No star rating yet because I’m not sure how I feel about this and I need to think on it. I did enjoy it for the most part I just....two Korean words aNo star rating yet because I’m not sure how I feel about this and I need to think on it. I did enjoy it for the most part I just....two Korean words are repeatedly spelled wrong and if it weren’t for the context I’d have been like “I’m sorry...what’s that word?” I’m baffled as to why two words are consistently spelled wrong, and made it through editing when even google translate can tell you how to correctly spell them and it did irritate me every time it popped up. If I didn’t know Korean, I probably wouldn’t have noticed or cared but I do and it bugged me. I feel like the author didn’t bother to check just went off of what she heard from a drama. I think I’m gonna give this 3, rather than 4, but full review to come asap.
EDIT: Here it is....my full review. *braces*
I'm sure if you follow me on Twitter or watch my YouTube you'll understand just how badly I wanted to love this book. I wanted to give it 5 stars. I wanted to rave about it. I wanted to shove this book at everyone and make them read it. It's literally no secret that I love K-pop and K-Dramas, ever since falling down those particular black holes however long ago, and I've been so wishing and praying someone would do for K-pop what's been done with Western bands when it comes to books. A fun, contemporary rom-com with a K-pop group to go with all the ones for pop/rock groups, which I admit are my guilty pleasure.
I stumbled across this on NetGalley and immediately slammed that request button because HELL YES! Someone heard my prayers. I was so ready to dive in to this, and to experience all the warm and fuzzies. Unfortunately, I can't give this the 5 stars I wanted to, and I can't give this a glowing review.
As I started the book, I wasn't immediately grabbed, it did take me a while to get in to it, I read a chapter here and there until I actually sat down to read it in one go to get it done. It was also incredibly obvious what was going on with a certain character but then again I expect a certain level of predictability from contemporary books, nothing major. But that's not where my main issue lies.
First things first, I am not Korean, obviously. Nor am I fluent in Korean, I'm just learning so feel more than free to correct me if I'm wrong. I don't want to offend anyone, apologies if I have but I've tried to articulate all of this as best as I can. I don't want to be disrespectful and you know...I wanna stay in my lane but I feel like the faults with this book do need to be acknowledged, I know it's "just" a contemporary rom-com book but still. I'd also be very interested to see an own voices review for this but for me? Well. Strap in because by the looks of it, it's time for yet another unpopular opinion.
Merri was kind of...I don't know. I struggled to like her a little bit in the first couple of chapters, don't get me wrong, the predictable thing reveal had my heart dropping for her even though I knew it was coming, and she had me cheering for her with the beans. She was relatable at parts, however, for most of this book she bugged me. To me personally, I found her so rude and ignorant. I don't know if it's just me having unrealistic expectations for people, or what. Like I know she's from some small town in the US and isn't all that up on her K-pop knowledge but I found it really rude that she was calling him by his surname the entire book and initially made zero effort to learn or say his real name. Then again I guess for the author "Hyung Kim" didn't roll off the tongue as well as Lee for her and didn't fit the whole "Merrilee/ Merri Lee" thing. I just found it kinda disrespectful to be honest, I know he said it was okay but for most of the book before that she just kept doing it. Can't say I'd love someone calling me by my surname because they couldn't be bothered to pronounce my first name.
I know she knows nothing about Korean culture and K-pop and stuff but it also really irked me that rather than use this really awesome thing called Google to do some research on her own and then ask the male lead to clarify or explain anything deeper, she just used him like a walking, talking Google. I know she wants to learn but if that was me, I'd find it really tiresome let alone low-key rude to have someone clearly not bother to try and learn anything on their own but expect me to explain everything and anything. Some of her remarks and her culture comparisons also had me like wow. She just didn't come across as the most open minded and she seemed completely ignorant so many times, I just found it hard to like her because of it, like make some effort pal.
