him, but it's clear he's healing, if not healed, and the mysterious mystery was brought up half a dozen times at least.
The neutral news is, there's no getting to it without more Elena and Raphael.
So suck it up, and let let Singh do what she needs to do. *orbit gum smile* Trust me, by the time you finish GH #9, you'll be glad you did.
But I repeat, first things first, and in order to get to the super fantastic revelations at the end of this book, you have to wade through the swamp:
1. There's no mystery surrounding who the Bad Guy is.
“By dint of their spiritual quest, the Luminata have no earthly ties and no loyalties beyond that to their quest for luminescence. They take no lovers, participate in no wars, and when they become Luminata, they sever all blood ties.” “A perfect neutral body.”
"Perfect," Elena says.
*scoffs* BEWARE anything described as being "perfect." That's just common sense.
2. Our common sense isn't enough to clue us in.
The slight redundancy that can be characteristic of Singh is more than slight in ARCHANGEL'S HEART. We are reminded constantly that something's not quite right:
“There’s something off about this place,” she muttered. “Gian’s spookiness aside, the sense of peace I expected is missing.”
And on the very next page:
The shallow bow from an escort who had not earned that right, the fact Gian had taken the names of the Cadre without adding “Archangel” to the front, the Luminata who’d watched them from the shadows, their faces hidden under the hoods of their robes, none of it was as it should be.
This pattern continued, but once the plot picked up the pace, it was easier to ignore (per usual).
3. On a similar, yet different note, basic rituals are given point-by-point explanations:
There was no shower, but someone had already partially filled the large stone bath with cold water, minerals swirled into the clear liquid. It was a normal angelic courtesy to ensure guests didn’t have to wait too long for their bath to fill. Finding the handle—old but functional—that made the hot water start to gush out from a spout in the wall, Raphael turned it on. By the time it filled to the top, it would be the correct temperature.
These kinds of things made getting started an uphill climb.
I want to be clear that I very much enjoyed this book.
I can't tell you what made it so wonderful and lovely and ALL the good things, b/c huge, enormous spoilers, so instead I'm being painfully honest about the less than stellar start. That way, if you have a similar experience, hopefully, you'll be encouraged to push through.
It's so very worth it. I promise. Highly recommended.
4/29/18: So far the graphic audio version of STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE has been fantastic, so I’m hopeful that Kaladin will annoy me less this time . . . *cr4/29/18: So far the graphic audio version of STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE has been fantastic, so I’m hopeful that Kaladin will annoy me less this time . . . *crosses fingers*
WORDS OF RADIANCE is the second installment of Brandon Sanderson's STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE series, and, unfortunately . . . it fell a little flat for me.
Don't get me wrong, I liked it. This was one of those occasions when my rating steadily declined the more I stewed about the ends and outs . . . but immediately upon completion, I was all, "Yeah! Sanderson rocks again. WOOT!
But then came the stewing . . .
I had several significant issues with this book:
1. Cosmere crossover misfire.
The Cosmere is the realm in which many of Sanderson's different series take place. There are different worlds for the individual series, but these worlds are all in the same universe. I believe the ultimate goal is to begin a new series (after the completion of its forerunners) that ties the worlds together in a less tangential way.
Anyway, there are Easter eggs aplenty for a savvy fanperson, and I was made aware that a couple of important characters from a different series played important roles in WoR.
So I read the book from which these characters came just prior to starting to WoR . . . and then I completely missed Crossover #1's big entrance.
"How is that even possible?" you ask, and that's an excellent question, b/c, yes, I had just finished Crossover's book, and, yes, everything from it should have been fresh.
Sanderson decided to disguise Crossover. Changed his name and made him a "Master" of something he had previously only been good at. In fact, in Crossover's book, he wins fights against more skilled foe by distracting them, b/c he knows he can't win if he plays fair.
How are we supposed to recognize Crossover if he's in disguise?
Another excellent question.
The obvious answer would be to make a point of gestures or catch phrases Crossover became known for, or references to key ideas from the world we last saw him in . . . and in a way Sanderson did this: he made up metaphors that referred to the most obvious aspect of the magic system in Crossover's world.
BUT. There were no such metaphors used in the actual book.
So despite the obvious nature of these "colloquialisms," they flew right over my head, b/c they weren't consistent to that world. Add to that the fundamental alteration of Crossover's abilities, and I failed to see the point of having a crossover at all.
And that annoyed me. Greatly.
2. My previously favorite character became a Grade-A loser, whiny baby.
3. I HAVE RULES.
And Rule #1 was broken. If you don't want to be spoiled, that's all I can say about it. For the Sandersonites who demand to know my reasons for casting more aspersions on their beloved namesake: (view spoiler)[I KNOW he wanted to make a point about the resilience of Surgebinders when he "killed" Jasnah, but he chose a crap way to do it. The fact that he had to explain his intent in numerous posts and even wrote a Jasnah POV detailing exactly what happened only makes my point for me.
Furthermore, the focus of this book felt completely different than its predecessor.
In WoK, good triumphed over evil b/c valor and loyalty and determination to be better than the corrupt leadership. Slaves became bloody heroes, and I thought my heart would burst from the FEELS.
In WoR . . . Shallan refused to unstick her head from the sand, and no amount of witty banter could overshadow her chicken-ness. Kaladin was the aforementioned loser, whiny baby. Dalinar shifted his stance on something he had previously forbidden b/c it was a convenient way to get rid of the competition, and Adolin had a psychotic break.
Instead of steadfast perseverance resulting in victory, victory was obtained despite the lack of heroism, b/c last minute come-to-Jesus.
I do not like this. At all.
However . . . there were enough interesting plot developments and secondary characters to keep it from being truly awful. Lift was enough by herself to make reading WORDS OF RADIANCE a worthwhile endeavor, and in a series like this skipping installments isn't an option. But ultimately . . . I'd say we have a classic case of Second Book Syndrome on our hands. Recommended with qualifications.
Welp. I did it. I was patient. I waited. BUT. Now it is finally (almost) time: BR of EPIC proportions with Sanctum of Fantasy. Starting 5/1/15. WOOT.
Dear Brandon Sanderson,
My other reviews for this series:
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I tried to read SORCERER TO THE CROWN by Zen Cho THREE separate times, and had pretty much given it up for lost when I decidedReviewed by: Rabid Reads
I tried to read SORCERER TO THE CROWN by Zen Cho THREE separate times, and had pretty much given it up for lost when I decided to give it one . . . more . . . chance.
Many, many thanks to friend and fellow Ace Roc Star Anne at The Book Nympho, whose review influenced this decision. *tips hat*
The beginning is slow, no getting around it. Even if I hadn't been reading mostly high-octane, action-packed urban fantasy in the weeks prior to my first attempts, I think I still would have found it slow.
I was initially reminded of a Jane Austen novel.
You: But you LOVE Jane Austen! Me: Yes, I know. You: ??? Me: I love Jane Austen, despite the florid prose, not because of it.
BUT. Given time, this book grew on me for the same reasons EMMA and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE did: clever hilarity and exasperating yet wonderful characters whom I grew to absolutely adore.
And BONUS, there is the kind of whimsicality that can only be present in a FANTASY novel.
Zacharias Wythe is not a white, land-owning man in something like 19th century England. He was adopted and emancipated by Sir Stephen Wythe, Sorcerer to the Crown, and his presence in society is met with both acceptance and ridicule by the peerage, and:
Though he had never doubted his guardian’s attachment, being Sir Stephen’s protégé had at times felt like being a touring attraction—a dancing bear on its lead.
