Jul 26, 2010
Aug 03, 2010
did not like it
This book is like Jane Austen's works in the way that a genetically modified out-of-season greenhouse tomato is like a cherry. Sure, they're technical This book is like Jane Austen's works in the way that a genetically modified out-of-season greenhouse tomato is like a cherry. Sure, they're technically both classified as fruits. They're red. They're juicy-looking. They're attractive. The difference is that when you bite into said GMO tomato, it tastes like mealy, mushy, tasteless crap. This book is the equivalent of a limp, tasteless slice of tomato on a McDonalds' hamburger. Why bother? You're just going to pick it off and throw it away anyway. Or maybe that's just me. I hate raw tomatoes.
This book tries way too hard. The main character is a doormat. Her love interest is not so much Darcy as he is Jane Eyre's Rochester (yes, I know they're not by the same author) played by a 9th grade drama student with aspirations of playing Heathcliff, whose inspiration for Heathcliff (yes, I know that's yet another book) comes from The Simpsons' Ned Flander's portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (I KNOW THEY'RE ALL BY DIFFERENT AUTHORS, THAT'S NOT THE FREAKING POINT!).
Sorry for all the literary references. Not really. I'm just in a fucking bad mood right now after reading this book and I don't care.
- The characters are extremely similar to Austen's, with none of the complexity, resulting in characters that are predictable and dull
- The language is both pretentious (Shew! Shewed! Chuze! Chusing!) and inconsistent
- There is no sisterly love. Expecting Elizabeth and Jane? Don't hold your breath. It's more like Fanny and Lydia (I KNOW THEY'RE NOT IN THE SAME BOOK1!111).
- There's no fucking point to the magic! None! It's literally fucking window decoration! There's no explanation! Poof! Magic sparkly dragon fairy dust everywhere and hidden glamour strings being pulled out of thin air like a used fucking tampon string within some invisible female unicorn! What's the fucking point?!
The Plot: We're in Jane Austen-era England! Hooray! Our main character is named Jane! Hooray! She has a sister, a beautiful beautiful beautiful sister named Melody!---the loveliest maiden in the entire fucking shire (the English shire, not the Middle Earth Shire, although it would be pretty epic if there were an Elven P&P, I would watch the shit out of that).
Jane has a doting father and a fussy mother who does nothing but whine and gossip and worry about her daughters' marriage prospects. I'm shocked!! Their estate is entailed in favor of a male relative. Such wonder! Such surprise! A new neighbor has moved in, a Mr. Dunkirk!! No! He is a kind, handsome young gentleman, reserved and polite. I never! He has a young, very shy little sister named Elizabeth (16 years old and not yet debuted! Oh, my!) whom he dotes on. Said beloved sister is so beloved, so protected, because she HAS A DARK, DEEP SECRET! DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUN! I WONDER WHAT THE SECRET COULD BE?!
There's a young, charming, handsome military man named Livingston who gambles and flirts, who might or might not have a dark, dastardly,
It depends on which BBC production you watch, of course, but I'd rather not give the dude in this book the benefit of the doubt.
So, the love fuckery, I mean, you could call it a love triangle, but again, I'm in a pretty fucking foul mood right now. You would be too if you read 300 pages of nothing!
Jane admires Captain Livingston while secretly in love with Mr. Dunkirk who admires Jane but shows all the attention to Melody, who flirts with Dunkirk and flirts with Mr. Vincent and flirts with Captain Livingston (hell, anything with a penis who's not her father---oh, right, it's a Regency. I'm not supposed to say the word penis. Or tampon now that I think about it. Or curse. Crap!). Vincent doesn't give a fuck about anyone and snarls at Jane while showing (shewing!!!!) attention upon Melody. Livingston is flirting with Melody while choosing (chusing?! chuzing?! Make up your mind, fucking book!) to bestow his attention upon another SECRET YOUNG LADY WHO HE REALLY SHOULDN'T BE SEEING. I wonder who the mysterious very young, very off limits lady could be!!!11
And in the middle of all this, magic (glamour) is used to decorate everything and to make things pretty and sparkly and bright.
Ach, mein head!
The Fucking Language: Be fucking consistent. It tries too fucking hard. This book tries to use the "antiquated" language of Austen days, which would work EXCEPT IT ONLY DOES SO WHEN IT FEELS LIKE IT.
Shew, shewed, shewn. AKA Show, showed, shown. Here written as shewn for the entire fucking book except when the author forgets to do so. SHEW SHEW SHEW SHEW. GAAAAAAAAAAAH. IT PISSED ME OFF SO MUCH.
- "Beth was out of sorts, however, and the enthusiasm she had shown before dinner seemed to be smothered under a layer of melancholy" vs "They were shewn to the library, with Jane’s mother accompanying them as chaperon."
Chuse! "Choose" is written as chuse, chuse, chuuuuuuuuuuse! except when the modern form is used. "She would not have chosen to meet him next in this manner."
Teaze! Surprize! Really, what was the fucking point?! The ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ makes it so much more fucking authentic?! No! It just gives me a fucking headache. “You may teaze me, but Mr. Vincent’s praise is more valuable for being rare.”. "To her surprize, Mr. Vincent had come to call."
Haphazard fucking use of British spelling vs. American. Sometimes things are spelled with an "ou" wherein the US, we would simply spell it with an "o." The SAME FUCKING WORDS are spelled differently in the book. Honor and honour. Apologize is given the American spelling instead of properly spelled in the British way as apologise. Favorite is used instead of favourite. There is no ends to the inconsistencies within this book.
The Characters: Straight out of Austen, with none of the details of personality that makes the original a classic.
One could call Jane an P&P's Elizabeth Bennett wannabe, but I prefer to call her a motherfucking doormat. Oh, I know perfectly well that in that age, women were expected to be docile. There is such a thing as being gentle-natured without laying yourself flat on the floor and asking people to walk all over you. Elizabeth and Emma are good examples of how a Regency woman can be strong-minded while not being a fucking incompetent nincompoop who does nothing but mope and whine all freaking day.
Jane is a martyr. She is plaaaaaaaain. Plain Jane. Beloved by her daddy, but plain and a spinster, nonetheless. She loves Dunkirk. She's unwilling to do anything to get him. She's half torn by his attraction to him and her desire to do good by her sister, who is courting him, so in essence, we get a lot of internal wangst and emo and not a whole lot of action at all. Jane is really, really dull. I would say that's a consequence of her name, but that would be an insult to all the glorious Janes worldwide. Including our revered Jane Austen herself.
Misters before Sisters:
Melody stopped and tossed her head, eyes sparkling. “And I thought better of you. Jealousy is unbecoming on you, dear sister. It is not my fault he finds me beautiful.”You want P&P's Jane and Elizabeth's loving, sisterly relationship?! Fuck you, says this book! Melody is more like Kitty, and Jane is, well, P&P's Jane, without the beauty, without the personality, without the sweetness, with all of the inaction with a truckload of internal pettiness piled onto her. Why do we like Jane again? Oh, she's the main character. Well, alrighty then!
Jane resents her sister for her beauty. She secretly relishes Melody's lack of intelligence compared to her own. She secretly wants Melody out of the way so she can date---pardon me, la! Dreamy Dunkirk!
She had not hitherto allowed herself to hope, but if Melody’s affections had truly transferred to Captain Livingston, that would remove the most immediate obstacle to Mr. Dunkirk. It left her plainness and her awkward carriage, but to a man such as him, might these things be overlooked in favour of her talent?Melody is beautiful, but conniving and bitchy. She is envious of Jane for her talents in glaaaaaaaaaamour, and constantly belittles Jane every chance she's got. In front of all the boys! That's just mean. Melody is deceptive, bitchy, shallow.
Though she knew that she should aid her sister in making a match, Jane could not stomach the games that Melody played.There's also a "sick" scene that was just pathetic. Melody is a combination of P&P's Lydia and Kitty. Kitty's shallowness and brainlessness and Lydia's compulsion and idiocy. And like Lydia, it's only too easy to see where Melody will end up.
The Rooooomance: Jane is in love with Dunkirk, but there's kind-of-not-really a love triangle because we know all along who shes's going to end up with. This man, we'll call him Mr. V, isn't quite Darcy. Darcy is subtle. Darcy is polite. Darcy is all that a gentleman should be. Mr. V..."His jaw clenched and he seemed about to say something, but the moment passed and his anger subsided," "made his sneer deepen," "smirked," "his teeth bared as he snapped his reply." More like a hound of the Baskervilles than a man. Mr. V is as subtle as a brick to the face.
The Magic: What's the fucking point?! There's nothing to the magic. It comes from hidden strings in the air. people don't have to be born with it. It's like motherfucking embroidery, only men can do it too. And with all the maaaaaaaaaagical magic, it's being used for nothing but motherfucking party decoration.
There, a combination of glamour and paint contrived to turn the hall into a nymph’s grove. Though yet incomplete, the illusion teazed the spectators with scents of wild-flowers and the spicy fragrance of ferns. Just out of sight, a brook babbled.Motherfucking OOOOOOOOOOOOH! What's the point?! Where did all this magic come from? If it's so powerful, why aren't more people using it? Why is it completely optional? If the strings are so fucking invisible, how come anyone can see them and pull on them if they want to? Isn't it completely contradictory to have invisible glamour strings that you can see and pull and manipulate?! Can I please have some freaking explanations?!
Ugh. What a waste of time. I'm going to go reread Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife. Darcy and Elizabeth fucking each other like rabbits had more depth than this book. ...more
Notes are private!
May 19, 2014
May 19, 2014
May 19, 2014
Jan 11, 2012
Jan 11, 2012
really liked it
This is ridiculous, she thought. I’m possessed of terrifying powers. Why am I relying on a ridiculous little gun that I picked because I thought it w
This is ridiculous, she thought. I’m possessed of terrifying powers. Why am I relying on a ridiculous little gun that I picked because I thought it was cute? I don’t need this thing. She threw it contemptuously over her shoulder.This book is X-Men meets X-Files meets The Bourne Identity meets Johnny English. And that may sound like a clusterfuck to end all clusterfucks, but somehow it works, or maybe my mind is just trying to make it better than it is because I'm coming off a massive chain of horrible books. Whatever. I loved it.
If this book were made into a movie, I can totally see Tina Fey in the lead role.
- Witty, dry, humorous writing
- A female assassin/secret agent not afraid to kill- A fun and interesting secret agency, think "paranormal MI5"
- A well-executed amnesia premise
- A racially diverse and fun suporting cast of characters
- NO ROMANCE. CAN I GET A FUCK, YEAH?!
The not so good:
- Questionable character development
- The length: it's a good book, but it could stand to be cut by a good 100 pages
- The infodump: It's a fun infodump, but it's still an infodump
Dear You,A woman stood shivering in the rain, surrounded by a circle of dead bodies. She has no idea who she is. A letter inside her pocket informed her that she is a Myfanwy Thomas, pronounced miff-UN-nee . The letter gives her instructions, where to go, what to do. She checks herself into a hotel, as instructed, finds more letters. The next morning, she leaves the hotel, and is promptly attacked by four people, one of them the receptionist.
Myfanwy's reaction is a little unexpected. She almost kills them.
When she opened her eyes and took a breath, she realized that there was no one holding her. Instead, the four people were lying on the ground, twitching uncontrollably.Interesting.
These letters will continue for the rest of the book. They tell Myfanwy who she was, how she grew up, most importantly, they tell her that Myfanwy now works for a secret agency known as the Checquy Group. They've been in existence for hundreds of years, and Myfanwy is a Rook. One of the highest ranking members of the group. Once you're in the Checquy Group, you don't get out.
I’ve only ever heard of three people who tried to leave the Checquy, and I know the history inside and out.The Checquy Agency employs normal, loyal people, but the epistle of its powers lies in those with special powers, such as Myfanwy.
I gained the power to touch people and possess instant control of their bodies. I could make them move however I pleased. I could read their physical condition, detect pregnancy, cancer, a full bladder.Only, instead of being a super secret special agent, the old Myfanwy appears to be nothing more than a "glorified paper pusher," albeit a very powerful one. So what happened? How did she lose her memories? Why did the old Myfanwy plan so carefully for such a scenario?
Lots of questions. Few answers. But for now, Myfanwy's still got a job to go to. She has to step into her former life without a beat, while avoiding her colleague's questions.
“Yes?” said Myfanwy. What, do these guys keep tabs on my comings and goings? “Well, I...had an appointment.” They regarded her with expectant eyes, and she was suddenly filled with a desire to shake up those proprietary stares. “A gynecologist appointment.” She smiled triumphantly at the twins. “To have my vagina checked.”And it has to be confessed that Myfanwy isn't altogether convincing at times.
“I’m sorry, Rook Thomas, but your car is here,” she said.There's a lot of weird crap thrown at her, including horrifying colleagues who wouldn't hesitate to literally rip someone's face off, and acquaintances who have been alive for thousands of years.
“… past century she is notable for having kneed Joseph Stalin in the groin during a drinks reception, and she played a large part in the South African diamond industry,” Ingrid went on. “She also cured one member of our royal family of cancer in the 1950s, and infected another with syphilis in the 1960s.”On her quest to find the truth about her memory loss, Myfanwy will face terrifying danger, manipulative colleagues, plagues, vampires, werewolves, mold monsters, and company parties.
I can’t wear this!” Myfanwy exclaimed in horror.The Setting: This book is an infodump. I usually hate infodumping, but it was done exceedingly well in this book. Through a series of letters, the old Myfanwy explained the inner workings, the history, and the stories surrounding the infernal Checquy Agency. It's a pretty typical paranormal agency, but it is so well-presented, from the internal politics, to the ranking, to the little-known details only an insider would know. It's an old agency, it is resistant to change. Paranormal or not, some things remain the same.
Occasionally, someone will point out these flaws and attempt to institute a change, but that person is slapped down. The reasons for this down-slappage are:The premise of the superpowers are similar to that of the X-Men. While most of them lack the extent of the full mutant appearance, the players within the Checquy Agency are quite dangerous and abnormal. Like the fabulously Children-of-the-Corn Rook Gestalt.
Three boys and one girl. Two of the boys were identical. That’s not the weirdest thing, however. The weirdest thing was that when all four pairs of eyes opened, only one mind was looking out from behind them. This was Gestalt.f you wanted people with freakishly awesome powers who aren't afraid to use said power to maim, torture, and kill, you won't do much better than this book.
- She is hilariously average. She is quite plain in appearance (and no, nobody falls in love with her), her body is nothing special. She has terrible taste in clothing. She likes bunnies. She loves Toblerone chocolate. She has a tendency to stumble. While the old Myfanwy was a wallflower, the new Myfanwy is more apt to put her foot in her mouth, with a preference to run and hide rather than do anything heroic. But she can't, because she's a powerful person without being able to remember it. Crap.
She is jealous sometimes while never, ever slut shaming or hating another female for her appearance. In fact, one of the women with whom she works.
Please let her have slept her way to the top, thought Myfanwy. No one deserves to be this beautiful and clever too.Turns out to be not only beautiful, but awesome, nice, and a great friend.
- She is super super super deadly, and is kind of a special snowflake at times.
My God, you were the most exciting find in decades! All of us knew about your potential. The tutors at the Estate were babbling about you to everyone!”But it doesn't piss me off because she doesn't really give a fuck. The old Myfanwy is scared, she chokes, she hates using her powers to harm. The new Myfanwy doesn't have those reservations, but she's still not inclined to get into dangerous situations because 1. She doesn't want to, and 2. She really doesn't have a clue what's going on most of the time.
- Blending in: When you're an amnesiac, trying to get back into the swing of things at your paranormal MI5 workplace is kind of hard, especially when you have multiple-body-psychic-colleagues. I mean, what are you supposed to do when they're mentally killing something in front of you?
Finally, after a high-pitched kiYAA!, they settled back, breathing heavily, and explained that Eliza had just broken the neck of the leader of the antler cult, and that the complex was secured.The Not-So-Good: Really, there's only one thing. Her personality change. She has amnesia, and as mentioned, Myfanwy has trouble trying to get back into things and appearing normal. She's clumsy, but sometimes, she is far, far too competent and take-charge very early on when she largely hasn't a fucking clue of what's going on. Like during her first meeting, when things get out of hand, Myfanwy decides to take charge.
“Gentlemen!” she finally shouted, and her voice cut through the noise like a scythe through a poodle. There was dead silence, and everyone stared at her, stunned. “You all need to shut up and stay focused on the task at hand. Dr. Crisp, if you will turn your eyes back toward the interrogation, I wonder if you could revive the subject and question him.”This is entirely too confident, too much for me to believe. I can understand a personality change, but I can't accept that Myfanwy can be so utterly silly and incompetent-sounding on one page, while being competely take-charge in the next.
It was an old room in an old building and was decorated in a very specific style that showed the decorators were lacking both imagination and a second X chromosome.It's hilarious, but it's not like ha-ha hilarious. The author is American, but he does a damn fine job of replicating dry, deprecating British wit.
The Romance: THERE IS NONE! HALLELUJAH! ...more
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May 06, 2014
May 07, 2014
Apr 23, 2014
Apr 08, 2014
Apr 08, 2014
it was ok
I got them all killed. I was supposed to protect them, and I was underground, entertaining a convict, throwing daggers at a wall.Sigh.
This book was
I got them all killed. I was supposed to protect them, and I was underground, entertaining a convict, throwing daggers at a wall.Sigh.
This book was not terrible, but is boring. In short, here is why I did not like it:
1. It was incredibly slow. The action was stretched out tighter than a pair of size-2 leggings on Kim Kardashian's ever-growing ass. That whole "the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known" thing in the blurb? Don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
2. Frustratingly stupid characters. The only character I liked throughout the book is the one presented to us as the straight-talking village asshole Gavril.
3. Poorly built slapstick setting with a lack of depth to the paranormal element. There was also just no point to the companion animals, as well as the adoption of the Japanese mythology "kitsune" in name only.
There are twins in this book. You might have trouble telling them apart, as I did at first. As you read the book, they will develop their own personality. Moria and Ashyn are similar in that they are equally stupid, they're just dumb in different ways.
They are beautiful, identical strawberry-blonde twins. Here's a visual guide, using the lovely Emma Stone.
This is Moria.
Moira cannot shut up. She makes stupid decisions.
This is Ashyn.
Ashyn feels sorry for herself. She will forgive anything.
"Our village is gone. The women massacred, the men turned to shadow stalkers, the children stolen. I believe that qualifies as ‘something gone wrong.’”Sounds exciting, no?! Don't get your hopes up, because all that action is spread oh-so-slowly over a couple of dozen chapters. This book goes nowhere fast.
In the beginning, we meet Ronan, a criminal sent into exile in the volcanic Wastes. He sees a boy! A rich boy. He plans to kidnap him. Only it's not a him, it's a her. Ronan doesn't know the mysterious girl's name, but she is Moria. Moria asks him whether he's the youngest, then gives him her dagger and vanhishes into the night.
"A dagger won’t kill the fever. Won’t kill the spirits.” She turned. “But good luck anyway.”A choice she will regret later.
Back in the village, we learn that Moria and Ashyn are twins. Moria is the Keeper, she is one of few in the empire who protects the people from malevolent spirits. Ashyn is the Seeker, she lays spirits to rest, and buries their bodies afterwards. Tomorrow she is to go into the Forest of the Dead to settle the ghosts.
Only things go dreadfully wrong. The Seeking party is attacked by bloodthirsty shadows.
It was a piece of meat, almost like a ball, but...Only to run into the arms of kidnappers. Ronan is Ashyn's captor. And to make matters worse, Ronan captures Ashyn using the dagger Moria gave him.
He pulled a dagger from his belt. The blade shimmered in the lantern light, but it wasn’t the steel that caught her attention—it was the filigreed handle.Now do you see why it was a bad fucking idea for Moria to give him the dagger? Nice job.
Ashyn forgives Ronan right away, because he only just kidnapped her a little bit (no, seriously, that's what she said.)
The rest of the book goes somewhat like this: They get attacked by spirits. Their village gets attacked by spirits. They get attacked by a person possessed by a spirit. They run away only to get split up. They get attacked by more spirits. They get deceived by spirits (and then attacked by them). They get attacked by men. They get attacked by spirits. They get deceived by spirits. They get deceived by men. They get attacked some more. They arrive in the Empire's capital. They talk to people. They get involved into conspiracies. The end.
The Setting: It doesn't mesh. It feels like a ton of random elements thrown together and it never feels like a cohesive high fantasy setting. It's creepy enough, I'll tell you that. There are bloodthirsty spirits. There are places like The Wastes, with hardened volcanic lands, and the Forest of the Dead, filled with malevolent spirits that eat people. But other than that, the setting doesn't feel real. There was no background. There was no history. There was no reason for why things are the way they are. There are pointless paragraphs on the behavior and ways of things like how a merchant is deemed lower class and what's the appropriate way to do business with a tailor, without explaining the important stuff, like politics!
Things are just random. We have spirits, no shit, but for some fucking reason sorcery is deemed to be superstitious nonsense?
“I didn’t mean to mock you, Ashyn. It’s just...sorcery? I suppose in a place like Edgewood they still believe in that sort of thing. Old superstitions.”There are dragons and petrified dragon eggs are sold in marketplaces, but a porcupine...is sorcery!
“It must be sorcery,” she murmured. “To make such a creature.”Pointless Spirits: There was no point to Moria and Ashyn being Seeker and Keeper of the Spirits. Their powers are pointless and hardly used. Neither of them can defend themselves against the spirits by any magical power. They can only attack the spirits with physical weapons, and Ashyn is pretty incompetent in that sense. Both sisters have to rely on big, strong men to take care of them. Their relationship with the spirits is purely superficial. In the beginning, we're told that Moria talks to the spirits, and that's pretty much the last we hear about it for a long fucking time because it's almost never mentioned again.
Pointless Animals: Each of the girls have a companion animal, Daigo is a Hound of the Immortal. Tova is a Wildcat of the Immortals.
They chuff. They chirp. All the fucking time. They warn the twins of dangers. They do absolutely nothing besides that. It is the worst case of so-called "animal bonding" I have ever read. They might as well be pets. There was no point to their spiritual bonding.
“It isn’t shadow stalkers,” she whispered. “They don’t speak—”Moria never shuts up. She is constantly shushed, because she NEVER STOP TALKING. In the middle of a forest when they're trying to hide from the spirits? BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. In the middle of the forest when they're trying to hide from evil men? BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. She never knows when to keep her fucking mouth shut. She is too headstrong, and I hated her. She grated on my nerves. She makes stupid, impulsive decisions that gets people into trouble.
Moria raced through the forest as she clawed vines aside.Moria is often Too-Stupid-To-Live. She rushes into danger the instant she sees it, without thinking of the consoequences.
Ashyn: A frustrating doormat. She was kidnapped by Ronan. And then immediately forgives him.
“And you just happened upon him?”Because it's so reasonable to forgive a guy who had a knife to your throat a few moments ago. Moria is the quieter twin, she lives in her sister's shadow, and she constantly wishes she was like her sister in appearance, in charisma, in strength. Ashyn spends the entire book feeling sorry for herself, and not much else.
Ashyn loved her sister. And yet...It was not that Ashyn particularly wanted any of the young men who trailed after her sister. It was simply...well, simply that she wouldn’t mind a boy’s attention, if only to prove that she wasn’t completely invisible next to Moria.Ashyn is so fucking stupid. She befriends a criminal (Ronan). While he is in jail, she brings him games. She plays with him. She trusts him against all reason.
As hard as Ashyn tried, she could not quite shake the lingering hurt over Ronan’s...betrayal certainly wasn’t the right word. Even abandonment felt too harsh.She is truly a doormat.
The Guys: They're both assholes. Ronan uses people. Ronan is a criminal who sees people in terms of their worth to him. Ashyn falls for him anyway. Gavril is the jerk who tells Moria when she's being an idiot, and she hates him for it.
Gavril is my favorite character in the book.
The romance isn't even worth mentioning. Just skip this book. ...more
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Apr 13, 2014
Apr 13, 2014
Apr 13, 2014
Apr 01, 2012
Apr 10, 2012
did not like it
None of the girls was asleep, drugged, playing, waiting.
None of the girls was asleep, drugged, playing, waiting.
Mira Lively is 15 years old. Upon the occasion of her birth, the evil fairy cursed her to be doomed by incomprehensible stupidity.
I'm just partially kidding.
This book exemplifies almost everything that is wrong with YA literature.
1. A love square. What's better than a love square? One in which all three brothers are in love with you, of course, silly!
3. The acceptance of abuse and stalking as a something that is not to be rejected
4. The acceptance that sexual abuse is really the girl's fault because she's uncomfortable with it (between a 15-year old and a 21-year old, no less)
5. A too-stupid-to-be-true heroine, or as I like to call them...Luce-Bella Syndrome
6. The complete absence of parents, and further than that, the absence of parental figures
7. A piss poor, completely unexplained setting
8. An important, dangerous heritage that is kept secret, AKA: lol-i-ain't-telling-u-nothin-bitch-itis (see here for definition)
9. A beautiful girl whose milkshakes brings all the boys to her yard, who doesn't know it
10. The disparagement of all the girls in the book in order to flatter the main character
The Summary: Mira Lively is 15 years old.
Her parents are long dead. She is being raised by two kindly ladies, her godmothers (hmmm...). They have spared her from the foster system. They having been kindly, loving to Mira for her entire life. Her godmothers love her, adore her.
Mira is about to break their heart by running away.
Why? They won't tell her anything about the town in which she was raised. Her godmothers are overprotective (hmmm...). How?
“I’m not allowed to ride in my friends’ cars. I’m not allowed to get my license until I’m eighteen. I’m not allowed to date. Not allowed to watch R-rated movies. Not allowed to go for walks after dark. Not allowed to play with sharp objects. The list goes on and on.”In other news: WELCOME TO MY CHILDHOOD. Mira, you seriously just described the typical high school years of an Asian teenager with overprotective parents. You just described MY teenaged years. Did I ever fucking run away from home because of this? Fucking no. Because my parents would have beaten my ass. You are a fucking ungrateful little bitch.
Mira is 15 years old.
She runs away from home to the town of her birth. Why? Because she needs some motherfucking "closure." She will get that closure if she saw her parents' grave. I don't fucking know how that works. It just makes sense to Mira.
Mira is 15 years old.
So she runs away from home, with no plans other than to sit, moaning and crying, at her parents grave. For closure.
She gets to the Magical Town. Beau Rivage. It doesn't exactly work out like Mira planned. Mainly because SHE HAD NO FUCKING PLANS IN THE FIRST PLACE BESIDES FINDING HER PARENTS GRAVE.
It was one in the morning and she was alone in a strange city, with her duffel bag next to her, a play cracked open in front of her—and she had nowhere to go.Mira is 15 years old.
She is too young to actually rent a room at a hotel. Naturally, the place where she would blend in just fine as a 15 year old would be a casino, it makes perfect bloody sense to me. Oh, wait, that's not going to work?
Casinos were open all night. She’d figured she could sit in the café, maybe doze off with her head on the table, and no one would care. But now that she’d been there three hours, Mira was starting to think her predicament was obvious. That some gambler would see a “helpless” girl in a frilly blouse and shorts and hit on her. Or some slot-playing grandma would spot a “runaway” and call the police. Or both.Once upon a time, obvious fact is obvious.
Mira is 15 years old.
She is harrassed by a handsome stranger with blue hair. She is rescued by another handsome stranger, a kind one, his brother. They offer to get her a room in the hotel. She turns them down, because they're harassing her!
Good for you!
A handsome stranger, a 20-21 year old man, starts talking to her. He offers her a room in his hotel. She accepts, because it's not harassment if it's a HANDSOME stranger. Handsome is MUST BE handsome does, right?
Mira is 15 years old.
Strange shit is happening. Birds and shit are flocking around a really pale girl (hmmm....), a girl speaks to a mirror, which answers back (hmmm...). Another girl is talking while flowers are spilling out of her mouth.