It also grated on me the way she described him speaking Korean because it came across almost like she was making fun of him and the way he spoke, and I wasn't a fan of how the author wrote some of his dialogue because again, it seemed like she was making fun of the way he spoke more than anything else. I just feel like it could have been handled better and I did check to see if this was an own voices author...I was not at all shocked that it wasn't.
It was blindingly obvious from the way the Korean words were written and I am honestly baffled as to how the hell this book made it through the editing process without anyone, anyone at all using damn Google translate to check the words. When I thought this was a one off back in chapter 2, I wasn't going to mention it because I felt I was being too picky but throughout this book two Korean words are repeatedly spelt wrong and it couldn't be more obvious the author has no grasp of the language and has just taken words she's heard from the K-Dramas she watches and put them in here, clearly without checking how to spell them and none of the editors checked either. Mind blown. Especially as other, longer words, are spelt correctly and even 'wae' is spelt correctly too?
Lee, and even Merri herself, said "deh" multiple times throughout the book. The first time I saw it, in chapter 2, I only understood that it was him saying yes purely from context because as hard as I wracked my brain, I couldn't recall if 'deh' was a word in Korean. Was he trying to say "an-deh" which is no? Clearly not based on context.
Quick Korean lesson. The word for yes in Korean is 'ne' aka 네, which to my understanding is pronounced 'neh'. It irritated me every single time he said 'deh' instead of 'neh' and you can't tell me that it was done for readers to pronounce easier because it's not that difficult a word to pronounce. I know some people hear it with a 'd' instead of an 'n' hence why I assume that the author just went by ear rather than actually looking it up.
It's also why I assume she wrote 'bo' as the Korean word for 'what' and not 'mwo' (뭐) which is what it actually is. I know people hear it with the 'b' rather than the 'm', so forgive my assumption she didn't bother to check it and just wrote it how it sounded, but when it's spoken it is not a 'b' sound. Even if she has written it that way to make it easier for readers, not only are both words the wrong pronunciation but it's not even the right word? Like if I didn't have the context of the word, I'd have been staring at the page like "what is that supposed to be?". To my knowledge, 'bo" isn't even a word in Korean but feel free to educate me if you actually speak Korean. Like I said, I'm not fluent.
If I didn't know Korean, I'm sure this wouldn't have bothered me because I wouldn't know any different, but I do and it consistently irritated me throughout the entire book once I realised it wasn't a one off mistake. I also think it's bothering me because people will learn it wrong, I know it's probably not that deep in the grand scheme of things, and you probably are side eyeing me for being so bothered by this but my brain was just going "wrong, wrong, wrong" the entire time and come on. How hard is it to Google two simple, basic Korean words and put the correct spelling with a pronunciation guide at the back if necessary? If you're going to include a language that isn't your own at least do it properly.
I did kind of wonder if it was being done on what Merri was hearing, as like I said, those two words are misheard sometimes. So I wondered if we'd get the correct spelling once he corrected her but nope. It's consistently wrong throughout the entire book.
Speaking of Lee Hyung-Kim, I loved him. His attitude, the cockiness with the low-key sweetness mixed in, he was brilliant. I lived for him putting Bree and Luke in their place. I was not, however, expecting the reason for why he fled. My heart broke for him honestly, and I don't agree with the mentality some of the fans displayed in this book and that you see in real life. You don't own idols, they're allowed to date, they are human beings even if they aren't always viewed as such by some fans. Seeing his reaction to being crowded by the fans, my heart ached reading how the fans were so determined to have him back in the group like let the poor sod take a break.
I felt like it was well done for the most part, and a solid look at the pressure idols suffer and how that pressure effects them and their mental health. It's a pretty cold, hard look at the truth with the forced plastic surgeries all in order to appear perfect and the happy image that has to be shown at all times to the fans, even if they're suffering in reality. I do feel like it could perhaps have been explored a little more. We see his reaction to the fans and then that's kind of it, I thought we might delve in deeper with that and it's a shame we didn't, as Merris issues were dealt with to a deeper level. I know she's the main character, and I know it's a sensitive subject, but I felt it could have used more depth.
