I was excited to read Nicole Williams first traditionally published book—I’d been reading her independent stuff for years—but I doubt I made it past 1I was excited to read Nicole Williams first traditionally published book—I’d been reading her independent stuff for years—but I doubt I made it past 10% before I quit.
There are YA books and there are YA books . . . When the MC calls someone a “butt munch,” it’s a clear sign you’re dealing with the latter. #nothankyouplease....more
This is going to be a nontraditional review. Kind of. I posted it on Rabid Reads as a Bookfessional on RAGE Buttons, but while I discuss another insThis is going to be a nontraditional review. Kind of. I posted it on Rabid Reads as a Bookfessional on RAGE Buttons, but while I discuss another instance of inappropriate behavior between children and adults in fiction, my review for this book is solidly in there as well.
If you don't like it, don't read it.
Several years ago there was public outcry against Karen Marie Moning when she rehired a registered sex offender to narrate the role of Barrons in the audiobook version of the (then) latest installment of her Fever series.
I too was disgusted, but I didn't understand the shock a lot of her long-term fans were demonstrating . . . How is it surprising that someone who would subject her adolescent heroine to the sexual advances of centuries-old men (for lack of a better term) would also employ a man who behaves similarly in real life? #notsurprised
I'm referring to the events of Iced, of course, the first installment of the Dani spinoff, and while the specifics are unknown to me--when I heard the rumblings, I refused to read it--the consensus was clear: the interactions were inappropriate.
Oh, some readers were more bothered than others, but even the readers who weren't offended used the speculative nature of the series as grounds for leniency.
And that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if they're not bothered, they're not bothered. *does not judge*
BUT. As far as I'm concerned: NOT fine.
You: Y you beat this dead horse?
Me: B/c that horse is apparently not dead.
I was feeling graphic novel-y a week or so ago, so I logged into my NetGalley account and checked out the Read Now options (b/c unless they're DC or Marvel, pretty much all the graphic novels are Read Now).
At first glance, The Scarecrow Princess by Federico Rossi Edrig appeared to be one of the most promising. It was recommended for fans of Coraline and Over the Garden Wall, and I've always been drawn to myths about crows, so I downloaded it immediately.
It did not go well.
Meet our charming heroine, Morrigan:
You: What a brat!
Me: I know, right?
But she's only fourteen, and we all had our moments at that age, didn't we? Still, just b/c I can identify the developmental stage doesn't mean I want a heroine who embodies it.
You: How can you be sure she's fourteen?
Me: B/c she's clearly identified as such.
SO. No room for misinterpretation. Which made it all the more upsetting when this happened about halfway through:
That these kinds of comments are made to an underage child by an adult are upsetting enough, but what really chaps my hide is that THE AUTHOR KNOWS EXACTLY HOW INAPPROPRIATE HE'S BEING.
Look at her reactions. These aren't off-hand comments written by some socially awkward middle-aged man who doesn't understand the implications of his villain's overture, HE KNOWS.
One can only hope that the knowledge has been extrapolated, but as I've already pointed out, art. Imitates. Life.
And hey, now that we've got the sexual harassment of a minor on the table, what's a little underage drinking?
I repeat: this graphic novel was recommended for fans of Neil Gaiman's CORALINE, a children's book, the recommended age level being 10+.
That's not even the worst of it.
In the final conflict, fourteen-year-old Morrigan is stripped of all of her clothing (i.e. completely nude), in the presence of Bad Guy-the-Pervert, who is ALSO NAKED.
And no, I'm not posting the screenshots of that (though I do have them), b/c it feels like it's a hop, skip, and jump away from child pornography, which is a FELONY.
When I finished reading THE SCARECROW PRINCESS, I went back to NetGalley to skim the reviews already posted, but I was baffled to discover that not one of the other nineteen listed reviewers raised any concerns.
I take that back, there was one mention: a LIBRARIAN said that she felt the nudity was gratuitous, but she still gave it four stars, b/c the color palette was evocative of autumn which "feels appropriate at the moment."
The books I have the hardest times reviewing are the MEH books, and THE DREAM KEEPER'S DAUGHTER is one such book. In the strugReviewed by: Rabid Reads
The books I have the hardest times reviewing are the MEH books, and THE DREAM KEEPER'S DAUGHTER is one such book. In the struggle to find something to say beyond, "MEH," I can hyperfocus on the things that annoyed me, the end result being that the book comes across as far worse than it actually was.
That being said, this particular book sparked lots o' irritation to draw that focus. The numerous references to the all-the-boys-want-her heroine as a modern-day "Lara Croft" (yes, seriously), the wholly unexplained magic system, the anticlimactic "plot twist" at the very end . . . It was all very basic.
Like the haphazard daydream of an adolescent girl put to paper.
Despite what I consider to be a fairly predictable plot, I can't go into more detail without spoilers, so I apologize for the vaguery, but it can't be helped. *shrugs awkwardly*
When the focus wasn't on the (highly suspect) supernatural aspects of the story, it was on mundane post-pictures-of-your-morning-snack-b/c-yay-social-media type details like:
I park on a side street, feeling lucky to have found a spot so close, and make my way to the library, taking a shortcut through one of the tree-lined courtyards that houses some of the college’s older buildings. The sun is brutal, and the humidity’s not much better. I push open the door to the air-conditioned lobby with a sense of deep relief.
I'm so bored.
And bored and irritated are not what I look for in a book.
THE DREAM KEEPER'S DAUGHTER by Emily Colin, if I'm being generous, is urban fantasy lite--maybe okay for dabblers who won't care that supernatural details don't hold up under scrutiny, but not for anyone who needs solid world-building despite the unreality of the story being told. Combine that with the caricature of a heroine, and I just can't. Not recommended.
