The original 12 book run of The House of Night series was, for me, a train wreck through and through. Pushed for publishing to fill the gap after TwilThe original 12 book run of The House of Night series was, for me, a train wreck through and through. Pushed for publishing to fill the gap after Twilight wrapped up, House of Night started in 2007 and ended it's run in 2014 to a lack luster finish. They were quick, monotonous, info dumping, immature reads obviously marketed towards a very young adult audience. Given how I felt about the series in general, I felt this obligation to finish what I had started, reading all 12 books the authors had to offer. Since finishing the series back in 2014, I've learned a lot about reviewing and reading books. Especially books where I'm not part of the target audience anymore. I've learned I don't have to finish every book I read, I can put them down at any time I start to not enjoy them and I don't have to continue a series at any point if I start to not enjoy the series as it progresses. This could easily become an entirely different discussion, but I'll save that for another day. I'm here to review Loved, the first book in The House of Night: Otherworld series.
I really don't have a reason as to why I picked this book up seeing as how I didn't enjoy the original series, but I'm mostly glad I did.
Loved really isn't a complicated beast. When you get down to it, it's what you'd expect from a squeal series and it's definitely what I expected from PC and Kristen Cast. The difference between Loved and Marked though is that I was thoroughly entertained this time around as opposed to annoyed and angry. The plot felt a little more put together, the characters had obviously matured a bit since Redeemed ended, and the writing improved much as well. There really isn't anything ground breaking or extraordinary about it but I was rather surprised that I enjoyed the ride far more this time around than with Marked.
Things I enjoyed were the sense of urgency and maturity from the characters, and growth for many of them as they continue to transition from teenagers to adults. The plot was action packed from start to finish with legit action and not just teenage drama. There were cliches a plenty and a lot of the plot twists were obvious, but were pretty minor as far as gripes go.
I have my gripes though. As far as books go, Loved is par for the course by House of Night standards. While the authors did tend to let the characters speak for themselves, there was still a lot of heavy reminders towards characters characterization. Around most corners, we're reminded of Zoey's heritage, Damien's sexuality, and Shaunee's skin color. Mind you, it's been drawn back a bit, but these constant reminders still run rampant. There's a lot of filler and I mean a lot. The book stalled on itself regularly. From Zoey's dreams, to Kramisha's poem, to when they find 'Other Jack', the book stood still multiple times just to fill in other characters as the plot progressed. Couldn't there have been a more convenient way to get all these characters in one room to give them all a run down? Shoot off a mass text to the most important people and worry about the rest later? There was so much running around just to tell the next person before the next big thing happened and the chain had to start all over again.
Overall, Loved isn't as bad as a beginning as Marked had been and good for fans who feel like reminiscing over a time where Paranormal and Urban Fantasy YA ruled the publishing world. It's a good time for fans of the House of Night Series or fans of Kristen and PC Casts other YA work. ...more
I walked into this book all to aware of it being a classic case of an 'Author Behaving Badly' a few years back when Kathleen Hale stalked and harassedI walked into this book all to aware of it being a classic case of an 'Author Behaving Badly' a few years back when Kathleen Hale stalked and harassed a reviewer for a negative review. I won't delve much into here in my review, but check out any of the hundreds of reviews for No One Else Can Have You and you'll be presented with links to articles surrounding the history of this books very troubled author. I read this book trying to separate the author drama from the book and I knew, personally, setting aside author drama, that this book wouldn't hit anything over a three starred rating.
There are a few things I liked.
The prologue caught my interest immediately and if the rest of the book played out like that, No One Else Can Have You would have been a pretty solid read. The characters are all unique, quirky and over the top without sounding too forced. Kathleen Hale has a charming writing style that made her book a quick read and the story itself is entertaining. There's this dark, seedy undertone that progresses with the story while reading Ruth's journal entries and discovering the secrets she was suppose to die with. While Kippy is annoying, she was the type of annoying you could live with and her negative qualities weren't amped up to be something super special, she was weird and the book, to me anyways, seemed to acknowledge that Kippy was an awkward sort of weird.
There are a few things I disliked.
While the humor is on point to some degree, it also puts the book in some extremely problematic scenarios. It regards mental illness in a psych ward with the patients shown during Kippy's hospital stay acting more like caricatures of what a 'crazy person' is suppose to be, dehumanizing mental illness and making it seem like a silly quirk a person has. Another case where the humor fails the book is where domestic abuse jokes get made when Kippy returns to her old support group. Many of the side characters didn't stand out and subjected to card board cut out treatment. From the jerkish jock who gets away with everything, the slutty christian girl next door to the awkward video game playing neighbor whose sole purpose is to hang around giving people the creep, the side characters are all stock images, copy and paste.