I have to also mention, and this is probably just me, but seeing Jong-hyun of SHINee mentioned at the beginning of the authors note slapped me right in the face and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Like, it didn't really sit right with me that he was name dropped like that, but that's just my opinion.
Moving on to a couple of things I did like, I enjoyed how the culture clash between he and Merri was shown, with her being so offended by him because of his bluntness, and him dealing with being in America and the food and so on. I felt that was nicely done. It did have me chuckling, and it moved at a nice pace. After a certain point there's also a few K-pop and K-drama references as Merri ventures down the rabbit hole.
Honestly, for the most part it was fun, along with a more serious note towards the end, and I liked how it ended. But this is not own voices and it shows in how surface everything feels. I'm not equipped to tell whether anything is glaringly incorrect other than what I already have, or whether anything is rude and so on. Although I did also side eye how Merri went from 0 to "holy K-pop" "OMO". I just side eyed some of the writing, and some of her dialogue.
I feel like some things were quite authentic, the kimchi with every meal, Lee's bluntness and not getting sarcasm entirely. I'm not sure if the author has actually been to Korea or not, I'd say not. While I do love K-drama tropes and I did love them in this book because it was kind of like reading a K-drama. I just really do feel like the author has written this book based on her knowledge gleaned from K-dramas, both language and cultural. I just can't get my head around the misspelled words, to be honest.
I assume most people reading this probably have some interest in dramas or K-pop, but for those that don't the groups and shows that are mentioned are the super popular, in your face, everyone talks about them kinda things, so my boys BTS, Boys Over Flowers and so on. It would have been fun to include some less popular ones but this walks a nice line of compromise for fans and non-fans.
So to conclude this in some way, for the most part I enjoyed this, as much as I found Merri ignorant at points and irritating, she was also relatable in the way she fell down the K-drama rabbit hole. It's happened to all of us, let's be honest. While it didn't grab me straight away, I did find myself sucked in, and it had the cute, fluffy moments along with more serious moments and I appreciated the attempt to tackle the more serious side of K-pop, however my one glaring issue with this is presumably not an issue for the average reader. I just feel if you're going to use a language that's not your own then you should double, triple check everything is correct....more
You guys know how much I loved Geekerella, and I've been so excited and so looking forward to another book set in the same world! This had a lot of thYou guys know how much I loved Geekerella, and I've been so excited and so looking forward to another book set in the same world! This had a lot of the things I loved from the previous book, the article extracts and the quotes at the beginning of the parts, we had script extracts too! The references...I can't even. The name dropping of some of my favourite games, movies or TV shows, the El Dorado quote had me screeching! But not as much as the Yuri on Ice, Star Wars, Mean Girls and Zelda references and there's so much more! I loved how realistic things are with the industry terms and phrases, and the convention in general. Plus the whole thing with the hashtag to save a character was realistic AF as well, and oh God...the nerd talk you guys. I loved it. I revelled in the nerdiness of this book that made it so authentic.
Jess we met in Geekerella I believe, (I didn't have time to re-read Geekerella and I have a goldfish brain!) she's so over playing Princess Amara and I can't really blame her for not liking playing the character considering how she's treated, and what's said to her on the internet. She likens herself to Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran and their situations which I'm sure we all know about and...she aint wrong. I did like that this book examined the darker side of fandom, especially as we usually only see the happy parts of fandom in books like this, and it's a good and necessary commentary. I also got the fact that she didn't want to be tied to one project for forever, and known for that one thing, especially as it had changed how she was perceived for other projects. Yes she was a bit bratty, but I did really love her and get where she was coming from and...I nearly died laughing when she was like "I stan Darien".