You haters can hate all you want, I DO NOT CARE. I will read this, and I will probably love it, b/c Stephenie Meyer is an effing Rock Star as far as IYou haters can hate all you want, I DO NOT CARE. I will read this, and I will probably love it, b/c Stephenie Meyer is an effing Rock Star as far as I'm concerned.
What was that? (view spoiler)[You think you can let a naked woman claim in bed with and grab your dick, but you eUgh.
Ughhhhhhhh. *throws book at wall*
What was that? (view spoiler)[You think you can let a naked woman claim in bed with and grab your dick, but you eventually toss her out, so no harm, no foul? (hide spoiler)] Eff you, dude. Efffff youuuu.
And that's just the most obvious issue. This thing was CRAP....more
I received an ARC of A PROMISE OF FIRE early in the year, and I was excited about it tooReviewed by: Rabid Reads
This book . . . *shakes head*
I received an ARC of A PROMISE OF FIRE early in the year, and I was excited about it too, b/c fantasy romance, I love it. And it's rare. So new author, new series, hell yes, I will board that train.
Then I started reading it.
1. First person, present tense. Which I HATE. It's my least favorite perspective to read from.
2. Poseidon. What in the Sam Hill is Poseidon doing in a fantasy world, I ask you? Hmm??
The second is admittedly one of my weird quirks that probably won't bother the rest of you, but it irks the fire out of me when real world people or religions (or, you know, other stuff) show up in high fantasy and/or make believe worlds. You can have Middle Earth or you can have Hinduism, and never the twain shall meet. #jessicasrules
Borrowing a real world religion is the tactic of a lazy author to avoid creating her own. Also, it breaks continuity.
Long story short, I DNF-ed it at probably less than 5% and hadn't thought about it since . . . Until the Best Books of 2016 lists start coming out, and it's on like four of them.
So I'm like . . . Okaaaaay . . . Did I give up too soon, or is the majority cray?
It's somewhere in the middle, I think.
But it's complicated.
Bouchet has created in her heroine, a womanchild who is occasionally hilarious, frequently courageous, and repeatedly irritating--Cat is as stubborn as she is inconstant.
Think about that for a second. Stubborn . . . yet inconstant.
If I'd encountered that description pre-Cat, I'd have been at a loss to imagine what it looks like. BUT. This is post-Cat, so it's not a problem.
Context: I'LL NEVER TELL!!
Three pages later:
Context: I will tell you ALL THE THINGS! B/c ANGRY! Even though it's dangerous for me to do so! *hiss* *spit*
This happens A LOT.
Unsurprisingly, the source of much of Cat's inconsistency is her immaturity. By the midway point, Griffin (who is NOT a manboy, no siree, he is all MAN), has kissed her either two or three times, and each time she's swooned, until she "comes to her senses," which entails violence in the form or hitting or kicking, followed by angry exclamations of "Yuck!" or "Gross!"
Don't believe me?
And that's only the beginning of Cat's juvenile behavior.
The trouble is that she's also entertaining as hell. And the plot, once I got past the presence of the Greek pantheon, is equally entertaining.
That being said, no one will be surprised that this is Bouchet's first novel. Her non-magic population is called the "Hoi Polloi." YES, as in the unwashed masses, and she needs to embrace her genre for what it is--when someone narrows their eyes, it is not an "ocular threat" (*rolls eyes*). BUT. She shows clear promise, and I'm interested to see where the next installment takes us.
SO. Not really comfortable making a recommendation just yet . . . Do what you will. *shrugs awkwardly*
This is the one PNR in the group, though I didn't know that when I started, and it's not an OTT sex, sex, sex (noneReviewed by: Rabid Reads
DNF at 42%.
This is the one PNR in the group, though I didn't know that when I started, and it's not an OTT sex, sex, sex (none at all by the time I DNF-ed, actually) focused PNR, so it felt more UF than PNR.
As UF as a book can be when most of it takes place in a weird steampunk parallel dimension type place, anyway . . .
The world was decent---not overly gadgety. The plot, also decent. BUT. The heroine . . . was less than inspiring.
I know women make bad relationship decisions all the time. I know when they finally get out of it, they're broken and scared, and it takes awhile to recover and open themselves up to trusting another man.
What I don't want to do is read about it.
It annoys the hell out of me to see a damaged woman continually push away a good (and sexy as hell) man, b/c burned before, blah blah, not ready, when WE ALL KNOW she's going to give in eventually.
Even more so when she starts heavily flirting with another man.
"My last boyfriend was a major jerk, and I don't want a new one, so I'm going to lead TWO men around by their noses, b/c I'm so confused, and it's kind of fun, too."
The world of THE COURIER is a future dystopian version of a combined San Francisco and Los Angeles (I think), whereReviewed by: Rabid Reads
DNF at 15%
The world of THE COURIER is a future dystopian version of a combined San Francisco and Los Angeles (I think), where space is presumably at a premium, b/c people are building up instead of out.
Our MC (Kris) is a courier--she delivers packages on a motorcycle while wearing kick-ass, high tech riding gear--in this brave new world, where an informal caste system based on seven complete and separate levels of the city determines an individual's quality of life (melodrama included for later reference):
People that worked or lived on Level 1, which used to be open air and grass and trees, had the sense to stay out of any water that managed to drip its way down there. Rumor had it the stuff could kill you in three days if it touched your skin. I used to live in that hellhole, so I knew different. I even got desperate enough to drink it once, when I ran away from home. I had peeled the moss off an old brick wall, hoping it would act like a filter, my hands shaking from hunger and thirst, and squeezed the lifesaving fluid from it. It must have worked; I’m still here. Maybe I just got lucky. It didn’t matter. I was never going back there.