Given the history of this book, I can't really recommend this to anybody. ...more
Spoilers below for those who haven't read this book and want to read it, or are currently reading it and don't want to be spoiled with 'negative viewsSpoilers below for those who haven't read this book and want to read it, or are currently reading it and don't want to be spoiled with 'negative views'.
For what it's worth, When Dimple Met Rishi shows great representation that feels authentic and organic. Indian culture isn't played off as something that's exotic for the white folk to fantasize about and I feel like this book could have taken a turn for the worse if it wasn't written by someone with capable hands. I'm glad that this book was written as more authentic diversity is needed in fiction that goes beyond just having a person of color or characters that are LGBTQ for the sake of having representation or diversity.
However, I don't feel like the representation alone was enough to carry When Dimple Met Rishi. Was When Dimple Met Rishi a bad book? No, it wasn't at all. Nor was it a great book. The writing was decent enough and Dimple and Rishi were decently fleshed out individuals. However, the characters, the romance and the plot fell all over itself in the end.
The lead couple became a huge selling point for this book, the characters being 'too cute for words', the romance being one of the best things to come out of fiction since forever. I'll be honest, all the characters ranged from irritating to card board cutouts all around. While capably written, both Rishi and Dimple felt horribly smug and judgemental of their peers that exceeded 'believable'. Everything the two did was more justified and held more meaning than the problems that their more 'rich and beautiful' peers had. I get that Dimple and Rishi are only human and having them act on jealousy, anger and resentment is great, but fact remains that the other characters were nothing more than sterotypes and that became grating. Why wouldn't they be smug and hate the Aberzombies? They were written to be horrible people. Most of the side characters were cardboard cutouts and were designated to 'rich asshole' roles. Characers like Evan and Hari and their female partner were pretty much what you'd expect the bully archetypes to be; Rich, good looking, barely clothed most of the time and everything is handed to them on silver platters. Of course they had to have the dumbest app idea, have the most sexist and cliche of the talent show acts and to top it off they just don't get suffering, not like anything Rishi or Dimple have experienced. Honestly, I feel like neither Rishi nor Dimple have any right to complain about how hard life is in comparison to the Aberzombies, as everything is handed to them as well. While we get to see Dimple's mom try to guide her into a more traditional feminine role where she finds the 'Ideal Indian Husband', in the end her mom does accept her. Rishi's struggles don't go beyond him wanting to be an artist, worrying he can't be one because it's all or nothing, but gets exactly what he wants as well, pretty typical young adult contemporary stuff. There's no years long struggle for these two either. They get out of the Insomnia Con course and their hopes and dreams are handed to them at 18. It's hard to take their struggles seriously when over the course of six weeks, all their dreams come true. In the end lead characters weren't completely horrible, but the side characters were utilized to make the leading duo look better but it felt forced.
The romance was so hot and cold. Rishi has one set of expectations, Dimple has other expectations, which played out well for the most part. One character proposes an idea and they decided to talk about it later only to do it the next day with no conversation. A couple instances of this are: When they first meet, Dimple thinks rather lowly of Rishi given how he first introduced himself but they pretty much become inseparable the next day. they go from an evening hanging out as friends, making it perfectly clear that it's a non date to it becoming a date anyways and becoming boyfriend and girlfriend the day after. They go from nearly having sex in an ally way to deciding to talk about it later, to having sex the following night after barely talking about it. Meanwhile, they judge everyone else who tries at having relationships or having sex, while having this heir of smug self importance that their 3 week old relationship is the pinnacle of true innocent love. There's kisses on noses and foreheads, hands holding cheeks, thumbs brushing the backs of hands. For me it goes beyond 'cute' and into the realm of 'cringe'.
The plot is your basic Young Adult Contemporary. Girl meets Boy, Girl has to stay away from Boy for reasons. Girl is attracted to Boy, Boy is attracted to Girl. Boy settles for being friends with Girl because Girl doesn't want anything deeper than friendship. Girl and Boy become inoperable and hanging out starts to feel like dating but remain adamant that it's nothing more than friendship. Boy and Girl decide to take the jump into relationship because it feels natural. Boy and Girl fall hopelessly in love. Soon after, Boy or Girl does something to anger the other and it happens to be that hard line that shouldn't have been crossed, this causes the inevitable breakup. After spending a few weeks apart, Boy and Girl decided that they can't live without each other and get back together. There's a little more meat to it then that when it comes to When Dimple Met Rishi, but the relationship is in the forefront. Always. There's bits and pieces about Insomnia Con and winning a talent contest just by being themselves and working real hard. There's really not a great deal of the Insomnia Con in the plot and it's given a quick run down in the beginning and once the talent show is over, fast forward is hit and three weeks after that the winners announced and it's drama, drama, drama and wishes come true soon after. There's a subplot involving Ashish and Celina having an affair that turns into a full blown relationship that came out of left field and had a rushed execution.