And how easy it is to blame one whose existence you already disdain for problems almost certainly not of his doing.
Like the steady decline of magic in England? Who better to hold accountable than the new Sorcerer to the Crown? Especially when it so neatly provides a solution to the problem that is the new Sorcerer to the Crown?
But regardless of continuous and varied mistreatment at the hands of other thaumaturges, Zacharias is determined to discover the source of England’s lack of magic as his station demands, and during this search he also discovers the plight of gentlewitches.
Well-bred ladies do not practice magic, you see. If a young lady is discovered to have any magical ability at all, she is shipped to a boarding school where her use of magic will be stamped out.
It is in one such school that Zacharias stops as a favor to a friend, only to find that the method of suppressment is an altered version of a KILLING CURSE, modified to be cast by a lady on HERSELF, draining her magic temporarily, along with her energy and essential spark.
Zacharias is predictably horrified (b/c not a stuffy, pompous wanker like his sorcerer brethren).
And it was at Mrs. Daubeney's School for Gentlewitches that things started to pick up.
I began to see hints, not carbon copies, mind you, but hints of well-loved characters from various girlhood favorites, most notably in Mrs. Daubeney, who when vexed behaves in a rather Mrs. Bennett-like fashion:
"You ought to have considered me, but no one ever does, and it puts me in an impossible position!”
Then there's the scene of utter pandemonium that somehow manages to combine early ANNE OF GREEN GABLES Anne:
Henrietta stamped her foot, her grey eyes drowned in green light. “I will teach you a lesson for that!” she cried. “How dare you call him my precious Mr. Wythe! How dare you say I am in l-love!”
With those wretched Pringles she doesn't encounter until several books later:
When Prunella entered the classroom, Clarissa Midsomer was trying to bang Emily Villiers’s head against a desk. Emily was resisting this, screeching in a manner fit to bring the ceiling down.
(I couldn't find a good picture of the Pringles or of the classroom in chaos after the fireworks were set off, but this one works just as well, I think.)
Flanked by fish-faced guardsmen, the Fairy King lounged upon his throne . . .
YES. That is fantastic.
Resemblances, purposeful or accidental, aside, were not the only amusements, and I found myself shaking with laughter on more than one occasion, be it the result of a formidable aunt named Georgiana Without Ruth (<------get it? Ruthless? *snickers*), or his fairy Highness explaining why England's magic is being shunted elsewhere (but don't worry, not to France. They don't like France any better than England does):
“It would be an end to all peace if they returned,” he said, with a sigh. “We should give them our first-born child if that would persuade them to stay away. Indeed, we made the offer, but they would not look at poor Cuthbert."
BUT. As much as SORCERER TO THE CROWN made me laugh, there is so much more to it than humor. Peppered throughout the story are painful truths:
To her surprise Prunella found that she was still attached to Mrs. Daubeney. She would never trust her again—no! But one could nonetheless be very fond of someone in whom one had no confidence whatsoever.
When Prunella at last listened to the full message contained in the singing orb, I found myself in tears, and there is an Elizabeth and Darcy scene so spectacular as to give its namesake a run for its money.
Maybe you didn't hear me: there is an Elizabeth and Darcy scene so spectacular as to give its namesake a run for its money.
SORCERER TO THE CROWN by Zen Cho was fantabulous. Plain and simple. I'm so glad I didn't let a slow start derail my consumption of one of the best books I've read this year, and I hope you'll read it for yourself, b/c it's just that good. Highly recommended.
That's odd as in seriously creepy, not odd as in . . . a little bit different.
There's meth cooker called "The Alchemist," not to be confused with Lascaris, the alchemist whose "discoveries" of gold were the foundation of the town back in the Gold Rush . . .
It's strongly implied that the "discoveries" were alchemical successes that none have been able to replicate--not for lack of trying--in the 100s of years since Lascaris' untimely death in a fire that destroyed all of his belongings and research materials . . .
That's either highly convenient or highly inconvenient, depending on your perspective.
Enter Petra Dee, a geologist searching for her father who happened to disappear 20(ish) years ago, last seen in Temperence, where she's just accepted a new job.
Would you believe that Papa Dee had an interest in alchemy as well?
Another strange coincidence would be the curiously familiar profile inside a mourning brooch Petra stumbles across in the town Pawn Shop/Historical Society to the tune of:
"Say . . . that looks like weird dude with the blood that glows who I watched get beat the hell up, but who had nary a scratch on him the very next day . . . "
Like I said . . . ODD.
So the plot was interesting. But I had a few quibbles:
I picked this up b/c being set in the Midwest and having a bunch of crows on the cover, I figured there's be a Native American angle, and there was, but alchemy was the bigger focus, which has never been a point of interest for me. YES, I know "alchemy" is in the title, but I was hoping there'd be more to it. There was . . . just not enough . . . for ME.
The Park Ranger is as overbearing as he's supposed to be, but I've never understood the point of having faux love interests--if he'd been an old geezer, the role could have been filled just as well and without the awkwardness.
The message-from-beyond via Bobby Darin song was straight out of LOST.
Overall, better than meh, especially if you like the creepy side of Urban Fantasy. Dark Alchemy has creepy in spades (HA!). Between the aforementioned Alchemist who seems to ooze Mercury, the growing number of highly calcified and deformed almost corpses, and the ranch hands of the local BMOC who dangle underground from the roots of the "Hanging Tree" . . . Like I said . . . creeptastic.
Minus 0.5 stars for referring to a gun as a "toy." <------not cool, not EVER....more
9/12/15: When I first read ALICE, I had a hard time categorizing it. It was Victorian, but it wasn't steampumk. It was horror . . . ish. Fortunately, it very obviously a retelling, so at least I had that. BUT. Just having read this article: http://www.dailydot.com/geek/dreadpun... I can now solidly identify it at DREADPUNK. *grins creepily*
The first thing you should know is that I bloody hate ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
In fact, with the exception of THE JABBERWOCKEY, which I appreciate for English nerd reasons (nonsense words that make sense b/c masterful command of grammar), I bloody hate Lewis Carroll.
Too weird. #sorrynotsorry
I've also read an installment or two of Henry's BLACK WINGS series, and I wasn't terribly impressed. My top two least favorite subjects in urban fantasy are: dead things and angels. BLACK WINGS is basically about angels dealing with dead things.
SO. A book from an author I've previously not had much luck with, on a subject I've loathed since childhood . . .
You're probably wondering why on earth I bothered with ALICE.
Honestly, so did I.
And if it hadn't immediately captured my attention, I doubt I'd've stuck with it.
But it did. And I did.
The second thing you should know is that this book isn't for the faint of heart.
This Alice is an adult who's spent the last ten years institutionalized after stumbling out of the Old City with blood on her thighs, raving about a rabbit.
YES. That means exactly what you think it means.
And what happened to Alice isn't uncommon in this world.
Usually this kind of thing has me running, screaming in the opposite direction, but ALICE is a perfect example of the difference between dark and crude.
Dark means real life Bad Things happen. It's awful, it's presented as awful, but you're mostly seeing the aftermath of the awful, not a play-by-play account in real time.
It's realistic, but not shockingly so.
Crude means your face is shoved in the awful b/c this-is-life-suck-it-up-and-deal-with-it-you-pansy-suburban-housewife. Crude means deliberately crass terminology used for the express purpose of making something already awful even more awful.
I have zero tolerance for crude.
Dark I can handle.
And if the perpetrators get what's coming to them, my bloodthirstiness comes out to play and rolls around in the darkness. Like some kind of fiery-eyed hellhound.