But despite moving up a level and getting a decent job, it didn't take long to figure out things were about to turn nasty for Kris:
“It’s just a short run, a pickup on Level 4 and a delivery on Level 2. You can take the paperwork home with you, honey, and drop it on my desk in the morning.” I just stared at her. Having Dispatch let you take the paperwork home with you was like being plucked off the street and taught how to fly a shuttle to and from the Sat Cities. Shit like that didn’t happen . . .
Initially, I was intrigued, but it took about two seconds for me to become disgusted with Kris's bad attitude and double standards. I can't recall a more negative or obnoxiously self-pitying character. I'm not saying she hadn't had a hard life, that her cynical outlook wasn't warranted--all the best characters have survived any number of Bad Things and/or overcome adversity.
They don't waste time feeling sorry for themselves or on melodramatic remembrances. They don't bitch and moan about every, single minuscule aspect of their existence.
1. If they came at all.
B/c poor, poor Kris is a low level and not a priority.
2. Almost pleasant.
Nothing is ever pleasant for poor, poor Kris. Almost is as good as it gets.
3. People would be out doing whatever it was with all their cash.
Poor, poor Kris wouldn't know.
4. Something about congestion and pollution and death tolls.
*EDVARD MUNCH FACE*
And that, my friends, was just one page.
Worse than that, she's all talk:
“I’ve been waiting forever. What, did you decide to walk all the way here? And why did you take the wall? The aisles are way faster.” Aww, hell. Why did he have to be an asshole as well as a freak? I took a deep breath and held my tongue for the second time in the last few minutes. There was no point in getting reported and having Dispatch even more upset with me. All this for a few extra bucks? I should have just gone home.
That was her second "should've just gone home" inner monologue (the first was when she took the last minute delivery), but she was too scared of Dispatch to do anything besides rant internally.
ALSO, she likes to name-call, but, again, never out loud. *flares nostrils*
Beyond my hatred of the main character, the writing was . . . pretty awful.
The chapters were short and choppy. As soon as I acclimated to one POV, it would change to another, often covering the same time period. The shifts were abrupt and sometimes confusing, especially when I would find myself in the mind of a psychopath.
I probably could have eventually adjusted to the POV changes, but the weird fixation and the various and redundant use of "gut" pushed me over the edge.
The third time Kris felt her gut clench (at only 8% into the book), I did a word search and discovered it was actually only the second time. The first mention of her gut had to do with it burning. My bad. Beyond those first three, there were EIGHT more:
...low flame burning in my gut... ...my gut clenched... I felt my gut clench... ...and the food in my gut had turned into rock. ...twisted its tentacles into my gut. ...sharp thrill settled into my gut. ...a scream tore from my gut. ...the anger building in my gut... ...had been churning in my gut... My gut clenched... ...regret again settled into my gut.
There were also four "gutted" men, "years of built up fish guts," one head driven into someone else's gut, one gun pointed at a gut, and one assumption that "Quincey would probably just gut him." <------I'd take that bet.
And I'm done. THE COURIER by Gerard Brandt was not for me. I'm a character-driven reader, so hating the main character would've been insurmountable by itself--my dislike of the writing was bonus. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Not recommended.
Raye Larsen is a twenty-seven year old kindergarten teacher. She lives in the same small town she grew up in, the same small tReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Raye Larsen is a twenty-seven year old kindergarten teacher. She lives in the same small town she grew up in, the same small town where she has never fit in (b/c typical small town nonsense).
Raye is adopted, you see, and in addition to having dark hair and eyes in a town of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Scandinavians . . . she can also see ghosts.
When she was four---yes, four---she overheard her adoptive parents discussing her oddity, and when Dad suggests they "take her back," she modified her behavior to never again betray her awareness of things normal people can't see.
I've got all kinds of problems with that.
My personal perspective on adoption is that once you've made a commitment, you don't get to "take them back" anymore than you'd get to take back a child you share DNA with.
But as sympathetic as I was to the instability and emotional distress hearing that would cause a child, I had a hard time respecting an adult who hasn't come to terms with that childhood distress, preferring to avoid her gifts in favor of trying to fit in (especially when this group of people is so ridiculously small-minded):
Despite having seen spirits all of my life, I’d spent most of my time avoiding them, or trying to ignore them, rather than understand them. Wouldn’t you?
No. I wouldn't.
So I thought Raye was chicken and an idiot, which is never good, but I also thought she was . . . I don't know, a dork, maybe? (Not in a geektastic way.)
At first I thought it was a forty-something trying to write a twenty-something, and that may be it, but I've got a twenty-five year old sister, and I'm pretty sure she'd get all the random references Raye was making . . . She just wouldn't ever make them herself . . . b/c dumb.
Like who says a guy flexes "like Arnold"?
1. Arnold's not flexing much these days. 2. Gross, man.
Or how about while flirting with the new guy in town:
“Maybe I should take you to the doctor.” “I’d rather we played doctor.” I clapped my hand over my mouth. Had I said that?
Unfortunately, YES, you did. *is vaguely uncomfortable b/c vicariously embarrassed*
Then there's Bobby.
Bobby sounds hot---dark skin, dark hair, blue eyes, Creole---but Bobby is named Bobby (yuck), and I'm not going to say that he thinks and says things that no man would ever think or say, b/c absolutes are inherently flawed . . . However, I will say that I've never met a man who says and thinks things like Bobby, and if I ever did, I would not be attracted to him:
She put her hand in his and stepped beneath the water, lifting her face to the stream, arching her long, slim, white neck like a doe worshipping the moon . . . She resembled a nymph beneath a waterfall, a mermaid in the surf.