She pressed the handkerchief to her mouth, and when she pulled it away, Mira saw that the cloth was full of sodden flowers: shiny-wet violets, tiny daisies, delicate pink bleeding hearts. All fresh and flecked with blood.
By this time, I would be freaking the fuck out! Mira...she's not exactly panicking in terror.
Mira’s forehead wrinkled with confusion. Sometimes this place was just too weird.Oh, my goodness goshness. Weird! That must be how you describe a place where fairy tale tropes come to life, right? Magic exists! Fairy tales exist! Is it fantastic?! Is it extraordinary?! Is it incredulous? Wild beyond all boundaries of imagination?
No, it's just...weird. Way to be fucking anticlimactic.
Mira is 15 years old.
The boys just won't leave her alone! One is so nice, so utterly nice! Like a little puppy following her around. Actually, animals do follow him around. His name is Freddie. Such a nice, ordinary name for a nice, ordinary guy designed to be friendzoned into the fires of Mount Doom.
The other is an asshat. A jerk. He insults her, he treats her badly. His name is Blue. He has blue hair.
The other is a handsome 21-year old. Felix Valentine, now there's a name! He's interested in her, her! He makes her heart go pitter patter. She can't stop thinking about him. There's just something about him. He makes her breathless. He makes her mind spin in bliss. Her eyes roll backwards in passion! Talk about insta-love, man!
Her cheek burned like she’d been lying in the sun too long, and she stood perfectly still, not wanting to break the spell.After a few days of knowing each other, they share a bed in his hotel room. He gropes her boobs.
His hand grazed her breast, and her breath caught in her throat.
Mira is 15 years old.
Why, however will Mira choose between the three brothers?
Oh, and there's some shit about a curse too, whatever. Lol.
Acceptance of Stalking: Guys keep following Mira around. She yells at them, but doesn't really do anything about it! They show up in her hotel room in the middle of the night!
...the bolt on the door had been breached, and the door had been flung open and slammed hard against the wall. A slender, dark figure moved swiftly through the room—Appropriate reaction:
Mira settled back and did her best to calm down. Maybe Felix would punch Blue for her later.Why do something yourself when there's a big, strong man who can take care of it for you!!!!!!
Acceptance of Sexual Advances: MIRA. IS. 15. YEARS OLD. Felix is 20, 21!!!!! They should not be in the same bed together after a short time of making each others' acquaintance! He should not be groping a 15-year old girl's boobs! That is a minor sexual offense!!!!!!
And Mira...she shouldn't be feeling forced into it.
She wanted to do something, to show him she could be natural at this, but—she couldn’t. Her body had gone rigid with apprehension.She shouldn't be feeling guilty for rejecting his advances.
She wandered out into the empty suite, trying hard not to cry. Her embarrassment from last night came flooding back.Are you fucking serious?! MOTHERFUCKER! Oh my god, this is so wrong!
It's a Mira-cle She's Still Alive!
Let's see if we've named all the stupid shit Mira's pulled. She runs away from home without a clear plan of what to do. She gets there and doesn't know what to do...surprise, surprise. She allows herself to be groped, to be stalked, she sees crazy shit and is like...huh...what's going on? ;_;
She's the naivest, dumbest little shit in the whole world. The fact that she's 15 doesn't really excuse her inane idiocy. She acts all of 5-going-on-15.
Mira pouted at him. It was obvious there was something he wasn’t telling her.NO SHIT, SHERLOCK. Oh, and she has plans for this town. You know how Rick in The Walking Dead has...stuff...things...to do? Mira is much of the same mindset.
There are things I need to do here, and I intend to do them.”OH, THINGS! MANY MANY THINGS! So specific.
The Setting: The story is not exactly like Once Upon a Time. Here, the characters are born into a trope, like literally born into a fairy tale trope. They are Romantics, Honor-Bound, etc. And they are forced to live out their destiny depending on which trope they get.
The thing is that the town's inhabitants are surprisingly nonchalant about that shit. It's like there is no big secret at all. Within hours of meeting Mira, an outsider, they allow her to see all the weird and crazy shit happening, like flowers falling out of a girl's mouth. Like a talking mirror. Like animals flocking to a certain guy.
“Um, little animals flock to him like he’s made of candy.”They don't keep any of this shit back. They talk about curses, they talk about spells.
“What’s all this curse talk?” Mira murmured to Freddie.How the fuck is it that this town is so hidden away from everyone in the outside world when the inhabitants don't bother to keep it a secret?
The Romance: Every fucking trope in the book. We have the classic Bad Boy.
The one who constantly makes fun of her, who calls her stupid, who hates her.
“You know, you are the most...despicable person I’ve ever met.” Mira’s fingers tightened around the Cinderella’s Secret bag. “You don’t even know me, but you insist on being a jerk to me every chance you get.”The Bad Boy who secretly likes her.
“I didn’t say he wants to like you. Just that he does. Maybe because you act like you don’t like him, so he feels a little safer."The Nice Guy who is eager to do anything for Mira.
“Would you like me to carry your bag?” Freddie asked. He looked a little guilty—but hopeful, too.And the handsome, Mysterious Guy, too-beautiful-to-be-real man she can't stop thinking about. Who's a statutory-rapist-to-be.
She threw her arms around his neck, swayed toward him, off balance, and kissed him violently, possessively. Come back, she thought. Stay with me.Mira is 15 years old.
Which one of them will provide her with a killer (ha!) love?! I'm just partially kidding about that killer part.
But the one thing she hadn’t expected to find was a kiss that could destroy her. A kiss that—if it hadn’t ended in time—could have been her last....more
Notes are private!
Feb 24, 2014
Feb 23, 2014
Jul 01, 2011
Sep 01, 2011
did not like it
“I’m small and plain.”
“I’m small and plain.”Yeah, it's that type of book, y'all.
Allow me share with you a stanza from one of my favorite songs:
Well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked*lyrics from The Zombies: She's Not There*
Look at the cover for this book. It's a beautiful one, as are the lyrics above, and both tells you so much about this book.
You see a girl, an absolutely stunning young woman, barely past the cusp of puberty. Innocence and naiveté shines from her eyes, purity glistens off her rose-tinted lips. Her cheeks are dusted pink with the breath of angels.
This young Witch is as beautiful, as golden fair as the last kisses of sunlight on the horizon at dusk. Her enormous doe eyes are wide open, limpid with...blank incomprehension.
And there's absolutely nothing more to her than that.
WE'RE WITCHES, BITCHES!: Brusenna and her mother are the dumbest witches who ever lived. Her mother has a condition that many mothers in literature suffer. It is called lol-i-ain't-telling-u-nothin-bitch-itis.
Lol-i-ain't-telling-u-nothin-bitch-itis: symptoms may include...
- not telling you daughter a single fucking thing about who she is despite the fact that the Big Terrible Secret might kill her
- keeping everything a secret like your life depends on it...oh wait, your life DOES depend on it
- ignorance is bliss: because if your daughter doesn't know that there are people out to kill her, it means she's totally fucking safe, right?!
- keeping yourself holed up in a hollow where nobody can see you in order to disguise the fact that you are witches and pulling that Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary verdant-garden growing shit when the rest of the country is suffering from a horrible drought because that shit ain't obvious at all
- being the worst secret keeper ever because your daughter accidentally overhears you talking about a Big Terrible Secret because you won't keep your fucking voice down to a whisper when talking about your Big Terrible Secret with Super Secret Witch Friend
- running the fuck away without telling your 14-year old (YES, 14 YEARS OLD) daughter anything besides the fact that she should run in case people come after her, because that works every time, right?
If you or someone you know suffer from these symptoms, it is possible that you may have lol-i-ain't-telling-u-nothin-bitch-itis. Please contact the local executioner so that they can remove your defective fucking DNA from the human gene pool. Or rather, witch gene pool?
Do Not Judge a Witch Until You've Walked 1000 Fucking Miles in Her Shoes:
Anyway, Brusenna is in danger! GRAVE DANGER. She travels all around the country.
That's it. You might as well read the fucking Hobbit because this book is composed of um, traveling, and getting caught, then traveling some more, then getting caught, then traveling some more, and then, oh, we're actually stopping for 5 minutes to live with some frog dude, and then traveling some more, and then getting caught.
Did I mention that they travel a lot, and they get caught a lot? Because that's THE EXTENT OF THIS ENTIRE FUCKING BOOK. NOTHING. HAPPENS. This book might as well be a travel brochure for the country of Nefarie and Tartan.
Yes, Nefarie and Tartan. Countries in this book.
The Writing: Fucking terrible. This book is just so juvenile. The writing is suffers from a severe case of telling, not showing, and the writing is more suited to a children's book than a YA audience because it is so emotionless, so staccato. The descriptions leave me absolutely cold.
He was tall—head and shoulders taller than her. Thin, but in a strong way. He had a crop of brown hair that hung low over his forehead. His legs bowed out at the knees—probably from riding so much. He had a permanent wrinkle around his eyes, as if he never stopped smiling long enough for the lines to smooth out. He was smiling at her now.Oh, oh, my. My panties are getting so wet. Such handsome looks. Oh, my feels. They are just all over the place. Not.
Magic Must Rhyme! Yes, it's that type of magic. There is no training for Brusenna's magical use within the book. Senna practices by singing. And it is only a practice in telling, not showing, because a year goes by and WHOO BRUSENNA IS MAGICALLY STRONGER. How the FUCK?! Where's all the hard work?
The magical setting in this book is laughable.
There is no system for the magic in the book besides the fact that you're born with it. And apparently, if it rhymes, it works! Whoooooooo!
Oh, Sister Sea Plants, I ask of thee,For fuck's sakes. The rhymes in this book, the "magic" shit is so utterly laughable. Brusenna is a witch that sings, her power comes from songs, she can control the plants for no fucking reason at all.
Corn, stop the men who hold me tight,She has the power to sing to the plants and to nature, to bend them to her will. And the poems---the spells...they are just terrible, laughable ones.
Plants of the forest, make a path for me,Deus ex fucking Machina: And naturally, this use of magic means that deus ex fucking machina is rampant throughout the book.
They get captured! They escape. They get captured AGAIN. They escape. They get captured YET AGAIN. They escape.
Plants, with strength and swiftness, come to me,Whenever you're in danger of death, torture, or whatever shit that might wrinkle Brusenna's pretty little forehead, MAGIC TO THE FUCKING RESCUE. Fucking spare me, please!
Senna is the Name of a Laxative: It really is. And it's rather fitting that she is named after a plant with laxative properties, because Brusenna, her personality and her character---is full of shit.
She is beautiful, without knowing it.
He saw a face set against a dark cloak. Wisps of blonde hair, wavy from the moist air, fell across her breast. Her lips were full.The book takes every fucking opportunity to remind us that Senna is so diminutive in stature, so small, so delicate.
Before she could change her mind, she snatched her wrap from its hook and flung it around her narrow shoulders.Her small hands, her tiny hands. Her straw-colored hair. Her odd-colored eyes. So ugly, right? Not.
Senna is not a fucking warrior, she is a magical Barbie doll.
She is magical, without knowing it. She is born to be strong. She has innate magical powers.
“I’ve heard her. When she’s fully come into her own, I wouldn’t doubt she’ll be at least a Level Four."She is a rare witch, the last of her kind.
"My guess is you might be the only Witch left.”Brusenna the Blushing: Badass, Senna is not. Senna is so completely childish. She starts off the book at 14, and she matures to 17 before the book is through, but believe me when I say she feels like a very immature 12-year old. She stammers. She blushes. She flushes. Her heart beats pitter-patter. Her heart skips a beat. The blood rushes to her cheeks. She can't bear her emooooooootions, maaaaaaan!
The blood drained from Senna’s face.
Her hands were shaking too badly.
...her voice shaking with desperate hope and fear.
A tremor shook her to her bones. Tears slipped from her eyes faster than she could wipe them.
Oh, the tears. Save us from hysterical females. Brusenna cries a motherfucking river.
Brusenna sank to the floor, buried her face in her quilt and sobbed.
Senna’s sobs increased.
She took a strangled, gasping breath and then a sob finally tore free.
Just stop. Stop.
Senna is some bark, no bite. And it ain't exactly the bark of a big, rough bitch (see what I did there?), more like the yipping of the tiny useless ankle-nipping fucking chihuahua down the street that you secretly long to punt into the nearest hot dog bun to see whether it fits.
Animal fans, please don't hate me for that simile.
She is indecisive. She has no action plan.
Joshen lowered his voice. “Then how’ll you find it?”Oh, WELL THAT EXPLAINS A LOT. You're just going to magically find it, eh? Spare us from your motherfucking feelings and instints.
She didn’t know how to explain it, but the song felt right.Overall: Trust me, I have a whole lot more complaints, but I'll keep it short because this review is getting way too fucking long. The plot is boring as fuck. The characters are dumb as fuck. The romance is nonexistent, but it's more of the WAAAAAAAAH I LOVE YOU BUT WE CAN'T BE TOGETHER BECAUSE EVERYONE I LOVE DIES. GO, GO, DEAR HEART! I WILL GAZE AT YOU LONGINGLY FROM AFAR!1!!1 Mwah mwah mwaaaaah!
They escape from so many fucking instances of capture because they are followed by two of the most incompetent fucking witch hunters who ever walked the Earth. The two men---Garg and Wardof---are straight out of Monty Python in their incompetency.
Bringing his bruised face closer, Wardof beckoned Garg toward him. “You wanna do something to stop me, you dull, fat, laughable excuse for Espen’s Servant!”The plot is ludicrous. The two (Brusenna and love interest Joshen) don't know the meaning of subtlety if it danced in front of them wearing pink tasseled pasties and a strap-on dildo. They don't know how to disguise their tracks at all, WHICH IS WHY THEY KEEP GETTING CAPTURED.
Motherfucking idiots. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 23, 2014
Feb 23, 2014
Jun 03, 2014
really liked it
Battles are all about strategy, and strategy pivots on priorities. Since my priorities were Prince Jalan, Prince Jalan, and Prince Jalan, with “looki
Battles are all about strategy, and strategy pivots on priorities. Since my priorities were Prince Jalan, Prince Jalan, and Prince Jalan, with “looking good” a distant fourth, I took the opportunity to resume running away.Replace "Prince Jalan" with "Khanh" in those sentences, and you got me down to a Tee. Which might go a long way towards explaining why I loved the main character so much.
The thing is, I don't like a knight in shining armor. I like them tarnished, covered in mud, or better yet, camouflaged, so they observe in hiding, snickering, while the foolish heroes rush in first and die.
I'm a fucking wimp, ok? I talk big, but it's all on paper. Trust me, if you put a monster in front of me, I'm gonna fucking run. I like a main character who is, well, like me! Someone to whom I can relate. Imperfect, who is more wont to run and hide instead of facing a dragon, and consequently, end up in said dragon's digestive system.
We do taste good with ketchup.
Do you like Norse mythology? Anti-heroes?
Do you want to take all the romance in the world and shove it up someone's anal sphincter?
Does necromancy sound like the perfect Saturday night?
Want some epic Bromance?
If so, there's a pretty good probability you might enjoy this book. No, it's not a perfect book. If you've read Prince of Thorns and absolutely hated the little shithead that is Jorg (hell, I consider it one of my favorites and even I think he's a little shithead) you will probably like this much more. The main character in this book is a whole lot more likeable.
I have to admit my bias. Lawrence has a tendency to write characters that I really, really like, and I happen to be a huge fan of this book's main character. No, it's not a perfect book, but every other sentence from the main character had me shouting, YEAH, MAN! And really, that's all I could ask for.
There’s power in a name. “Prince” has served me very well—something to hide behind when trouble comes.Prince Jalan is the equivalent of, not Prince William, or Prince Henry, but more like Prince Andrew. You know, Queen Elizabeth II's completely worthless son who spends his time womanizing, racking up debts, and being an embarrassment to the throne.
That's Jalan in a nutshell. It's not like Jalan even WANTS the throne in the first place, no sir! He's more than happy to use his parents' money, rack up a ton in debts, and worm his way between any woman's legs who will have him. And with a princely title, you can bet he gets a lot of pussy. It's a good life. He's, like, 10th in line to the throne, which means unless there's going to be a huge fucking assassin plot to eliminate the royal bloodline, he'll never come close enough to the throne to lick it. Not that he ever will, because his terrifying grandmother is the Red Queen, and isn't going to kick the bucket anytime soon despite being 70.
She had to have seventy years on her, but no one would have called her more than fifty. Handsome or not, though, her eyes would turn any man’s bowels to water. Flinty chips of dispassion.Because she's fucking terrifying. And her unseen companion, the Silent Sister is even more so, because she has haunted Jalan, one of the few who can see her.
She turned that awful face towards me, one eye dark, the other milk and pearl. It had felt hot, suddenly, as if all the great hearths had roared into life with one scorching voice, sparked into fury on a fine summer’s day, the flames leaping from iron grates as if they wanted nothing more than to be amongst us.Sometimes he thinks he's crazy. Maybe he is.
Until the Viking shows up. Nothing good ever happens when a Viking shows up. Oh, come on. They come in all RAWR and hulking and huge, and the next thing you know, they're spouting off stories about a Demon King who's raising an army of the dead.
"Men of the Drowned Isles broke amongst us. Some living, others corpses preserved from rot, and other creatures still—half-men from the Brettan swamps, corpse-eaters, ghouls with venomed darts that steal a man’s strength and leave him helpless as a newborn."Seriously, what a fucking killjoy, that Snorri. If only his name didn't sound so cuddly. A few stories of monsters roaming the night, the doors of hell, or, rather, Hel, opening up.
You would THINK those were just stores, fuck, Jalan wishes that they were just stories, until the ground literally opened up in front of him. Now Jalan just wants to get the fuck away. Unfortunately, it ain't happening.
Because Snorri and Jalan are LITERALLY tied to each other through magic. They may not be physically tied together, but they are connected, somehow. There's a sensation of wrongness when they are separated.
And thus, we have a very reluctant partnership between an itinerant playboy prince, and an honor-bound Viking on a person rescue mission.
They will face the shadows of darkness.
They will receive mysterious missives.
And maybe our playboy prince will finally learn there's more in him than he ever thought possible. That he's capable of more than just wining and womanizing. That there is a sense of honor and compassion in him, after all. Maybe a life seeking glory on the battlefield is the kind of life he needs, to make a man out of a prince.
Tenth in line to a throne will get you into a not-insignificant number of bedchambers, but if a man dons the scarlet cloak of the Red March riders and wraps his legs around a destrier, there are few ladies of quality who won’t open theirs when he flashes a smile at them.Well...baby steps.
I could see corpses and timbers, some black against the hot glow, others melting into it. Even the wind’s strength couldn’t keep the scent of roasting flesh from my nostrils. The walkway ran with hot fats, burning even as they spilled down the inner wall.Truth be told, it's a fairly generic high fantasy universe, but I liked it anyway. It is the same world as that of Prince of Thorns, and it reminds me a lot of the MMORPGs that I have played, which is why it feels so familiar. There are mighty Nordic Viking men, a team of bluff, blunder-filled, brave, hardy souls who are filled with a sense of honor and pride. I can't remember much of Prince of Thorns, but the setting in this book feels a lot darker, with elements of the undead, and a quest not for the throne, but into the bowels of hell itself.
I’ve always found hitting a man from behind to be the best way to go about things. This can sometimes be accomplished by dint of a simple ruse. Classics such as, “What’s that over there?” work surprisingly often.That is the opening line of the book, and right then and there, I knew Jalan and I were going to get along just fine. Jalan is my favorite sort of character, an anti-hero who starts off taking the easy path, and is consequently dragged onto the hard path (and the only path), kicking and screaming all the while.
He's not the most honorable man in the world.
“You’re a man of honour.” Louder this time, looking right at me. Where the hell he got that idea, I had no notion.He is a womanizer, he has a terrible, snarky sense of humor. His sense of honor is nonexistent, as is his sense of loyalty and friendship.
“What’s his name?” A tall Nuban girl with copper loops through her ears and a mouth made for kissing. “How is he called?”He tends to avoid things, and memories, when they get unpleasant.
I have a bad habit of blanking unpleasantness from my mind—something I’ve done since I was a child. They often say the best liars half-believe their lies—which makes me the very best because if I repeat a lie often enough I can end up believing it entirely, no half measures involved!But he is not without his complexity, throughout his escapades, he maintains a sense of loyalty, however he struggles against it. Jalan is not without honor, not without conscience. And he has depths and insights one would hardly expect from someone who is self-professedly "shallow."
Bravery is just a different kind of broken. Scared of being a coward, is that what bravery is? Am I brave because I don’t fear being afraid? You’re of the light; the light reveals. Shine a bright enough light on any kind of bravery and isn’t it just a more complex form of cowardice?”Snorri:
Snorri cut me off. “I took the prince out of the palace, but the palace is still crammed firmly up the prince’s arse. You need to stop moaning about every hardship, stop chasing every woman you lay eyes on, and concentrate on surviving.Snorri is Jalan's perfect foil. He is a warrior, through and through, with all the pride that is in his name and heritage. He is a hulking Viking brute to Jalan's sleek, sheltered princeliness. Snorri kills, but he kills with a purpose. He is not without mercy, but only to those who deserve it. Those who betray him will suffer the consequences.
“An axe for me. Swords trick you into thinking you can defend. With an axe all you can do is attack. That’s what my father named me. Snorri. It means ‘attack.’” He lifted the axe above his head. “Men think they can defend against me—but when I knock, they open.”Snorri is a compassionate man, a loving man, a family man who will--and does--go to the ends of the earth to save his family. He is a man on a mission. Their bond is a tenuous one, but one that works to both their benefits.
The air between Snorri and me spat and sparked as our hands shaped to grasp the other.Nope! I didn't misspell that, because THERE IS NO ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK. There's just the joyous bromance of Snorri and Jalan. Ok, fine, so I may be stretching it a little, but come on, a giant of a Viking and a golden-haired prince? A girl can dream.
He brought his hand closer to mine and a pressure built against my skin, all pins and needles and fire.I kid, I kid. There's no true romance in this book between Snorri and Jalan, just an uneasy alliance that forces them together through magic. But truly, Snorri brings out the best in Jalan, and I can totally ship them for that =)
Snorri’s magic had reached into me again and made me brave. In that moment I wanted to be the one to stand between the child and her attackers. To keep her safe. And failing that, to hunt them to the ends of the earth....more
Notes are private!
Jul 05, 2014
Jul 08, 2014
Feb 14, 2014
Sep 15, 2011
Sep 16, 2011
did not like it
Welcome to St. Vladimir's Academy. Or rather...
"Welcome to Lumiére Academy. Your school."For fuck's sakes, the book doesn't even spell Lumière with
Welcome to St. Vladimir's Academy. Or rather...
"Welcome to Lumiére Academy. Your school."For fuck's sakes, the book doesn't even spell Lumière with the correct accent mark (4 years of French, bitches!).
A 17 year old girl is living on the run; she is on the move every few months, she cannot risk staying in the same place for long. Suddenly, a handsome, mysterious, dark-haired ass-kicking stranger shows up to carry her back to a secret school for mythological creatures of her race, to the heritage to which she was born. She is behind in schooling, she is forced to take remedial lessons with a sexy fighting tutor. Her school and her people are attacked by evil, demon-like, soulless creatures who seek the extinction of her race, and to turn others into themselves. Meanwhile, at her school, there are tremendous social conflicts between the soldiers who are forced to serve and protect the "royal" members of a pure bloodline. It's all fun and games until someone gets kidnapped.
Does that sound fucking familiar to you?
This book would be a blatant ripoff of Vampire Academy, if Vampire Academy had no depth whatsoever. The characters are a mermaid-mythology mixture of the characters from VA, which would be funny if not for the fact that they are all Super. Fucking. Special. Like this book's equivalent of Dimitri Belikov...he's not just a bad-ass soldier. He's a PRINCE as well!
Not to mention there's a freaking love square.
The World Building: Piss poor. Utterly terrible and confusing. If I didn't know this book was about ondines and water elementals, I would not have been able to tell by reading this book. The names and dropped. Ondines, selkies, Dessondines, etc. It all takes place on land, there is not much that is magic about this world, because the Ondines are humans, just humans who live long and have magical powers. There is nothing wondrous about their world and about their people.
There are selkies in the book, they are selkies in human form only. We get little about the myth of the selkies besides the fact that they are an "ancient race." The explanation of all the four Water Elementals were tremendously confusing, the segregation of social classes were mind-boggling, and it took me a good chunk of the novel to figure it all out.
This is one of the time when I was grateful that there was a glossary in the back of the book.
The Moroi = The Ondines: The pure-blooded vampire Moroi are this book's equivalent of the Redavi, the royalty of the Water Elementals. Like the Moroi, the Ondines think themselves superior. Like the Moroi, the Ondines are capable of the creation of two races.
"Ondines are peaceful, powerful, and protective. Along with our dessondine ancestors, we are responsible for the protection and maintenance of water. We give birth to two races, ondines and demillirs. We are beings of magic, leaders and symbols of the water elemental world."Ondines, like Moroi, do not fight. They have others to fight for them.
"I still don't understand how training ondines to fight is a problem."Like the old-blood Moroi, the royal Ondines are immensely wealthy, having amassed fortunes throughout their long lives.
Elemental Magic: Like the Moroi, the Ondines each possess a magical ability.
Broussard's eyes swept the classroom. "Who can name the eight Virtues?"The Dhampirs = The Demilirs/The Gardinels: Half human males who serve as protectors and guardians of the Ondines. They possess the strength and agility that the Ondines do not possess (except for Kendra because she is extra fucking special).
...most non-Redavi demillirs serve as chevaliers because they possess extra-human speed and strength.There is a considerable amount of tension between the working class guards and the Ondines who think themselves superior to those who have to fight.
"Redavi demillirs take afternoon classes in business and politics. But they usually just hang around bragging about their inheritances."The Strigoi = The Aquidae: Both are demonic beings who seek to "turn" the pure into their own wickedly evil race. They used to be normal, until they were turned.
"Aquidae are grotesque demons with no soul. No matter how much they may look like us, they are not. They do not live, but feed off violence and death." She shook her head sadly. "The great tragedy is that these abominations used to be beings of light."Their numbers are endless because they can always be created. The only way to destroy them...is by staking or decapitation.
"How can an Aquidae be killed?"St. Vladimir's Academy = St. Lumiere Academy: A specialized academy, unknown to humans, whose mission is to educate in the use of magic for the "pure" Ondines, and fighting classes for those who live to serve the Ondines.
"Depends on what teacher you get. We're all juniors," Ryder motioned to everyone at the table, "which means we have most of our regular classes together. In the afternoon, we go to chevalier training classes while ondines take elemental magic or Virtue classes."Rose + Lissa = Kendra: What do you get when you mix Dhampir Rose with Moroi royalty Lissa? You get super special ass-kicking prophecy child Kendra. She has all of Rose's sultry, dark-haired sexiness.
Thick, straight hair tumbled down to my waist, and I gave it a few more swipes with a brush to make it shine. I swept all of it in front of my left shoulder so that my right shoulder lay bare, showing off my tattoo. The familiar feel of my dagger in its usual place at the small of my back comforted me.And Rose's sexuality, and Rose's fighting skills, and Rose's attitude. And none of her depth.
Kendra is Rose in a photograph. You can see what she's like, but there is no personality to her otherwise. She does not grow, she exhibits all of Rose's temper and childishness, and none of the likeability because of the fact that she is so utterly special. Rose is imperfect. Rose is shunned, Rose earns our respect. Kendra does not. Mainly because Kendra exhibits all of what makes Lissa special, as well.
Kendra never has my sympathy because of how utterly fucking special she is.
I remembered that tournament two years ago. I'd won decisively in kumite, the free sparring division against a six-five guy who was over twice my weight. Receiving that trophy was one of the proudest moments of my life.She is not just a bad-ass fighter, she is also Ondine royalty. Or as they call it here, Redavi.