ALICE is darrrrrrrrrk.
But it's also a perfect blend of old school Carroll strangeness and modern urban fantasy (albeit in a more Victorian setting) that I could not put down. I read the whole thing on a Saturday afternoon.
I loved the characters, especially our two MCs Alice and Hatcher, who were each other's only solace for eight years in the hospital where they were held. Despite the shared experience and insanity, they are as different as two people can be, their disparate strengths and weaknesses making them that much stronger together.
The world was bleak, yet fascinating. Make no mistake, Bad Things happen here. BUT. There is also justice, and that makes all the difference.
ALICE by Christina Henry is hopefully the first of many installments in this new weirdly fantastic series--definitely my most surprising read of the year so far. Henry's Alice knows that sometimes you have to hurt people before they can hurt you, and she doesn't hesitate to do exactly that. And even if she did, her mad companion Hatcher, thusly named for the killing frenzy that resulted in at least six deaths-by-ax, would not. They're on a mission, and if they're coming for you . . . Run, Rabbit, run.
2/28/16: Okay, FOLKS, that's TWO amendments I've made to the spoiler-tagged section, so if you object to the first half of my issue, you now know that2/28/16: Okay, FOLKS, that's TWO amendments I've made to the spoiler-tagged section, so if you object to the first half of my issue, you now know that the second part is my biggest issue, and there's nothing you can say to change my mind about it, b/c it's one of those BLACK AND WHITE areas, as far as I'm concerned. <------ Read between the lines.
Usually, when I'm this torn over a book, I take some time to reflect, to settle my FEELINGS--so many bloodydamn FEELINGS--but I can't do that this time, so I reserve the right to revise at a later date.
At the end of GOLDEN SON, the world explodes. Figuratively, not literally. Either way, it's not surprising that MORNING STAR hits the ground running with Darrow being kept in a box at Jackal's compound.
Of course he escapes. There'd be no book otherwise, and with a few surprises along the way, one of them HUGE and WONDERFUL (view spoiler)[Victra!! (hide spoiler)], Darrow is reunited with the Rising, and . . . things are a shambles.
Oh, not on the surface, maybe, but take a closer look, and even if you're distracted by ALL THE THINGS that keep your stomach in a constant state of dread, like a mini abyss living inside you--seriously, this book should come with an FDA warning: Do not consume if you have a history of ulcers or acid reflux. Contact your doctor and discontinue usage at onset of symptoms. Or something like that--it doesn't take long to draw that conclusion.
And if you hear the sound of glass being hurled from a rooftop onto pavement, don't worry, it's only my heart. When you've survived it yourself, I invite you to come back and tell me what your heart shattering sounds like. Most creative gets . . . absolutely nothing, but, come on, it'll be FUN.
And that's my way of informing you that if you (inexplicably) thought you might get a break from the agony of the previous two books . . . *laughs at you* . . . you would be WRONG.
Sometimes pain is necessary. Take Darrow, for example. If he hadn't suffered the Jackal of Mars' tender mercies, he wouldn't have faced his mortality, and a man filled with the hubris of youth is ill-equipped to lead a rebellion.
And every war has casualties . . .
I know all of that sounds unpleasant, and it is, but, once again, Brown proves himself a dab hand at balancing PAIN with humor.
Servo and Ragnar become brothers-from-another-mother in Darrow's absence, leading the Rising together, and they are damn hilarious:
“You! Troll!” Sevro shouts. “I’m a terrorist warlord! Stop throwing me. You made me drop my candy!” Sevro looks at the floor of the hallway. “Wait. Where is it? Dammit, Ragnar. Where is my peanut bar? You know how many people I had to kill to get that. Six! Six!” Ragnar chews quietly above me, and though I’m probably mistaken, I think I see him smile.
Then there's the pain of gratitude and loyalty and friendship, which is more delicate, but equally affecting:
“I don’t know how to thank you,” I say. “What for?” Kavax asks, confused, as per usual. “The kindness …” I don’t know how else to say it. “For watching over my family when I’m not even one of you.” “One of us?” His ruddy face falls. “A fool. You speak like a fool. My boy made you one of us.” He looks across the hangar where Mustang speaks with one of Lorn’s daughters-in-law near a transport. “She makes you one of us.” It’s all I can do to keep the tears from my eyes. "And if we damn all that, I say you’re one of us. So one of us you are.”
Kavax . . . I consider myself blessed to have met you.
I have one major issue with this installment, and unlike last year's issues with GOLDEN SON, this one will NOT go away with the (inevitable) reread: (view spoiler)[Maybe this is my fault, but I glossed over the whole Mustang and Cassius thing. Yeah, Cassius insinuated they'd had an intimate relationship, but I decided he was just trying to get a rise out Darrow.
He REALLY wasn't. And glossing it over is no longer possible, b/c you get your nose shoved in it--numerous times--and I have a hard time with Mustang whoring herself out like that, and before you lose your mind b/c I said whore:
"A person considered as having compromised principles for personal gain."
I'm not slut-shaming, I'm not judging her b/c she had sex. I'm judging her b/c she had sex with a man she cared NOTHING for, b/c it was politically to her advantage.
Mustang is supposed to be the bloodydamn smartest Gold in existence after her brother, and that's the best she can come up with?
If it had only been that, I might've been able to ignore it (b/c happier that way), but in conjunction with "testing" Darrow before telling him THEY HAD A CHILD . . . *throws head back and shrieks with rage*
What if he didn't pass her bullshit tests? Would she not have told him?
Eff you, lady, effff youuuuu!
This is the woman we're leaving in charge? This manipulative bitch? Kind of hard to consider it a happy ending when visions of Mustang-at-the-bottom-of-a-slippery-slope are flashing in my head.
***AMENDMENT: Mustang having sex with Cassius isn't the bigger part of my issue with her. It's that she made him fall in love with her. DELIBERATELY. He carried her damn earring around with him. He didn't believe she'd shoot to kill. He thought what they'd had was REAL.
That is just. So. Messed. Up.
Her behavior is everything I HATE about manipulative female stereotypes.
RIDICULOUSLY Bad form.
AMENDMENT, part II: While the bigger part of my issue concerning the Mustang/Cassius relationship is the lengths Mustang was willing go to to achieve her goal, the biggest issue of all is her "testing" Darrow before telling him they had a child. The fact that there was a definitive set of criteria, determined by her, and if Darrow did not meet it, she would NEVER tell him he had a son is UNFORGIVABLE.
The-effing-end. That's nonnegotiable for me. You don't have to agree, but you do have to accept that's the way I feel about it. #cantstopwontstop (hide spoiler)]
SO. Minus one star for that.
But overall, I bloodydamn loved MORNING STAR, and I thought it was a brilliant conclusion to an exceptional trilogy. It made me feel . . . everything. I can't wait to see what Brown has for us next, b/c this world . . . Nothing but potential. Highly recommended (but maybe with chocolate and baby animals for fortitude).
My other reviews for this series:
Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1) Golden Son (Red Rising, #2)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The first thing I want to say about this book is that my main issue was a matter of personal preference. It's impossible to really like a book when you don't like the heroine, and the heroine . . . I did not like.
Neither am I a huge fan of zombies and voodoo/necromancy or angels as supernatural creatures in urban fantasy (just b/c a book has demons--and weirdly, as much as I typically dislike angels in my UF, I think demons are aces--doesn't mean there will be angels).
This time, however, there were. *shrugs*
BUT if dead things and/or angels are your thing, you might love this book. Moving on . . .