Imogen is other POV and our other MC, and she kind of looks a little bit like Jess. She's the one that started the Twitter movement to save Princess Amara and she's the reason I ended up rating this book down a little bit. The issue is, I fully got where Jess was coming from and what she was dealing with and why she didn't want to play the role anymore, and I felt like it was kind of a d*** move for her to mess with Jess's career by giving her own answers and wanting to force the character to be revived. She annoyed me so much throughout the book, she expected Jess to keep her obligations or no deal...but lies about not pushing her Save Amara Campaign. I just couldn't get behind that, knowing what I did about Jess. She also bothered me because at one point she doesn't seem to think Jess is human, like she's surprised she has friends. She's loving the celebrity life and completely ignores what Jess wants but wants Jess to adhere to what she wants. She just came across as really selfish to me and I kind of couldn't enjoy reading her parts at some points.
Also, she's supposed to be plugged in to the fandom, but she has no idea about the nasty messages and hate campaigns? Yet later she says that she's aware of those "dark pockets of fans". Didn't really add up unless she wilfully ignored it and how it would affect Jess in order to keep pushing her agenda. Then there's the whole thing where she thinks Jess and Ethan are dating but she's like "yeah let's go out with that actor, that can't possibly negatively impact Jess can it?!" I can't with her. I did empathise with her and the way she felt to a certain extent but she just...bugged me. I found her really out of line more than once, and had the audacity to complain about Ethan being out of line. She does eventually realise to be fair, and she did make me chuckle a couple of times. Especially when she was bickering with Ethan, which I shipped by the way.
Although I did choke when she said "the old guy from Star Wars" and mentioned him sounding like the Joker. Blasphemy, I tell you!
As for our supporting cast, well...Milo I loved on the strength of his Star Wars puns. Of course we also get to see Darien a lot, bless him, and at least he's got fake Jess's back and could actually tell it wasn't really Jess! Of course, we also get to see Elle and Sage as well and I was living for it because I kinda missed them! We also have to see and deal with Vance and...Y I K E S. It's gonna take a monumental effort for me to like him next book, and I'm curious about how Poston is going to make me back him!
Geekerella made me want to go to Comic Con so bad, and this one is no exception! I now have a huge urge to go to May's and just bask in the nerdiness, like this book allowed me to do for the entire time it took me to read it. I don't know how to describe what it's like reading Poston's books in all their nerdy glory, it's....comfy. It gives you a sense of contentment, like "ah...here are my people" kinda like how you feel walking in to a Con I guess?
Anyway, I loved both of the romances, sure there was a spark of the insta about them but you know...they weren't without their problems. I loved watching both girls deal with their issues and overcome them and I could relate to how both of them were feeling.
There were twists, it was nicely paced although I was a bit sad it took Imogen so damn long to come to realise how Jess felt and what she deals with on a daily basis. I loved familiar faces being brought in, especially with the scheme at the end, I laughed so much at the humour and squealed at all the references to my faves, and Poston's books are never not relatable okay, and I love them! Much like Geekerella, this book reminded me why I love fandom, why I love all the nerdy things I love and put it in to words for me, along with reminding me why I love Cons so much! I'm a bit sad that I didn't love this one quite so much as Geekerella, but I did still enjoy reading this one!
I'm also incredibly excited for the next book because I'm 99% sure, like I said, that it's Vance...and it's gonna take some monumental effort to make me like him after this book because I kinda want to kick him. ...more
I was so excited for this book, it was an anticipated read of mine and the premise sounded fantastic. Unfortunately it didn't quite deliver for me. II was so excited for this book, it was an anticipated read of mine and the premise sounded fantastic. Unfortunately it didn't quite deliver for me. I started out really loving it, the opening was tense, yet vivid. We quickly got to the gist of the world and its history with a few sentences from Hero and I had plenty of questions and was certainly intrigued.
But I only got through this book by resorting to skim reading it, after I couldn't force myself to keep reading it properly anymore. I didn't particularly like or connect with any of the characters. Hero seemed to be quite practical and pragmatic, realistic about things too. She's the leader, although she isn't used to it, and you can kind of tell. She only really snaps at Joshua the once, and I kind of felt like she needed to grow a spine when it comes to him and tell him to sod off.