I knew we were Redavi, which is kind of like nobility in ondine society.So she has Lissa's royal bloodline. Fucking awesome, and not only that, Kendra has Lissa's special talent in Spirit, as well. Or as they call it here, Empath. And Empath are SOOOOOO FUCKING RARE among the Ondine.
"You're an Empath?" Chloe squeaked. "That's really rare."So not only is she special because she is a fighter, she is royalty, she has special clairvoyance, but Kendra is also part of a prophecy. She will save her people.
"There was a prophecy," Aubrey said. "No one knows the exact details because prophecies are highly protected. But it predicted the coming of an ondine who would have the mark of the elemental diamond on her left ankle, and the mark of water on her right shoulder. As the sondaleur, she'd bring about the end of our war with the Aquidae."God help us. Not only is she super special, but there is a prophecy involving her birth as well.
Dimitri Belikov = Tristan Belicoux: My god, even their last names sound alike. Tristan is actually Dimitri with a dash of Adrian Ivashkov. Not only is he a very competent bodyguard and fighter...
Every movement was full of power, revealing the litheness of his body and his superior skill and control. Gold streaked through the air as his kouperet staked first one and then the other.But he is fucking Selkie royalty, as well. He is wealthy, he is refined, he is a Prince and a fighter.
"And of course, you've met Prince Tristan Belicoux."He is more of a Dimitri than Adrian. Tristan has Dimitri's self control, his sense of loyalty and honor. A blatant ripoff.
Adrian Ivashkov = Julian LeVeq: The playful, insolent playboy, also of royal blood himself. A few years older, a graduate of Lumiere Academy. He has a reputation for dropping panties everywhere he goes.
"He's got quite a rep with the ladies," Chloe said. "And you're totally his type."There is a hidden depth to him.
Julian LeVeq leaned casually against the wall, a small smile playing on his lips.He chills.
Julian LeVeq leaned casually against the doorjamb with his arms crossed, charisma rolling off him in waves.He lounges on a park bench. He is smooth. He reads obscure poetry. He is relaxation personified because every fucking time we see him, he's just chillin'.
Julian LeVeq lounged on a bench directly beneath the lamp, reading a battered paperback of The Complete Poetry of Arthur Rimbaud.Except for when he's fighting. A lover AND a fighter. Color me bored.
Mason Ashford = Ryder: A
Forbidden Love: It wouldn't be a Vampire Academy ripoff without a love story, would it? In this case, we have the forbidden love between
Aubrey shot me a surprised look. "You haven't heard? She went Rogue. Ran off last night with the gardinel assigned to her mother. They'd been together secretly for awhile."LOVE SQUARE: THIS IS NOT A SIMILARITY TO VA BECAUSE EVERYONE IS IN LOVE WITH KENDRA. Not only the dreamy, swoony, impossible-love of Tristan, but there's also funny, friendly boy Ryder who is once again relegated to the fucking nice boy who is jerked around like a puppet on a string.
Ryder and I spent quite a chunk of time together every day. I didn't consider him my boyfriend, but I did enjoy being around him. He made me laugh and his unfailing admiration made me feel good. Selfish as that feeling may be, I needed it a lot right now.But there's also Julian on top of that!
Julian probably wanted to add me to his long list of conquered women and he thought his chances would improve if we spent more time together.So what's better than ONE royalty in love with you? TWO royalty who wants to get into your pants, as well as a boy on the side with whom you can screw around without consequences, because, hey, fuck his feelings, amirite?
Just read Vampire Academy, your mind will thank you from not having to draw out constant similarities. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 14, 2014
Feb 14, 2014
Oct 14, 2014
Oct 14, 2014
really liked it
I wanted to be a soldier. Someone who would earn standing in Winter. Someone Sir would look at with pride. Someone Mather would look at and—This
I wanted to be a soldier. Someone who would earn standing in Winter. Someone Sir would look at with pride. Someone Mather would look at and—This is one of the best high fantasy I've read this year, which might not mean much, considering the crap I've read, but I can only attest to my enjoyment of it. This book is good.
But...but there's the love triangle.
I’m at the center of this, a weird possessive feud between the Winter king and the Cordellan prince.Why there gotta be a love triangle, man?! For all that's holy...
But onto the good. This book has:
1. A well-developed setting and an engrossing story, those of you who've read Game of Thrones will find the season-based setting in this book very, very familiar
2. A strong female main character who will not make your head hurt, and complex relationships between side characters
3. A believable romance. Fine, there is a fucking love triangle that is truly, truly stretched out. The good thing is that both love interests are deeply likeable
...which just ends up making it more painful WHEN YOU LIKE BOTH GUYS. ARG!
By the way, this is a fucking long book. Seriously fucking long. It could stand to be cut 50 pages.
I’m running. Running through gray streets choked with smoke as hordes of people run too, more explosions corralling us into Angra’s grasp. That’s what they’re doing—corralling the Winterians like sheep so they can lead them to a life of slavery and pain.Young Meira's life is dire. She is an orphan, but she's not the only one. She's lucky to be an orphan, because that means at least she, out of her family, has survived.
The kingdom of Winter lies in ruins. Destroyed by an evil magician, a psychopath. Hundreds of thousands of Winterians are dead. God knows how many are left...but for Meira, her world consists of her little army of 8. The rest are dead, disappeared, gone. Within the eight survivors are "Sir", the hardened soldier who rescued young Meira when she was but a child, and Mather...Winter's future king.
King in name only, that is, because there is no Winter to return to.
Mather and Meira are friends, fellow fighters. She is a soldier, and so is he. They have been trained to fight and survive. Sparks fly between them, but there can never be a future for the two of them, during peace or war.
No matter our dire circumstances, no matter our shared upbringing, no matter the chill his smile sends over my body, he’s still him, and I’m still me, and yes, he needs to have a female heir someday, but with a proper lady, a duchess or a princess—not the girl who spars with him.The problem lies beyond Winter's destruction. It lies in the fact that Mather, the heir to Winter, is a male. The kingdom of Winter is a matriarchy, where magic is passed on through a female-blooded conduit. As a male, Mather is nigh useless. Except as a breeding stud for a future queen.
(That's quite a nice change!)
There's also the fact that the magical Conduit is missing. Stolen. Hidden. In two pieces, and useless until they can be reunited.
There's also the fact that The Decay rips across the land, destroying it. Sneaking into people's hearts. Making them do horrible things.
There's also the fact that the evil tyrant still remains, his goal to destroy the kingdoms. To wipe Winter---and its heir, out of existence.
From all this mess, what can one girl do? Meira has no magic. She is not the strongest fighter. All she has is strength, determination, willpower, and an immense sense of loyalty to her kingdom.
Is that enough? Will Meira be content to be a pawn?
You don’t know anything, Meira, and I’m sorry if this...is hard for you to accept, but it will happen. You wanted to matter to Winter? This is how Winter needs you.”Or will Meira become the person she knew she could be all along?
“Don’t you want more than this?” I breathe.The Setting:
It’s so cold that foreigners have to wrap in layers of fur to walk from building to building, while our natural Winterian blood keeps us warm even in the worst conditions. And snow is everywhere, always, so much that the grass beneath it is white from lack of sun. An entire kingdom wrapped in an orb of eternal winter.Call it a GoT clone if you want, but I quite loved the setting in this book. There are the Rhythm kingdoms...countries with seasons, and the Season kingdoms...countries with just one season each. Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each with their own characteristics. Each with their own eternal seasons. Each with their distinguishing features within their people.
The Winter kingdom, for instance...obviously remain in perpetual winter. And the strength of their people reflect their harsh conditions. They cannot imagine a life without endless cold, they think the people of the warmer climes are weaklings. Their coloring reflect their country. Winterians, for example, all have snow-white skin and hair.
The different kingdoms have their different customs---and curses. They think the others are barbaric and savages. I enjoyed everything about the world-building, the magic, and the setting within this book. It was intricately built.
But no matter how dire our situation, how desperate Sir gets, he will never see me as an asset. Just the overexcited child he had the misfortune of raising.Meira is one of the strongest characters I've read in high fantasy this year. Again, given the absolute crap I've read this year, that might not say much, but allow me to say that there is nothing about her that I hated.
She is a soldier, above all else. She can fight, and she fights---repeatedly, for her life.
I cannot die like Crystalla...I still have my knife. I still have a chance.Yes, Meira has feeeeeeeeeelings, but they feel normal, unobtrusive. A momentary spike of teenaged hormones instead of overwhelming insta-love or lust, or anything heaviliy romantic that persists throughout the book. Her feelings and her emotions are normal, and utterly relatable.
Meira is strong, and stubborn, but never, ever TSTL (too-stupid-to-live). She is never cut your nose to spite your face kind of dumb. She doesn't like dresses. She likes being a tomboy, but when she has to wear one. Hey, why not. Enjoy the frill while it lasts. Don't fight it. It's for a good cause.
My hair, a giant array of pinned-back curls, hangs messy yet soft with a few white strands dangling free around my face.One of the things I loved most about Meira is her relationship with her guardian, Sir.
Occasionally I could catch a flicker—a twinge around his eyes when Mather faltered in sparring, a twitch of his lips when I begged to learn how to fight. But that was all I ever saw of the general who once carried a baby for days to safety. Like all of his actual tenderness was gone, but every so often his muscles convulsed from the memory of it.I loved their complex relationship. I loved his harshness, and his unwincing criticism of her. I loved the way she constantly strives for, never quite reaching his approval. I loved his love for her, so obvious that anyone can see it but her. I love the way she constantly doubts herself, the way she constantly tries and tries and tries to just be good enough in his eyes. I love their love-hate relationship. It is one of the best relationships I've ever read in a high fantasy.
The Romance: Really. Why there gotta be a love triangle, man? Especially when one of the love interest is...this.
“Thank you.” I nod to his ankle. “For everything. You didn’t—”And this.
Mather never got mad at me for pulling him into mischief or for breaking during Sir’s interrogations. He’d just smile, throw his arm around me, and say something encouraging.Really, I hated it. I loved Mather, despite his name, which always brings to mind Eminem (AKA Marshall Mathers of the I'm slim shady fame). Mather is such a good love interest, which made me root for him.
WHICH MADE IT EVEN SUCKIER WHEN I COULDN'T EVEN HATE THE OTHER LOVE INTEREST. Who is not a king, but a prince. And man, is he a princely prince. He's not even a douchebag! He is a king, playful, gentlemanly prince who...CARES ABOUT HIS PEOPLE. How the fuck does a girl choose?!
He knows all of them. Every single one. And not only that, but he seems genuinely interested in them, remembering not only dozens of faces but also the smallest details about how that back acre of farmland is doing, did the trade with Yakim go well last week, is your daughter settled with her new husband yet?Why there gotta be a love triangle, man?
The only reservations I have about this book is that I couldn't connect to the main character...she was fine. There was nothing wrong with her. I thoroughly liked her, but she was missing a spark that makes me truly love a character. Furthermore, it was extremely predictable. Seriously. I guessed the twist within 15% of the book.
Overall, solid, solid buy. Read it.
All quotes were taken from an advanced copy subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Oct 07, 2014
Feb 13, 2014
Mar 04, 2014
Mar 04, 2014
really liked it
Actual rating: 3.5
“A kestrel is a hunting hawk.”Actual rating: 3.5
“A kestrel is a hunting hawk.”The second half of this book was exceedingly better than the first. The first was plagued with a rather weak, insipid heroine, an asshat of a "slave" who, seriously, did not act like a fucking slave at all, more like the king of a castle. I disagree with slavery (no shit...like anyone in their right mind would ever admit to agreeing with slavery), but the point is that within a book, the role is there to be played, and the so-called slave in this book was more in control than any slave I have ever imagined.
Furthermore, the first half of the book was plagued with feeeeeelings and a girl who---instead of wanting to be a fucking bad-ass soldier like her father hoped---merely aspires to...play the piano.
Womp womp womp.
To add further to the insults, there is a clichéd as all hell love triangle between a "brute," a dark, brooding, wild slave, and a handsome, blond-haired, affable young nobleman.
The Summary: Kestrel is the pampered daughter of a general in the Valorian army. She holds a prestigious position in society---not very long ago, the Valorian army conquered the Herrani. The Herrani are now slaves, and their Valorian overlords have overtaken their country, their homes, and enslaved their people.
Kestrel is 17, she doesn't have a lot of options in life. At 20, citizens are either forced to marry or enlist in the military. Kestrel wants neither.
“But when you are faced with only two choices— the military or marriage—don’t you wonder if there is a third, or a fourth, or more, even, than that?”She has a talent for music, she wants to play the piano...but it is a shameful talent, because music is not an option for a well-born young lady. Only slaves play music.
If the Herrani hadn’t prized music so highly before the war, that, too, might have changed things. But in the eyes of Valorian society, music was a pleasure to be taken, not made, and it didn’t occur to many that the making and the taking could be the same.One day, Kestrel is dragged to a slave auction. A young "brute" of a slave caught her eyes.
His name is Smith. The auctioneer wants him to sing, to put on an exhibition. He doesn't.
Kestrel wants him, she feels inexplicably drawn to him. She bids an astonishingly high sum for Smith.
Kestrel drew in a shaky breath. Her bones felt watery. What had she done?Smith is a smith, or rather, a blacksmith. His real name is Arin.
After her purchase, Kestrel tries to forget about him, but she can't. Amidst the high society gatherings, amidst her suitors, among them, is the earnest, handsome Ronan. Ronan is her best friend's brother. He has long held her in his regard.
Shouldn’t she care? Didn’t she welcome Ronan’s attention?She doesn't. It is Arin who holds her thoughts.
Unbeknownst to Kestrel, Arin has his own secrets and plans, and which might cost Kestrel's life.
The fate of two nations are at stake.
The Setting & Plot: This is your typical high fantasy, and it is very well done. I have no complaints as to the world building whatsoever.
There is no info-dumping, and everything made sense. The two nations and how one came to enslave the other are well explained. I love the minor details, like the fact that music is looked down by the conquering Valorians because it was valued by the country which they defeated.
I absolutely loved the political plot. The second half of the book was amazing, and it saved this book. The first half of the plot plodded on, cluttered with Kestrel's indecisiveness, Arin's prickly behavior, peppered with balls and sneaking music sessions and shopping and suitors. There were very minor but definite clues as to what would transpire in the second half of the book, everything was very subtly done.
There are mysterious deaths, hints of unrest, duels...minor nuances that led up to the tremendous and shocking events of the second half.
Kestrel: She took a really fucking long time to grow on me. There are some characters whom I absolutely adore and admire from the very beginning: Kestrel is not one of them. She is initially...not so much weak as indecisive. She's the sort of typical teenaged girl in that she's not sure of what she wants in life, except that she doesn't want to be what her father expects her to be. Which is a soldier.
Initially, Kestrel appears spineless. I have to confess I looked down on her for choosing to want to play music over that of a bad-ass soldier girl.
"...she had no natural talent for fighting."Not only that, her skill is in being a military strategist. Kestrel has a brilliant mind for strategy. She chooses not to exercise it. She flaunts society's rules instead of helping her nation establish its dominance.
“Imagine how the empire would benefit if you truly worked with me,” he said, “and used that talent to secure its territories, instead of pulling apart the logic of customs that order our society.”She is indecisive about everything. She doesn't want to get married. She doesn't want a career. Kestrel is the sort of girl who just wants to float along in life doing whatever she fucking pleases, without consequence.
She is weak, even when it comes to being a mistress in her own home. I like that she is gentle with her slaves, but there is a line between kind discipline, and cruelty, and Kestrel doesn't seem to be able to distinguish where that line lies. Kestrel constantly lets Arin, her SLAVE, talk back to her in front of her friends, in front of her peers.
“What did you say?” Arin whispered in Valorian. He was staring at Jess. “Of course you have no gods. You have no souls.”She doesn't do anything about his rudeness, his VERY PUBLIC rudeness.
She allows Arin to walk all over her, while he is his slave. She gives him the ability to bargain for his cooperation. She allows her own reputation to be sullied because it was rumored that they were lovers. She receives mocking letters because she cannot put these horrible, shameful rumors to rest:
Do you think you are the first? it read. The only Valorian to take a slave to her bed? Poor fool!Kestrel puts herself in danger for him, she puts herself up to a DUEL, risking her own life for a slave when all he would have gotten are lashes in punishment. She gives no thoughts to her father, to the fact that she is his only surviving relative, his heir. All she thinks about is saving fucking Arin's skin.
His hands fell away. “You, too. What a stupid thing for you to do. Why did you do that? Why would you do such a stupid thing?”Bold words. It doesn't change the fact that her decision was was fucking stupid.
To my relief, in the second half of the book, Kestrel grew. She develops a spine. She learns to listen to herself. She learns to stand up for herself. She learns that it is wisest not to entirely trust someone.
Arin: An asshat, but thankfully, one that also grew on me. Arin has his own incentive, his own plans. My problem with Arin is that he's transparent as fuck. Arin wouldn't know subtlety it if bit him in the ass.
A slave is not supposed to talk back to his mistress. A slave has no rights to demand anything of his mistress. A slave with a plot should blend in, instead of sticking out. A slave with a higher purpose shouldn't do fucking stupid things like get caught stealing a book, in doing so, risking his own fucking life.
“He has stolen something.”Nope, no mistake. He did something incredibly stupid that risks his entire mission for the love of a sentimental fucking book.
I did eventually grow to like Arin. It is a hard life, and Arin has had to suffer a lot for his mission. I understand his anger, I understand his frustration, and I do admire him. It has been a hard life for Arin. He has been enslaved since childhood, and I truly felt for his fate.
"Swallow your pride.”The Romance: Bleh. Bleeeeeeeeeh. I really wish there wasn't a love triangle. Especially when I sympathized so much with "the other guy." The really, really nice other guy about whom Kestrel can't be bothered to give a fuck. Ronan ;_;
She tried to push away thoughts of Arin on the auction block, of the look in his eyes when he asked where his honor was, of him swearing at her guards in his tongue. She held Ronan more tightly, pressing her cheek against his chest.Thinking about someone else when you're in another guy's arms. DAMN YOU, KESTREL.
I liked the fact that there was no insta-love. I liked the fact that Arin and Kestrel's relationship took time to develop, but it felt like Arin found his way into Kestrel's heart too fast, too soon.
Why didn’t he come to her?I liked the fact that they are both willing to admit their faults, and I like the fact that they communicate. The romance in this book was adequate, and much more believable than in most YA fiction.
Overall: A good book, with a considerable amount of depth in world building, plot, and characters.
Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 11, 2014
Feb 11, 2014
Feb 11, 2014
Apr 01, 2014
Apr 01, 2014
it was ok
I'm sorry for that chart. I'm pretty good with charts and graphs and stuff, but Microsoft PowerPoint has failed me this time. Why? Relationship chart.
I'm sorry for that chart. I'm pretty good with charts and graphs and stuff, but Microsoft PowerPoint has failed me this time. Why? I tried so many templates, but there simply wasn't a premade chart adequate enough to draw out the entire fucked up chain of relationship in this book. So there you have it. My brilliant hand made relationship chart. Yay me.
This isn't the story of two girls, one Princess, one Magician. It's a book about really, really horny teenagers who fuck all the fucking time. And it's not the sexy kind of screwing, it's "Oh god why am I doing this I hate myself, this is so wrong because my virginity should be a precious thing to be saved for my husband but whatever #YOLO BITCHES!" kind of fucking.
It's the story told from the POVs of *takes a deep breath* Marie-Victoria, Aelwyn, Wolfgang, Ronan, and Isabelle. And that's just some of the main cast. *facepalm* Thankfully, it wasn't hard to differentiate between the, 5? 10? Whatever.
I wouldn't even have minded if there had been a relevant plot. It seems like 90% of the way through, the author realized, "Oh, shit, we're in a magical world, we need to have a plot besides a bunch of oversexed teens. BAM! INSTANT CONSPIRACY. The end."
If you've read Cruz's Blue Blood series, you'll know what to expect. Romance, romance, and more romance. Love triangles, love squares, love dodecahedrons. Just be thankful there's no twincest in this book. But then again, it's only the first installment, so we'll see what comes next. To be honest, I wouldn't mind twincest, because the soap opera element is the only thing that made this book worth reading. This book may be set in a magical alternate universe of the US/UK/Europe, but there was no fucking point to the magic.
For 90% of the book, magic was all but nonexistent, to be honest, it made for a pretty setting where you can use magical jewelry and use spells to color your hair and that's pretty much all there fucking is to it.
It's a fast read, I'll tell you that.
The Summary: It's circa 1900. We are in an alternate universe of our world, where magic is prevalent, where Merlin exists, and where the current ruler of the Franco-British Empire (long story) is Queen Eleanor. She is 150 years old. That magical universe thing? Just forget about it. It's almost completely irrelevant. What's more important is the luuuuuuuurve!
Two girls.Marie-Victoria : It is plain (no pun intended), that the plain girl is Marie-Victoria. The 17-year old daughter of Queen Eleanor, Marie's the epitome of all the stereotypes about British monarchy. Which is to say, she's as plain as pudding, she's pale, she's sickly, she's a fucking pussy scared of her own shadow (or rather, her mother's), and she's perceived to be a spoiled brat.
Marie was starting to be a bit of an embarrassment to the whole court. The princess, instead of acting like a girl on the cusp of a great romance—awaiting the appearance of her soon-to-be-beloved—was sulking around the palace, holed up in her room, eating sweets and not speaking to anyone.Marie is sick, she's got a tuberculosis-like wasting disease, she's had to wear leg braces her whole life, among other things. Man, inbreeding sucks balls.
Long live Kate Middleton! Fresh blood, whoo!
Marie is going to marry Prince Leopold. Golden, handsome, PERFECT Prince Leopold. Everyone loves Prince Leopold. Except for Marie. Why? Well, he's handsome and all, but Marie is really *sigh* in love with her guard, the man who saved her life...the valiant, the handsome, the strong...Gill. Yes, gill, like that part of a fish. Blurble blurble.
So what's a girl to do?! Marry Leopold and save the peace of her kingdom?!
The peace of the empire depended on her taking the Prussian prince as her bridegroom. The sooner she accepted her fate, the easier her life would be.Or will she...follow her heart! Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuun!
When she was a child, she’d always wanted what was the princess’s. Even at seventeen years old, it was a hard habit to break.The daughter of Merlin. Yes, THAT Merlin. Apparently he's a person, and he's been alive for 1000 years, and his sister is Viviane, the Lady of the Lake. Sucks for him, he's got a rebellious daughter who got herself sent away to magical rehab, and after 4 years she's come back. Honestly, there was no point to Aelwynn to this story because she does fucking nothing besides act as Marie's magical accomplice whenever Marie needs a magical fucking makeover. All Aelwynn does is get jealous of everything Marie has. There was no point to her character at all, otherwise.
Ronan : Welcome to the United States! That's right, we're crossing the Atlantic Ocean now. For some fucking reason, we're now follow Ronan Elizabeth Astor's story. She's from the famous Astor family, only it's a not-very-well-kept secret to New York society that their family is fucking broke because daddy Astor has a habit of making terrible investments. Therefore, what's a girl to do? Well, save the family. Ronan is going to Europe, in hopes of making a good match -> ka-ching! There's no shame in money-hunting and social climbing, especially when you've got Ronan's golden fair beauty. And Ronan plans to aim high in her quest for a husband.
Ronan was nothing if not ambitious.She would be married at the end of the London Season—and she determined right then and there that she would make not just a good match, but the best match; perhaps even catch the eye of the Kronprinz of Prussia himself.But as we know, fate doesn't always work the way we intended to. Mistaken identities occur! A reference to Wuthering Heights will come into play! How fast will her clothes come off?!
Wolfgang : Oh, a guy! Yay! Wolfgang is the younger brother to PRINZSTSZE LEOPOLD *spittles* Those Germanic accents, I tell you. Not the golden boy like his brother, Wolfgang is a gentle soul, destined to a life as a glorified "sheep farmer." He's not like his brother, he's not!
Unlike his vaunted older brother, he had no taste for womanizing, no desire to father a litter of bastards. He vowed that once he was married he would never take a mistress.See?! He's a gentleman! Leopold screws anything with a hole, but Wolfgang he's so nice! Until 5 minutes after we meet him, he suggests a game of strip billiards with a girl he barely knows.
He had just proposed they play a game where they take their clothes off.Oh. That type of gentleman. -_-
Isabelle : It sucks balls to be Isabelle. It sucks more because she's been sucking PRINCZSZST LEOPOLD's balls, because now the motherfucker has gone and gotten engaged to another girl. He was his first, really! Isabelle and Leopold had been engaged, she a lovely French royal, he a handsome Prussian prince. It was love at first sight, they were to marry. Until Leopold threw her over for the whey-faced Marie. And they're still fucking. And it's so wrong. But they're still fucking. And it's the most painful, awkward fucking ever.
Leo leaned over and kissed her again, and now he was on top of her, kissing her again, and she wriggled underneath him, and found she was crying. She was crying without making a sound, the tears streaming down her face as he kissed her, just like the first time, when she had been unable to ask him to stop.What do you even call crying while fucking? Fuckrying? Cryfucking? Honestly, craughing sounds like so much more fun than this.
So there you have it. The complicated love life of 5 (and more!) teenagers. ...more
Notes are private!
Apr 03, 2014
Jan 16, 2014
Apr 01, 2014
Apr 01, 2014
really liked it
Actual rating: 3.5
“Hmmm,” the King said, making a face. “I’m not sure this is what we bargained for, boy. We expected the girl to be attractive.”Actual rating: 3.5
“Hmmm,” the King said, making a face. “I’m not sure this is what we bargained for, boy. We expected the girl to be attractive.”Mother of God. A YA fantasy without insta-love. Without a love triangle. Without a Mary Sue who constantly complains about different she looks and how different she is from everyone else?!
It does exist.
The premise is pretty terrible, because it screams SPECIAL DESTINED GIRL. It's not. Trust me, have patience with this book. Ignore the ugly cover. Ignore the Mary Sue blurb.
Summary: Cécile de Troyes is a poor girl from a small village in the Hollows who has aspirations of being a singer. She's very, very good, but she's not exceptional. Cécile is returning to her village from a performance when she gets kidnapped and dragged underground. Literally. There was a bounty put on her head for a girl fitting her description.
"She foretold that when a prince of night bonded a daughter of the sun, the curse would be broken.”Her bounty is her weight in gold.
Trolls do exist. They have a kingdom under the mountain, in a cave. For some reason they want Cécile. Why? Why the fuck do they want her in particular? What purpose do they have for her?
“She meets the criteria given to us by the foretelling. You do sing, don’t you?” the troll woman asked.Fuck that shit. Cécile has her own life. She loves her family. She wants nothing but to escape. Fuck being a princess in an underground city. THESE ARE TROLLS. They want to fucking MARRY her to a troll?!
Not all of them were deformed, but they were monsters still, every one of them. And I was to wed one. To be bedded by one. To bear its children. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. I was supposed to be on my way to Trianon to get everything I had ever wanted. Now, not only had I lost everything – my family, my friends, my dreams – I had just been informed that what life I had left would be spent in an endless nightmare.The Prince Charming isn't exactly charming. He is rude, he is completely uninterested in her, and he thinks Cécile is an idiot.
“Ha ha,” Tristan snorted. “How dreadfully clever. And speaking of clever, is this to be your bid for escape?” He contemplated my clothing. “In a dressing gown and bare feet? Now tell me, if I go put on nightclothes and slippers, might I join you, or is this a solo adventure?”He doesn't want her any more than she wants him. Tristan and Cécile are literally forced together for the sake of fulfilling a prophecy that is supposed to save the people of Trollus.
“You are the last person in the world I’d choose to marry,” I hissed.Cécile is supposed to be the chosen one. The prophesied one whose marriage to Tristan will be the salvation of the people of Trollus.