I'm a few seasons behind, but I think it's pretty great. If you haven't watched SUPERNATURAL, it's about two brothers who hunt/kill/send back to Hell ghosts/monsters/demons. When I checked-out, it had evolved from misc. monster hunting to an approaching Armageddon<------I'm consistent.
BLACK DOG is kind of like SUPERNATURAL from the demon's perspective. If the demon was a hellhound meant to inspire sympathy b/c of her dainty human form and indentured servitude to a big meanie hellspawn.
And that's where things went wrong for me. You see . . . while the slavery aspect of being a hellhound definitely sucks, you cannot become a hellhound without making a deal with the proverbial devil.
Hellhounds aren't the offspring of a group of people who made the deal eons ago and are still paying for their ancestors' mistake. They aren't a strange and new amalgamation, created by the minions of Hell, forced to serve and exist in misery. NOPE. They are NOT. Every, single one of them signs up for the gig. When Ava died, a reaper came to her and offered her a choice.
Ava chose . . . poorly.
"But how did Ava die?" you ask.
Well . . . Ava had a boyfriend who liked to drink when he was feeling sorry for himself, and when he was good and drunk, he'd beat the shit out of her. Poor thing, I know. Except instead of kicking him to the curb, b/c abusive asshole, she started sleeping with his best friend, b/c serves him right.
And that's not all Ava's doing with these guys.
One of Best Friend's ancestors was some kind of voodoo priestess who sacrificed a bunch of children to open a gate to Hell, and the three of them are out in the bayou trying to find where she did it, so that they can call up some ghost to get power (b/c power).
But it all goes sideways for Ava when these two upstanding young men make her the sacrifice.
Huh . . . I guess they left that part out. You can't blame her for being surprised though, b/c the sacrifice was supposed to be a "pure" soul . . .
SO. Ava makes LOTS of bad choices.
She's also supposed to be one tough chick. You can torture her, and she will not flinch. She's used to it. Learned how to swallow the pain years ago. And she will cut you.
One. Tough. Chick.
When she's not on a crying jag:
I slammed the door behind me, threw the bolt, and curled up on the faded bed . . . Pressing the musty feather pillow against my face, I sobbed until I thought my chest would crack open . . . I hadn't realized it until this moment that I was alone, and I'd been stupid to ever think anything else.
Or having a panic attack:
I fell to the ground without realizing it. There was a terrible wheezing sound loud in my ears, and something slamming against my ribs from the inside as the weight got heavier and heavier, choking off my air entirely.
Or feeling sorry for herself:
If there was a level ten stories below ground from pathetic, I was probably there.
Characters make mistakes. It's inevitable. It's what they do after they make mistakes that counts, and IMO . . . Ava could have handled it better. But that's not the biggest problem for me. *sighs* I can't help it. I just don't like her.
Beyond that, BLACK DOG by Caitlin Kittredge was a pretty good book. The plot was interesting, especially if you're into the whole good vs evil/Heaven and Hell thing, and aside from some lowbrow humor, the writing was excellent. I think a lot of urban fantasy readers will like this book--it really was a case of, "It's not you, it's me."...more
Okay. This is how this is going to go: short(ish), non-spoilery review first, looooooong spoiler-taggedReviewed by: Rabid Reads
*takes a deep breath*
Okay. This is how this is going to go: short(ish), non-spoilery review first, looooooong spoiler-tagged review second.
That's just how it has to be. I must talk about ALL THE THINGS. I tried to rein it in, but I didn't really want to, so it didn't work. *shrugs*
I read this book almost in its entirety on release day . . . and I've been mulling it over ever since. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't jumping up and down with glee--I was thrilled with the way things ended for all of the numerous story threads . . . and yet . . .
Finally, I determined that my issues were with the journey--just b/c I'm happy about where we went, doesn't mean I'm happy about how we got there.
Being the black sheep (per usual), my dissatisfaction had little to do with the most common complaint . . . something about character assassinations . . .? *snorts*
There's not a lot I can say about that without major series spoilers, b/c QUEEN OF SHADOWS is a crossroads installment. For nearly everyone who matters. So if you've been desperate for important decisions to be made, for lines to be drawn in the sand . . . this is your book.
We also meet a handful of new characters.
If you pinterest stalk SJM like I do, you knew we were finally going see a few of the characters whose likenesses we'd been salivating over, some for more than a year.
Lysandra we'd already met in the prequels, but I somehow managed to miss the connection until she showed up on Celaena's doorstep. Elide had been briefly mentioned in HoF as a child of Terrasen who was probably dead. Then there was Nesryn whom we knew nothing about at all.
Speaking of Lysandra, it was while contemplating her massive turnaround that I realized how absolutely typical it was of SJM--it's what she does, people!
She ties strings to our feelings and jerks them around in some kind of macabre dance. This is not new information. She's been doing it since she put pen to paper in the very first book.
She's killed people we loved in horrible ways. She's broken our hearts with seemingly small decisions that ended catastrophically in the most painful of betrayals. She's blown out the fragile flame of hope, even as we wept and begged her not to.
And don't even get me started on Arobynn-friggin'-Hamel. What is it about him that leaves me feeling like a victim (vixen, too. Damn you, autocorrect) of Stockholm syndrome?
This time she took characters we loathed, whose blood we thirsted for, and made us embrace them as sisters. TWICE.
And you're fine with all of that. More than fine. You love it.
When she does the opposite and takes a character you previously loved and turns him into a bastard . . . Well, that's unacceptable.
I really can't say anything else. About anything. Which makes my head want to explode, but I can keep a lid on it while I wrap this portion up.
I still love these books, and QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas was full to bursting with the things that make THRONE OF GLASS my favorite YA fantasy series. BUT. There was a bluntness to some of the plot twists that made them harder to swallow than similar twists in previous installments. I suggest you focus on the awesomeness that is Abraxos and another animal development to get you through the hard parts, b/c overall it's definitely worth it. Highly recommended.
Seriously, do NOT click this unless you've already read the book or don't care about be spoiled, b/c nothing is sacred in that space. Spoilery content including but not limited to: Points of Contention (mine and yours), Highlights, New Ships, Questions Raised, and Theories: (view spoiler)[
POINTS OF CONTENTION:
Disclaimer - there were a multitude of other issues raised as people were reading, but I felt like those (the perception that Aelin was stone-cold ready to kill Dorian, Aelin keeping too many secrets from her inner circle, etc.) were addressed along the way, so I'm not including them here.
CHAOL - yours
In regards to Chaol I have two things to say:
1. Have you guys never broken up with a really nice guy (most likely because he was too nice and you were bored) and had him morph into Super Jerk? Even if you haven't experienced it firsthand, then surely you've observed the transformation.
It's shocking when it happens, not to mention upsetting and confusing, but it does happen.
2. YOU WERE FOOLING YOURSELVES.
Hell, my book bff had convinced even me (*consoles b/c book bff* but not the rest of you). I wasn't happy about it, but I was reconciled to Chelaena/Chaelin. HOWEVER, I had excellent reasons to support not only my belief that they were NOT mates, but also for why I DID NOT WANT it to happen.
I'm not going to go into all the things that went down in HoF b/c been there, done that. You can check it out in my updated Goodreads review, if you really want to, but it boils down to this: Chaol had already adequately showcased his ability to be an ass.
You just didn't want to believe it.
Chaol and Nesryn - yours
It never surprises me to find out someone--male or female--had a rebound fling. *shrugs* I've heard all kinds of reasons why readers couldn't believe he would do such a thing, most of them in their basest form being, "he's just not that kind of guy."