B/c when a guy sees a pretty girl in the shower he's thinking about her neck . . . Riiiiiiiiight.
There's also a guy who gives him "the creepies." *frowns and squints*
SO. I had a lot of issues with the characters, but I feel like they were mainly personality conflicts, so there's a good chance you won't be similarly bothered.
And aside from my character issues, the story is really cool. It involves witches and witch hunters and secret societies, and the history may even be legit. I didn't take the time to look all of it up, but I know that parts of it are true, and the rest of it is believable, so even if it isn't, the melding of fact and fiction is my favorite part, and I felt like it was incredibly well done.
Overall, IN THE AIR TONIGHT by Lori Handeland was a decent first installment in her new SISTERS OF THE CRAFT trilogy. The majority of what I disliked about the book were issues of personal preference, and even with the character clashes, the story was interesting enough to ensure that I read the second book (like right after I finish this review). I'll let you know how it goes. *crosses fingers*
Contrary to my assumption, HUNTER by Mercedes Lackey was not a YA fantasy. If I'd bothered to read the blurb, I would've knownReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Contrary to my assumption, HUNTER by Mercedes Lackey was not a YA fantasy. If I'd bothered to read the blurb, I would've known that, but what can I say? Old habits die hard.
What it is is a paranormal/mythological/post-apocalyptic/dystopian mashup.
Sounds cool, right? And a lot of readers, particularly those still in their teens, will probably really like it.
Me? No such luck.
For starters, I'm not a big fan of the shy, reluctant heroine type. It always rings false to me. Little mouse girls who aren't comfortable with themselves or their abilities don't get books written about them, b/c they don't do anything worth writing about.
Timidity and diffidence do not breed heroic acts.
So when I'm confronted with a heroine who is all of those things, it feels contrived. If that had been my only issue with Joy, I might have gotten over it.
Everybody with even a tiny little bit of magic gets taught at the Monastery; there aren’t many who have as much as me . . .
Yes, she's SUPER special. But she's too busy being admirably self-sufficient to care about that:
“Popular?” I repeated. “What’s popular got to do with anything?” “People love watching him Hunt,” said the steward, sounding puzzled. “Don’t you—oh. I guess you don’t watch much vid out there—” “We’re kind of busy,” I pointed out dryly. “We have to hunt and grow our food for ourselves. And make our own clothing from wool, hemp, linen, and ramie. And cut the wood to heat our houses. And—”
*pats on back* *congratulates* *offers to set off fireworks, but is declined b/c wasteful*
Her SUPER specialness extends to her dogs, too:
Not all Hounds can, but mine do.
And with all this awesomeness floating around, of course it can't help but positively impact others around her:
Mark laughed at that. Funny thing, he was laughing a lot more since he and I had partnered up.
Her Country Mouse looking down her long nose at City Mouse, b/c "I'm wearing my drab hunting garb, b/c on the (perfect) Mountain we don't have exotic *ahem* unnatural dyes, and, my, I bet those heeled shoes must make your back hurt, but they certainly are pretty," attitude felt incongruent with her, "I just want to live a quiet life helping others as best I can, but thanklessly and out of public view, thankyouverymuch," game face.
This problem was compounded by the heroine's occasional direct comments to the reader . . . The phrase "two-faced" springs to mind. Especially when such an allegedly altruistic person thinks to herself:
Suddenly my palms were damp and I was more nervous than I’d been facing down that Mage. After all, all he could do was kill me horribly. These people... they could make me look stupid.
It's good to have priorities.
Then there's this:
I wanted to scream, but I held it in. Hunters don’t scream. Not when we’re startled, not when we’re terrified, not when we’re hurt. Not when we’re dying.
Got it. No screaming. Ever.
But this is fine:
I sighed and finished my cup of yummy goodness, and wished I could Summon Bya back through again to cuddle up with.
Yeah, all the badasses drink hot chocolate and call it "yummy goodness."
The warm drink had finally made me sleepy, and it wasn’t private enough here for me to curl up and have a good cry about being sent away from everyone I knew.
And nothing wrong with wanting to cuddle up with your dog for "a good cry."
TOTALLY different from screaming.
Beyond my intense dislike of the heroine, the world-building was shoddy--it felt like a poor imitation of Panem.
I had similar issues with the plot: Joy leaves her mountain home where the people had REAL problems for the superficial and frivolous Capital at the behest of the corrupt government.
There are also the beginnings of a love triangle, but Boy #2 has a girlfriend, so maybe I'm mistaken . . . *snickers*
The writing was almost as bad as Joy (which probably had a lot to do with my dislike of her). When she wasn't finding ways to unobtrusively point out her SUPER specialness or stereotyping/contradicting her position in society, she was peating and repeating previously addressed information or stating the obvious.
*adopts lecturing tone*
When facing an opponent out-of-control with RAGE, you can use that RAGE against them. Like a weapon in your hand made of their RAGE. To turn their RAGE against them. Like a weapon.
A smaller person can use her larger opponent's size and momentum against them. It's all about leverage. So just b/c someone is bigger than you, doesn't mean you can't beat them. You just have to know how. Using energy. And leverage.
Othersiders don't like the cold. That's why everyone back home on Mountain is safe. B/c Mountain is cold, snow on its peak all year, so the Othersiders can't attack them b/c it's cold.
Speaking of Mountain, Joy really wishes she was at home. She can’t go back, b/c running away would draw attention to Mountain which would be bad b/c SECRETS, but she really, really wants to go home. If there was any way for her to return to Mountain, with her tiny room that is plenty big enough for her, she would totally do it.