We waited for what seemed like an eternity, then, abruptly, a collective groan of disappointment passed through the throng of trolls.Cécile is now a prisoner. A princess of the Trollus, but a prisoner just the same. She is a human, hated and reviled as an inferior creature among the trolls.
Her story doesn't end there, because there are so many undercurrents lying beneath the mountain. An uprising is taking place. The prophecy might not be what it seems. There are traitors in the royal court, waiting for the chance to strike.
Tristan himself is not the offhanded, ruthless prince he seems. He has secrets of his own. For their mutual survival, and for the cause, Cécile and Tristan must join forces, become reluctant allies, in order to free the people of Trollus.
“I will ignore you. Be cruel to you. And you must play along. Act sad and unhappy. Never give anyone a reason to think I’ve shown you a moment’s kindness or that I’ve confided in you in any way. And above all, never let anyone suspect that I care one way or another whether you live or die, beyond how it might impact me.”The fate of many rests upon their mission.
The Setting: An cave underneath a mountain, and it is GLORIOUS. Carved masonry. Fantastic, magical underground gardens. Phantom, fairy lights. It is tremendously opulent, a stunningly beautiful jail to Cécile.
Fountains and statues graced every corner. In place of greenery stood gardens of glassworks sculpted into trees, bushes, and flowers. The delicate displays would not have lasted more than a month exposed to the elements above ground. Then again, hailstorms likely did not trouble Trollus.The history of the trolls were well explained, as was the myths surrounding the prophecy.
Oh, and those legends about trolls? They're just not true.
Almost too late did I see the beam of sunlight crossing his path.Cécile: The main character, one of the two narrators. Cécile is the kind of heroine that I like. She is NOT special. She never proclaims herself to be different. She is strong-willed, but never bitchy. She neither fall into insta-love or insta-lust nor does she allow her heart to overpower her sense of rationality.
Cécile makes mistakes. She learns from them. She is not perfect. She admits her wrongs. Cécile is almost completely alone in a foreign land where she is reviled for the fact that she is an inferior human among trolls, and her persistance and attitude is just what I hope to see. She is strong, compassionate. She admits her faults, she recognizes when she fucks up.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. But what good were my regrets? I’d ruined everything and still he’d come for me when I’d needed him the most. I’d told myself to make the most of my life in Trollus, but instead I’d made the least of it. The worst of it! Because of me, the only other person fighting for my freedom was dying.Cécile is properly angry at being kidnapped, but she does not waste her time moping. She puts her time to good use, she devotes her time to a better purpose, and she overcomes her own prejudices of the trolls, as she comes to know them.
“Trolls,” I finally said, “are supposed to be ugly.”Other Characters: Very well done. I love the depiction of other females in the books. There is no slut shaming, there is no debasement of other women. There is bravery and sacrifice in other women's duties. *cheers*
And let's just say there is a troll in the book named Marc, who won over my heart.
He was perhaps my brother’s age, and particularly handsome. The light of the orb reflected in his silvery grey eye as though the glow came from within. I’d never met anyone in my life with eyes like his.Be not fooled by his appearance. Marc has a heart of gold.
The Romance: AWESOME. AWESOME. No insta-love?! FUCK YEAH! YEAAAAAAH!
Sorry, I get a little overexcited.
Cécile and Tristan's relationship is so well-built. Mistrust into alliance into friendship into love.
Tristan is such a complicated character, his mission and purpose unwavering. He is prepared to make sacrifices of his life, his heart, for his people. He is a man on a mission, and I love it.
Almost every action I took or decision I made was designed to affect circumstances months, years, even decades down the road. I’d always thought it was the prudent way to live, but now I feared I would wake up one day an old man, with my past wasted and no future left to live.I absolutely adored how Tristan and Cécile come to trust and rely on one another. Their romance is one of sacrifice, because they are devoted to a cause higher than their own. If you love someone, you have to let them go.
“Under the sun, with your family. That’s where you belong.”It was beautiful seeing them love one another while knowing they come from two different worlds.
Trolls cannot lie by nature. They are bound to their words. Humans are not so.
“Why?” I slammed my fists down on the table. “Why can’t you believe me? Why don’t you trust me?”They have a lot of miscommunication, a lot of mistrust. There is a lot of difficulty in their relationship, because there are people who will use their love for each other against them. Danger and sacrifice fills their romance.
“Tell me you’ll grow strong again. That you’ll gallop on horseback through summer meadows. Dance in spring rains and let snowflakes melt on your tongue in winter. That you’ll travel wherever the wind takes you. Promise me."This book's major fault is that it is far too long. Much like my review ^_^
Quotes taken from an uncorrected galley subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 06, 2014
Feb 06, 2014
Jan 13, 2014
Dec 02, 2013
Dec 02, 2013
Actual rating: 3.5
This book is part sci-fi, part fantasy, and all hilarity. It is utterly charming. Sure, there's a werewolf, a vampire, and a love tr Actual rating: 3.5
This book is part sci-fi, part fantasy, and all hilarity. It is utterly charming. Sure, there's a werewolf, a vampire, and a love triangle, but Twilight this ain't.
This is my first Ilona Andrews, and while I cannot say that it has converted me into a fan of their writing, I did enjoy this book. My main problem with this book is that it didn't draw me in as much as I had expected. It was a pleasure to read, but it lacked a certain spark that would consistently hold my attention. It took me a long time to actually finish this book because I didn't really feel compelled to actually continue on. There was nothing overtly wrong with the book. There are a lot of things that I felt could be improved, like the characterization, the love triangle, for fuck's sake, and the overall complexity of things, but overall, this completely fulfills the job of thoroughly entertaining me and not aggravating me in any way.
I mean it, guys, there's just no anger here. I'm the most bitter person I know, and I could find nothing that I disliked about this book.
It is light hearted and refreshing. Humor is so pervasive here. For a book with a plot revolving around the bloody mutilation of humans and animals, this book constantly made me smile.
There is magic, murder, mayhem, combined with so much alpha male territorial tension that you could cut it with a knife. A werewolf. A vampire lord. Alien nobilities with a penchant for flesh (the fresher the better). Monsters prowling around the neighborhood killing indiscriminately like the mother of all chupacabras. Intergalactic diplomacy and an alien goblin market. An inn with a life of its own, and an innkeeper determined to hold it all together.
Rest assured, there is plenty of blood, guts, and gore, and a dog-like monster who would make Cujo quiver in his large floppy paws.
It was at least five feet long, maybe five and a half. Spotted black and blue fur grew in patches along its spine; the rest of it was covered with pinkish wrinkled skin. Its skull was almost horselike, if horses could be carnivores. Long jaws, too large for the head, protruded forward, making the wide, flat nose seem ridiculously small. A forest of sharp bloodred fangs sprouted from the jaws, barely hidden by white lips. But the eyes, the eyes were worst of all. Small and sunken deep into the skull, they burned with malevolent intelligence.The writing is delightful and made me chuckle more than once.
Dina is an Innkeeper, the guardian of the magical Inn. Think of the Inn not as a building, but a living, breathing thing. An oversized pet, if you will, controlled by its mistress, the Innkeeper. The Inn is sentient, it has power of its own. Like a fortress, it keeps the unwanted out by any means necessary.
My magic boomed through the inn like the toll of a huge bell. It had no sound, but I heard it all the same. Sean flew out of the house like a fleck of dust caught in the current of a fan and smashed into an apple tree forty feet away. I heard the crunch all the way from where I stood.The Setting: I enjoyed the setting and the world building, but it took some getting used to. I had to stop midway through this book to ask my friend if this book was in fact a part of another series, because at times, I felt like I just walked into a party in the middle of a joke, and missed the punchline. The setting was a little foreign at first, it is not hand-fed to you. This book is set in the present day, but incorporates a lot of fantasy and sci-fi elements, and it took awhile for the entire setting to be explained. The world building is interesting, and funny. Did I mention funny? There's a lot of whimsical word play that made it exceedingly silly at times, while never reached the point of utter absurdity.
"How about Auul? Does that ring a bell?"Heehee!
The Characters: Dina is such an endearing narrator. I loved her voice, I loved her narration, I greatly enjoyed her character. Dina is humorous, she is strong, she has magic, and she knows how to wield it. She is an efficient, rational woman, a hardworking one, intent on keeping the peace and maintaining the integrity of her Inn. It is an important task, Innkeepers are not just housekeepers, they are diplomats, bound by numerous laws of their trade, and they must be well-versed on the workings of interplanetary laws concerning their guests as well. It is a job requiring intelligence, hard work, and Dina has plenty of both. She has to be tactful, she has to be sensitive to her guests when they are in her inn. Even if they are so self-important it's hard to take them seriously.
"House of Krahr!" the vampire with the banner barked quietly.The other characters are a werewolf who looks like one would expect. And by that, I mean a Jacob Black clone.
Did I mention this book has pictures? It has pictures!
So here's the wolf, Sean:
Aaaand his polar opposite, the vampire lord, Arland:
They both have their alpha male moment where they sort of sniff each other and growl at each other and call each other names, but neither of them are ever overwhelmingly bad or cruel. Sean tends to be a little patronizing sometimes. If you asked me whom I prefer, I'd have to say that it's the vampire. Just because he's a vampire, and he's a blond elfin type who looks like he's Legolas' bodybuilder cousin. Also, Arland is a sweetheart ^_^
"When a man takes up arms, he does so for many reasons. Sometimes to punish, sometimes to intimidate or frighten. But when a woman picks up a weapon, she means to kill. So please do not take this as an insult."The Romance: Yeah, there is a love triangle, but it's not to be taken too seriously, because both guys hate each other more than they like Dina. There is a lot of territoriality (a vampire and a werewolf would never walk into a bar together), and little more beyond that. Also, there's a fucking monster on the loose, guys. Ain't nobody got time for romance.
"Why are you helping them?"And that's just the way I like it. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 11, 2014
Jan 11, 2014
Feb 11, 2014
Feb 11, 2014
did not like it
Even though I knew there were assassins on the loose, I’d let myself get caught up in Richard, in these ...feelings I can’t seem to shake. I ignored
Even though I knew there were assassins on the loose, I’d let myself get caught up in Richard, in these ...feelings I can’t seem to shake. I ignored my duties, skipped protocol. Richard almost ended up dead for it.You know how when you're 12 years old sometimes you have these silly daydreams you're secretly a stunningly beautiful fairy princess who meets a hot prince who's such a playboy and everyone thinks he's such an asshole but secretly he's really really smart and deep and meaningful but only you know about his hidden self but then you guys fall in love! only to find out that your romance is doomed in the Arwen-Aragorn kind of way because hello! elf + human = interspecies breeding (ohmigod breeding! that means sex!!!! *blushhhhh* (you're 12 years old, remember?)) but whatever, TWOO WUV wins in the end!11!11! NO MATTER WHAT!!!!11
Well, this is the book for you. This is, more or less, Prince Harry fanfiction. It comes complete with a fucking stupid little fairy ass princess who can't see beyond her tits...I mean heart. Who places love. LOOOOOOOOVE. Fucking LOOOOOOOOOOVE over everything. Rationality. Loyalty. Secrecy. Duty. Life. All for the love of someone she barely fucking knows. Fuck that shit. Seriously. Fuck that shit.
I've read a fair share of idiotic YA fiction in which the heroine does dumb shit for love. Rarely have I encountered someone with this amount of incomprehensible romantic stupidity. Emrys shouldn't be Prince Richard's bodyguard. She should be Prince Richard's chambermaid so that she can secretly sniff his used boxers and clean his shit (which smells like English Leather combined with the the scent of a square kilometer of French tea roses in full bloom during the springtime) and scratch at his cum-stiffened sheets and be fucking deliriously happy that she has been granted the privilege to do so.
Not since the days of Romeo and Juliet have there been two dumber idiots in love. Did I miss something? Was this book intended to be a parody? I like Faeries. I like female bodyguards. I surely must like this book?
Wrong. Here we fucking go again.
- We have SEVERE insta-love and a declaration of love without any sort of relationship building
- We have a fairy bodyguard who does fucking jack shit, her job seems to be:
1) Watching (but mostly drooling) over the prince she's supposed to guard while he sleeps (when she's not IN BED together with him)
**If Emrys were a guy, we'd be calling him a stalker by now
2) Being his eye candy when he's partying with his friends
- We have a fucking TSTL Mary Sue fairy bogyguard who does a fucking horrible job at being a protector of any kind, since she can't fucking handle anything in the fucking modern world when her compatriots seem to be handling it just fine
The Writing: Before I get into the summary, I have to tell you guys about the writing in this book: to put it gently, it's as horrible as a drought in Somalia. Uncomfortable like a baby with a wet, soggy diaper. I felt as trapped as a kitten on a box on a plane without temperature control.
You think my metaphors are bad? Wait til you read this book. The writing stinks like the farting of a particularly flatulent warthog. The flatulence that comes from dining on rotten liver and kidney pie with raw garlic, garnished with a side of beans and broccoli. My brain was rendered into mushiness, akin to mashed potatoes whipped with an ample amount of butter and cream, with a dash of salt and pepper just to spice it up.
I wouldn't claim that the writing is horrible without any evidence, so without further ado: I present you some of the fabulous examples of writing within this book.
Richard’s only response a long, leaden sigh. Like the sound of a sleeping bear poked into drowsiness.
“I think I can handle him,” I say in a voice even tarter than lemons.
The veiling spell is still fighting, wriggling out of my control like an eel caught by its tail.
Those lips are quirked into a permanent coy grin as she goes down the line, eyeing men like baskets of fish and chips.
The acid behind my tongue only grows, rises like a beast coming out of a long winter sleep.
I’m like a hare, frozen by the headlamps of an approaching vehicle.
His face is pale, whited out like a window looking into a blizzard.
His jacket crumples like a dead animal on the rug.
Breena approaches with selective steps, the same way a cat uses grass and slowness to snag a songbird.
I’m a glacier, plunging, falling apart against the sea.
My heart becomes a lion, roaring and beating against its fibrous, fleshy cage. Yearning to be free.
I watch as the window to his pain flicks past, like the light of a train car at full speed. There and gone.
This question feels rambling, desperate. Like a grappling hook violently flung by some plummeting climber.
The Summary: Emrys is a Fae. She is a Faery Guardian. She is ancient, around 1000 years old. She has seen the rise and fall of many an empires.
Which only goes to tell you that age does not necessarily equal wisdom.
Emrys is a Frithemaeg, a Faery Guardian. She has been assigned to protect Prince Richard. She hasn't seen him since he was a baby, but man, the teenaged Richard sure is fucking hot. Richard is sleeping. Emrys is invisible. She watches him sleep, and talks to him, because that's not creepy at all.
“Why are you sleeping?” I slip into the room and approach the bed.Richard blinks in his sleep---and cue insta-love. Jesus Fucking Christ, the man isn't even awake and she's feeling shit for him already.
His eyes open, and for the briefest second I feel their hazel irises on me. Something inside me clenches.Emrys is supposed to protect Richard's life. Her powers are failing. She is no longer able to do her job. She cannot protect him. Richard sees Emrys, even though she is supposed to be invisible.
“Who—who are you?” he asks, his stare vague. “How’d you get in here?”So naturally, the thing to do is NOT to tell your queen (Mab) that you can't do your fucking job and because of that, your Prince's life is in danger. It just makes so much more sense to tell the prince about the secret Faery world that's been existing aside his own that your people have kept secret for thousands of years.
I revealed myself to a mortal—to Britain’s prince—and instead of wiping his memory, I ran. I broke the barrier between magic and mortal. And I didn’t fix it.Brilliant. Such wisdom as the ancients have never seen. *wipes away tear*
Richard's father, the King, dies. The human world thinks he suffered from a heart attack, but the Faery Guard knows better. He has been killed by a malevolent, evil force bent on destroying the world.
In order to protect Prince Richard against the evil that killed his father, Emrys will:
1. Have romantic meals with Richard on a sunlit balcony.
A petite, linen-cloaked table waits for us on the lawn, covered with plates of freshly sliced fruits, eggs, sausage, and toast. An elegant china teapot sits to one side, steam rising from its spout like the breath of a sleeping dragon. Hundreds of roses, in every hue, seduce me with their scent.2. Be his arm candy at a pub
“Damn, Rich. When you said you were bringing a friend, I thought...” He doesn’t bother finishing his sentence. “What runway did you get her off of? And where can I get one?”3. Practice dancing with him in his room
We move together as one being, in sweet unison to the lingering guitar solo. We dance even after the last notes die, moving about in each other’s arms to some unheard song. We dance until nothing is left.4. Go swimming with him, complete with acrobatics
I lunge into the air, taking advantage of my magic to perform a string of elaborate acrobatics before I sink into the pool’s embrace.5. Give Richard fashion advice
“Nothing too nice,” I tell him. “Try jeans and a T-shirt.”6. Go on a date to a romantic location so that Richard can look over his kingdom over which he is such a benevolent ruler!!
“No.” I smile coyly, satisfied he hasn’t guessed. “We’re going to look at your kingdom.”And naturally, since Emrys is such a powerful Fae, she will use her power, her GLAMOUR to fulfil the tremendous, important, riveting task of...
“I could magic us to the front.” I frown. Are there always so many mortals clamoring for a taste of flight? The queue is so sluggish it makes my skin itch....skipping the tourist lines.
Christ in heaven.
Royally Fucked: Emrys is supposed to be bad-ass Fae Bodyguard, bestowed with the powers of the Faery Court, designated to protect the future Heir to the Throne of England. Emrys is supposed to be strong, fierce, powerful!
Faeries don't do well with modern technology, but somehow everyone else on her team seems to be doing just fucking fine in the technology-filled world of modern-day England EXCEPT FOR EMRYS.
Breena’s energy seems boundless as she strides ahead. There’s no rust or corrosion in her aura. No weariness to her magic. As if all these modern metals and electric currents swirling around us don’t exist.Emrys can't hold it together. Everything makes her sick.
The smell of food and drink, the smell of anything at this point is enough to wake the deeper sickness in my bowels.Everything makes her want to vomit.
I lunge to the top of the table in a single movement, ignoring the stress on my humanoid muscles and how much I want to vomit.Scarcely does a moment go by when Emrys doesn't feel faint.
Although the pain has been latent over the past few weeks, its return is fiery and lancing. My knees nearly buckle under it.Protector of None: Despite the fact that she's Richard's bodyguard...a useless, helpless human, no less, Emrys allows him to come to her rescue way too fucking often.He saves her from a leering, lecherous man.
The prince came to my rescue. He protected me. This is so shocking, so unprecedented, that I can’t think of anything to say.And yet again when they're ambushed.
Richard has her pinned to the ground, his face a war mask. The prince just saved our lives.What the fuck kind of a bodyguard is that? Do you expect us to believe that Emrys is a bad-ass bodyguard when she constantly fucking gets sick to her stomach, constantly gets ill from modern technology, constantly gets her ass saved...if not by Richard, then by a human princess---Richard's little sister?
I can’t move. I can’t think of any spells to protect us.The Princess Diaries: Dear Diary, Today I wore a really really pretty dress to protect my Prince!
Why the FUCK are you so fucking concerned with clothes, Emrys? You know, if I were a bodyguard, I'd be wearing all black spandex with many concealed pockets in which I can carry my knives. Emrys wears..."piles of skirts"
...Which constantly gets in the way. BECAUSE SKIRTS. NO SHIT. YOU DO NOT WEAR FUCKING SKIRTS IN A FIGHT.
The Black Dog’s aged-yellow canines snag my many layers of skirts—it ends up with only a mouthful of taffeta and cotton.And a tulle dress? No. Just NO.
I look down at my outfit. Layer after layer of colors. Sea-foam tulle peeking out from aqua and daffodil cotton. Silver-threaded plum fabric mixes steadily with champagne silk.And not only that, she has terrible tastes in clothes.
Romance Uber Alles: This book has something even worse than insta-love: a girl who would sacrifice everything for love, a girl who believes that love in the most important thing in the world, more than loyalty, more than her own existence
Without him, I would be nothing now. Unraveled into ether and air.It sickens me. This is an OLD Fae. She is supposed to be wise. I see no evidence of it. From the very first fucking moment she lays eyes on Richard, she falls in love with him. Her heart beats unceasingly. Her stomach clenches endlessly. She feels currents, jolts, bolts of electricity in the air whenever she is around him. That's pretty standard in YA fiction.
Something about Richard is different from the others I’ve guarded. Something connects us: something dangerous and electric.But what sickens me is that she holds her love for Richard over everything else. Over all the danger she faces.
I love him.Yeah, because telling someone you LOVE THEM is more important than fucking putting your damned life on the line. Than hunting with your age-old companion. Than the triumph of battle.
I’m at the height of my bound, incarnate power, ready to take on an army of soul feeders.To put your own existence on the line, because human and fae cannot be together. To betray your own line and endanger all the secrets that have been kept throughout the eons. What the fuck kind of betraying, faithless, stupid fucking bitch would do that to her own kind?
Dropping the veiling spell, showing and telling who I am, reaching out my hand . . . Had I done all of those things because I wanted to? Because I knew, in some unreached part of myself, that there was this—spark, flame, inferno—between us?And to DIE for him.
You’ll die for him either way. Breena’s words are haunting, inescapable here.TO DIE for someone you barely fucking know.
How can I explain to her that none of this was for the Guard or the crown? That it was all for Richard? For a life and a future with him?Fuck this book. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 26, 2014
Feb 27, 2014
Jan 02, 2014
Jul 08, 2014
Jul 17, 2014
did not like it
What does [that lady] see when she looks in the mirror? Kelsea wondered. How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being
What does [that lady] see when she looks in the mirror? Kelsea wondered. How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being attractive? Kelsea saw now that there was something far worse than being ugly: being ugly and thinking you were beautiful.Because how DARE anyone ugly have confidence in themselves.
When I die, I want inscribed on my gravestone "She Read The Queen of the Tearling." Call me unambitious, but that shall be counted among my proudest accomplishments, because never have I ever read a more painfully long, worthless book.
The copywriter who wrote this book's summary compares it to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones; they have clearly read neither. They compared to the world-building to that of The Hunger Games. They compared the characters to that of Game of Thrones.
Are you fucking kidding me?
A thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters could write a book that is more similar to those works than anything this book has to offer.
This was also the most intensely painful reading experience I have ever had due to the sheer length of the book, aggravated by the fact that the book just dragged on and on and on without a point. This is the book that doesn't end. A good 30% of the book is devoted to traveling. Not since The Hobbit have I been so fucking bored out of my mind. Bilbo Baggins could have gone there and back again, and then make another round around Middle Earth, and sure, why not---take a few years to flutter around Rivendell chilling with the elves in the time it took this book to go anywhere.
The Summary: Kelsea Raleigh is the new Queen of the Tearling. Her mother, the late Queen Elyssa has died, and it is time for Kelsea to claim the throne. She travels to the new kingdom. She's traveling. She's on a horse. They're slowly making their way to the castle. Slooooooooowly.
Meanwhile, the Red Queen of Mortmesne is wonder where the fuck Kelsea is. She's spent the last 19 years searching for her. Seriously, where the fuck is the girl? Oh, well, the Red Queen will think about that later. Time to fuck some slaves! OH YEAH. GIVE IT TO ME, BABY.
Kelsea's still traveling. Man, her new guards are really, really good looking. Oh, shit, she's kidnapped. But not really, because the kidnappers pretty much let Kelsea wander free.
Oh, whew. She's free. Back to traveling! Whooo! OH YAY, WE'RE AT THE CASTLE. Kelsea makes some fucking stupid decisions and pretty much dooms her country within hours of reaching her new castle.
Meanwhile, Javel, the guard, is telling his story, his sad story of how his wife was lost to him.
Kelsea's throned queen! YAY! She spends a lot of time talking to her advisors. She almost gets killed (several times).
Meanwhile, the priest, Father Tyler, is really, really upset at how his life gets flipped turned upside down.
The Red Queen of Montmesne is fucking more slaves. Where is that dratted Kelsea.
Kelsea thinks she is very plain. She should go on a diet. But no, she shouldn't, because she's plain anyway, and who cares about appearances, anyway. Man, Kelsea wishes she were pretty. As pretty as her maidservant, the one whose beauty is so valued that she got enslaved and raped for it.
Meanwhile, Javel is still doing shit. Talking to people. Getting roped into some random-ass plans.
Father Tyler is still moping around.
The Red Queen's pissed off. That fucking Kelsea. Why does she keep eluding my grasp. And by grasp, the Red Queen means her minion's grasps, since the Red Queen is just too important to do anything about hunting Kelsea herself. Magic, pfft. Ugh, whatever. Let's get ourselves a 7-year old little boy and BLEEP him in the BLEEP BLEEP. That is so not legal.
Javel's still talking somehow.
Kelsea's still talking to people. It sure would be nice if she were pretty. But really, Kelsea doesn't have time to think about that right now. There are more important things at hand. Like insulting a woman in front of the Royal Court.
Fuck, they're traveling AGAIN?!
765. Mother. Fucking. Pages.
The Setting: IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY MOTHERFUCKING SENSE. I started this book thinking it was a medieval fantasy. It wasn't. It has an old-world feel. It's not. Women are in long dresses. We are riding horses. We're using hawks to hunt. There are kings and queens and magic and castles. What you you mean it's not in the past? What do you mean it's not a fantasy.
THIS IS THE FUTURE? THIS IS A DYSTOPIA? WE USED TO BE THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? WHAT HAPPENED?
I seriously do not fucking understand this setting. First off, it is fucking lazy, because the retelling of the history is told by mouth, AS A STORY.
“Once upon a time, there was a kingdom called the Tearling. It was founded by a man named William Tear, a utopian who dreamed of a land of plenty for all. But ironically, the Tearling was a kingdom of scarce resources, for the British and Americans had not been fortunate in their choice of landing place."British. American. This is the motherfucking future, people. How the fuck did we get here? And more importantly. WHERE ARE WE?
Why are all technologies lost? We supposedly got to this place in an event called The Crossing. Where is this place? Are we even on Earth? Why are there so few survivors? This land is called New Europe. We have a town called New London. Did it actually pop up out of the ocean? Why was the old world destroyed? Why did we have to seek refuge in New Europe? Are we so fucking inconsistent that in all the hundreds of fucking years in which we've settled here that we have lost all the motherfucking techologies of today's time in the future. So much that we don't even have the technology for motherfucking PRINTING PRESSES? We have geneticists. But we don't have the technology to buy books.
And why are books rare? Because we motherfucking burned them for fuel when we got here. Despite the motherfucking forests of oaks that surrounds this new land, they fucking burned BOOKS for fuel.
That was what had happened to most of the books that originally came over in the British-American Crossing: the desperate had burned them for fuel or warmth.There are no doctors. There are, like, 2 doctors in the whole of fucking New London. New civilizations have come up with technology, they've been so much more innovative than this. The Medieval Ages were more advanced than the Tearling, because they don't know how to fucking make gunpowder or cannons.
Seriously. You expect us to retain absolutely fucking NOTHING of the knowledge that we have gained for all these years? Did you choose the motherfucking dumbest pieces of shits to carry over to the New World? Why didn't you choose important people, like scientists, botanists, doctors, instead of a bunch of fucking feeblewitted morons who don't know how to carry over fucking technology from the old world when you crossed over to the new. Who fucking BURN BOOKS FOR FUEL DESPITE BEING SURROUNDED BY TREES.
Fucking dystopian fail.
The Writing: Not since Charles Dickens have I read such verbosity. There is a reason why this book is so long. It is packed to the brim with the most long-winded, irrelevant description of every fucking thing in the world.
Introspection? Sure. This book has it aplenty. Let's describe every single fucking thought that Kelsea has ever fucking had in her head. Kelsea thinks. A lot. Some relevant things. Mostly very, very, very idiotic things that make no fucking different whether they were omitted or not.