EVERYONE is that kind of PERSON. You do out-of-character things when your heart is broken. Then you heal a little bit, look around and wonder what the hell you're doing, and move on. That's why it's called REBOUND.
Chaol and Nesryn - mine
That being said, I felt Chaol's enumeration of their encounters lacked subtlety, and despite being firmly out of the Chaol camp, I wasn't ready to hear it.
If you're like me, you had suspicions the second he showed up with a right hand WOman, making that kind of embellishment unnecessary and gratuitously painful.
RAELIN - both sides, but mostly mine
Geez, where to begin . . . I have nothing to say to those of you who saw Rowan in a strictly mentor capacity. It's not how I saw (wanted to see) him, but I understand it, and you have good reasons for feeling that way.
Those good reasons are the crux of the problem--if the transition from mentor, to friend, to lover had been handled more deftly, I think it would have been accepted more easily.
Instead, the last we knew, they were both vehemently protesting having any kind of non-platonic feelings for each other, then BOOM cold showers everywhere.
Then there's my biggest issue with the way it played out: Aelin scantily clad and prancing about like a 14-year-old just discovering her sexuality, not understanding the effect of her actions.
It's going to be hard enough to convince your audience that the nearly 300 year age difference is surmountable without having Aelin behave like a naive child.
MANON - mine
In HoF, I was sick of Chaol long before he said the things that made me permanently abandon ship. A decision was staring him in the face, and he refused to make it. He kept straddling his fence, despite the unignorable EVIL of his then master. Despite the obvious rightness of standing against King.
I have no patience for that shit.
Manon . . . there's no way around it, did the exact same thing in QoS. Only it was worse b/c SISTERS BEFORE . . . MISTERS BITCH MATRONS. And the way Manon treated Asterin for most of the book . . . NOT COOL.
That and the combination of handing over the Yellowlegs coven for breeding purposes + engaging in the slaughter of that village . . . It was too much.
I could've maybe handled the Yellowlegs coven b/c they volunteered, she was in a tight spot, and as awful as the end result was, she couldn't have known how that would end. BUT. The village . . . b/c Duke-from-Hell said so, ignoring Abraxos' obvious attempts to steer her back on the right path (like Kaladin ignoring Syl) . . . Yeah, she made the right decision in the end, but so did Chaol.
Bottom line, Manon has a LOT to make up for, and I can only hope she gets off to a better start than Chaol did.
I think Sam would be happy that she and Celaena are friends. *rubs fist over heart* And Lysandra is more than a token replacement for Nehemia--her childhood training was a different (but very similar when you get right down to it) aspect of Celaena’s, cementing their friendship with that common bond.
ALSO, she's a shapeshifter which is frickin' awesome.
I've been saying since Manon wanted to rip the face of the Yellowlegs heir that in another life, she and Aelin would've been best friends.
It was nice to see a non-Red Shirt female who wasn't an inyourface fighter. There are more diverse weapons than knives vs. fists, plus . . .
. . . was clearly smitten with her, which was adorable. Abraxos is the BEST. He's the only character whose behavior is above reproach, and he's a dragon, and I LOVE HIM.
You know what I'm talking about.
1. Manon and Dorian - both of them will be dealing with the guilt of being used to do terrible things by people they trusted. Dorian more literally than Manon, but being brainwashed from birth that you are evil/soulless . . . it's gonna leave a mark. They're kind of perfect for each other.
2. Lysandra and Aedion - book bff and I are hopeful that since Aedion's MORE THAN HALF Fae, he'll get a cat-form like his pops, then he and Lysandra can run around the forest as big kitties.
3. Elide . . . and ABRAXOS - lots of dragons have a human form, you know. It could totally happen--book bff and I want this even more than we want #2.
1. How is it that Elide has witchblood? I mean, clearly, she got it from her mother, but where did her mother get it?
2. What the hell is up with that weird death cult?
3. Back in the day, Demons captured Fae to breed with them, resulting in the witches. Erawan has gold eyes. Ironteeth witches with gold eyes have some kind of natural resistance to Demons. Ashryvers have gold eyes, too. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
1. Fae are immortal. Aelin has a Fae form. Aelin is immortal.
2. The biggest (legitimate) issue Team Chaol has with Raelin is that Rowan was previously Mated. BUT. Rowan and Aelin have that weird warrior bond, and somewhere in Ch 44 there's this wind that pulls Rowan INTO her, "as if their bond was a living thing," and I'm convinced that it means they're UBER Mates. ALSO, book bff informs me that in some interview SJM said that Fae can have more than one Mate. Not sure how I feel about that, but it's definitely an answer.
3. Elide and Kaltain are somehow related.
4. Aelin/Dorian magical EXPLOSION: this is a rough theory b/c I didn't go back to find the specific passages that talk about the cyclical nature of this war between the Demons and everyone else, but I think Dorian is this cycle's Gavin in the way that Aelin is this cycle's Elena. Something about their magics is perfectly in harmony, making it infinitely more powerful when combined, enabling them to eventually defeat Erawan. Again. Or maybe permanently. I guess we'll see. But regardless, it's going to be Dorian and Aelin working together that Saves the World.
To those of you who say that means Aelin and Dorian have to get married, I say NOT SO! In fact, that would be politically pointless seeing as they have an unbreakable bond. It would make infinitely more sense for, say, Dorian to marry a witch, and Aelin an Other Court Fae (b/c you know Maeve has GOT to go), cementing ties between those FOUR kingdoms.
BONUS if the reason the magic died out in the Havilliard line was b/c Elena and Gavin did marry.
I don't know if any of you have been to Oak Ridge during its Secret City Festival, but if you have, you know the rat-a-tat-tat in the background that sounds suspiciously like a machine gun . . . is a machine gun. And the beginning of CONTROL POINT by Myke Cole feels a lot like machine gun report---jarring and erratic.
You hit the ground running with an MC (Oscar Britton) first working for, then fleeing a government that seems to be both the Good Guy and the Bad Guy. It's so action-packed that everything else was overwhelmed by the constant additions to the equation.
And honestly . . . I didn't like Britton.
He's this military guy who bails the second he becomes the hunted instead of the hunter, causing the death of numerous others, and if he had his way, he'd've kept running as the bodies piled up behind him.
Did he mean to cause the deaths of those other men?
No. He didn't.
But that's the difference between murder and manslaughter, and guess what? Both land you in the slammer.
And then the nebulous dual nature of the government rears its ugly head: the government has a monopoly on magic, which I vehemently protest. BUT. Who else has the manpower to hunt down the assholes who rationalize their continued existence over the long lives and safety of others?
*beats conundrum drum* (with my head).
It's not. That. Simple.
And when Britton stops running (18%), things calm to a manageable level.
In any other book, I'd hate, loathe, despise and abominate a character like Britton. He's selfish. He makes numerous BIG mistakes. He gives into his anger, lashing out at others instead of keeping a cool head.
But in CONTROL POINT, he's only one of a multitude of grey threads that contribute to the underlying principle that EVERYTHING is grey. There is no black and white. Right and wrong depend on context, not rules and regs. And when the good of ALL is dependent on the training of a single dangerous individual, are a few---or a LOT of---(questionably) innocent lives worth the tempering of one who could (maybe) change the world?
I just don't know.
But in this first installment of his SHADOW OPS series, Myke Cole makes a damn good case for withholding judgement.