*bangs head against wall* *repeatedly*
And once again, I'm nearing my self-imposed word limit. I had half a dozen other issues as well, but almost all of them can be attributed to Heroine's constant nattering and sanctimonious inner monologue. On the rare occasion she was actually doing something, HUNTER by Mercedes Lackey was fairly entertaining, but considering that accounts for maybe 20% of the book . . . Not recommended.
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
There was a massive info dump in the beginning, and in the midst of said dump (and afterwards as well), there were nThis book was straight-up stupid.
There was a massive info dump in the beginning, and in the midst of said dump (and afterwards as well), there were numerous references to the sexy alien men as "hunks" and even "dreamy to the max" on one occasion.
Dreamy . . . to the max . . .
YEP. That happened.
There was also slut shaming, and a cartload of other ridiculousness, and just, NO....more
There are a couple of things that immediately get my attention when I'm checking out new books.
It's no secret that I love the Fae, but they're a popular enough subject that I've had to start screening (lots-o-books = lots-o-potentially BAD books) .
Know what I love that doesn't have a surplus of books written about it?
Native American folklore.
Yep, there's JANE YELLOWROCK and MERCY THOMPSON, both of which I LOVE, and there's WALKER PAPERS (do not love), and that's about it. I'm sure there are a few more that I forgot, but the point is that there are far fewer of these kind of books than my other FAEvorite (HA!) subject, so I get far more excited when I hear about a new one. AND I'm from North Carolina, so toss in the Lost Colony, and there's not much that could keep me from that book.
Would that there was.
THE CURSE KEEPERS was filled so full of bad cliché awfulness that I wondered a time or two if it was a parody and I somehow hadn't gotten the memo.
Ellie is like a bad impersonation of Sookie Stackhouse.
"But I didn't like Sookie Stackhouse that much to begin with," you say.
Funny, neither did I (the secondary characters are what made those books so great IMO). Oh, she grew on me, and I never absolutely loathed her, but Sookie definitely had her faults. She was just . . . such a girl sometimes. And by "girl" I mean stereotypically female. But I didn't hate Sookie, b/c she could buck-up and do what needed doing. She was clever. She grew up hearing people's thoughts, so she accepted the (obvious) existence of other supernatural creatures without batting and eye.
Ellie had all of the bad Sookie parts, none of the good, and all of those bad parts were exaggerated.
She wants to marry a rich man, so she doesn't have to worry about money. She refuses to work with the other Curse Keeper (their meeting is what triggers the curse), b/c he's rude to her, even though it's THE WORLD that's at stake. She grew up learning about the curse of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, was taught to be ever vigilant, and yet when she sees the undeniable proof of the things she was told as a child, she absolutely refuses to believe it.
And once the prophesied curse is set in motion, she and Collin (other Curse Keeper) have seven days to close the gates of the Underworld/Afterlife/whatever, and SAVE THE WORLD, but Ellie keeps waitressing and doing friggin' laundry at her family's B&B, b/c "it's not real."
Well, he's, of course, a smokin' hot, womanizing manwhore. A smokin' hot, womanizing manwhore who is not even remotely interested in Ellie that way.
Oh wait . . . yes, he is . . . she's his one true love. *bats eyelashes*
But, wasn't he completely disgusted with her only a day or so ago? The airhead waitress who didn't take her responsibility to the gods seriously? The girl who was unprepared to fulfill her sacred duty? The girl who PAWNED her holy hand grenade, I mean ancient relic?
Speaking of Monty Python, the gods who are trying to escape the gates of the Underworld/Afterlife/whatever have messengers. Messengers who appear as balls of light and BOOM out demands in a way that was vaguely reminiscent of God appearing in the clouds to send Arthur on his quest to find the holy grail . . .
Except in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL it was funny.
Not so much here. Just one more silly thing to throw on top of the heap of silly things. Silly things like repeating the same sentiments over and over again . . .
Ellie and Collin didn't exactly get off to a great start, so Collin suggests they start over. Only that start didn't go so well either, so Collin suggests they begin anew. Only that beginning . . .
Yeah, that happened at least four times. In fact, it happened every, single day until they started having sex, so apparently that was what Collin thought of as "the right foot." And I lost count of the times he asked her if she was an angel or an enchantress<------P U K E.
GAH, I just really, really hate this book. Patio furniture is more entertaining than Ellie and probably smarter too. Collin is detestable, until suddenly he's the perfect, doting boyfriend, and the plot is so predictable that I could have stopped reading halfway in, and still have been able to tell you EXACTLY what was going to happen. Not recommended....more
I'm not sure there are words to describe the level of loathing I have for this book. I hated the majority of the main characters. In most cases the haI'm not sure there are words to describe the level of loathing I have for this book. I hated the majority of the main characters. In most cases the hatred was immediate, but there were a few that I thought might be okay.
I was wrong.
Between the cocky, entitled lordling whose head I was forced to share as he grew more and more excited by torturing a man who'd had the audacity to laugh at him . . . and then compared the excitement (b/c torture) to cornering a servant girl in the stables, and the out-of-work carpenter who abandons the baby his wife died giving birth to . . . and those two are only the most memorable in a parade of horrible things. *squints at masses who laud and praise this book*
I've gone back to this book half a dozen times at least in the last week (or two?), and I just can't make it any farther.
THE PROFESSIONALDNF at 60%.
I've gone back to this book half a dozen times at least in the last week (or two?), and I just can't make it any farther.
THE PROFESSIONAL by Kresley Cole is utterly ridiculous.