Joshua himself doesn't seem to be all that stable. He's cold and there's something broken within him...he's a God and has some amazing powers but I really didn't find him likeable to be honest. He annoyed me a hell of a lot throughout the book, and it got worse the longer the book went on. He talks to Hero, and treats her like crap and demands she heal Kestrel all the time and...no. Not loving him.
Kestel meanwhile, is human and none of them are actually related by blood, but they do have a close bond and trusted each other. I'd tell you more about her but I honestly don't really have that many thoughts on her to be honest?
We have Hero's POV for part one, Raven's for part two which gives us a chance to get to know the Resistance without the prejudice that Hero may have. I actually quite liked Raven, she as grateful to Hero and didn't like Joshua and fully supported Hero growing a spine and getting mad at him! Unfortunately even that couldn't grab my interest, and we then switched to Kestrels POV for the final part of the book.
It's quite chilling to read about the Orphanage and the Guards and what happens to the kids when they're taken, I'll give it that. We switch from what's going on with Hero and Joshua to what happened in the past and how the Orphanage is run etc, slowly building up the world alongside the plot. It took me a while to get in to the book to be honest, Joshua was irritating me and it was quite slow to start but things sped up when it came to the rescue and the first part ended pretty explosively...and then I found my attention and interest wandering again and just couldn't get back in to it properly, or really get invested in it. I was so indifferent to it for the most part.
The premise was interesting but I just didn't gel with this book. I only really got in to it very briefly, and then I lost interest again and I wasn't compelled to keep reading. I finished it because I felt I had to, and like I said I resorted to skim reading it to make it through. There are so many unlikeable characters, one of whom gets away with everything and is never held accountable. We have 3 POV's and once you get one that's it. Done. I feel like it would have been better to switch between the three of them.
A romance suddenly sprung up, and the whole "overthrow the Guardsmen" thing was a bit...anti-climatic, a bit too easily solved, and then we went off for the final part of the book to deal with Anthony. A member of the Resistance who apparently thinks having power is more important than saving Gods and half breeds and bringing about a revolution. I thought the whole point of the book was going to be overthrowing the Guards and everything, but it ended up getting swept under the rug with the main focus being Anthony and quite frankly, yeah he's bad but...we didn't actually see him enough for me to give a damn.
I actually think Kestrels rescue was a bit too easy too considering that place was supposed to be a stronghold no-one has ever escaped from and the fuss that everyone was making about it.
Overall, I just didn't like the characters, never connected with them, the book never really grabbed me for long despite the action it had and I don't think things were fleshed out or handled well at all. ...more
The time is here friends, it's time to focus on Baeduan....*cough* I mean Aeduan. I'm not going to lie,CAN SOMEONE SCREAM ABOUT THE ENDING WITH ME!?
The time is here friends, it's time to focus on Baeduan....*cough* I mean Aeduan. I'm not going to lie, as much as I love Merik, I didn't quite love Windwitch as much as I loved Truthwitch so as excited as I was for this one...I was a bit wary. As it turns out, I didn't need to worry because Bloodwitch is simply excellent. I would advise you to watch out for that ending though! *screams in to the void*
Like I said, this time we're focusing a bit more on Aeduan, he has a decision to make and a side to pick, and wow do I ship him with Iseult to the extent my heart hurt when he tried to push her away! Thankfully Iseult can see through him, but he does end up in quite a bit of trouble throughout this book and is it wrong of me to say that I kind of enjoyed seeing him regress back a little to his darker self at one point!? I'm still surprised by how much I've come to like Aeduan over the course of this series, but this book solidified for me that I made the right choice to love his character. We get some heartbreaking insight in to his past, and he'd already come a long way as a character since we first met him...but by the end of this book he's come even further and he's accepted himself and who and what he is and wants to be.