I'm not going to lie, it was a frustrating journey. It was hard to not have a Good Guy to cheer for and a Bad Guy to hate. It was hard for the lines to blur back and forth, forth and back. But I really appreciate what Cole has done here (woke my foggy, trapped-in-the-status-quo brain the hell up), and I enthusiastically endorse it.
You shouldn't pick it up when you want your standard UF fix. Oh, don't panic, it's a relatively quick and easy read, but if you revel in absolutes, this one will make your head want to explode. In a good way. Probably. If you stick with it. Unless you're rigid and uncompromising, in which case I got nuthin' for you. Highly recommended.
Violet Lasting is a Surrogate. She lives in a world where blue bloods can no longer produce viable offspring. BUT. Before they begin to die out, a doctor discovers a genetic quirk that (fortuitously) exists most frequently in the lowest caste of their society . . . a quirk that allows the girls who have it to carry a royal child to term . . .
And so it is mandatory--on pain of death--for every girl to be tested for this quirk upon reaching puberty. If the girl is a Surrogate, she is taken from her family to be raised, groomed, and educated for life in the Jewel.
But being a Surrogate means more than simply having a womb capable of playing host to a royal baby:
The first time I coughed up blood, I thought I was dying. But it stops after a year or so. Now I only have the occasional nosebleed.
Being a Surrogate also means being able to manipulate the three Auguries: color, shape, and growth. Having command of the first (and easiest) Augury means being about to change the superficial aspects of something like . . . wait for it . . . color. Same goes for the shape and growth Auguries, but the interesting thing here is that the royals who purchase their Surrogates at the Auction intend for the girls to use their gifts specifically on their child.
Kind of cool. Kind of creepy.
Kind of dangerous for the Surrogate . . .
Or at least that was my early impression. Anything that causes severe headaches, nosebleeds, and coughing up blood cannot be good for you. BUT. Like I said, only the lower class has this ability, and everyone knows poor people have no power, so the upper classes are free to use them as they see fit.
I actually thought this was a clever premise. Anyone who has taken any kind of History of England (or any Western European country) knows about the weakness and illness that began to plague the royals, b/c of all the inbreeding. And in this inexplicably dystopian, presumably post-apocalyptic (b/c “Lone” city) world, who’s going to stop them from abusing their power and exploiting the peasants?
No one, that’s who.
There were lots of interesting little details that made this story stand out for me:
1. Iron bars in the shape of roses on the windows of the facilities where the girls lived until it was time for their Auction.<——beautifully ironic.
2. The use of real folk songs—I cannot hear or read the lyrics of “The Water is Wide” without getting goosebumps.
3. The flashback to the girl getting her head chopped off for trying to escape becoming a Surrogate gave me goosebumps too:
The girl was wild, long black hair tangled around her face, framing eyes of a brilliant, almost shocking, blue. There was something fierce and untamed about her appearance. She couldn’t have been more than a few years older than me.
She didn’t fight of struggle against the two Regimentals restraining her. She didn’t cry, or beg. She looked strangely peaceful. When they put her head on the block, I could swear she smiled. The magistrate asked her if she had any last words.
“This is how it begins,” she said. “I am not afraid.” Her face saddened, and she added, “Tell Cobalt I love him.” Then they chopped off her head.
4. Violet’s first cello performance . . . YEP, more goosebumps.
5. I’m sure there’s probably some female version of the male occupation of “companion” in this world, but in this story, it’s the male version in the spotlight, which is still terrible, but also refreshing somehow.
6. I saw that twist at the end coming, but it was still a very cool twist.
BUT . . . there were even more things that were either strangely familiar, or did not work for me at all:
1. The “inexplicable” and “presumably” parts of the world-building. We’re given no explanation for the lack of any other cities, or how this one manages to have marshland in concentric rings with the rolling hills and vineyards of farmland. Mighty convenient that . . .
2. Violet’s eyes are violet. This is a personal peeve of mine, b/c NO SUCH THING. No, not even Elizabeth Taylor. Her eyes were very, very blue, NOT purple. So. Unless it’s an alien or some type of Fae creature, if it has violet eyes, I’m going to roll mine.
3. If a noun isn’t named for exactly what it is, or some obvious attribute—industrial part of the city is called Smoke, farm part of the city is called Farm, Violet has violet eyes, etc.—it’s named some other animal, vegetable, or mineral. Raven and her twin brother Crow. The royals are all named after precious gems, or in one case, rare and expensive wood—Ebony. It’s weird and distracting.
4. Lucien is Violet’s very own Cinna. And yes, I realize that “Lucien” is not an animal, vegetable, or mineral, but he is also property, and I have suspicions about what his real name is.
5. The Surrogates have their own version of District Twelve’s three-fingered salute.
6. The “It only takes one small stone to start an avalanche,” and, “one crack spreads until the whole wall crumbles,” lesser versions of, “It only takes a spark.”
7. For a smart girl, Violet is incredibly dense sometimes. (view spoiler)[Ash is a freaking “companion.” What does she think he’s doing with Carnelian? AND how does she not consider the possibility that she could be pregnant with her own child after her shenanigans with Ash? ALSO, she doesn’t seem to pick up on the fact that the girl whose head she saw get chopped off was Lucien’s sister. (hide spoiler)]
8. The insta-love. It’s not as bad as most, but it is still, undeniably, insta-love.
So yeah, there were problems. But overall it was an entertaining read with a great premise—I finished it in an afternoon—and I’ll definitely read the next book. Amy Ewing’s THE JEWEL is a solid first installment in her THE LONE CITY series. It combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create an interesting new whole, so if either of those sub-genres are your thing, I’d check this one out.
I've been a champion of THE LUNAR CHRONICLES for years now. I saw CINDER featured for months and months on Fantastic FictionReviewed by: Rabid Reads
I've been a champion of THE LUNAR CHRONICLES for years now. I saw CINDER featured for months and months on Fantastic Fiction (b/c before I started using Goodreads), and I was simultaneously intrigued and horrified by the concept of a sci-fi YA retelling of a fairy tale. Honestly, I don't remember what finally convinced me to pick it up. I was just glad I did.
Now I'm not so sure. The first two books were fantastic, and while I wasn’t quite as fond of the third, it wasn’t awful.
After finishing WINTER, I added two new bookshelves (a record) to my Goodreads collection:
And for the second time this year (though for very different reasons), this will be a two-part review--a nonspoilery review first, followed by a spoiler-tagged RANT.
I hate WINTER, Part I:
1. Unexplained plot threads.
Threads. As in plural. I can only talk about one here, but there are many more, and two of them are HUGE.
Meyer got away without having to focus on the romantic evolution of most of her MC couples in WINTER. Cinder and Kai have been around since book 1. Scarlet and Wolf, almost as long, plus Wolf’s animal instincts make it believable. Winter and Jacin, b/c they’ve loved each other FOREVER.
Cress and Thorne? Not so much.
Cress has very real, very legitimate issues with Thorne and his incorrigible need to flirt with any and all present females, and Thorne is a life-long womanizer. But these obstacles never get directly addressed. We're just supposed to accept that Cress is "different" and Thorne really has changed, without any concrete evidence to support those claims.
Call me cynical, but I'd learned that lesson by the time I was twenty.
2. Winter and Jacin feel like guests in their own story.
I didn't go back and do the math, but I'd guess that only 5 - 10% of this monster was spent on Winter and Jacin as a couple. I'll grant you that the time spent on their coupleness was fantastic. I'll even say that it was as fantastic as the stuff we saw with Scarlet and Wolf (my personal favorite couple).
These moments were so few and far between that they were completely overwhelmed by ALL THE OTHER THINGS.