Red hair was a recessive gene, and in the three centuries since the Crossing, it had bred slowly and steadily out of the population. Carlin had told Kelsea that some women, and even some men, liked to dye their hair red, since the rare commodity was always valuable. But after about an hour of sneaking looks at the guard, Kelsea became certain that she was looking at a true head of red hair. No dye was that good.Her dreams? Kelsea thinks about them. Her opinions about the men? Sure, let's have it. Kelsea's insecurity? Sure, let's have several fucking paragraphs on it. Man, her food just tastes fucking terrible tonight. Let's describe her thoughts on the venison in excruciating detail.
Dinner was venison, stringy and only barely edible after roasting over the fire. The deer must have been very old. Kelsea had seen only a few birds and squirrels on their ride through the Reddick, though the greenery was very lush; there could be no lack of water. Kelsea wanted to ask the men about the lack of animals, but she worried that it would be taken as a complaint about the meal.Man, it's a motherfucking long journey. After all, the traveling alone takes about 30% of the book. LET'S JUST DESCRIBE EVERY SINGLE FREAKING DETAIL ON IT. The houses are built with bricks. LET'S DESCRIBE THE FUCKING BRICKS IN DETAIL.
To the east, Kelsea spotted what must be the house of a noble: a high tower made of red brick. Real brick! Tearling brick was a notoriously poor building material compared to Mortmesne’s, which was made with better mortar and commanded at least a pound per kilo. Carlin had an oven made of real bricks, built for her by Barty, and Kelsea had wondered more than once whether Barty had bought the bricks off the black market from Mortmesne.DETAILS! DETAILS! DETAILS! We are fucking drowning in details. The clothes of the noblemen! Let's decribe them! One of the ladies wear a hat in the shape of a fish! Let's mention that. And while we're at it, let's make fun of her for it! WILL IT EVER STOP?!
The Guards: Not since Monty Python and the Holy Grail have there ever been such irreverent, incompetent fucking royal guards. They are the most fucking pathetic examples of soldiers I have ever fucking encountered. This is Kelsea. She is one of the last of her royal line. Her life is priceless. She is supposed to be guarded by 9 men. 9 men who are motherfucking blundering assholes because they cannot do anything right.
While they are traveling, the men get drunk and sing bawdy songs instead of securing her guard. They are completely fucking shocked that later on in the journey, they are captured.
While they are traveling, they are caught AGAIN off their guard. Kelsea is forced to flee for her life.
At the castle, while they are supposed to be watching her back. Kelsea gets stabbed---in the back.
...a bolt of pain arrowed all the way down to her toes.Later on, in the bath, Kelsea gets cornered by an assassin! She's almost fucking killed again.
WHERE ARE THE FUCKING NITWITS GUARDING HER?!
Guards?! Guards?! They are supposed to be subservient. They are supposed to be respectful. They are supposed to be odebient. They are not supposed to talk back to her. Oh, sure, they SAY they're not going to talk back to her.
He stared at her without expression. “I say nothing, Lady. That’s why I’m a Queen’s Guard.”But words mean fucking nothing. Because whatever Mace (real name Lazarus, head of Kelsea's guard) is, it's not fucking subservient. He talks down to her, as if she were an incompetent little girl (well, she is, but she is still the fucking queen). He talks back to her. He disagrees with her. When she's gravely injured, Mace nudges her by poking at her with his foot. Is this the behavior of a guard towards his queen? I don't think so.
Mace’s boot landed in the small of her back, and Kelsea bit her tongue against a scream.Kelsea: Incompetent nitwit. A heroine who is so astoundingly stupid and unprepared by her fucking mentors that she is unworthy of governing anything but a toy kingdom made of Legos.
I hope Kelsea steps on the pieces. I hope they hurt badly. I hope our aspiring queen is in pain for the torment and the headache and the hangover I experienced while reading this book about one of the most insipid heroine to ever litter the precious pages of a book.
She constantly complains about how plain she is.
But her face was as round and ruddy as a tomato, and—there was no other word for it—plain.She has the most fucking idiotic thoughts about everything and everything. No subject is too minor for her notice. The rug? Oh, it's probably made of deer hide. Spare me.
She is not a fucking queen. Her guardians are incompetent, because she has been so completely fucking sheltered from the world that she doesn't understand anything, but she still knows things. Somehow. She has never seen alcohol, yet she knows what alcohol smells like. She knows what alcoholism looks like when she sees it in a man. And she revels in being drunk, cause it's just like in a book, y'all!
Kelsea woke with an aching head and a parched mouth, but it wasn’t until breakfast that she realized it was her first hangover. Despite the discomfort, she was charmed to experience something that she’d only read about in a book. An upset stomach was a small price to pay for fiction made real.She cares SO MUCH for the fate of her people. Kelsea is so incredibly hurt that her people are being sent as slaves to Mortmesne---250 a month---that she is willing to renege on the treaty between their countries. Within hours of her arrival to the capital, Kelsea makes a heroic gesture that completely endangers the peace of two nations. She stops the shipment of slaves. She was warned. She didn't listen. She risks the lives of the entire nation for the sake of a few.
“Lady, the Mort Treaty is specific. There is no appeals process, no outside arbiter. If a single shipment fails to arrive in Demesne on time, the Mort Queen has the right to invade this country and wreak terror. I lived through the last Mort invasion, Lady, and I assure you, Mhurn wasn’t exaggerating the carnage. Before you take action, consider the consequences.”Despite being plain, Kelsea is terribly judgmental of looks. She criticizes an old, ugly woman for daring to look beautiful. She is envious of another woman's beauty, despite the fact that that woman's beauty got her raped.
Kelsea complains a lot about the extravagances at court. The pointless waste of money. So much that she is willing to waste her valuable men's time and her own resources into traveling 2 weeks to get her books from her old home. And right away. It must be done right away.
The Fetch: A criminal. The projected love interest. A Robin Hood? Not quite. You see, Robin Hood steals from the rich and actually DISTRIBUTES it to the poor. The Fetch? Nah.
“Well, he’s a hero to the common people, Lady. Every piece of rich man’s fortune lost endears him to the poor.”So, um. Exactly HOW is he the hero of the common people?
Naturally, she should turn him in. Kelsea is the queen, she should set an example to her people. Put criminals where they belong.
Kelsea took a deep breath. “I wouldn’t betray him for any number of pounds.”Emma, Emma Watson. I heard that you have signed up for this project. I adore you. You are brilliant. You are gorgeous. You are a goddess, and you have won my heart ever since you stepped onto the screens of Harry Potter, with your disapproving frown and your frizzy hair, far more beautiful than Hermione Watson could ever be. But I adored you then, I love you now, and I hope for your sake that the movie adaptation exceeds every aspect of the book, because the book itself has almost no substance to offer.
I can't even hate this book because it tries so hard. It is the equivalent of having your 6-year old niece draw a picture of you. Sure, you look like a motherfucking moose with butterfly wings for some fucking reason, but hey, it's an A for effort, right?
Quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley proof subject to change in the final edition. ...more
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Jan 21, 2014
Jan 28, 2014
Dec 19, 2013
Nov 12, 2013
Dec 17, 2013
I’m imprisoned inside a pillar of fire...How did it come to this?
I’m imprisoned inside a pillar of fire...How did it come to this?Overall: a good, entertaining book with an interesting world that's rather too long. Much like my extremely verbose review of it. I can't help but feel that this book needed the help of a better editor. It wasn't a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, I enjoyed it, but it was so incredibly, unnecessarily long. I feel that a good third of the book could easily have been removed without affecting the essence of the book.
This book had a lot of great things going for it, it had a spunky, ass-kicking heroine who was rather reminiscent of one of my favorite heroines of this year, it had a creative spin on the concept of demons and angels, and the romance is believable and happily free of angst, insta-love, or love triangles. It even feels somewhat like a paranormal Pride and Prejudice at points. But man, the plot and the pacing killed me. The first half of the book felt like I was going in circles, with neither an end nor a point in sight.
Allow me to make one of my infamously long-winded analogies. Myla is the main character in the book, Cissy is her best friend. Let's pretend that Khanh, Myla, and Cissy are real people (ok, you don't have to pretend that Khanh is a real person, becauuse well...I do exist). Khanh meets Myla. Khanh thinks Myla is a pretty cool person; after all, Myla's part demon, she's a fighter, she sends souls to hell, and she's got a tail, man. A fucking TAIL, how cool is that?! Anyways, Myla looks like she's an interesting, awesome person, and Khanh wants to be her friend.
Khanh and Myla sits down for a chat. Myla opens her mouth. Instead of telling Khanh about her kick-ass life as a fighter in the Arenas between Heaven and Hell, Myla tells Khanh about her tangled-up life. You see, since 3rd grade, this boy named Zeke has been in love with Myla, and Myla doesn't want him. She's always telling him to fuck off, because she ain't interested, but Cissy's ALSO been in love with him, too, and she's pissed off by the fact that Myla doesn't give him the time of day.
At this point, Khanh stands up. "You know, I've really got to go somewhere. I just...I have...stuff to do. Let's see each other again sometimes," she waves. Under her breath, Khanh snorts, "Not bloody likely."
You see? Khanh doesn't care! Khanh stopped caring and she stopped thinking that Myla is an interesting person when Myla started talking about stupid gossip and school drama. Khanh wants to hear about MYLA. She wants to hear about what's going on in Myla's life. When you meet someone, you want to get to know THEM. You don't care about their friends' dramas. You don't give a flying fuck about what's going on in their friends' life. You don't want to know about the fight they're having with their mom, about the boring as fuck party they went to. It's the equivalent of going on social media and listening to stupid status updates about eating dinner. NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE BORING PARTS OF YOUR LIFE. I read a book for FUN. I don't want to hear about the boring shit, so skip it.
The plot goes nowhere fast. It is filled with shit that is completely irrelevant to the story. The story is filled with events and people and things could easily have been omitted without making an impact on the overall plot.
Summary: Myla is half-demon and half-human. Her deadly sin is Wrath, which makes her a fucking awesome fighter (you won't like her when she's angry). Myla lives in Purgatory. She's got a mother who's a demon in name only, because her mother is scared of her own shadow and acts more like a frightened child than someone who's capable of begetting the ass-kicking chick that is Myla. She goes to school, she fights in the Arena. She sends souls to hell (while her mother cowers flinchingly with her hands clasped to her ears). All in a good day's work.
It's not a terrible life, sure, she's doomed to be in service to her ghoul overlords; it could be worse (she could be a ghoul proctologist), but there's a lot of minor shit storms going on. There's tons of lovesick drama with her best friend Cissy and her long-time admirer, Zeke. There are tournaments, balls, weird meetings with demons. There's Lincoln, the asshole of a boy who hates demons and half-demons like Myla. There's a bitch of a girl named Adair. There are long walks, fighting lessons, chilling in the library. There are parties. There's fighting with her mom. There's fighting with her best friend. There's more fighting with her mom. There's secret joyriding sessions on a demon horse. There's Cissy and Zeke making kissy faces at each other while Myla looks on, trying not to gag.
And somewhere around the last 1/3 of the book, things FINALLY pick up. There's demons. There's angels. There's BLOOD and some serious ass-kicking. If only the rest of the book were that good.
The Setting: Very interesting, very fun, very tongue-in-cheek. This is not the United States. This is Purgatory, y'all. In most of the other books I've read, ghouls are the lowliest of lows. They're minions, slaves; not so in this book. In this book, Myla and those of her kind (the Quasi-demons) are slaves to their Ghoul overlords. Myla goes to Purgatory High (every high schooler thinks they go to Purgatory High, but no, this is actually Purgatory High).
Every Quasi-demon has a trait that's taken from one of the Biblical Sins, for example, Myla is Wrath (with a hidden side of Lust) and her best friend Cissy is Envy (and man, does Cissy get fucking annoying thanks to her sin). Everything they own is Ghoul-issued. They have no current human technology besides what the ghouls choose to give them, and some Quasi-demons run a nice business selling human-issued stuff (one of her friends at school prance around flaunting her Pradas and Rolexes...some things stay the same in all universes ^_^).
The Quasi-demons are servants, slaves, there is no mistaking that, and their education is suited to their life in servitude. They have no career than that of serving their Ghoul overlords, Myla is only selected to fight because of her special talent in fighting, and she'll probably be forced to choose a mundane career such as being a seamstress to the ghouls once she graduates. Their classes in Purgatory High are...interesting, focused on best serving their ghoul overlords, and I got quite a kick reading about their curriculum.
“That means robe-cleaning, foot massage, and groveling etiquette, as well as our lesson for today, meal preparation.”And making worm souffle. Worm souffle All of a sudden, my low-carb diet doesn't seem so bad.
And as for fighting? The Quasi-demons are only suited to be cannon fodder in case their ghoul overlords get attacked.
“Let’s get started.” Tank blasts his whistle again. “I want you all to practice running around the yard, flailing your arms, and screaming ‘Take me! Take me!’ On my mark. Set. Go!”*snickers*
It is a very complex world, and I do admit to being confused sometimes, because there is a lot going on here. There are thraxes, angels, demons, the queen of Heaven, the king of Hell, there are Overlords, Earls, Princes, many different types of leading family, lots of different races and hierarchies. My head spun trying to keep track of these, at times, but overall, it is a very creative, very interesting world.
The Characters: Mostly well done. I do wish that the side characters had more personality, and I thought Myla was rather too perfect. Overall, I do like Myla; she's got fire, she's got spunk. She is irreverent without crossing the line into bitchiness. She's got a bit of a foul mouth on her too, and I snorted in laughter whenever Myla screws up, and goes "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck." Yeah, girl!
And she is a fighter. Unlike certain assassins who do not act like assassins who shall remain unnamed (CELAENA *cough*), Myla kicks some fucking ass.
My rage boils over. Jumping super-high, I haul up my knees, then kick my opponent squarely in the chest with both feet. The Choker falls flat on his back with a satisfying thud. Meanwhile, I use the momentum from my chest-kick to flip backwards into a somersault, landing right by his head.But you know what I want? I wanted more uncertainty. I wanted more doubt. I wanted a heroine who is just a little bit, a tiny bit vulnerable. I want to be able to relate to her a bit. I love that Myla is strong, don't get me wrong, but I like it when my heroine breaks down into pieces, I love it when they have a moment of catharsis, and I don't feel that I got this from Myla.
I said that this book was reminiscent of P&P earlier, and if there's a Caroline in the book, it's that full-of-herself rhymes-with-witch, Adair. I pretty much laughed my ass off whenever that chick appeared.
Adair clears her throat, then sings with a warbling old-lady voice:The Romance: Believable, if a little too fast for my liking, because it seems as if they went from HATE HATE HATE to "truce" to "I LOVES YOU!!!!" within 50% of the book. Lincoln gave me some serious Darcy feels, even if he's rather less...subtle about it. He's a holier-than-thou high Thrax prince. She is a lowly Quasi-demon. Everyone hates demons. Remember the part up there where we were talking about the Quasi-demons being slaves to the Ghouls? Yeah. It's kind of a scandal for a Prince to even look sideways at a demon, and their earlier hate of each other (with a little lust thrown in on the side) was understandable.
Pride and Prejudice? Yep. The "I'm sick so I have to stay at your house" thing? Yep. The overbearing mother? Yep. The bitchy girl who wants Lincoln? Yep. The misunderstanding? Yep.
He looks at me out of his slate-blue eye. “Well, it’s not like I wowed you with my dazzling personality when we met.”...more
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Dec 24, 2013
Dec 26, 2013
Dec 16, 2013
Nov 05, 2013
Nov 05, 2013
did not like it
This book is not so much high fantasy as it is toilet paper.
I live in Southern California. The weather is lovely, as perfect as it can get; if I have This book is not so much high fantasy as it is toilet paper.
I live in Southern California. The weather is lovely, as perfect as it can get; if I have a single complaint about living here, it is the lack of snow. But this time around, I find myself not yearning for snow, because I just got pelted smack in the fucking face with the gigantic special fucking snowflake of a Mary Sue who is our main character, Mara Holdfast.
I have fucking standards for my heroines. My love for a heroine is hard-won. I expect them to be flawed, imperfect, I expect them to mature, to blossom into themselves. If they become powerful, strong, I want to see how, and why. If they have inherited magic, I want to see them work at it, I want to see them practice it, I want to see them use it, learn it, progress through it. There is no earning of respect here, there is no learning here, because everything happens through happenstance and internal perfection without explanation. Mara is just fucking perfect, one in a million. She magically learns magic without being taught, she becomes the most wondrous of unicorns. It does not fly with me.
I do not call a heroine a Mary Sue lightly. I do not give the "speshul snowflake" label lightly. I understand that the label has been slapped haphazardly on many a female heroine on which someone simply doesn't like, often without justification, and I say here, with emphasis, Mara is a fucking special snowflake and a Mary Sue. I have and will present ample evidence for my claims.
The plot is filled with deus ex machina, there is little world building outside of the immediate, which is unforgivable for a high fantasy. The background characters are but shadows that fade into the background. The villain is largely a stately figurehead, and just about as fearful. There is a love triangle that goes nowhere. There is only the threat of rape that creates any element of danger in this book, and there is an overreliance on sexual violence as a tool of oppression. There is nothing that I loved about this book.
Summary: Long ago, the kingdom of Aygrima was threatened by a woman with great magical powers, the nation suffered tremendous losses of human lives until she was defeated by a young man, the Autarch. The Autarch still lives, over 50 years later, and under his rule, the nation is peaceful and prosperous. All of its adult citizens (everyone over 15) are forced to wear a magically imbued Mask in public, to hide their face, and to allow the Watchers to read their mind for any treasonous thoughts.
Mara Holdfast is a special young woman, about to turn 15. She has magical potentials. Only a handful of people have magic within their blood, they can see one or two special magical colors when it comes to their testing, but Mara is different; she sees all the colors of the rainbow. This is such an unheard of thing that she has to keep her ability a secret. Before she is to be trained in magic, Mara has to attend a ceremony in which she will be presented with her Mask.
Mara's ceremony failed, her Mask has rejected her. Unlike others, whose Masks have rejected them, Mara remains unscarred, thanks to the tremendous skill of a master Healer who just happened to be present at her Masking ceremony. She is sent to a labor mining camp, where her virtue and safety is in danger, since female convicts are threatened with rape and violence. Mara is an even more prized commodity to the prison guards, due to her unscarred face and youthful beauty. On the way to the prison camp, Mara is saved by a group of outcast rebels known as the unMasked army.
What follows is the mind-boggling journey of an idiotic girl as she somehow escapes every single fucking calamity handed to her purely by happenstance.
The Setting: The world building can only be described in two words: fucking lazy. High fantasy, my ass. There is an art to world building, it takes bloody skills to weave a world of wonder, to create a new fantastical world, because the author is truly the architect of the world he has imagined. If a good world building can be equated to the creation of the Great Pyramids, then this book's world building and setup can be likened to a shabby house made of Legos, and the experience of reading this book is equivalent to stepping on the crumbled pieces of that Lego house.
It is lazy. It is fucking lazy. Christ on a cracker, I am not a fucking 5-year old, you expect me to read this sort of world building with a straight face? I'm supposed to learn about this magical world through the textbook recital of a child learning her fucking lessons? Are you fucking serious?
“What is the difference between the First and Second Tests?” Tutor Ancilla continued.There is no art here. The world building is flat. The nation of Aygrima has no past, no history, no culture. There is no social customs, nothing that ties me to the world, nothing that makes me feel like this world exists, the glue that holds this world together is fucktastically flimsy.
The Special Snowflake: Mara Holdfast is rare. Unicorn with two horns rare. She is beautiful. A perfect child to her adoring parents. Beautiful inside and out. Mara has magical abilities in a nation where only a handful of people have any magical abilities at all.
“There are maybe twenty thousand people in Tamita,” she’d said. “An enormous number. But at any given time there are no more than two hundred who have the Gift. Only half of those have it in great enough measure to actually use magic. And fewer than half of those can use it to any great purpose.”Not only are magical abilities rare, but most people with magical abilities can only see one or two colors, signifying their magical abilities. Mara is different, she can see all the colors of the rainbow when she is tested.
...the basin filled with seething, swirling colors, every color of the rainbow and every combination between, breathtakingly beautiful...but wrong. At thirteen, she was only supposed to be able to see one color, maybe two.When Mara fails her Masking ceremony, she should have been drastically scarred in the face when the mask almost literally rips her face off. Mara remains unscarred, thanks to the divine intervention of the best Healer in the country.
“You’re unharmed.”Those who fail their Masking ritual lose their magical gift. Not Mara.
Alita’s eyes suddenly widened. “Magic? Is it magic? You can still see it, even after...?”Not only that, only when they turn 15 do magical training start. Without any training whatsoever, Mara knows instinctively how to use her exceedingly strong magical powers.
"But the way you did it...you exerted an enormous amount of power, without any training at all. You did it instinctively. And you did it again when you cleaned away the evidence. With my Gift I could theoretically do what you did...but even if I could do it—which I am not at all certain of—I know I absolutely could not have done it when I was just fifteen and newly Masked. It took me years of training to do anything with my Gift at all. And you did it without thought!"In the prison camp, everyone is starving. Everyone is emaciated. There is a limited amount of food, which barely passes as food. Everyone is skin and bones. But MARA IS SPECIAL BECAUSE SHE IS SLIM.
Mara even stands out against everyone else who is thin as fuck because they're hungry and underfed and there is not an ounce of fat on anyone anyfucking where because they're all forced to do hard labor within a inch of their sorry lives because she is somehow SLIM compared to the others who are merely THIN. It's the same motherfucking thing!!!!!! Jesus christ, WHAT THE FUCK. SERIOUSLY. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK???!!!!
That would weigh against you if not for the fact you offer me something I need even more.” Teeth flashed in a predatory smile. “Someone with the Gift. Someone young. Someone...slim.”Not only that, Mara is so fucking powerful as to rival the country's ruler FOR NO FUCKING REASON AT ALL BESIDES THE FACT THAT SHE IS SPESHUL BY GRAND DESIGN.
"You are, in short, potentially the most powerful woman in all of Aygrima."Eeeeeeeeeee'ryone wants to do Mara, the 15-year old Mara. The nasty jerks in the prison wants to rape her because she's so unscarred and lovely. But of course, she escapes unscathed. Grute the Brute (seriously, his name is Grute) wants to rape her and tries repeatedly. And Mara must make a hell of a milkshake, because in the unMasked rebel camp, the boys all come to her fucking yard
She looked from one boy to the other. Flattering and kind of exciting though she had to admit she found having two boys interested in her at once, it did get rather wearying. As to which one she preferred...
Mara is so dumb, she is living proof that evolution can go in reverse. Take one situation: you have your friends on one side, you have an army of bloodthirsty soldiers on the other. In which direction does Mara run?
...though everything in her screamed that she was being an idiot—everything except for the fierce, insistent voice that told her she had to do this, and drowned out all else—she ran...away from the gate that would take them out of the camp, away from the unMasked who had risked everything to rescue her, away from her only real hope of safety, and toward the flickering red light of the fire...
I got one suggestion for you, Mara, my little dipshit, why don't you jump off a motherfucking cliff and save me the trouble of finishing the book?
The Plot: I have often gone on rage-filled rants about something I call the overuse of a literary device known as a deus ex machina and to which I personally refer as deus ex fucking machina. So allow me a moment to clarify what a deus ex fucking machina is to the uninformed. It is the dirtiest of literary tools. From Wikipedia: deus ex machina
"...is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object. Depending on how it is done, it can be intended to move the story forward when the writer has "painted himself into a corner" and sees no other way out..."It is divine intervention. Deus ex machina is, in my opinion, a cheap-ass tool used when a lack of creativity stops the progression of a plot in a believable fucking manner unless some act of divine goddamned intervention intercepts to save it. And by save it, I mean smear some shit on it and hang it out to dry, in order to reuse, like the most thrifty cheapskate on Extreme Cheapskates: TLC. This book overuses deus ex machina to a ridiculous, absurd, obscene degree.
Let's see...Mara's face is about to get damaged! OHNOES! MASTER
Mara is about to get raped? BAM, SUDDEN INEXPLICABLE BURST OF MAGIC TO THE RESCUE. OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!!
Mara is about to get hauled off to a prison camp? WHY HELLO THERE, BAND OF REBELS THERE TO RESCUE SPECIFICALLY HER ALTHOUGH HOW THE FUCK DID THEY FIND OUT THAT SHE WAS THERE? DAMNED IF I KNOW.
Arm broken? OH THERE YOU ARE, MASTER HEALER WHO JUST HAPPENED TO ARRIVE AT THE LABOR CAMP THAT VERY DAY. AGAIN.
Watchers about to kill her? OH HI THERE, AGAIN, REBELS, HOW DID YOU GUYS FUCKING FIND HER THIS TIME?
Mara on the brink of death? HI THERE (ANOTHER) HEALER LADY WITH A POTION THAT ONLY WORKS ON MAGICAL USERS AND NOBODY ELSE AND WHICH SHE HAS NEVER TRIED BUT, WHEW, IT FUCKING WORKS ^_^
About to get crushed by a pile of rocks? UNTRAINED MAGIC TO THE RESCUE. BLAMMO! BYE BYE ROCKS!
A friend about to die? Can't have that! *sings* BRING ME (her?) TO LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIFE!!!!!!!~~~~~
Fuck this book. ...more
Notes are private!
Dec 07, 2013
Dec 09, 2013
Dec 07, 2013
Sep 17, 2013
Sep 17, 2013
did not like it
This book is plagued with so many problems, I hardly know where to begin. Ms. de la Cruz is an extremely prolific author, and a successful one, but so
This book is plagued with so many problems, I hardly know where to begin. Ms. de la Cruz is an extremely prolific author, and a successful one, but sometimes I think that there is a problem with quantity over quality.
This book was such an utter mess. The plot is barely held together by the weakest of smear from a grade-school quality glue stick. The world building is slapdash, haphazard, nonsensical, inconsistent. The characters are devoid of personality and emotion.
There are pirates, small child-size ice men "smallmen," sylphs, drau, drakon (dragons), zombies (called "thrillers," after the Michael Jackson song *facepalm*), banshee-like "wailers," "mages," "warlocks." Pretty much the only things missing in this mishmash mess of a quasi-dystopian, pseudo-sci-fi, fucked-up fantasy are vampires, werewolves, and unicorns.
Contrary to popular beliefs, I don't enjoy giving out 1-star-ratings. I absolutely hate writing reviews for books to which I give a "1," because generally, it means there are so many problems that I hardly know where to start. It's hard for me to gather my thoughts and write a coherent review with everything that I find to be lacking. It's a strain on my nerves, it's stressful, and it pisses me off to have to revisit a book that I do not enjoy. I don't give a book a 1-star unless I feel it's truly deserved, and I feel that this book is worthy of my low rating (or unworthy, if you would).
Summary: The world is covered in ice after some random events (the Great Wars, the Black Flood, the Big Freeze). Las Vegas is now one of the last cities left standing. Food is scarce, water is a delicacy. There are creatures of magic that emerged after the ice came. There are child soldiers. Adults are as rare as unicorns because they're all dead. Anyone who lives to be 30 is considered ancient.
Natasha Kestal (Nat) is a 16-year old girl, working as a blackjack dealer. Ryan Wesson (Wes) is a "runner," a mercenary, a wizened old ex-Marine Sergeant at the ripe old age of---wait for it---16. He runs a sought-after mercenary team, composed of a pair of teenaged brothers (Zedric and Daran), Shakes, a "scruffy, goateed beanpole of a soldier," and an idiot kid of 13, Farouk. The KONY of the future.
Natalie randomly acquires a jewel which supposedly contains a map (HOW?!) to the fabled Blue. "Blue" is supposed to be a land where the water is not poisoned, where the sun still shines. She enlists Wes' aid, despite having no reason to trust him, and off they go, across the icy land and uh...sea.
Inconsistent world building: Absolutely terrible. It is vague, it is inconsistent, it simply makes no sense. I don't even know where to start, because this new icy dystopian world is so poorly built. The background is unbelievably vague. There are wars, there are flooding, there's freezing. No details whatsoever. Everything comes out of fucking nowhere. Las Vegas stands, most other cities have failed. Somehow, California and New York have been washed away, yet the team is able to visit Korea Town...in formerly Los Angeles, California.