Of course, just because we're focusing a bit more on Aeduan doesn't mean we don't see any of the other characters or delve deeper in to them. Safiya has a solid plan to deal with her situation, although honestly? Vaness is growing on me and I kind of ship her with Vivia but shh. Anyway, we see Safi struggle a bit in this book as she's using her powers and seeing some very real consequences to them and she has to deal with that, and she has such a natural and realistic reaction to it. But she's still the Safi who won't take any crap from anyone as is evidenced towards the end of the book, I live for the strength she has and how badass she is. I also live for her little bond with Vaness and we do see a more vulnerable side to Vaness. We also have an interesting twist with Safi as she comes up with a genius plan, implements it...and her power is changed, which wasn't quite what she was going for so it'll be interesting to see how this will play out! As well as the whole....Mathew and Habim....thing. I was kind of sad we didn't get to see as much of Caden, Zander and Lev though!
Meanwhile, Iseult is with Aeduan, of course we had to make the poor guy suffer even more. Obviously Iseult and Safi want to get back to each other, but Iseult is taking care of Aeduan. She's still struggling with some things from the last book, and I had to say she has a few moments when I cheered as she gets her hero on. Although she ends up tangled up with Leopold who I still don't trust further than I can throw him but maybe I'm being overly suspicious.
She's also with Owl who kind of annoyed me a little? But I did enjoy seeing Iseult coming to understand her and dare I say...bond with her a little? Although much like the Hellbards...not enough of Blueberry this book either!
Merik...I just...for Gods sake dude, did you have to do the thing and end up having some quality time with Esme?! Speaking of Esme *refers to Windwitch review* Y I K E S. I retract that statement about her entirely. Anyway, Merik is just...suffering. Again. For a good chunk of this book, but there appears to be some hope for a certain character....until it gets torpedoed by that ending. Just....when will his suffering end?
Vivia...*refers back to Truthwitch review* well....this is awkward. I started to like Vivia during Windwitch and this book solidified my new opinion on her character. While I didn't get to see more of her and Merik working together and repairing their relationship like I'd hoped, I was so proud of Vivia in this book. She's still struggling with her role in leading Nubrevna, which isn't made any easier by her father. He was getting on my last nerve, and the opposition and patronising, derisive characters who don't believe in her ability is something ridiculously relatable to most women, I'm sure. Vivia had me so proud when she stood up to him, and slapped the other crusty old men down in the Council, like the badass she is she says screw them and goes with her own plan and I'm ready to see her save the day and be the hero!
What got me about this particular book out of all of the Witchlands books so far, is that we have these powerful female characters. Even Esme, as much as I love to hate her, and they're surrounded by men who ignore their opinions, ignore what they have to say, and don't think they're capable of anything and wow is it freaking relatable and infuriating to read about at the same time. I am so ready for the ladies to take over.
Things are changing in this book, Aeduan as a character changes even more and becomes more resolved, Safi's powers have changed, things have shifted for Vaness and Vivia is striking out on her own. Allegiances have also shifted as well to some extent.
Bloodwitch steadily builds up towards the final part of the book, showing us more of the world than we'd already seen, and more of the different magics and how everything works, showing us more of Aeduan and his past and letting us get to know his character even better. Building upon what we already know of our characters, bringing in a couple more plot threads and intrigues, before we head in to the final part of the book when things come together. I have to say I was a lot more engaged with this book than Windwitch, sorry Merik. There's lots of excellently written action scenes, and lots of intrigues, one of my ships is sailing, there's a couple of reunions...some more brief than others and as we finish the book the Raider King is launching a new attack. I just have to say though....Safi going to Henrick? Nah. This ain't it. Let's not.
I was screaming towards the end of this book, screaming and cheering because of all the characters and what they were doing and where they were going and "NO SAFI DON'T DO THE THING! YAAAS ISEULT" and so on. Honestly the last part of the book was pretty insane with the twists, I can't even. We had plot twists throughout the book, don't get me wrong, but the ending of this book blew me away. We've got some seriously epic and intriguing teams up coming to us in the next book, that's all I'm saying, and some characters are heading in to very interesting situations.
Most importantly, things are all set up to once again move forward and now we've reached a new stage of the story, I feel. ...more