In the end, I was convinced their love was real. I just didn't care.
3. ALL THE OTHER THINGS.
There was entirely too much happening in this book. I don't know if Meyer couldn't maintain the quality of writing we've become accustomed to, or if she was frazzled from trying to fit everything in, but WINTER was choked with clumsily handled side plots.
Parts of the story evolution are so lazy, it's almost like Meyer expected the leftover adrenaline from all the BAD THINGS, the one area where she continued to excel (unexpectedly dropping truly horrible obstacles on our MCs), to carry us right over the discrepancies.
And for a lot of people that probably worked.
4. EXTREME repetition for added shock factor.
I almost DNF-ed this book. I was 80% into it, but I did not care, I was ready to take all 800+ pages to the shooting range and use it for target practice.
B/c I was so over Lunars taking control of 1/2 of our MC couples and making them try to kill the other half.
YES. I get it. Lunars SUCK. They will steal your free will and make you do really bad stuff. LIKE KILL YOUR FRIENDS or your ONE TRUE LOVE.
ALSO, death was constantly imminent. Someone(s) would get captured, execution would be inevitable, HA HA, just kidding! Escape, wheeeeeeee!
Over and over and OVER again.
5. How the end played out (and this is my NUMERO UNO problem, FYI):
This isn't really a spoiler, but if you're one of those readers who wants to go into a book completely blind, I'd skip this part. Actually, if you're one of those types of readers, I'd avoid reviews entirely.
Anyway, Levana is pure evil. We know this. We've known this for a looooooong time. She has done so many horrible, shocking, despicable things, and she is CRAZY.
She has to die. The end.
The question is how to do it? How do we take down this master of bioelectricity manipulation?
The possibilities are endless.
So imagine my surprise and OUTRAGE when a huge part of that plan involves revealing to the world what Levana looks like underneath that veil.
And I'm furious all over again.
I'm furious b/c I HATE Levana, and I'm furious that I have to be outraged on her behalf. I'm furious b/c what in the effing hell is the point of having a cyborg mechanic for a princess, if you're going to have her go all Mean Girl on the crazy chick?
B/c Levana is a rabid dog.
You don't kick a rabid dog. You don't jeer and laugh at it b/c UGLY. You put it out of it's misery. The-effing-end.
And that's it for the first portion of of my review. I can't adequately communicate how disappointing WINTER by Marissa Meyer is without spoilers, but I hope you at least get the gist. This is the worst last book in a previously beloved series I have ever encountered. I did not know it was possible to be this underwhelmed, this unhappily surprised, this ANGRY about a book from an author whose past work had been stellar. I’m undecided about whether or not the early installments warrant an overall recommendation. Your call. Ugh.
I hate WINTER, Part II:
NOT kidding, there are spoilers EVERYWHERE in there. DO NOT click unless you've already read the book, or have no intentions of ever doing so. (view spoiler)[
1. Unexplained and DANGLING plot threads (in order of least to greatest importance, according to ME):
The unidentified RAT. Yes, Cress was primarily responsible for all the spyware in Kai's palace, but no matter how great a hacker you are, you can't manifest cameras and listening devices in strategic locations.
So how did they get there?
I was convinced Torin had been brainwashed, but even without him being the culprit, someone else had to be. But who?
I guess we'll never know.
Iko's personality chip. This is how it went down:
a. Garan's unnecessary software updates are mentioned, making it more than obvious that something is hinky.
c. Cinder unconscious for three days.
d. Cinder wakes up and IMMEDIATELY calls for meeting of world powers, where she announces Garan's research is, and has always been, in Iko's wacky personality chip.
Okay, fine. I'd pretty much guessed as much based the aforementioned OBVIOUS clue. BUT. Cinder never actually confirmed this speculation. And based on Iko's surprise at the announcement, it's clear Cinder didn't check it out off-page either.
That's a NEAT trick.
Wolf's (further) genetic modifications. Wolf spent his early years as one of Levana's super soldiers in constant fear that he'd fail somehow and end up back on the operating table. Everything he did from the time he woke up from his initial mods was in pursuit of avoiding the lot of the majority of his soldier brethren.
B/c more animal than human. B/c slaves to instincts. B/c specifically created to be violent, remorseless killing machines.
And when he woke up, I'll admit I was concerned. In fact, of ALL the Bad Things, this one upset me most. B/c LOVE Wolf. And his fear of this exact fate was palpable.
But oh, look at that . . . He's pretty much the same Wolf he's always been except for a few cosmetic changes. Presumably b/c Scarlet (mate/alpha/blah/whatever), but who can really say, b/c Meyer certainly didn't.
ALL that buildup, all that fear, all that pressure . . . all for nothing, apparently.
2. ALL THE OTHER THINGS:
I've already said waaaaay too much was happening in this book . . . Meyer got lazy. Some of that laziness is evident in the unresolved plot lines, but it's also a problem with various foreshadowings.
In laying the groundwork for future plot twists, instead of the subtlety, the carefully inserted details that thrilled us in hindsight, we got this:
“Why did I pass out?” Cinder interrupted. Crouching beside the couch, Jacin felt for the pulse in Cinder’s wrist. After a short silence, he let it drop down again. “Stress, probably, along with your physical reaction to having the portscreen connected to your”—he gestured to her general head area—“ computer thing.” “And you call me squeamish,” said Thorne. Cinder squinted. “I passed out from stress? That’s it?” “I believe the princess term is fainted,” said Thorne.
Riiiiiight. After being completely submerged in water, after a 4+ story swan dive, she passed out b/c STRESS.
Do I even need to address all the problems with this?
How 'bout I limit it to this one: in the past, every, single time Cinder has passed out/come close to passing out, her computer brain exploded into a frenzy of cautions and warnings.
Not this time.
So somehow, I just wasn't surprised when it was later revealed that Cinder did in fact have something seriously wrong with her.
Shades of Panem.
That's pretty self-explanatory, but Luna, its outer districts and their function, the inability to communicate between the districts and thus rebel in force . . . It all felt strangely familiar . . .
There were also RIDICULOUSLY overused plot devices. Like this:
“I accept,” Cinder said, dazed. She kept hold of Levana’s trigger finger but allowed Levana to lower the gun. Cinder held out her hand and Levana stared at it for a moment before reaching forward and setting the gun into Cinder’s palm. In the same movement, she grabbed the forgotten knife and lurched forward, driving the blade into Cinder’s heart.
Are. You. Effing kidding me?
3. EXTREME overuse of Lunar gifts for added shock factor:
This primarily manifests in the utilization of mind control, which I already mentioned.
What I couldn't say is that in quick succession, a random thaumaturge forces Scarlet to try to kill Wolf, AIMERY (the swine) forces Winter to try to strangle Jacin, and Levana forces Thorne to attack DAMN EVERYBODY, but especially Cress, whom he stabs IN THE GUT.
And that's not the only time something like this happens, it's just the most memorable.
SIDE NOTE: I've decided to add "No mind control" to my list of rules b/c it makes everything too damn easy.
Winter. She is as CRAY as Levana, but in a far less nefarious way.
Her crazy is self-inflicted, b/c she refuses--I mean absolutely refuses--to use her Lunar gift.
Until she doesn't. Refuse, that is.
Don't misunderstand, I didn't want her to kill Jacin. And if this was the only instance of inconsistency, I probably would've let it slide.
But it wasn't.
Jacin's parents weren't executed, as ordered. Again, it's not like I wanted his parents to die.