There's a horrifying lack of resources. Citizens can't even afford water. Water is a luxury. People drink a mixture called "Nutri" instead. Think of it as Ensure, for the people. It's probably better than Soylent, but not by much. In the middle of all this shortage, in the middle of a fucking frozen wasteland, somehow people still manage to find the time to fucking gamble. In the middle of a starvation crisis, people still have the emergy and power and resource to breed organic cows and Wagyu to feed the privileged few. And it is a FEW, because the vast majority of the people are so fucking poor and deprived that they have to depend on the government for the very basic of food. Which is again, barely food. Think of it as a mixture of chemicals and nutrients, the very basics of what is necessary for the human body to survive. And we have fucking 5-star restaurants catering to the few.
In the past, salt was as expensive as gold. Apparently, it once again becomes a valuable commodity in the future, because in this book, salt (sea salt: fleur de sel) is as rare as diamonds. The fact that the human body requires salt to live? Please, minor details, right? A handful of salt is almost enough to buy a fucking ship.
“This is the real treasure.” Nat placed a small velvet pouch on the table. She pulled the string and showed him what was inside: tiny crystals that sparkled in the light, bright as diamonds.I should start stockpiling salt. Or not, since I probably have enough in my pantry right now to buy all of California and probably some parts of Canada. Actually, most of Canada.
Practically everyone are children. Teenagers. With the world-weary air of ones decades older. Wes' crew, consisting of the various teenagers, have the air of either battle-worn soldiers from WWII and talk like they're in the Italian Mafia of the 1920s. They call Wes "boss."
We are extremely short of resources, yet we have the power and the fuel to have drag races in the streets of Las Vegas. And they travel across the frozen wasteland on a Hummer. Where the fuck are those gas stations, right? OH, THEY DON'T EXIST. Hmm...Hummers of the future must run on fucking air.
A few kids in a truck manage to beat down 4 heavily armored tanks.
For some fucking reason, magical creatures just emerge right the fuck out of nowhere after the ice come. Magical children with light-colored eyes are born. They have the power to make illusions, to mind control.
Zilch. Zero. No explanation whatsoever. In the middle of our adventure, random ass magical creatures appear out of nowhere to interrupt things. We get zombie attacks. We get polar bear attacks. We get wailers. We get dragons. The use of magical beings is just ludicrous. They're a plot device to make things more interesting. The magical aspects of this story never feel like they belong in the book.
Despite the fact that all the kids are somehow workers or soldiers or homeless or mercenaries, Nat has attended school. She's learned about Chernobyl. I don't know how they manage to be in school, or where they find the time, because the world is run by children.
Wes is uneducated. He can't read. But in the next paragraph, he reads the name of an author right off a book Nat is reading. And he's able to identify a label written in French for some reason.
And speaking of reading, the written English language hardly exists anymore, there is only "Textlish".
The latest RBEs, or “Reading-Based Entertainment,” were all composed in textlish, but Nat couldn’t quite get excited by a story called XLNT <3 LULZ.People actually SPEAK textlish.
The slavers’ language sounded brutal to her ear, a corruption, all consonants and no vowels. Then she realized they were actually speaking textlish, a language that was only designed to be written, not spokenAnd rest assured, you will be happy to know there is a thriving industry of pop music, even in the dystopian future when everyone is poor and hungry as fuck. Gooooooo Britney!
Inconsistent plot, inconsistent characters, inconsistent romance: I usually go into details, with very specific supporting examples, but I'm just all worn out by now. I don't have the energy for a detailed analysis of their inconsistencies. Here is a rough version. Nat is stupid as fuck. She meets Wes for the first time in a situation when they both believe the other is tricking them. Then she decides to entrust her life to a bunch of mercenaries to travel across the country to some mythical land despite not knowing them at all, despite their initially distrustful encounter.
Nat's reaction to Wes is so dumb. The second time she meets him, she didn't know "whether she wanted to slap him or kiss him." That just makes no fucking sense to me whatsoever, given the context. Natalie's powers are so completely out of nowhere, so completely random, I don't even know what to make of them. She can move objects. She can make a gust of wind blow. She can push people back. Like everything else in the book, there is just no explanation given for any power of hers.
For a hardened ex-Marine, Wes is really, really soft. His thoughts run along the line of "I shouldn't trust her. But she's so pretty. I need to get the map from her. But she's so lovely! I need to get my team fed and safe. But Nat's hair is so soft!" Literally. He cannot stop thinking about how pretty pretty pretty Nat is.
Despite the fact that the fabled "Anaximander's Map," and the land of the Blue is the driving point of the book and our characters' mission, it plays a surprisingly tiny role in the book overall. Besides a few mention of "WE WANT TO GO TO THE BLUE," the map is not explained at all, and HOW it came to be in Natalie's hands is just so completely random that I cannot believe it. Nat literally has it handed to her.
I'm just so tired of this book, and I don't want to continue writing this review. Screw this book. I wish I could have my 2 hours back. ...more
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Nov 07, 2013
Nov 12, 2013
Nov 07, 2013
Dec 17, 2013
Dec 17, 2013
did not like it
THE WORLD HAS BEEN DECIMATED BY A VIRUS. PEOPLE ARE TURNED INTO CANNIBALS. Survival? Fuck that shit. Let's make a new society based on King Arthur's C THE WORLD HAS BEEN DECIMATED BY A VIRUS. PEOPLE ARE TURNED INTO CANNIBALS. Survival? Fuck that shit. Let's make a new society based on King Arthur's Camelot, build ourselves a fucking castle, establish the Knights of the Round Table, and have rousing jousting tournaments!!!!!
I've heard of some comparisons between this book and The Selection. No. It is nothing like it. There was a process in The Selection. There was competition in The Selection. There is nothing competition-like involved in this book because of the immediate selection of Zara to be Prince Sebastian's pretty pretty, yet perfectly pouty and pitiable princess besides the intrinsic fact that Zara is so fucking Super Speshul that she holds a special Key within her ass. The Prince (among others) falls in love with her and selects her to be his chosen bride within the first fucking 10 pages of the book.
I'm just really fucking sick of a dystopian setting that makes no bloody sense. Mother of god, give humanity some fucking credit. I've said it often, and it shall be restated for posterity: humans are not stupid, so why does every other faux-dystopian novels press the futuristic mass of humanity into the same sort of backward-evolution dumb cookie cutter mold? These sort of books make humans to be mindless morons, capable only of groupthink, who are only to willing to accept an idiot of a leader and a pointless new society for no fucking reason at all? Give humanity some fucking credit, people!
I don't understand this book. It doesn't know what it wants to be. This book has an identity crisis bigger than that of Miley Cyrus. It's a fantasy that aspires to be a dystopia, and the result just doesn't make any sense. This book is even worse than most YA dystopians I've read, because those other books at least try to a somewhat reasonable society after the downfall of man, due to whatever reasons. This book just wanted a fantasy premise at heart, and it built the background around what it yearns to be instead of building a premise from the ground up. That is where it completely and utterly fails. It doesn't work that way! You can't build a castle...or rather, Camelot, in this instance, out of thin air.
Feeblewitted fool of a special snowflake + dystopian society that makes no fucking sense + plot that makes no fucking sense + love triangle involving a douche and an even bigger dipshit whose idea of training a girl to fight is to beat the crap out of her until she learns
Summary: It's the future, but it feels like Star Wars in a medieval setting. Camelot, to be exact. Some years ago, a Virus decimated the Earth, and there were like, wars, and stuff, you know? *flips hair* Bad stuff happens, like, soooooooo totally bad. Something called The Final War? Like, totally, yeah. That's what it is. But we're in the future now! And it's utopia! What's an utopia? Is that, like, a dirty word or something? It all started in 2016, too, not too long ago, but that's like, totally ancient history, right, guyse?!!
The future is Camelot, y'all!
Zara is the perfect daughter of a farmer, or rather, an animal cloner. Because for some reason, we can't just breed animals, we need to fucking clone them. Way to overcomplicate things, future. Her father has the dreaded Virus, and so he's pretty much destined to die. Being the loyal daughter that she is, Zara hides his illness, but he gets taken away anyway, and it's somehow all the Prince's fault, that her father is going to die!...of a Virus. Yep. All cause of Prince Sebastian. He must pay for this! Because, um...it's totally Prince Sebastian's fault that her father is dying of a disease known to be fatal? Oh, wait, no. It's his fault that her father, who's dying of the Virus anyway, is going to be taken away...to die and then be cremated. Totally makes sense, yeah. Completely Sebastian's fault. That asshole.
But hark! Today is the day of the selection! The kingdom's golden prince, the 19-year old Prince Sebastian is going to choose his bride, the woman he will elevate above all others! The woman who will rule the kingdom by his side, the woman who will be loved and pampered and spoiled for the rest of her life! Among all the other girls in the kingdom, he selects Zara to be his wife. Because he saw her once and became entranced by her qualities. Not sure what they are, but Zara has quaaaaaaalities, man!
I saw you on a monitor for the first time months ago. When I was being taught about Karm, and how I must know all that is going on in my kingdom, I saw you.”Prince Sebastian is perfect, golden, handsome, skilled in jousting, every slut in
Naturally, Zara wants none of that shit. Because Prince Sebastian as good as killed her father. Because her father was killed because of the Virus.
She hates Sebastian on sight, and keeps on hating him, and then hates him some more, just for posterity's sake, despite Sebastian's claims of love for her. Instead, Zara is attracted to the loyal, darkly handsome Sir Devlan, who becomes her personal bodyguard, who, naturally, falls for her at first sight, too.
“I chose you the first moment I saw you.”What's the real mystery of Karm? Will Zara ever learn to ride a horse? Will she enjoy watching the jousting tournaments? Will Zara ever grow to wear those darned white dresses gracefully? Why else is Zara so speshul?
"I’ve done nothing—am no one.”Will Zara ever grow to be the perfect assassin? How will she ever go through her assassin training while her eyes are gazing soulfully at Sir Devlan? ;_;
What the fuck, man?! Whoever thought it was a good fucking idea to follow some dumbass of a leader in the future when he wants to build a society based off of fucking Camelot?
Camelot.SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCK? In the future---and it's not even a fucking distant future. Something happened around 2016, and there are still people alive who remembered life before Karm, so it's not that far in the future at all, maybe 20, 30 years? In that time, the world has been decimated, people are struggling to survive. Mankind has been wiped out by a mysterious Virus. There are fucking mutants and cannibals running rampant outside the electrical Barrier of the Outside of the kingdom of Karm...and instead of focusing on survival, growing food, etc, we spent our fucking time and energy modeling a society from fucking King Arthur's Camelot, complete with a fucking fairy tale of a castle?
Deep blue and silver tapestries drape the walls. Large pillars reach toward the steepled ceiling, and dark veins in the stone walls separate the swirls of gold, silver, and amber. Castle Karm is something constructed right out of one of the antique books my father used to sneak to me.Are you fucking serious?Are you telling me that instead of putting our technology to good use, we spent that time constructing a CASTLE for a fucking KING?! In what was very recently AMERICA, NO LESS?
Let me tell you something about us 'Muricans. We are not exactly open to the idea of monarchy. We don't fucking like authority figures. We hate fucking politicians. We distrust figures of states. We particularly hate the monarchy, becauuse um, well, there was something called the Revolutionary War a little while back. Yeah. A kingdom based on Camelot, with a KING? Not fucking likely.
Women wear pretty pretty dresses. We have jousting tournaments, where it's not really a big fucking deal when an able-bodied man gets killed, because well, people are disposable, apparently, even when A VIRUS HAS DECIMATED THE HUMAN RACE. We have fucking Taser-like V-Batons. We have Eyes (which are security cameras). We have a rebel group who call their headquarter Mordred and have a compound called Morgana...
We have a Round Table. We have The Force. We have Knights, Ladies, Sirs. We have sidesaddles for when women ride horses. Because it's SO FUCKING IMPORTANT WHEN A VIRUS HAS DECIMATED THE WORLD TO RIDE LIKE A PROPER LADY OUGHT!
We have farms that clone animal, because it's just too fucking complicated to have animals fuck each other like, well, animals! Surely breeding is too difficult. Look at the pandas! Won't someone think of the pandas!1!!1
And not even 50 years into the future. Jesus fucking Christ, kill me now.
The Plot: Doesn't make any fucking sense. The crucial plot, the reasoning behind the rebellion is essentially "LET'S DESTROY THE ELECTRICAL BARRIER THAT'S KEEPING US FROM BEING EATEN BY THE MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF CANNIBALS AND ZOMBIES AND MUTANT CREATURES SO WE CAN HAZ FREEDOM!"
No. No. NO. To everything in this book. If you want an interesting love triangle between a destined girl queen, her king, and their guard, read The Fire and Thorns series. If you want a better assassin, for fuck's sakes, even Celaena is more interesting than Zara. (I'm looking at you, Cory). Stay away from this book at all cost, if you value your sanity. ...more
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Dec 17, 2013
Dec 18, 2013
Oct 25, 2013
May 06, 2014
May 06, 2014
it was ok
Actual rating: 2.5
“You don’t look like an outlaw,” Serafina said.This is Actual rating: 2.5
“You don’t look like an outlaw,” Serafina said.This is not a bad book, but the pros in this book are outweighed by the fact that it is an overwhelmingly childish infodump.
There is no cursing in this underwater fantasy, a rave (drug-filled party to us landlubbers) is a all-night wave. An ass is a wrasse. There are no bad-asses, but there are bad-wrasses and jackwrasses.
Money is called currensea. Jerks are gobies and guppies. Transparency spells are spelled transparensea. A girlfriend is a merlfriend. A crazy mermaid lady keeps catfish as pets. A family tree is a family coral. Caramel is caramalgae, and other candies are "chillawondas, bing-bangs, janteeshaptas, and zee-zees." Manta Rays speak in RaySay. Anchovies speak Pesca. Dolphin speak Dolpheen.
I love bad puns. I love word play. But there's only so much I can take before this book starts to descend into absurdity, which is a damned shame because it's a good book otherwise.
This book is categorized as "Young Adult" and "New Adult" and I have no idea why. It reads like a Middle Grade story, and it wouldn't be out of place next to a 7-year old's A Little Mermaid picture book. The Disney version, not the Grimm's. Hint: Don't read your child the Hans Christian Andersen version unless you want to pay for therapy out of their college fund.
So, in continuing with today's theme of terrible puns, I have this to say about the book: It's not a bad book about mermaids, but it doesn't have sole. The characters are shallow, the plot doesn't hold water, and overall, I'd have to give it a sea. There's a surprising level of depth, as well as a good feminist message, but if you want a book that your older teen will love, don't hold your breath.
Sorry for all the bad puns. I didn't do them on porpoise. I'm just angling to get a rise out of you.
- VERY light on romance
- A creative and enchanting underwater fantasy (fantasea?) world
- Strong female characters and friendships
- Diverse characters (we have Indian, Chinese, Italian, Middle-Eastern mermaids, prominently featured)
- A matriarchal kingdom
- HUGE infodump: the first 25% of the book is a major infodump with almost no plot, that had my head spinning
- Little character development, the characters are strong and feminist, but they lack a level of depth that made them believable
- The childishness: the puns, the wordplay, the very, very cute fantasy world that's even prettier than the Disney version. It just undermines the seriousness of the book
The summary: Principessa Serafina of the Miromara lives an enchanted life under the sea.
She sat up in her bed—an enormous ivory scallop shell—and stretched. One half of the shell, thickly lined with plump pink anemones, was where she slept. The other half, a canopy, was suspended on the points of four tall turritella shells. The canopy’s edges were intricately carved and inlaid with sea glass and amber. Lush curtains of japweed hung down from it. Tiny orange gobies and blue-striped dragonets darted in and out of them.But all is not as glorious as it seems. Today is the day of her Dokimi, where she will have to perform in front of her entire kingdom. It's a huge deal, and Sera is understandably freaked out about it.
“Right, Mom. Only a Dokimí,” said Serafina, her fins flaring. “Only the ceremony in which Alítheia declares me of the blood—or kills me. Only the one where I have to songcast as well as a canta magus does. Only the one where I take my betrothal vows and swear to give the realm a daughter someday. It’s nothing to get worked up about. Nothing at all.”To top it off, her childhood friend and betrothed has since become an asshole in the past two years. He used to be a wonderful young man with whom she looked forward to marrying. They shared an understanding, and perhaps even love.
She could still hear the last words he’d spoken to her, right before he’d returned to Matali.But on the day of her Dokimi, Mahdi seems to be a different person. He's now a playboy, a rebel, someone she dreads marrying. But Sera has more to worry about than romance because there's something bigger going on within her kingdom.
Sera could only imagine what her mother would have said if she’d barged into her chamber complaining that Mahdi had hurt her feelings.War. Yep. War is coming. Their kingdom has always had enemies, from the Praedatori to the Terragoggs (humans), but now it is more than a mere threat. It all started with her mother's assassination.
She would remember that moment for a long time, that golden, shining, moment.The moment before everything changed.The night of the Dokimi was supposed to be the beginning of her future, instead, it signals the end. Her kindgom is in shatters. Her people have been hurt. Serafina isn't ready to become queen, but it seems like she doesn't have much of a choice. Together with her mermaid friends, Ling and Neela, Serafina will have to use her magic to solve the mystery of the Ielé witches.
“As you know, the Ondalinians broke the permutavi three months ago,” Isabella said. “Your uncle thinks Admiral Kolfinn did it because he wished to derail your betrothal to the Matalin crown prince and offer his daughter, Astrid, to the Matalis instead. An alliance with Matali is every bit as valuable to them as it is to us.”Wow. Can I get a pillow so I can take a nap, please? Maybe a sea cucumber? They're squishy. This book has a Glossary, and thank god for it. The first 25% of the book, the first chapter, specifically, is a huge infodump. This world is a fantasy taking place in our world, only underwater. Serafina lives, specifically, around Venice, Italy.
The info-dumping made my head spin. In the first chapter, we learn about the Terragoggs, the Janicari, the history of the Miromara. The people, her brother, her dad, her cousin, her friends, her uncle, her lady's maid, her instructor, the girls at court, her betrothed, her best friend's brother, her instructor. We learn about the tensions going on between the mer-nations. We learn about the government. We learn about the Dokimi and the history of the merpeople. We learn about the magic and the magic spells and how the Dokimi ceremony works. ALL THAT WITHIN 25% OF THE BOOK. I felt like I was reading a really, really pretty textbook. It's just too much. It's just too much details, at some points. Like I really need to learn about why her uncle used to love her rival Lucia's mother but wasn't allowed to marry her.
Angry, Vallerio had left Cerulea and spent several years in Tsarno, a fortress town in western Miromara. Portia married someone else—Sejanus Adaro, Lucia’s father. Some said she only married him because he looked like Vallerio with his handsome face, silver scales, and black hair. Sejanus died only a year after Lucia’s birth. Vallerio never married, choosing to devote himself to the welfare of the realm instead.It's a beautiful, enchanted world, though. It is so very Disney-like, and it's no wonder...since they're the publisher of this book. Even Serafina's room is a dream come true for any little girl.
The golden rays warmed fronds of seaweed anchored to the floor. They shimmered in the glass of a tall gilt mirror and glinted off the polished coral walls. A small green octopus that had been curled up at the foot of the bed—Serafina’s pet, Sylvestre—darted away, disturbed by the light.The Characters: Surprisingly feminist, for a book that's so fluffy in nature. I really like the main character's personality. She's strong, she's willful, but she's also vulnerable. She fights with her mom over being too Queen-like instead of mom-like, but Serafina knows that she is a princess, and she has to behave like one. Serafina never whines.That’s what her mother would do, and that’s what she would do, too.
I always disappoint her, Serafina thought, but tonight I won’t. Tonight, I’ll make her proud.Serafina has her moments of weakness, when she just wants to give up...
“I can’t do it!” she shouted angrily, slapping the water with her tail. She turned to Thalassa, her composure entirely gone. “Tell my mother the Dokimí’s off. Tell her I’m not good enough! Not good enough for her! Not good enough to cast this rotten songspell! And not good enough for the crown prince!”But she realizes her errors quickly, and throughout the book, Serafina maintains her maturity. My problem with her character, and that of her friends, is that despite the fact that they are strong feminist characters...there's something lacking in their character development. I like them, but they never feel real to me.
I love the fact that there are diverse mermaids in this book. There are other underwater kingdoms in this book, including the Japanese, the Antarctic, the Chinese, the Afro-Indian, the Nordic. We have her best friend, a sari-wearing Indian princess, and her new companion, a Chinese linguist mermaid. It's pretty awesome.
The Romance: Almost nonexistent, but for a very small section in the beginning. This was a surprise! Serafina is betrothed to an (Indian!) prince! She feels jealousy, she feels hurt, but she never allows her feelings for him to overwhelm her when he turns out to be someone different. Best of all, the romance is almost gone for the rest of the book. There is more female friendship than romance in this book.
The Plot: Another weak point. It has an unnatural flow. This feels like an info-dump and nothing else. The plot goes in all sorts of direction that just didn't really make sense to me. It's book 1 in a series, and I really hope the second book will be better, because there really wasn't much substance to this initial book. ...more
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May 07, 2014
May 09, 2014
Oct 16, 2013
Oct 08, 2013
Oct 08, 2013
it was ok
I appreciate the use of imagery, but the key to using it as a literary device is subtlety. In this book, imagery doesn't gently tap you on the shoulde
I appreciate the use of imagery, but the key to using it as a literary device is subtlety. In this book, imagery doesn't gently tap you on the shoulders from behind, it doesn't touch you with a gentle lover's caress. The imagery within this book comes running at you in a Pennywise mask wielding a chainsaw while screaming bloody murder. The writing is overwrought, leaning heavily towards purple prose. It tries too hard to be "gothic." It has all the subtlety of a purple plaid-patterned penguin.
You could play a drinking game while reading this book. Take two imagery. Bells. Birds. You could take a sip---not a shot, mind you, just a sip---of a low alcohol-by-volume wine with every instance of those imageries and still end up dead by alcohol poisoning before you reach the 50% mark of this book.
There is an emphasis on collective nouns in this book, because it's one of the things a girl entering Blythewood must know. You have to know terms like a teal of magpies. A murder of crows. An exaltation of larks. A cete of badgers. I would like to take this opportunity to create my own collective noun to describe the writing in this book: a fuckload of frivolity.
(Yes, I deliberately used some terribly imagery and alliteration myself in describing the terribleness of this book. It's fine, I'm not an author, and the readers of this review are only subject to my atrocious writing for the length of an overly verbose review, not for all 400-something freaking pages of a book.)
This is one of those times when I reflect back to 11th grade AP English Literature and mentally shake my fist at my old teacher. Thanks to that damned class, I can pick out and analyze every single terrible use of metaphor, imagery, symbolism in this book. This book wasn't terrible, but it was generic. The characters are recycled, the romance is chock full of tropes (and comes complete with insta-love and a love triangle), the atmosphere and paranormal premise is interesting, but it doesn't make up for the fact that I cannot get over the writing. This is, of course, my opinion. I understand perfectly if some people reading this book find the writing beautiful, evocative. Not me. Again, I blame the many analytical essays I had to write in high school for my aggravating reading experience.
Summary: Avaline Hall is a seamstress at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911 New York. That is a bad thing, and a real thing that actually happened. I won't go into the details because it is largely irrelevant to the story, but in short, nearly 150 people died, and Avaline was almost one of them, but she was one of the lucky ones who were rescued. It is a tragedy, yes, but in the middle of a fire, I would be screaming my ass off and running around like a chicken with its neck cut off (and probably die a horrible, fiery death), but I sure as fucking hell would not be having thoughts along these lines, looking at girls who are jumping out of a building to their deaths because there is literally no other way of escape.
“I thought the same thing,” I said softly, my voice quavering, “when I saw the girls jumping...that they were like butterflies trapped between panes of glass.”Get your head on straight.
Avaline's backstory is kind of a mess. Within the first 5% of the book, we learn a multitude of things about Avaline that makes her just about the most unrealistic heroine ever, even for an YA PNR. We learn that she's the daughter of a woman who was formerly wealthy but who ran away from home and works as a hat trimmer instead.
Contrary to popular beliefs, the most dangerous occupation isn't that of a bomb squad technician, a soldier, a police officer, a firemen. Nope. The most dangerous occupation in the world is being the mother (or a close blood relative) of an YA heroine. Her mother commits suicide due to laudanum poisoning, and Avaline is forced to work for her own support. She ends up at the Factory as a curiously incompetent seamstress, despite her skills at making hats. She keeps hearing weird bells inside her head that warns her of imminent danger. She keeps seeing the same strange man in an Inverness cape everywhere. She falls into insta-love with some idiot boy (who is *GASP* not who he seems!!1!1!) shortly before the fire occurs.
My whole body shuddered like a bell that had been struck. My hand, which looked small in his, was trembling. For a moment the din of the factory—the whirr of the sewing machines, the shouts of the foreman to hurry up, the street noise from the open windows—all receded. I felt as though the two of us were standing alone in a green glade starred with wildflowers, the only sound the wind soughing through the encircling forest...After being involved in the fire, Ava rants and raves like a lunatic because a weird boy with wings rescued her, and surprise, surprise, is actually committed to a mental hospital for 5 months. She is then rescued by her grandmother, and sent on an interview to Blythewood. Blythewood is the very prestigious girl's finishing school that her mother attended before her disgrace. Ava has harbored hopes of attending it, due to her mother's stories, and true to the tradition of cutting off your nose to spite your face, Ava acts like an absolute contrary bitch when she actually gets the chance to attend the school of her dreams. Wah wah wah. Boo fucking hoo. No, I don't want to attend a private school where my mother and I have always wanted me to attend. No, I don't want the protection of my wealthy grandmother. I just want to be a seamstress again so I can toil away my life without prospects. Shut the fuck up and enjoy your good fortune.
Blythewood is...weird. Really, really weird. The interview itself was freaky enough, the people are strange, and curiously, nobody questions anything until they're confronted with the truth of the place. There is one eligible boy in residence. One. Boy. In an all-girls' school. Nathan is the bad boy. Enter the love triangle. Nathan is an asshat, a spoiled, carefree boy who scrapes along in life due to his money, good looks, and influential family.
Naturally, in a school full of accomplished girls, beautiful girls, wealthy girls, Nathan would totally go for the one girl who's so *sigh* special. Yep. Avaline.
The romance is dumb. The love interests are clichéd. The mysterious, ethereal boy is as generic as they come. He's apparently ebony and ivory. A marbled, chiseled Adonis...
...he possessed the finely carved features of a Greek statue, his skin pale as marble, his eyes the weathered gray of worn granite. And a heart as hard as stone...with wings so black you'd have to actually look close to see that his wings are actually all the colors of the fucking rainbow.
Those wings weren’t entirely black—they held the iridescent colors of the sunset in them.WHAT THE FUCK? He's dangerous. The boy's name is Raven. He is a Darkling, but don't be fooled, this ain't Shadow and Bone's Darkling. There is no complexity here, and there is no questionable line of good versus evil. There's just a line between dullness and boredom. This book's Darkling doesn't hold a candle to the original.
The characters are generic as all gets out. I don't have anything to say about Ava because she puts me to sleep more effectively than an overdose of Lunesta. The other characters in the book are cookie cutter. The silly, frivolous, but kind-hearted rich girl, Helen. The eager-to-please, naive, bumbling small-town girl, Daisy (from Kansas City, Kansas). Sarah, the intelligent, competent, poor scholarship girl who hates the status quo and is eager to prove herself. The bitchy "mean girls," clique of George, Fred, and Wallie (all girls, who are nicknamed after their enormously wealthy fathers). The fat, incompetent, bitchtastic Etiquette mistress. The ice-cold, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth headmistress.