The characters are unbelievable . . . and that's about it for me, completely unbelievable characters:
Natalie/Natalya: A graduate student, VIRGIN *rolls eyes* who comes equipped with a "manalyzer"--her powers of observation and psychoanalysis are such that a mere glance at a man can tell her everything she needs to know about him, unless of course the "ability" would actually help her (rather than just being used as a party trick). If it could actually help her, it goes on the fritz, leaving her as much in the dark as a normal person . . . so what . . . is the bloody point . . . of this talent?
Sevastyan: A mafia enforcer with a heart of gold and a dark past <-----this character is becoming so common that he's practically stock.
Paxan: A Mafya Vor who just wants to tinker with clocks. No really. He didn't want to become a crime lord, but it was either that or keep watching his neighbors get ripped-off by the less considerate crime lords. So he's only doing what he has to do to protect the people he cares about, and he's got a heart of gold too.
Cousin whose name I can't remember: Well, I can't tell you what's ridiculous and unbelievable about this guy without spoilers, so you're just going to have to take my word for it.
So yeah. Our brilliant and observant heroine is anything but, and allows herself to fall into hideous situation after hideous situation, but DAMN Sevastyan's sexy, so who the hell cares? Not Natalie, that's for damn sure. Paxan is just the bestest Papa a little girl could ever want, and Sevastyan is HOT with his prison tattoos and shit.
This is hugely disappointing for me b/c I LOVE Cole's IMMORTALS AFTER DARK series. IAD is in fact my favorite PNR series, and even as OTT as it can get sometimes, THE PROFESSIONAL blows IAD out of the frickin' water.
Think about that for a minute--a paranormal romance series about werewolves, vampires, demons, valkyrie, etc. is MORE realistic than a contemporary romance with mafia types (insofar as accepted behaviors go).
I mean, come on . . . royals with superpowers? And a heroine from amongst the downtroddenReviewed by: Rabid Reads
This book didn't start out terribly.
I mean, come on . . . royals with superpowers? And a heroine from amongst the downtrodden servant class? Okay, yes, that does sound kind of familiar, especially considering that said downtrodden heroine is a Red, but beyond that I didn't feel like there were many similarities. And as much as I love Red Rising and Golden Son, I would jump all over it if I thought this book was a copycat.
BUT. Sold as I was (at first), the heavy-handed descriptions and comparisons, piled on top of unnecessary flourishes, piled on top of still more comparisons . . . *sighs*
The only thing that serves to distinguish [Reds], outwardly at least, is that Silvers stand tall. Our backs are bent by work and unanswered hope and the inevitable disappointment with our lot in life.
"Backs bent by work" was sufficient to get the point across. "Unanswered hope" lent poignancy. BUT "the inevitable disappointment" blah, blah, turned a statement that could have been a powerful illustration into overkill.
Was this an isolated incident? *snorts*
Hey, lady! This concept:
It's a good one. FYI.
And that wasn't the only problem:
1. I hadn't given much thought to why I typically crave bloodthirstiness from my heroines. Previously, when it was an issue, it was in regards to only two types of characters: those who stepped up, and those who didn't.
Turns out there's a third type.
She who makes the hard decision:
"Are you with us, Mare Barrow?" he says, his hand closing over mine. More war, more death, Cal said. But there's a chance he's wrong. There's a chance we change it. My fingers tighten, holding on to Will. I can feel the weight of my action, the importance behind it. "I'm with you." "We will rise," he breathes, in unison with Tristan. I remember the words and speak with them. "Red as the dawn." In the flickering candlelight, our shadows look like monsters on the walls.
Dithers over that decision:
"Children." The words rip out of me. "He's a father."
(Damn right, he is. And a husband, and a son, and a grandson, and maybe an uncle and a nephew, too. THEY ALL ARE, you daft cow.)
Then sticks her head in the sand like a fraking ostrich after the decision is carried out:
All together, twelve died last night, but I refuse to learn their names. I can't have them weighing on me . . .
I've said before that if you're going to be an assassin, you need to own it.
I'm adapting that statement: if you're going to kill someone for the "greater good," you need to be decisive about it. And if you're having legitimately conflicted thoughts, then maybe you shouldn't be killing anyone. But regardless, YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS.
You don't go all Scarlett O'Hara and say, "I'll think about that tomorrow." *flutters hands delicately*
You know why? B/c Scarlett O'Hara would make a damn terrible assassin, that's why.
And Mare Barrow makes an equally terrible freedom fighter. She's this BAFFLING combination of ruthlessness, pragmatism, compassion, self-entitlement, and poor self-esteem that causes her to constantly second guess herself.
Beyond that . . . I'm not sure how down I am with the cause.
It's one thing to kill in the heat of battle or to premeditatedly take out a Bad Guy, but to play god, picking and choosing who will die b/c their death will create more chaos than that-person-over-there . . .?
*frowns and squints*
The whole scenario sat poorly with me. But my reasons for being uncomfortable were totally different than Mare's, so instead of bonding with her, I wanted to smack her.
Sometimes MCs make mistakes. They're supposed to learn from those mistakes--that's what humanizes them, that's what spurs character growth--but Mare never takes a hard look at herself. She stays almost completely two-dimensional, and I say almost, b/c she's too selfish to be truly flat.
2. Then there's (if you haven't started noticing it already) the melodrama:
My hands wipe at my eyes, though my tears are long lost in the rain, leaving behind only an embarrassingly runny nose and some black makeup. Thankfully, my silver powder holds. It's made of stronger stuff than I am.
Crying . . . in the rain. Then comparing herself . . . to MAKEUP . . . and coming up short . . . Really?
But this one's my favorite:
"I wish things were different," he whispers, but I can still hear him. The words take me back to my home and my father when he said the same thing so long ago . . .
So long ago?