If you like your romance with minimal plot and lots of 'cute' hand holding and purple prose eye gazing, When Dimple Met Rishi may be for you. It also has great representation. I keep saying that it wasn't really that horrible, but gave it two stars and couldn't decide between two or three. I went with two because the hype was just too much. ...more
I'm always told I seem to read too much into things when it comes to Young Adult fiction. I'm told to just settle down and enjoy the story and even i I'm always told I seem to read too much into things when it comes to Young Adult fiction. I'm told to just settle down and enjoy the story and even if there's stuff to rip apart, there's usually good things to take away from the experience. This was an experience to some degree. What can I say about The Abandon Trilogy by Meg Cabot but it's one of the worst things to come out of Young Adult Fiction in the last decade. If anything, it feels like a cash grab as The Princess Diaries was Meg Cabot's claim to fame, so why not hook her up with a three book deal that follows Pierce Oliveria's clumsy escapades through first love with a death deity. At it's core, The Abandon Trilogy is a retelling of the old Persephone and Hades myth with lots of sexist overtones in modern literature smothered on for good measure. It's riddled with so many red flags that mark John as an abuser, yet, side characters say that they wouldn't mind being kidnapped by him after he takes Pierce away, Pierce is encouraged to just 'be sweet to him' when she tells an adult how much he scares her. The Abandon Trilogy is a manifesto on 'How Not to Write Young Adult'.
The plot is thin. Pierce spends time running from John, then running from Furies, then trying to save John. There's little things that seem like plot but it's mostly teen drama. It teases at certain plot points perhaps leading into something more intriguing, things like John's backstory are alluded to make Pierce hate him if she finds, but upon hearing it for herself, she forgives him and so do his friends so it's not a big deal. The plot is just one tease after another, nothing big happens with Pierce and John being a relationship taking center stage to everything.
Pierce Oliveria is the epitome of 'Spoiled Rich Brat', she's the manifestation of a Tumblrina/Millennial who cries about how difficult life is while on a $1000 allowance from her daddy who's one of the richest men in America. Seriously, it's canon that her dad is so very rich and when he offered one million dollars as a reward for bringing his daughter back when kidnapped, Pierce scoffs because he can afford so much more. She is literally 'Too Stupid to Live' and it goes well beyond being naive and inexperienced with a lot of things, a lot of the mistakes she makes could have been avoided if she used common sense. Yeah, Word of God and Plot Demands It and all that jazz, but it's frustrating that not only do other characters TREAT her like she's too stupid to live, they TELL her she's too stupid to live. It boarders on hilarity when her own evil Fury Grandma shows up quite a few times to tell her such.
John 'Death' Hayden is a far worse off Edward Cullen and like Edward Cullen, he's dating someone who's hundreds of years younger than him. The main problem I have with the age difference is that John is a manipulative asshole and Pierce is shallow and immature, added that the two have NO CHEMISTRY. Never mind the lack of chemistry though as he's abusive; he keeps her away from her family and friends, chooses what she wears, lies and he does it all with the illusion that it's all to protect her. John Hayden has no character arc whatsoever, his character doesn't grow or change beyond being a manipulative asshole who's going to punch things for his girlfriend. Side characters like Alex and Kayla have more clear set goals and character arcs that are far more interesting. Lets face it, There's not much to John's character beyond moody teenager who's hell bent on protecting his girlfriend, as his souls purpose is to love Pierce, nothing more, nothing less.
The Relationship is the real plot here. When it comes to John, Pierce gives him a free pass every time. She's rightfully terrified with previous encounters with him when he maimed men for her honor but once she falls in love, she's quick to accept his previous tantrums that go even beyond trying to protect her. She sees the inside of their shared closet in Purgatory, sees the row of white billowing, full coverage, dresses and concludes that he's just old fashioned. She does this while discounting the fact that he's dressed for our time in black leather jackets, studded wrist cuffs, wears his hair long, and carries around a tablet computer. John kidnaps her 'for her own good' and she quickly accepts it because John knows best. John lies to her about what will get her shackled to Purgatory time and time again and he suffers no repercussions of his lies. Pierce is adamant that she's fallen for him, calling him her boyfriend almost immediately, talking about marriage and babies with him after 4 maybe 5 days of dating him. He's going along with all her whims because he's old timey and old timey ways say you get bare foot and pregnant IMMEDIATELY.