The names are Dickensian, in that the characters' name are a reflection of their work, of their character. Cute, but if I wanted Dickens, I'D READ DICKENS. Matilda Swift, the bow mistress. Euphorbia Frost, the bitchy etiquette instructor. The kind, motherly cluck of a secretary, Miss Moorhen. Martin Peale, the Bell Master. Mrs. Calendar, the Latin teacher. Vionetta Sharp, with her violet eyes and violet-growing spinster aunts. Enough is enough.
As I said. The characters are generic, through and through. The plot is decent, the use of the bells is unique, and the mystery---well, let's just say at least there are no vampires or werewolves. You can throw just about every single otherworldly creature into the mix, though. This was a really, really long book, and it got pretty boring before the pacing picked up.
The worst part about this book was the writing. I just could not overlook all the terrible use of imagery, strange and stupid metaphors, and tendency towards purple prose. Allow me to present some examples.
"It was like striking a match to kindling. What had seemed cold was now warm—or perhaps the warmth had been kindled in me at the thought that he’d lit up at the sight of me."
"It spread like cracks in an old China teacup when you pour hot water into it, only these cracks were made of fire and burned away flesh, changing him before my eyes from the beautiful boy of my dreams into a horrid monster."
"So that’s where he goes, I thought...he has a forest inside him."
A blond head is a "golden waterfall, an "angel's halo".
And the bells. THE BIRDS. SO MUCH BIRD IMAGERY. I feel like I'm in a Hitchcock film.
Here are a couple of examples. Or 10.
"The names fluttered through the air like brightly colored birds."
"You look as comfortable as an eaglet in its cliff-side aerie.”
"She said something and Miss Sharp tossed her head back and laughed, the sound like the nightingale’s song."
"In the firelight her pale gray eyes shone yellow, like the eyes of an owl sweeping the forest floor for prey."
"...she moved around the room like a trapped bird in a cage."
"He had taken himself off to a window seat overlooking the river and made a nest of books like a peregrine on a cliff."
"I’ve seen you hunched over them like a hawk mantling its prey.”
"I noticed how small my hands looked in his, like doves cupped in a nest. They fluttered like doves, too..."
"Cam, her hair sticking up in spikes, looked like a newly hatched chick eager for her first flight."
"...setting Miss Corey fluttering over the books like a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wing."
"He lifted his head away from Miss Frost’s ear and swiveled his neck like Blodeuwedd when she heard a mouse squeak—only his eyes were colder than any owl’s."
“And pale,” Miss Fisk added, tilting her head at me like a robin listening for worms in the ground.
"Gillie scowled, his dark eyebrows swooping together like two hawks fighting over a morsel."
...you get the point.
I believe you would be better off reading Libba Bray. It may be clichéd, but at least the writing doesn't stand out for the worse. ...more
Notes are private!
Oct 29, 2013
Oct 30, 2013
Oct 13, 2013
Oct 29, 2013
Oct 29, 2013
it was ok
This book almost became one of those rarest of rare objects: it could have been a really good book about sea creatures. It came so frustratingly, hear
This book almost became one of those rarest of rare objects: it could have been a really good book about sea creatures. It came so frustratingly, heartbreakingly close. I love mermaids. I love sirens. I am always on the lookout for a really good book based on those creatures. To this day, I have yet to come across any such novels, and this book came so close to being one I enjoyed. It had a lot of the elements I search for in a novel: an enjoyably flawed heroine, a compelling plot line, a new spin on a classic mythology. So what ruined it? The romance. Always the fucking romance. My awesome heroine had to fall in love with an idiot boy with a constant smart-ass smirk on his face.
The foolish romance utterly obliterated this book for me. The insta-love and the needless love triangle knocked it from a 4 star book to a 2 star book. In a good book, the romance should play a role the plot, but it turned this book from an potentially intriguing YA political fantasy/thriller into a typical teenaged romantic melodrama and all the jealousy and mind games that entails.
I liked Nerissa so much, she's not perfect, but she's enjoyably so. She may be the heir to a kingdom, but she's in danger, and like a scared teenager, her first instinct is to run away. I do not judge her for it. I like her for it. She admits her flaws, and I admire her for it. But here's what turned her into Ariel for me. You remember Ariel, right? The cool Disney mermaid princess who's got the sweetest fucking life in the world as a pampered princess frolicking around under the sea chilling with the fishes, and then chooses to give it all up (not to mention the voice, and the tail, and possibly her life) for the sake of a human guy? Yeah, Nerissa went from a potentially kick-ass heroine into that kind of stupid. Into Ariel stupid.
From the book's blurb:
Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do.Aaaaaaaaaaand...what does she do? *cues "Kiss the Girl"* You guessed it.
The Summary: Nerissa is an Aquarathi Queen, but an exiled one. Her father has died from a tragic accident some years ago---some say murdered. A rival queen, Ehmora, from the Ruby Court has usurped Nerissa's throne. Before her father died, he warned her of danger, and since then, Nerissa has been living in San Diego in disguise as a normal high school student. Nerissa is completely focused on her studies, she is a brilliant student, she is an amazing athlete; she is, in fact, completely focused on being the perfect student until a human boy (Lo, short for Lotharius Seavon. SEAvon, get it?) catches her eyes.
At the same time, there is imminent danger to her life from the usurper queen, and there are traitors and spies in their midst. Will Nerissa be able to stop gazing lovingly into Lo's amazing bottomless-blue eyes for long enough to avoid the danger to herself and to the entire race of the Aquarathi?
The Mythology: The Aquarathi are a new twist on the age-old mermaid myth. I really like the interesting spin the author puts on the mythology of these creatures. You might think they're mermaids, and you would be wrong. They are a whole new type of sea-dwelling creatures, but they are not what you would typically expect. I made a joke earlier about Nerissa and Ariel. Nerissa is not Ariel. In her real form, she is a sea serpent the size of a small whale.
I’m what most humans would call a sea monster. I’m the sea serpent that historians have written about for years, the fiend that has capsized whole ships and devoured sailors by the mouthful.Nerissa does not have pretty pretty perfect hair and adorable little cute fishy tails. In her true form, Nerissa is not remotely anything resembling human, she is truly a sea monster, and it is wicked awesome. I loved the myth of the Aquarathi. I enjoyed the tale of how they came to this planet, how they adapted, and their history as they evolved. I like the fact that they are not lovely, wondrous sea creatures, I like the fact that they are different, and I so wish the book would have dwelt more on that instead of the utterly insipid romance between Nerissa and Lo.
The Plot: The plot is interesting enough, but it is pretty predictable. There are some twists that were completely unexpected, but there were so many hints given regarding who the traitors would be that I saw that coming from a mile away. The mystery had a lot of potential to be really twisted, the evil queen is capable of doing some horrifying acts...
The scales are a pale bluish-purple color, oozing iridescent fluid along their edges. I recognize them [...] immediately. But it isn’t just her scales in the box, it’s her crown...the same elegant ridge of spikes and fins on her forehead that mark mine—the mark of an Aquarathi queen.The plot had a lot of promise...but again, it was overshadowed by the idiocy of the romance between Nerissa and Lo.
Nerissa: It makes me a little upset to write about Nerissa because I liked her so much. Here's my problem with YA fiction: strong, independent, perfectly flawed heroines are rare enough, but when they appear, inevitably, they fall for someone who is completely unworthy of them. This book falls prey to that same failure. Nerissa is really cool. She is an amazing student, and her athletic skills are second to none because of her heritage as an Aquarathi. She is a hockey player (!), she is an awesome swimmer, but she chooses not to participate in water sports because it would be cheating, given who she is. Nerissa is not perfect by any means, and I liked her all the more for it. She is scared, she is running away from her destiny. Nerissa sticks her head into the sand until her best friend confronts her with the truth.
“But we’ve stayed here and done nothing while so many died, and all you want to do is forget about who you are, to become like these insipid humans. You’re stupid and blind. And selfish.”Nerissa is a wimp, but she admits her faults, and she wants to be better---she wants to be the sort of Queen her people deserves. Nerissa understands her failings. She knows she has been a spoiled princess, she understands her people's lack of trust in her and her ability to assume the throne.
Looking back, I was far more trouble than I was worth. Our people faulted him for being so indulgent and not taking a firmer hand with me, saying that if he couldn’t control his own child, how could he control his people? Put it this way—when I left, no one missed me. After all, as the humans say, no one mourns the wicked.Nerissa is a complex, imperfect heroine that I could relate to. Until she falls in love with Stupid.
Lotharius Seavon is an asshole. He is the kind of smug, self-assured son of a bitch any thinking girl would avoid at all cost when they see him across the hall. He's handsome, of course. He's got eyes like the bottomless sea. It's blue, but it's not just blue. It's blue. Bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuue.
...the oddest-colored eyes I’ve ever seen—a bottomless blue, as if he’d leached the color straight from the depths of the ocean.And Lotharius's hair. It's...I don't even know what color it is. Every color but blue, it seems.
...the fading sunlight makes his wet hair look like burnished metal. His hair is such an odd color. It’s not reddish-blond like mine, but it’s not gold or silver, either. It’s more of a mix of the two. The only thing I can think of to describe it is wet sand.Lo is wealthy. His parents are dead. What did I say before? It's so fucking dangerous to be a parent in YA literature because the chances that you would die is roughly 90%. He's a teenaged deliquent. Lo ditches class to surf. He makes fun of the principal's accent. He calls the poor man "Borat" because of his misfortune of having an Eastern European accent. He gets Nerissa's phone number from nowhere. He practically stalks Nerissa.
Even Nerissa can recognize an asshole and a loser when she sees one.
She clearly sees his potential for douchery, given his stupid teenage dirtbag antics.
“Jenna, you can’t even imagine how bad,” I seethe. “He honestly thinks he is God’s gift or something. I mean, I swear he has rocks for brains. First of all, who would cut their first day to go surfing and show up not in uniform and make fun of Cano almost to his face? An idiot, that’s who.”OK. SO WHY THE FUCK DID YOU FALL FOR HIM? Jesus Christ, Nerissa SEES Lo's faults, and throughout the book, there is little about Lo that redeems him in my eyes. And so it is with the utmost frustration that I watch my wonderful heroine fall for someone not worthy to lick the bottom of her aquarium clean.
It is their romance that kills the story. It is Nerissa's foolish decision to turn to him for help when she has a host of competent people to help her in the forms of her guardian. She is, after all, still a queen, despite one in exile. I just could not tolerate Nerissa and the multitude of her fallacious love for Lo and her concentration of love games when there is so much more at stake.
It’s not Ehmora that will be the death of me.NO. NO. NO. AN EVIL CRAZY SCALPING BLOODTHIRSTY QUEEN IS OUT TO GET YOU. FOCUS ON HER. NOT ON THE BOY.
Get your head on straight, girl.
So much potential, wasted by a foolish romance. I am so disappointed by this book's potential and eventual letdown of my expectations. ...more
Notes are private!
Nov 04, 2013
Oct 06, 2013
Apr 01, 2014
Apr 01, 2014
really liked it
Welcome to Oz. Take a look at the Yellow Brick Road. Like it? Good. Now run away, run faaaaaaaaaaar away. Pray for a tornado to take you back to Kansa Welcome to Oz. Take a look at the Yellow Brick Road. Like it? Good. Now run away, run faaaaaaaaaaar away. Pray for a tornado to take you back to Kansas, because man, Oz is fucked up as shit.
“Oz has changed,” Gert said. “The trees don’t talk. The Pond of Truth tells lies, the Wandering Water stays put. The Land of Naught is on fire. People are starting to get old. People are forgetting how it used to be.”But let's get back to the beginning, what the fuck happened?! How did Oz get to...this?
Tornado or no tornado, I wasn’t Dorothy, and a stupid little storm wasn’t going to change anything for me.Amy Gumm is white trash. She lives in a trailer in Kansas, with a drug-addict mom, no dad, and no future. She's stuck with her mom's pet rat named Star that, with her luck, might turn out to be Peter Pettigrew in the long run (I'm just kidding). Life fucking sucks. So when a tornado warning is announced, Amy doesn't really care. What's the worst it could do? Kill her? Life sucks, remember, so who cares about dying? Until well, shit, the tornado actually happens. Hint: it really sucks to be airborne in a metal trailer.
My stomach dropped and kept dropping. I felt my body getting heavier, my back plastered to the cushions now, and suddenly—with a mix of horror and wonder—I knew that I was airborne.She lands, thankfully intact, but it soon became very clear that she's not in Kansas anymore.
“Welcome to Oz,” the boy said, nodding, like he expected I’d figured that out already. It came out sounding almost apologetic, like, Hate to break the bad news.And yes, Oz is bad news. Cause this ain't your grandmother's Oz. That cute little film with the pretty pretty verdant land of Oz? Nope. This Oz is more post-apocalyptic than fairy-tale.
A vast field of decaying grass stretched into the distance. It was gray and patchy and sickly, with the faintest tinge of blue. On the far side of the pit was a dark, sinister-looking forest, black and deep. The air, the clouds, even the sun, which was shining bright, all had a faded, washed-out quality to them. There was something dead about all of it.After some mysterious parting words, the boy disappears, leaving poor Amy wondering what the actual fuck just happened? So she's alone in a strange land, cute boys appear and disappear out of nowhere. There's a yellow brick road. Should Amy make like Dorothy and follow Der Yellow Brick Road? *angelic choir sings AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH~*
I knew the answer already: what I was going to do next was the same thing I’d been doing my whole life.Fuck, no!! This girl's got some common sense. She doesn't want to go wandering into a nuclear wasteland-Oz. Amy runs away! Bah, unfortunately, there's really nowhere else to go. I mean, think about it, you can either follow the ONE BRIGHT THING in this dilapidated world, or you can go wandering off to fuck-knows-where in the dark scary totally creepy mysterious forest with man-eating corn stalks.
Before I could even touch it, a black vine sprung up from the ground and curled around my arm like a whip, squeezing tight. It burned.*snorts* And I thought High Fructose Corn Syrup was bad.
Amy follows the road. Reluctantly. Shit's looking reeeeeeeal familiar. There's Glinda, the Good Witch, only she looks like a Stepford Wife with a plastic grin. And apparently plastic grins are a thing in Oz, as a very angry Munchkin sees fit to tell Amy.
Other than the twitching, [her lips] didn’t move. At all. Even when she talked.Ok, so there really ARE munchkiins! Hooray! Except they're really sad munchkins, and to be fair, you would be too if your fellow Munchkins were being imprisoned and made to work their ass off to generate magic all damn day. And the monkeys, the flying monkeys. Fuck, they're now imprisoned, and some of them have had to take drastic actions.
“Don’t mind those,” he explained, seeing the look of confusion on my face. “That’s just where my wings used to be. Before I cut them off.”So yeah, clearly Oz sucks now. So what happened?!
“They talk about Oz where I’m from. I’ve heard about it my whole life. But this is messed up. What happened here?”Oh, Dorothy. The lovely Dorothy. The crazy as shit Dorothy. You know that saying about power going to people's head? Yeah. That's what happened. Dorothy got more cray-cray over the years, and now she's imprisoning people, making poor munchkins work, enslaving flying monkeys, forcing everyone to wear Perma-Smiles like :DDDDDDDDDDD!!1!!1 every fucking day. And it's up to Amy to save them all.
Wait, what?! What the actual FUCK?! No! Amy just got here! She doesn't want this shit! She hasn't even graduated from high schoool. What the fuck is this about saving Oz?!
"That’s why you’re here. We need you to stop her.”That's right! You tell them, Amy. I'd run away too. Screw this destiny shit. But there's a sect of people, the Order of the Wicked whose plans are to restore Oz to its former glory. Dorothy has stolen Oz's magic, and they want Amy's help to restore it. So what do they want Amy to do?
“Simple. You’re going to kill her.” She looked right at me and said, “Dorothy must die.”MWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA YES KILL THAT BITCH.
Sorry. I get a little excited over murder.
Needless to say, there's a lot of work to be done to take Amy from white-trailer-trash to "Teen assassin." There's going to be magical training, combat training, and tea parties. Yes, tea parties. Don't worry, it's all part of the Master Plan. *cackles*
Will Amy be able to help the people of Oz? Will she be tempted to make the same choices that Dorothy did?
“It’s your choice,” he said. “It’s not magic that makes you who you are. It’s the choices that you make. Look at Dorothy.”The Setting: Just fantastic. This is Tim Burton's Oz.
I'm not sure if someone has bought the rights to the movie yet, but this is a book that deserves to be visualized. The setting is just beautiful. It is such a dark, twisted version of Oz. There's the beauty and darkness of the land itself, the stunning Emerald City hiding all sorts of horrors. You think you know the Tin Man?
His oversize jaw jutted out from the rest of his face in a nasty underbite, revealing a mess of little blades where his teeth should have been.The Scarecrow? The Lion? Not these versions. The Lion and his army of rabid animals (including a giant fucking murderous bunny) will eat you up. Get ready because people will die.
This book is so dark. The characters are so angry, with good reasons. So many have been enslaved, so many have been killed, sacrificed at the whim of Dorothy and her gang. Yes, there are munchkins, but munchkins have family, friends, loved ones who have died, too.
“You asked why they work for her,” she said. “You asked why the Munchkins don’t just tell Glinda to fuck off and take her machine somewhere else.”They cannot stand up against the power of those with magic. Hell, even the trees aren't allowed to be happy.
“Did that tree just move?”Dorothy: My one complaint here is that Dorothy looks like a slut. Really, was it necessary to have Dorothy the Evil resemble a street walker? But man, her appearance is deceiving.
Instead of farm-girl cotton it was silk and chiffon. The cut was somewhere between haute couture and French hooker. The bodice nipped, tucked, and lifted. There was cleavage.Don't be fooled by her appearance, Dorothy is twisted. It takes brains and manipulation and power to get as far as she did in the land of Oz. She commands her minions, the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, Glinda...etc, and they, in turn, command their own army. Dorothy may be vain, but power gets to people's head, and before you know it, they turn crazy. And yep, that's what happened. I'm not fond of the fact that Dorothy is pictured to be so vain, but underneath all that, there's sheer madness. And I can totally understand why she hates Amy so much.
Dorothy’s face was burning with aggrieved rage. “I am the only one. There can only be one.”She loves torturing animals, and there was a scene involving a mouse that was truly painful to read. Look up psychopath, that's Dorothy in a nutshell.
Amy: Amy is the kind of character that I love; she feels realistic. Yes, she does heroic things sometimes, like rescue people she really shouldn't be rescuing, but she acknowledges her stupidity. She is not TSTL, she sometimes has a few mean thoughts, and she gets a little mouthy and talks back when she's nervous. The difference between Amy and other bitchy YA characters is that Amy is never malicious. She's just kind of a jerk sometimes, like me.
Amy also has a tendency to get scared, to run away. And that's just fine with me. She's not perfect.
Why did I hesitate? Was I that weak?I understand perfectly. I'm a wimp. I like the normal, the routine, if you hand me a Special Destiny, fuck no, you can take my destiny and you can have it. I just want to read books and be mean.
Amy actually trains for her skills, for her magic. It doesn't come to her naturally. She also doesn't hesitate to kill. Can I get a fuck yeah?
I sliced diagonally across his chest and then drew the knife out only to plunge it right back in, drawing an X along his left side with the blade.Final comments: Reader beware that this is the first installment in the series, so expect a lot of world building, a lot of plot development, but not a lot of resolution. This book is a setup for the eventual showdown.
There is romance, but it's light. Amy has a crush, there is a hot guy in the book, but the romance is very light and it didn't bother me. The plot takes priority.
Overall: Highly recommended. ...more
Notes are private!
Apr 02, 2014
Oct 01, 2013
Sep 19, 2013
Sep 26, 2013
This was not a bad book, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who has read and loved the Faefever series unless you enjoy constantl Faefever lite.
This was not a bad book, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who has read and loved the Faefever series unless you enjoy constantly being hit on the head with dueling comparisons.
It doesn't help that Kiaran's last name is MacKay. I couldn't help but chuckle every time I saw it. Also, Aileana...so similar to Alina.
The parallels are too obvious, and I felt that the setting, characters, and conflict are overwhelmingly shadowed by the superiority of the Fever series. There's also a very forced attempt at romance, the inclusion of an eye-rolling love triangle, and a horrendous cliff hanger. One of the worst cliff hangers I've read this year. The plot itself is fine, the writing is good, it was fairly enjoyable if you don't overthink things, but knowing me, I overthink everything, hence my less-than-ideal rating for this book.
The setting is 1844, a steampunk version of Scotland; it is but a pale version of steampunk, but I'll go into that later. Lady Aileana Kameron is 18, the daughter of a Scottish Marquess; currently she is embroiled in scandal, the subject of whispers and suspicious glares at every social event she attends. Why? One year ago she was discovered hovering, bloodied and traumatized, over her mother's corpse. Her mother's heart was ripped out from her chest. The official story is that Lady Douglas died from an animal attack; Aileana knows better. Her mother was killed by fairies.
From then on, she formed a strategic alliance with Kiaran, a fae, a sithichean daione sith, to get vengeance for her mother's killer. Neither knows the others' true purpose for hunting the fae, and their alliance is strictly business---until now. To complicate things, her father has returned to town, demanding that Aileana must choose a husband, and she's got no shortage of suitors---she's still a peer's daughter, his heiress, and with a plump dowry, after all. Conveniently, Aileana's former crush also returns to town from Oxford, possibly to rekindle the sparks of a romance...but Gavin has some secrets of his own. And further still, there's danger lurking literally beneath Edinburgh. Which is pronounced Ed-in-bruh, for you ignorant Americans out there *shakes fist*.
Parallels to Faefever:
- Death of a much-beloved relative: Aileana's mother's was killed by a fae
- Desire to wreak vengeance: Aileana's made it her mission in life to track down and kill the sith that killed her mother
- A newfound ability to see fairies: in this case, brought on by the flower seilgflùr
- Endangered when she is discovered: Aileana stupidly goes out to hunt fairies on her own, fairies (which are supposed to be invisible to the average human eye) realize that she can see them. You might as well paint a target on Aileana's head
- Girly-girl debutante transforms into deadly fae-killer: "For the briefest moment, I wish I was the girl I used to be. I’d wear frivolous white dresses and attend dances and never worry about anything ever again. But I had to destroy the girl who wore white dresses because she wasn’t capable of murder"
- Asshole: Kiaran, aka Jericho Barrons' more boring half-brother, who trains her, is mean to her, kicks her ass, and keeps secrets from her.
It’s just another blasted secret of his. I’m considering keeping a tally of all the questions Kiaran evades, so that when each answer is finally revealed at some incredibly inopportune moment, I can look at the count and remember how much he hides from me.Kiaran is also seemingly V'lane's cousin's sister's son twice removed, because he has but a shadow of V'lane's sexual glamour. It's called being "faestruck." Instead of making you want to have sex with the fae on the spot...faestruck glamour will just makes your panties slightly damp.
Catherine grasps the sleeve of Kiaran’s frock coat, twisting the fabric to pull him to her, her eyes dazed. The faestruck will rip and tear clothing for another touch of a faery’s skin. She hasn’t reached that point, not yet, but any further contact with him and she might.
- Ability to sense an particular object: ‘You feel power. And you’ve sensed the sìthichean since the first one you ever saw, haven’t you?’
- Secret lineage
I don't know if it was intentional, if this book was intended to be a homage or an alternative retelling of Faefever, but the parallels and similarities are definitely there. It was a good book, but it is just lacking in comparison.
The setting was just not well done. I neither got a sense of Edinburgh itself or of the steampunk elements within it. Really, there was absolutely no purpose for the setting, and I really don't know why this book had to be steampunk. The steampunk-ish elements of this alternate-Edinburgh was limited to horseless carriages, cool decorations at balls and society events, ornithopters (a Leonardo Da Vinci's version of a helicopter), machines that dispense hot beverages, and conveniently designed weaponry that will blast away an army of faeries with a push of a button.
The steampunk setting seems to be in place more to suit Aileana's hobby of tinkering, building machines, and designing custom tools than anything else. This book's setting, unlike the beautifully wrought dark atmosphere of the Faefever series, is but an afterthought. I did not find myself immersed at all, I did not lose myself in the surroundings. I did not get a feel of what made Edinburgh a place where humans and fairies coexist. It might as well have been the rich/poor areas of Detroit, Michigan, for the little thought paid to the descriptions of the book's environment. There was no sense of place.
The fae were very well written. There are many types, and they are very well described, some disgustingly rotten, others terrifyingly beautiful. I just wished that we had a beautiful, dark setting fitting of them, instead of the half-hearted quasi-steampunk scene we were given.
Aileana: She didn't feel real to me, unlike MacKayla in Faefever and her amazing character development, Aileana just doesn't compare. Aileana was supposed to have turned from a gentle, happy society girl into a rage-filled, vengeance-minded cold-hearted fighter...but I didn't get any sense of her transformation. She was just too perfect, her transformation was told rather than shown. I understood her rage, her helplessness, her anger at witnessing her mother's death, but we were never clearly told how she has changed so much in that little time. We are given Aileana 2.0, we are never shown how she got there. We see from the beginning of the book that she is an ass-kicking heroine, but it feels like that's all she is.
Don't get me wrong, I loved the fact that she is unflinching in her quest for vengeance. She never, ever shies from killing an evil fae. Unlike some books featuring so-called "female assassins" who are scared to draw blood (which shall remain unnamed), Aileana is a determined killer. And I loved it, I loved seeing her kick, punch, stab, shoot. I loved seeing her as she slashes, disembowels, electrocutes. I just wished we saw more of her vulnerabilities as she became what she currently is. Her grief is also well-portrayed, to the point that at times, I said to myself: enough already. Yes, I am cold-hearted, but her extreme grief seems a little bit of an exaggeration.
Also, drinking game! Take a drink every time you read the phrase: "Crimson suits you best." Or not. You might get alcohol poisoning. Maybe take a sip of a beer instead.
Kiaran: Generic YA love interest. Really, I made a comparison to Jericho and V'lane, but the truth is, there is no comparison. Kiaran has no personality than that of the standard mysterious, ice-cold, unfeeling bad boy with a secret heart and a soft spot in his soul that only the main character can see. The alliance between Aileana (he calls her Kam) and Kiaran seemed...odd. There was very little about their history together in that very short year, we are not given much at all about their past besides the fact that Kiaran trains Aileana to be a fighter, a killer. Too little detail was given about their past to make their current relationship seem like anything but an alliance, and that is why their developing feelings seem so strange. I think Gavin says it best:
‘Is that right? The fellow teaches you to slaughter his own kind and you don’t believe that’s a wee bit worthy of suspicion?’Gavin: The perfect love rival, with a twist. A really, really convenient and unbelievable twist. Gavin is perfect. He is a student at Oxford, he is Aileana's beloved best friend's brother. He is an earl. He is wealthy. He is understanding. Aileana has also been nursing aspirations of being the future Mrs. for a long time before she changed into a cold-hearted killer. Aileana needs a husband, Gavin is oh-so-very eligible. What's a girl to do? Why, love triangle, of course!
Side characters: Well-written enough to keep me interested. I wish there had been more written about Aileana's relationship with her father; they are so distant from each other, they have such a strained relationship, and it was painful to read at times. I felt very badly for Aileana for her father's continued disinterest in her, he is the very picture of an absentee father. Not uncommon, given the time, and given his status as nobility, who are expected to ignore their children, but I truly felt bad for Aileana for her father's neglect. I wish their relationship had been developed further.
I loved her best friend, Catherine. Catherine is beautiful, and unlike the trapfalls of having a beautiful best friend who exists to highlight the heroine's flaws, Catherine is absolutely lovely in character as well as appearance. I wish I had a best friend like her. She is so utterly supportive, such a calming influence on Aileana: a truly enjoyable character that I wish had been more involved in her life.