. . . To think that Cal and my father, a broken Red man, can share the same thoughts makes me pause.
Hmm . . . you like tacos, too? That's CRAZY. Me, I friggin' love tacos. It is a small world.
3. I don't hate all love triangles . . .
When they don't get ridiculous, sometimes I even like the tension they create.
There is something inherently sordid about messing around with brothers. It's tacky. Don't do it. *flares nostrils*
And I'm going to have to stop, b/c I'm nearing my (self-imposed) word limit. But know that as well as being melodramatic and a coward, Mare Barrow is also self-centered, irrational, AND inconsistent. If you really want to hear me rant some more, I'll spoiler tag it in my Goodreads review. Beyond that, the book was 100% predictable, and the methods employed to overthrow the corrupt government were every bit as reprehensible as the government itself. Not recommended.
The biggest gripe the Reds have with the Silvers is that when they turn eighteen, if they don't have a job (and jobs are few and far between) they are conscripted into the army. The Silvers have been at war for over 100 years, and the Reds have always been their cannon fodder.
Fairly early in the book, Mare finds out that her favorite brother (of three) was executed as a deserter of this army.
She is understandably wrecked.
BUT. When the brother of her biggest rival is one of the Silvers marked for assassination, Mare observes the two clearly close siblings, and thinks:
"If all goes to plan, he'll never hug his sister again. Evangeline will have lost a brother, just like me. Even though I know that pain firsthand, I can't bring myself to feel sorry for her. Especially not with the way she holds on to Cal."
But that's nothing compared to when she wakes up in a prison cell with Cal after they've been wrongfully arrested for the murder of the king.
When it all goes to hell (as YA books are wont to do in that last 10-15%):
1. Cal learns that his evil stepmother the queen used her mind control power to make his mother kill herself. 2. His evil stepmother the queen uses her mind power to make Cal unsheathe his father's sword and use it to behead him. His father. Cal beheads him. Himself. WITH HIS OWN SWORD. 3. His brother (Maven) stands there and watches.
And Mare's first thought?
Maven has betrayed me. No, he was never on my side at all.
*flares nostrils again*
Now would be a good time to bring up how all that heavy-handedness that drove me nuts also made the book incredibly predictable (b/c DUH, of course Evil Stepmother killed the Queen).
The second Maven showed up to meet the Red Guard along with Mare, I not only doubted his sincerity, but I also predicted that the whole thing had been orchestrated by his mother in a plot to get him on the throne in place of Cal.
The only things I didn't get with pinpoint accuracy were that Shade (Mare's brother) was the lone survivor from the 27 suspicious cremations--I thought all of them were together somewhere, either being experimented on by Silvers or that they were already with the Red Guard--and I thought Kilorn was also an Extra based on Mare's comments about his super-sneakiness.
Actually, I still think Kilorn's going to be an Extra.
Anyway, it was obvious that Mare wasn't the only Red who had developed abilities, b/c of all the references to her father's "bloodhound"-like sense of smell.
My teeth grind together, chewing on the words before I can spit them out. "Did Cal tell you what happened?" "He did," Julian replies evenly. "And he's right. Don't fault him for it." "I can fault him for whatever I want," I snort, remembering the war books and death guides all over his room. "He's just like all the others."
"What happened" was that Mare lost control of her power when she learned that Shade was dead.
So Mare is throwing a temper tantrum b/c Cal prudently had her training schedule changed to include practicing control of her gift b/c he was concerned she might hurt herself or someone else. Those "war books" and "death guides"? HE'S THE CROWN PRINCE. His country has been at war for 100 YEARS. Of course he studies battles and tactics, you ridiculous harpy.
And when Cal is furious about not being able to fight his own battles:
"I'm a soldier," Cal spits, shrugging away from his brother's touch. "I can't just sit by and let others fight for me. I won't do it." He sounds like a child whining for a toy--he must enjoy killing. It makes me sick. I don't speak, letting the diplomatic Maven talk for me. He always knows what to say.
Do you see why it was so easy to predict the outcome of this little shindig?
"He thinks speeches are a waste of time. Cal likes action, not words." That makes two of us, but I don't want to admit I have anything in common with Maven's older brother. Maybe once I thought so, but not now. Not ever again.
Umm . . . ? Her entire thought process there is mind-boggling. Then several pages later:
And as much as I hate to admit it, I can't blame Cal for feeling caught between two worlds. After all, so am I.
Anytime a Big Bad vamp bites through a pregnant angel's stomach and infects the baby with its venom in the first few pages ofReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Anytime a Big Bad vamp bites through a pregnant angel's stomach and infects the baby with its venom in the first few pages of a book, it's a pretty clear indicator of what you're in for.
If that sounds awesome to you, then, hey, you might love LAILAH by Nikki Kelly.
BUT . . . if you're like me and think that's just about as cornball as it can get . . . you are not wrong.
Francesca doesn't know what she is, she only knows that she cannot die. If she's injured badly enough, she can appear to be dead while her body shuts down to repair itself. When this happens, she wakes up with incomplete memories from her prior life that come to her in fits and starts, and sometimes while she sleeps. She has no idea how old she is, but she knows she's much older than her seventeen year old appearance.
The only thing she's sure about is the man whose face she's been seeing in her dreams throughout all her lives. The man who radiates light, the man whose beauty makes her heart ache, the man with a golden halo of blond curly hair . . . Gabriel. *rolls eyes*
But while Gabriel is the man of her dreams (HA!), Jonah in the injured vamp in her backyard. And even though her last life ended when she came face-to-face with the darker nature of vampires (the more recent the past life, the more vivid the memories), Francesca has a "hunch" that Jonah is different, so despite knowing that he's been tortured, starved, and is grievously injured, she ignores his warnings to keep her distance, lest he exsanguinate her, and cuts her own wrist, forcing him to drink.