But it's constantly reiterated that Levana does exactly what she says she's going to do. That's why Scarlet cut off her own finger. That's why Winter contemplated the uselessness of Dude-on-trial-for-rescuing/attempting-to-rescue-his-shell-child's begging for mercy for his family, b/c once Levana says they're to be killed/enslaved, that is what will happen.
And yet, Jacin's parents escaped their fate b/c they'd conveniently relocated?
LIKE THAT WOULD STOP HER. Especially when she went there herself to dose Winter with THE PLAGUE.
Levana's complete and total meltdown b/c true appearance revealed. Let me see if I've got this right . . .
Levana, so thoroughly insane and DETERMINED that she both convinces herself that she is the best woman for the job of Queen, then carries out various horrific plots to attain her selfless goal, just gives up when the world sees her real face? Is so distraught that she can barely control the most basic bioelectrical manipulations?
Hmm . . . that's mighty convenient for Cinder . . . but somehow I'm not convinced.
5. How the end played out:
Seeing Levana on the palace steps was the first time Iko had ever seen the Lunar queen, and her scarred face made Iko wish she wasn’t immune to glamours. After years of hearing about the queen’s famous beauty, the truth had been something of a letdown. But the truth was out. Thanks to Cinder’s video, now everyone knew what lurked beneath the illusion.
You know what I took away from this book?
Winter is pretty. She's so, so pretty. She might be the prettiest girl in the world. And, BONUS, she's naturally pretty.
Levana is ugly. So very ugly. Sickeningly ugly. B/c scarred in childhood trauma involving FIRE.
You: How awful! Me: YES. It is.
See, I went to school with a girl who had pulled a pot of boiling water on her head when she was a toddler, so I know exactly what that type of injury looks like. The rough, uneven scar tissue. The way that scar tissue pulls down the corner of your eye and mouth . . .
It is permanent, it is (superficially) hideous, and even if she hadn't been one of the nicest people I'd ever met, I would NEVER have been able to bring myself to use such a tragic accident against her.
Some things are beyond the pale.
But Meyer made the results of a similar accident the main weakness of our sociopathic, megalomaniac villain. Our villain--whom I DESPISED, for a MULTITUDE of excellent reasons--but whose #1 goal in the midst of her madness was to be LOVED.
So let's run her out of town b/c UGLY.
That's definitely where our focus should be. Not on the scheming and machinations, not on the infanticide, the sororicide, not on commandeering her people's children for her army and her experiments, but on her scars. On her physical flaws.
You disgust me.
And I don't want to hear any, "How else could they have defeated her?" arguments. That's not my job. That was Meyer's job. And I think she failed. Miserably. (hide spoiler)]
My other reviews for this series:
I have a new favorite author. His name is Brandon Sanderson.
This book . . . made me curse like a sailer.
If I had tried to read it in public, at the very least, I would have been banned from the property. More likely, I'd have either been locked up for 24-hour observation at the local mental health ward or at the local precinct for Disturbing the Peace, but only after having passed numerous drug tests, proving that I wasn't Drunk and Disorderly.
If you think I'm exaggerating, check out my status updates on Goodreads.
I am not exaggerating.
Honestly, in a book this large, it's nearly impossible to touch on every highlight, so I'm left trying to decide which are the best . . . it's a thankless task, but here goes:
If it's been done before, I haven't read it, and like Wit said, it's novelty we humans appreciate most.
The majority of the world in THE WAY OF KINGS is like a tropical ocean habitat on dry land. Plants retract completely into the ground before a wagon wheel or foot can tread upon them. Instead of cows or oxen pulling those wagons there are "chulls" which are over-large hermit crab-sounding things. The monstrous "chasmfiends" the nobility hunt for sport are basically giant badass lobsters. Instead of ants or beetles scuttling on the ground, there are "cremlings" that sound an awful lot like crawdads.
It's kind of awesome.
More awesome than that are the people groups.
While there were separate and distinct cultures, that wasn't the focus of the differences. The focus was on their Extras: the Alethi who fall into a kind of Berserk warrior state they call the Thrill when they are in battle. Purelakers who can communicate with the fish that fill the waters of their home. Parshendi who grow their own carapace-like armor and have legs strong enough to jump chasms in the Shattered Plains that everyone else needs a bridge to cross. Horneaters who have a kind of fairy sight that allows them to see elemental spren whether the spren wish to be seen or not.
I absolutely loved it.
There are so many great characters that I can only give you the gist. These people . . .
I wept, but not from sadness, not from loss. I wept b/c my heart could not contain my awe and gratitude and respect for these men, these dregs of society, who one man and one spren had bound together into something so valiant, so courageous, so honorable . . . that I could do nothing but weep.
Some people shy away from that sort of thing, and being the kind of person that I am, I view that as its own tragedy. Suffice it to say that if you are a character-driven reader, you will leave this world with a much expanded family.
Master of Misdirection:
I read this as part of a massive group buddy read (SHOUT OUT to my peeps at Sanctum of Fantasy(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)]). Several members achieved "Master of . . . " titles during the read, and I'm granting Sanderson Master of Misdirection status.
Not only did he expertly paint characters as non-threatening nonentities so that your mind was blown when their nefarious true natures were revealed, but he stealthily laid the groundwork consistently throughout the story, making it utterly believable.
But he didn't limit himself to grand scale misdirection, no, he did not. He also regularly made your heart stop for the three seconds it took to get past the obvious reaction to the reality of the situation that was entirely different from the path he had lead you down.
*salutes* *fights urge to gesture rudely once back is turned*
The singular complaint I saw voiced during the BR was that there wasn't an identifiable Great Evil that Good needed to triumph over.
By the end of the book that was no longer the case, but even before that I didn't mind, b/c Sanderson constantly makes you question: what is right? What is good? It's a deliberate tactic to both make the reader really think about right and wrong, good and evil, and also to eventually make the difference abundantly clear.
So if you're the kind of reader that needs that distinction, don't give up, b/c, man alive, you will get it.
The last 10%:
Sanderson followed a strict formula for the last 10% of his book. It goes like this:
1. What's the worst thing that can happen? Let's do that. 2. How can we make it even worse? Let's do that, too. 3. Now let's make it look like--despite overwhelming odds--everything will work out fine. 4. Now let's crush that hope.
Rinse, wash, REPEAT.
Part IV will leave you emotionally wrung-out (in a good way), and Part V will give your FEELS a chance to recover whilst blowing your mind (really, your mind should be in pieces by the time you finish).
Having just finished yesterday afternoon, I'm surprised that I'm not still in some kind of stupor, but I've prevailed. I did have to step away several times during that last 10% to give myself a chance to recover. I used that time to: order paperbacks of both installments for my dad and hardbacks for myself, b/c these books . . . they deserve shelf space.
What kept THE WAYS OF KINGS from being a 5.0 star read were a handful of issues in the beginning of the book. I've been told that WoK was shoved through the editing process to get it into bookstores quickly, and it shows in the repetition of phrases, especially in the prologue. The third time Someone came at Someone Else with "broad, sweeping strokes" (of his sword), I was over it. And when an Assassin continually referred to a hallway runner as being red . . . like blood . . . well, despite how fantastic the rest of the book was, I couldn't entirely overlook it's less than stellar start.
However, overall . . . again I say, I have a new favorite author.
Pre-Review: I'd like to say something simple and profound like, "I have no words . . . "
Sadly, the truth is that I have too many. Once I've pared them down into something reasonable, we'll be speaking again.
In the interim, I shall leave you with these:
“Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”
Draw your own conclusions.
My other reviews for this series:
Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more