It's not bad at all to desire to get married and have babies and be a stay at home mom. It's the fact that Pierce throws herself so quickly into this relationship it ruins any chance at agency she has. She announces herself as Death's Consort and Queen of the Underworld and pretty much defines the word Consort as 'Wife', they just don't have the papers that say they're Mr. and Mrs. Hayden. She literally considers herself married to John 5 days after dating him. When it's revealed that sex is the key to keeping her in Purgatory, John swears up and down that he thought she knew what he meant when he asked about the consequences. She interpreted 'Consequences' as 'babies'. There's no 'protection' used during sex and she just damns the consequences because how bad could babies with John be? She's literally. So. Hopelessly. Naive. Too stupid to live. John Hayden is not a swoon worthy book boyfriend that should be admired for the way he puts Pierce up on a pedestal because it's not a pedestal at all, but a cage. It's not because he's 'old timey', it's because he's completely unstable. He proclaims his love for her by breaking apart anything that comes between them and when her parents catch him in bed with their daughter, he's quick to tell them about his plans to wed her the second she'll say yes.
There is so much wrong with these books, but the relationship goals that are presented here are the absoulute worst. This is Twilight Era stuff, actually, The Abandon Trilogy is sub par Twilight Era stuff. At this point, I can't even say that there's a single person I'd recommend this to. You can easily find better fairy tale retellings anywhere, both Sarah J. Maas and Marissa Meyer both have some wonderful series under their belts that include retellings of: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast and Alice in Wonderland. Instead of seeking this steaming pile out, go check out one of those authors. ...more
A Court of Mist and Fury is such a beloved book among it's fans, it's garnered such high praise it's hard to say anything bad about it without feelingA Court of Mist and Fury is such a beloved book among it's fans, it's garnered such high praise it's hard to say anything bad about it without feeling like you're going to get cut for it. I mention this not because I have a lot of bad things to say about A Court of Mist and Fury, but because there's so many posts going around about people leaving negative reviews or not being positive enough about certain books or how it's 'cool and edgy' to hate a book that's so immensely popular. I gave this book 4 Stars. I did enjoy it. Much more than I did A Court of Thorns and Roses.
The writing itself, as always, was great. As was the story, even if at times was predictable. I did enjoy the family nature behind the Court of Dreams. The dynamic between the group was wonderful and Feyre didn't feel shoehorned in for the sake of having a love interest for every male in the ensemble. I liked how her relationship developed with Rhysand over the course of 624 pages and not just crammed down our throats because 'MATING BOND'. While not perfect representation, the PTSD the characters experienced from ACoTaR wasn't just cast aside once everyone was 'in a better place' and everyone found their 'One True Love' and while some of the symptoms calmed down after a while, the 'brokeness' of said characters wasn't just a fleeting matter once love was introduced to the mix. The characters introduced were all well rounded and enjoyable.
There's really two things I take issue with when it comes to A Court of Mist and Fury; Tamlin's character and the sex.
This is the part where I feel like I'm going to come under some fire. I went into both books knowing full well that at some point Tamlin becomes 'The Worlds Biggest Tool' according to many. I was expecting him to do so many atrocious things and his fall to be dramatic and tense. But I feel like so much of it was missed as he isn't there for much of the novel and there's this argument that 'he didn't try hard enough' to keep Feyre. Sometimes it felt like he was cast off in a quick attempt to get him out of the way because 'MATING BOND'. Not to say that he's free of any wrong doing here, Tamlin is still not a great Fae and I'm glad that Feyre did leave him in the end because she wasn't happy. The best thing I can compare it to is what happened to Chaol in Queen of Shadows, get the audience to hate this guy as quickly as possible so the bad ass lead can move on to the bigger and better stuff.
I whole heatedly agree. A Court of Mist and Fury is so far from YA it's astounding, yet, I picked my copy up in the Young Adult section in my local bookstore. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that people half my age don't have sex or don't know anything about sex. That would be very naive of me. I don't even mind if sex is in Young Adult. It's similar to how I felt about it in The Throne of Glass series, it being a relatively tame series with the latest installment having some graphic sex scenes. Though if I'm being honest, A Court of Thorns and Roses wasn't exactly Young Adult either. While the first installment was closer to the genre than the sequel, there's a certain descriptiveness that's in A Court of Mist and Fury that makes it borderline on Erotica and cheesy overwrought bodice rippers. It comes down to some shifty marketing here.
Despite some minor gripes, there's still more good in this book then bad and I enjoyed the story it had to tell and the characters were all mostly enjoyable. ...more