The only reason she survives this idiocy is b/c Jonah's captors show up, distracting him from her blood, and then--OMG!--freshly fed, he somehow manages to take out ALL the bad guys.
Hmmm . . . I wonder if there's something different, something super special about Francesca's blood?
But while Jonah is busy with the vamps, Francesca hears/sees a silver bullet racing straight towards Jonah's heart, so she jumps in front of it, getting hit in the shoulder, and passes out.
When she comes to, none other than Gabriel himself is leaning over her. And not only is her dream man there--in the flesh--but would you believe that he's also the angelic leader of the motley band of good(ish) vamps that Jonah belongs to?
And what a cruel twist of fate. After spending countless lives alone, she had just found Jonah, with whom she shared an instant connection. Jonah, who bares a remarkable resemblance to Damon Salvatore, both in appearance and temperament.
But then there's Gabriel. Gabriel who she's longed for in all of her lives . . . it's just SO confusing. What's a girl to do?<------W-A-F-F-L-E.
So the plot's ridiculous. How about the writing?
He wasted no time scooping me up off the bark and thrusting my body against his. He clung to me, allowing no space between us, pushing his hand into my soaking hair. Eventually I removed my face from his chest and stared up into his eyes; they were enlarged with worry and brimming over with sadness.
He didn't hug or embrace her, he thrust her body against his. She didn't look up, she removed . . . her face . . . from his chest. *headdesk* His eyes weren't wide, they were . . . enlarged.
Then there was the single page in which Francesca was, "utterly perplexed," "bewildered," and "completely dumbfounded," in quick succession.
I also have this peeve about people using the word "literally" for emphasis: I literally walked out, he literally ignored her, she literally just got here, etc.
And let's not forget about all the random and bizarre, yet technically correct, words that can be found on nearly every page. Like when the monster vamp slices off a lock of Francesca's hair, and instead of smelling it, or lifting it to his nose, he raised it to his "orifices."
*sing songs* Someone literally needs to have their thesaurus confiscated.
And that's all I got. There were moments that were relatively painless, but overall . . . Lailah by Nikki Kelly was not for me. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes the sound of a Fallen + Twilight + Vampire Diaries mashup + a surplus of adverbs, and a questionable use of adjectives.
Let's talk about first impressions: they are IMPORTANT.
If, for example, you start reading a new book, and the first gReviewed by: Rabid Reads
Let's talk about first impressions: they are IMPORTANT.
If, for example, you start reading a new book, and the first glimpses you get of ALL THREE main characters are less than flattering, you might be tempted to toss said book aside in disgust and hope the next one goes better.
Yes. You might.
And in this situation, I would not blame you.
So here's the deal: I'm not one of those the-less-romance-the-better types. I'm the opposite, in fact. In most cases, a book completely devoid of romance is a book I will almost certainly find lacking. That being said, I don't like romance tossed in willy nilly, b/c this book needs romance, so, "Hey! You two over there! Yeah, you! Make googly eyes at each other. I don't care if it doesn't make sense, just do it! Thaaaat's it, muuuuuchhh better."
In fantasy, one of the most common ways for romance to play out is the Arranged Marriage scenario. Neither party is happy about it, but something IMPORTANT is at stake, so two self-sacrificing souls agree to wed for the greater good. Then, despite the obvious unfairness of their situation, stuff happens, they fall in love, and they live HEA.
And this makes you happy, b/c SELF-SACRIFICE.
But what if Princess is a narcissistic little brat who not only runs away from her arranged marriage, but drags one of her good friends along with her? Who cares that the only way to ensure the safety of her family and the general population in the face of a barbarian invasion is to keep with tradition and unite her family with Prince's family, b/c NEITHER family has the strength to survive alone?
Not Princess. *frowns*
And not only does she not care, she laughs ALL THE TIME. Ah-ha-ha-ha laughs. Like Keira Knightley ruining Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. "Running away equals TREASON to my hard-case father, who had my cousin hanged for desertion, and buried him in an unmarked grave along with his mother (hard-case father's SISTER), who threw herself off a cliff in despair."
Oh, and Prince only agrees to the marriage b/c his father tells him he can take a mistress.
And don't even get me started on Reluctant Assassin.<------if you're going to be an assassin, you need to frickin' OWN IT.
BUT despite ALL of that, I kept reading. And it got better.
Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn recently used the term "grab-bag" in one of his reviews, and I'm totally stealing it, b/c that's exactly what's going on here. We've got corrupt advisers to the monarch, a foreign, misunderstood queen who keeps IMPORTANT secrets from her daughter, gypsy caravans, a too-young soldier who bonds with his captive, a grizzled, veteran mentor, etc.
Oh, and there's also a TIGER. Can't forget about the (random) tiger.
So what's Princess doing now that she's the master of her own destiny?
Working at an inn as a barmaid. YEP. Freedom RAWKS. And it seems like she'd be content to stay there doing honest work forever, but that would be boring, so a Bad Thing happens that probably could have been avoided if she hadn't run away from her responsibilities, so of course she blames herself (b/c it's her fault), and she resolutely decides to return home, leaving behind the "farmhand" she's fallen in love with.
And it all goes downhill from there. The situation, not the story. The story, despite it's lack of anything new or original, is surprisingly entertaining, and I'll probably read the next book--who knows what bits and pieces will be thrown together in the next installment, right?
I'd recommend this book to anyone who isn't a termagant like I am, who thinks it's ridiculous to place the responsibilities of two kingdoms on the shoulders of a teenager.
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