There is a little sidekick pixie named Derrick in this book. He exists to mend Aileana's clothes and to be an annoying little shit, it seems. I know Derrick is there for insertion of humor and lightness into an overall dark book, but personally, I wanted to snatch him out of the air and pluck out his wings. He is a nuisance more often than not, and he truly grates on my nerves. And he has a habit of getting drunk on honey that would put Winnie the Pooh to shame.
‘But your friend offered it,’ Derrick complains. ‘So she might not have explicitly said, “Derrick, please eat all of the honey in my kitchen,” but it was implied by the mere fact that she has a kitchen.’Shall I mention the fact that that little phrase was uttered after his neglect almost got Aileana killed that night? Now do you understand why I want to commit pixie-cide?
The Romance : Not plausible. Why? I needed more background on them. Right off the bat, after a year of fighting together and little else, we see glimpses of Aileana's thoughts that signalled that she might fall for him. Inexplicable. Why now? Why all of a sudden? Aileana is not irrational, she knows that he's a killer, she knows that he's cold-hearted, for fuck's sakes, Kiaran kills his fellow fae without telling her why. They have never confided in one another as to why they're committed to their quest, their relationship has been strictly business-like, strictly student-mentor, so why does she start developing feelings now? Their conversations in the book are largely impersonal, more fraught with conflict than romance, there's not much bonding, so their feelings feel...forced. And really? In the middle of all this mess? Is it really a good time to start a romance?
He turns to look at me, and our faces are a mere breath away. Everything around me fades and blurs and my gaze drops to his lips.Yeah, Aileana. I don't know what's wrong with you, either.
Recommended to younger readers who want a fast-paced, action-packed fantasy, a brain-candy type of book. Not recommended for fans of adult fantasy, or those seeking more complexity out of their reading experience. ...more
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Sep 29, 2013
Sep 30, 2013
Sep 29, 2013
Apr 01, 2003
did not like it
If Harry Potter is the sort of book you give a child to start them on a lifelong love of reading, The Divide is the sort of book you give your child i If Harry Potter is the sort of book you give a child to start them on a lifelong love of reading, The Divide is the sort of book you give your child if you want them to spend the rest of their childhood staring at an iPad playing Candy Crush because books are dumb.
It probably makes me a horrible person for hating the shit out of a book in which the main character has a would-be-fatal heart disease and doomed to a young death. I don't even care.
Do you know what a jabbermawibbly is? A ragglegymook? Completely fucking made up names for creatures that should have been fucking commonplace fantasy creatures? Do you want to fucking memorize what it is for fucking hundreds of fucking pages. I can't. I couldn't be fucked to. Here is a list of the creatures in this book and their equivalents in our world (if there are any). Memorize them because you're not gonna fucking know what the fuck they are otherwise.
Brazzle - Griffin
Brittlehorn - Unicorn
Creeepy-biter - No parallel
Cuddyak - No parallel
Diggeluck - Gnome
Fire-breather - Dragon
Flame-bird - Phoenix
Humungally - Elephant
Japergrin - Pixie
Lickit - No parallel
No-horn - Horse
Ragamucky - Brownie
River-fatty - Hippopotamus
Shredddermouth - No parallel
Sinistrom - Devil-hyena
Small-tail - Faun
Tangle-person - Elf
Triple-head - Roc
Vamprey - Vampire
Wise-hoof - Centaur
Worrit - No parallel
So yeah, every single time I fucking read about a Japergrin or a Diggeluk or a Sinistrom, I had to fucking look it up because I CAN'T FUCKING REMEMBER. What the pretentious ass-shittery is this?! A no-horn?! REALLY?! REALLY?!
It is horrible. It is forgettable. 30 minutes after reading the book, I've almost completely forgotten every fucking thing about it. I probably shouldn't curse so much in a children's book review, but who the fuck cares, this book was so fucking bad. I usually take 2 pages of notes for the books I read. I have roughly 10 quotes for this book because it was so fucking dumb and boring and completely unmemorable in every way.
Don't read this book. Just don't.
Some of you may believe that I deliberately read bad books. This is not the case. It IS the case in for this book, why? Here's the story.
During winter break, my sister came home from college. She came up to me with a book and was like "You review books, right? Here's a book you should read. I read it when I was 10, and I thought it was fucking horrible. I want to see what you think."
My sister has always been one of those terrifyingly smart children. She is far more intelligent than I will ever be, and I am constantly in awe of how capable and awesome she is. I love her, I trust her opinion implicitly. Even at 10 years old, she was that smart, and so when she told me this book was going to be horrible, I believe her.
Which is why I read this book. As a favor, knowing it would be bad. And man, baby sis was right. This book is fucking horrible.
The Summary: 13-year old Felix is different. Special. Mostly because he's going to drop dead at any second.
"He's not like other boys," said Felix's mother. "He has a very rare heart condition and an unusual blood type. Sometimes he passes out. We have to be careful."Felix has a fatal heart disease, and somehow manages to talk his parents into taking him on a trip to the Continental Divide in the middle of fucking nowhere, where he can't get medical help in case he needs it.
Apparently, having no brains runs in the family.
It turns out that his parents don't want to take poor pwecious sick Felix to The Divide after all, so Felix does the amazing brilliant wonderful fantastically thoughtful thing and decides to make a break for it. He runs to the Divide (with a heart condition, brilliant) and then promptly passes out.
In another world, Betony is a different, special girl. She's a tangle-girl, or an elf. She deliberately wears her silken white platinum blonde hair "provocatively" sleek, compared to the tangled (ha!) look the tangle-people prefer. Everyone studies herbology, but Betony has always felt different. She doesn't know a fucking thing about herbology, which sucks, because in running away from home, she encounters a sick unicorn, excuse me, brittlehorn that's dying...
"You're a herbalist then, aren't you, tangle-child? But even your knowledge cannot cure me now."Which ends up dying BECAUSE BETONY WAS TOO FUCKING SPECIAL TO LEARN HERBOLOGY.
He's dead, thought Betony. Dead. How awful. I couldn't do anything. I was absolutely useless. I find a brittlehorn, and I let him die.
And then she does it again.
"They're going to die," whispered Betony. "There was something in the oatcakes. Oh, who would do such a thing? And why?"Yet another beautiful creature, dead, because Betony always felt like she was too good to learn herbology.YOU WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN SO HELPLESS IF YOU HAD BOTHERED TO GO TO CLASS.
The two special snowflakes meet out of fucking nowhere, they encounter a gryphon, I'm sorry, a brazzle. They have adventures. The end.
Seriously, I can't remember a fucking thing about this book. I do know, however, that it is 3rd person POV, and we get to see the POV of Betony, Felix, some random thing, Betony's brother and sister, Betony's brother and sister's friend, some other random thing, another random thing, and a gryphon.
Excuse me, a brazzle.
The Setting: In any good fantasy, the setting is of the utmost importance. The setting in this book doesn't make any fucking sense. I don't have an idea of what the fucking world looks like. The creatures are so dumb and stupidly named that I can't fucking remember what anything is except for a brazzle and a tangle-thing and a stiffie. Or a stiff horn. Or an unicorn thing. Whatever.
SEE WHAT I MEAN?
This book is just fucking weird. There's no establishment of the magical system.
"Magic's got rules. There are things you can't ever do, like making gold, or changing the seasons, or bringing someone back from the dead."You like that? That's all the fucking explanation you're ever gonna fucking get. Magic is magic. It's normal in the new world. Science, to them, is a fantasy. They have the same fucking thing, only with different names JUST LIKE THE FUCKING MAGICAL CREATURES. String theory is called knot theory. Pi is a "trifle," and I mean pi as in the 3.14159 thing. It's called a fucking trifle. Fucking spare me, please.
The world is almost not magical at all because magic is so haphazardly used, without any explanation. It doesn't feel fantastic. They have magical carpets, but they also have conference rooms, and shopping centers, and I have no idea what the fuck they look like BECAUSE THERE ARE HARDLY ANY DESCRIPTIONS AT ALL. There are towels that magically dry you. The towels themselves can do magic, like change a person's haircolor, and yet the most magical fucking girl of all, Betony...can't do magic.
"Can you do magic?"I can't even analyze the characters or anything because there's fucking nothing to analyze. It was a dull adventure, full of foolishness, nonsense, and characters who are completely forgettable. The side characters are laughable. There is zero character development, zero complexity, and without a doubt, this is the worst fantasy for children that I have ever read.
I didn't even give a shit if the main character ended up dying halfway through the book. ...more
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Sep 06, 2013
Jun 07, 2014
Sep 06, 2013
Aug 20, 2013
Aug 20, 2013
did not like it
"Who was the real Jamie MacCrae? A ruthless ruler or a puckish prince?"
I started reading this book because the premise promised originality. A Scotl
"Who was the real Jamie MacCrae? A ruthless ruler or a puckish prince?"
I started reading this book because the premise promised originality. A Scotland-based setting with time travel and fantasy elements? Are you kidding me? Gimme that shit, y'all. Well, you know what they say about things being too good to be true: they usually are. The premise is original...but as we all know, originality alone doesn't mean it'll be good. In the context of this book, it doesn't approach good. It wouldn't be able to touch good with a 30-yard pole. This is going to be a long criticism, however much I try to restrain myself, because I have a lot to say about this book, and not much (almost none, really) that is positive.
The setting is new and interesting, but it doesn't make any fucking sense. The characters---all 4 of them---are each a cliché. The entire book was altogether insufferably stupid and nonsensical. Not recommended at all.
Present day Scotland: The modern day Scotland in the book, what little of it there is, is beautifully described, but it is---as the book describes it...reminiscent of the Shire, and not in a good way. It is too picture-perfect. It is pretty, in an utterly touristy way. It is lovely and well-described, but completely lacking in life, in anything that would make it feel realistic. It is a Thomas Kinkade painting, utterly idealized and empty of spirit.
Doon: Doon is not Scotland of the past, as I was led to believe when I first started reading the book. It is a version of it, which would not have been a bad thing, if not for its utter absurdity as a setting. If you come into the book expecting a facscimile of sense in the land of
“If I may, signori? It is a gigante mystery.” He illustrated his point by holding his hands wide apart and giving them a shake for emphasis. “As a young man, I was called to Doon from Napoli in 1915, during the last Centennial. I met la mia moglie---my future wife. Since then, I marry, make seven bambinis---babies..."However modern it is, whatever magic the people of Doon have seen, they are still firmly ingrained in the mindset of the past, despite everything they have seen and known. They believe that magic is witchcraft, they believe in predestination, a soulmate, a Calling. They are still willing to burn witches at stakes.
The setting is a mess. The people portrayed are a fuck-filled mess of contradictory behaviors, and there is severe lack of sense and rationality. Doon is not quaint, it is not charming. It was not what I expected to read, because while I am prepared for an alternate setting, I like that setting to make sense and for its people to follow certain guidelines of reasonable behaviors. It is like watching The O.C. only to have the entire series be set in Little Saigon instead of Newport Beach. It may be technically accurate, but it's not what I fucking signed up for.
The Characters: the main characters within the book perfect the art of contradiction. As I said above, every single one falls into an YA trope. They do not act consistently, they say and think one thing, and they do another.
Veronica: aka Verranica as pronounced by our fucking James MacCrae. More on him later. She is the epitome of lovely innocent. She is beautiful, stunning, without knowing it. A daydreamer, a hopeless romantic.
A believer in romance, despite being a wounded, broken girl.
Despite suffering from a miserable past.
Despite being unwanted by her alcoholic drug addict of a mother.
Despite being leered upon by her soon-to-be-stepfather.
Despite being abandoned by her biological father. Who is dead. Who was a drug addict.
Despite having her best friend in the whole wide world move halfway across the country.
Despite being publicly dumped and cheated on by her boyfriend in the school hallway not 5 seconds before she meets Jamie, kilted golden boy of Doon, in a vision, whom she then singlemindedly pursue all the way to Scotland.
You name a tragedy, our Vee has seen it.
Veronica is our first and main narrator, and I needed to rest my eyes after every 5 minutes of reading her parts because they were so tired from being rolled back into my head as I read her narration. She fucking swoons every 5 seconds over Jamie's chocolaty eyes, his locks of hair that falls over his eyes. His air of indifference. Despite his hostility, despite his professed ignorance of her and outright hostility upon meeting her, she cannot help but despair in her undeniable attraction to him, her soulmate! She's such a fucking martyr...despite KNOWING THAT THEY'RE MEANT TO BE, she so unselfishly gives him up, only to fucking moan and cry about it 2 seconds afterwards. She is a fucking TSTL Mary Sue of a moron. She would rather die as a possibly convicted witch in a foreign land than give up the chance at TWOO WUV.
Of course, leaving [Doon] was preferable to death, but I wasn’t ready to give up on this place...or on him.ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?
She is the most easily impressed character ever.
"[Jamie] smiled a sad, sweet smile. “I said, [your father]’s an idiot and he has no idea what an amazing daughter he has.” He said the words simply and with such sincerity that they washed over me like absolution. I closed my eyes, but the tears flowed hot over my cheeks anyway. How was it possible he knew the exact right thing to say? The words I’d secretly longed to hear, but hadn’t realized it until they came out of his mouth?So Jamie tells her that her dad misunderstands her and Vee's like HE KNOWS MY SOUL. WELL ALRIGHTY THEN.
Veronica can't see past the pert little cheerleader nose on her face. She doesn't know the meaning of forward thinking. She is completely devoted to the cold, angry, emo boy Jamie, regardless of how much he acts like an asshole and how much he professes to hate her (he doesn't mean it...he can't mean it!!!!!!). I wanted to vomit.
Mackenna: Vee's best friend since infancy, it seems. They're attached at the hips. Naturally, they are polar opposites. Mackenna is the practical, tomboyish, drama-addicted (if you are into musicals and Broadway plays, you can do your own scavenger hunts as to how many of them she name-drops in this book). Mackenna is the tall, protective, Amazonian BFF who doesn't realize how stunning she is (do we see a theme here?!?!?1?!1). She is meant to be humorous and brash, a stark contrast to Vee's dreamy impracticality...it didn't work for me. Mackenna's snark comes off as more annoying than humorous, more foot-in-mouth disease, more unintentionally stupid than anything. Really, is joking around when you're about to be killed for being a witch a wise idea? If she's meant to be practical, her character did not work in the least, because she is so insufferably idiotic. However, reading her narrative after Vee's makes Mackenna seem infinitely more tolerable and an Einstein in comparison. Regardless, I found her terribly brash, annoying, and not altogether likeable.
James MacCrae: Lord, where do I start?
So he's got an "incredible face," he is a "beautiful golden boy with the dark, wounded eyes." From the second Veronica and Mackenna enters his foreign land, where he is the crown prince, he has acted like "an arrogant boy who treated [them] worse than an ant he found crawling over his boot." Despite this being Scotland, he still looks like an emo boy, or more specifically... a boy wearing "dark pants and a black cloak with the hood pulled over his head, casting his entire face in shadow. He looked like a goth kid with a Jedi complex." Despite knowing that he is Veronica's intended (it is called a Calling, and commonly acknowledged in Doon to mean you've met your soulmate), Jamie denies it, and continue treating Vee crappily like the asshole son of a bitch that he is. He tells her one thing, says another. He says things intended to turn her away, and is absolutely infuriated (and blames HER) when she does run away.
Jamie’s hot and cold act was draining. Every time he started to warm, to let me in the tiniest bit, he’d turn around and shut me out even harder. And why? What had I done? Except be nice to him and adore his kingdom.Doormat: meet Veronica. Veronica: meet doormat. You guys are twins, separated at birth. Fucking really, Veronica? The more I read about Jamie and Veronica's actions, the less respect I have for either of them.
Duncan MacCrae: The handsome, perfect, golden, charming prince, who is utterly guileless, full of helpfulness and humor. I actually liked him a lot out of all the characters. He may be a trope, but he's so nice and inoffensive compared to the rest of the fucking idiots in this book that I really have no complaints about him at all, besides the fact that he lacked the common sense to not fall in love with Mackenna.
The side characters: completely unoriginal, absolutely lacking in dimension and complexity. The villains, the good guys, the wise woman, the love rivals. None are remotely believable as real. Everyone is black or white. There is no complexity within any of the main characters, much less the secondary ones.
The Romance: inconsistent. In the case of Mackenna and Duncan, it is somewhat understandable. Their characters interact well together, and so I can see them falling for each other eventually. In the case of the main characters, however, it is completely incredible. It is predestination, and we are told to buy it, hook, line, and sinker, without any explanation whatsoever. Jamie and Veronica are soul mates, they have visions of each other...and that alone is the sole basis for their relationship. We are expected to believe that they are Meant. To. Be. Without any proof. And when I say without any proof, I mean it. Jamie is a fucking idiot. He is constantly angry, always hostile towards Veronica, and their interactions are so limited that except for the fact that we are TOLD, again, not SHOWN, that they are supposed to be in love, we would not have known. Their relationship does not grow, it does not develop. Jamie is so outwardly against the idea of them that when he finally accepts it, their love is just not believable at all. This is not a romance.
The Plot: this book should have a subtitle, as in Doon: a study in the art of being completely fucking dependent on Deus ex Machina as a plot device . Something unexplained happens? It's magic. Something doesn't make sense at all? It's magic. The main villain wants to conquer the world for no reason at all. OH, IT'S BECAUSE OF MAGIC, SOMEHOW. AAAAAAAAAAARGSKJGKJSGLGJLJSGFKLJADFK. IT DOESN'T EXPLAIN ANYTHING. The reasoning behind the evil wicked so very very very very bad (actual) witch that causes all the trouble in this book but doesn't really because the plot is actually a thinly contrived excuse for the romance between Vee and Jamie and Mackenna and Duncan and it's just an afterthought and it makes no fucking sense and there is no fucking urgency and there is so little fucking plot behind it that it's just extremely frustrating and so much so that I can't be fucked to formulate it into a fucking sentence that makes any reason or contains any punctuation because why should I fucking bother to make sense when the authors themselves don't even want to try?!
Seriously, the plot is so utterly secondary to the romance. There is no sense of urgency to the imminent danger that the land of Doon is in. Yeah, there are villager disappearances, a few dead bodies thrown in here and there, but there is no intrigue, no exigency, no feeling that something bad is going to happen. There is a lot of telling, not a lot of showing. The mystery behind the journal and the rings were not compelling at all. It is never well-developed enough to be credible, and magic is used to explain anything that doesn't make sense, without making sense itself. Situations and their development reeked of irrationality and lacked any reasonable plot development. There is no character development, the characters just surrender to their emotions and fall into love without any character complexity that is supposed to have developed in between.
The writing: full of grandiose statements that are just repeated clichéd sayings throughout the book, like “pure, unselfish love can break any spell" and "I just followed my heart" and "the heart calls to its soul mate." FOLLOW YOUR HEART, Y'ALL. IT WILL NEVER LEAD YOU WRONG. Besides that, the writing is juvenile. The speech is sprinkled with "ta's" for "to's," "fer's" for "for's," as well as "dinnas" and "kennas," which seems to be a prerequisite whenever any attempt at a Scottish dialect is made. The speech is inconsistent, gladly free of a try-hard attempt at really heavily accented brogue, but it is too modern, too inconsistent, and lacking in authenticity to feel like it's anything but a fake setting. I was not sold on anything in this book, so really, the dialogue and the dialect is the least of my complaints compared to everything else that went horribly wrong.
The headache caused by this book, combined with my mind's constant incredulous monologue (shouted, not spoken) throughout the act of reading this book prevents me from recommending it to anyone but my most hated enemies. ...more
Notes are private!
Sep 05, 2013
Sep 07, 2013
Sep 05, 2013
Sep 16, 2008
Jul 28, 2009
it was amazing
“Who the fuck are you, Ms. Lane?”
“Who the fuck are you, Ms. Lane?”There are certain things in my life that remains comfortingly constant despite the chaos that sometimes peppers my life. For instance, the sky is blue. 70% dark chocolate is delicious. I look really good in dark green.
Jericho Barrons is an asshat.
Well, fuck. That last fact might no longer be true.
I don't know how this happened, honestly. I don't think I'm a sheep. The majority of my friends have long professed their love for Barrons...and honestly, I just didn't get it. I still don't. Jericho is still not my type of guy, but upon the second time reading this book...I think he's finally growing on me.
I turned around slowly, and looked up at him. He stiffened and sucked in a shallow breath. After a moment, he touched my cheek.I started the Fever series with a horrible impression of Jericho that never really left. To me, he was an overbearing, patronizing, violent asshole. I have to admit that the first time around, I largely skimmed book 2 and 3, and my first, overwhelmingly terrible impression of Jericho never really changed.
Upon a second reading: a more careful, critical reading, I admit I might have been wrong the first time. The contrast and complexities in his character is particularly more notable for me today, coming off the recent reading of a particularly forgettable UF/PNR book, with forgettable characters.
I still don't like Jericho that much, but I love his character. I've come to see that while he is a jerk, he never goes over-the-line-violent. He stops just short of it, and he has his moments that just makes you wonder---maybe there's something there, worth investigating, under the surface.
And then the next moment, it's gone. Leaving you to wonder if that spark of humanity was ever there in the first place.
That's the thing that attracts me about Jericho's character...that's what FINALLY grew on me in this book. After so many books with lackluster characters, with predictable behaviors, this is one that keeps me guessing, who runs hot and cold...but just hot enough to keep me intrigued. That's why he evokes such strong emotions within me, and that's what keeps me hooked. It is easy to hate a character. Anyone can make a character merely...loathsome. It is quite another to have a character that keeps you on your toes, not knowing what he is, who he is, how he will react. It's exhausting at times, but ultimately, I am never bored, and that is what I seek within a book and its characters. Some escapism...and it doesn't get any better than the amazing world and setting in this series.
Mac's character is also improving by leaps and bounds. She's still a girly-girl. She still enjoys dressing up, but reality is smacking her in the face, and she is dealing with it and adapting to the situation just beautifully. She takes action, she learns to be manipulative. She takes initiative. She is not content to remain a passive, weak damsel in distress; she is willing to seek help from the devil---or Barrons---same thing, really, if that's what it takes. Her character develops beautifully in this book.
The first time around, despite my contempt for the characters, I absolutely loved the setting, the writing, the darkness of it all. This has not changed. The writing and scenery is spectacular. The portrayal of Dublin rips away the happy, safe, warm environment that I loved from reading Maeve Binchy's books---and being the creepy, strange woman I am, I think I might prefer the darkness. The writing is lovely, the insights into the nature of darkness, particularly from Mac's viewpoint, is remarkable, and is a better portrayal of Mac's inner nature and intelligence than I would have thought. She still has hope, she still has brightness within her, but Mac's understanding of evil makes me sympathize with her more than her natural effervescence and vivacity ever could.
I still think I like V'lane more than Jericho, though.
He began bringing me gifts. One day he brought me chocolate that wouldn’t make me gain weight, no matter how much I ate.COME ON NOW. CHOCOLATE THAT WOULDN'T MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT? Gimme that shit. ...more
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Aug 21, 2013
Aug 24, 2013
Aug 21, 2013
Mass Market Paperback
Jan 01, 2013
Aug 06, 2013
it was ok
Actual rating: 1.5 Rounded up to 2 because THIS BOOK MEANS THE SERIES IS OVER.
I have this beautiful nail polish with an interesting texture. It looks Actual rating: 1.5 Rounded up to 2 because THIS BOOK MEANS THE SERIES IS OVER.
I have this beautiful nail polish with an interesting texture. It looks really cool, but wearing it is a different story. I have contact lenses, you see, and while an awesome sandy texture may LOOK good, if you've ever had sand in your eyes, you know it's fucking painful. Such is my experience every time I remove my contacts, it's like sand rubbing against my eyeballs, and yet I keep on using that damn polish anyway, and will probably finish the bottle at the expense of scarring my corneas.
Such has been my experience with the Watersong series; it looks attractive, but the experience has been all sorts of terrible, and for some damn reason I am compelled to finish this series despite knowing better. I can't guarantee that it won't damage my eyes, either...it IS over 500 pages. Good god. And that's not to mention the painful experience of actually reading it.
I can hear some of the complaints now. "Khanh...you fucking idiot, if you hate the series so much, why are you reading it? WHY ARE YOU SUCH A HATER?!" Simple. I am always drawn to siren/mermaid type stories, especially with the lure of combined mythology. This is also an YA series, so it's easier to finish, unlike some of a much grander scale on my To-Be-Read pile *cough*GameofThrones/Outlander/Fever*cough*. Considering how long this book was, though, I can't say the experience of reading it has been particularly easy, much less so given the poor quality of writing, the completely senseless plot, and the utter mess that comprises the book and series overall. And that's not to mention what a mockery the book made of siren mythology and Greek/Romance mythology in general.
Within this series, some books have been better than others, but that's not saying much. It's like eating maggoty bread, some pieces of bread may have a few less maggots in it, but that's not to say eating it is a more enjoyable experience.
Enough with the overextended metaphors, I should probably give a few reasons to justify my disdain and hatred for this series. To keep it short (ha!), I will limit it to a top 10.
In no particular order of perceived pain:
1. The Roman goddess Diana: also known as Demeter!: Lest we forget who Diana is:
"Diana is a Roman goddess of hunting and the moon and werewolves or something. She’s this strong feminist, and certain Wiccans worship her.”ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?
Btw: Horace = the Egyptian god Horus
For those who missed the joke: Diana and Demeter are two completely unrelated goddesses...
2. The sirens: “You little bitch,” Penn said, smiling wider. “Bring it.”
I referred to them in my last review as The Real Housewives of Orange County. This has not changed. Cattiness, bitchiness, hair-pulling, all still there. I am still amazed at the fact that they've managed to live all these millennium and only managed to kill each other a few times. I would have guessed the murderous turnover ratio within the sirens, at the rate in which they were going in these books, to be at least 100% (death ratio) every 3 weeks or so. I was so sick of the name-calling, the pure hatred between them. It's just common sense...if you're going to be spending a long, long time with someone, be it a friend, a life partner...you find someone you can fucking TRUST. Thea, Penn, & co. just seem to pick and choose who to become the next siren without reason at all. They end up hating each others' guts...I just can't understand it.
3. Liv: "Penn told you that we wanted you to keep an eye on Harper. But instead of doing that, you attacked her, then went on a spree and killed three people, including a psych teacher."
Ah, Liv, a.k.a. the worst little siren that ever lived. The sirens aren't exactly the most inconspicuous characters...which is pretty stupid. I mean, if you're trying to survive, it's best to blend in. The original sirens don't exactly do the best job of that, but man, Liv is just something else. She makes the other sirens look like quiet, well-behaved chameleons. She just kills/seduces whomever she feels like it. There's even less subtlety with this one.
4. Gemma & Harper: Dull as dishwater. I'll give the sirens some credit...they have personality. Gemma and Harper, the two biological sisters, and the two main characters in the book, have no personality, none. I can tell you that Gemma likes swimming, and Alex, she loves her family, and she hates being a siren. But all that you can learn from the first book, because there is nothing, absolutely nothing that you can glean from her character and her mind and her thoughts besides for her single-minded purpose of finding the key to breaking her curse of being a siren, and meanwhile, HOW TO DENY HER CARNAL SIREN URGES *clutches pearls*. Oh, my goodness goshness.
I stand corrected, Harper does have a personality: that of a middle-aged suburbian housewife in Kansas. But I really shouldn't say that; it's a discourtesy to housewives everywhere to be compared to someone so dull.
5. Alex: I should rename my doormat to "Alex." Yes, Gemma manipulated you and your mind, she almost made you go permanently Lady-Gaga with her siren song. But oh well, time to forgive at the drop of a hat! Oh, and you should probably apologize to her, anyway, because---um. Because...
Whatever, just apologize.
6. Nathalie: I fucking hate it when brain damage = CHILDLIKE BEHAVIOR. It's fucking dumb, it's fucking ignorant, and it is fucking offensive.
7. Daniel: OH NOES I HAVE TO HAVE SEX WITH SOMEONE ELSE FOR THE SAKE OF MY BELOVED GIRLFRIEND. It's all for your own good, baby, really! I'm not even gonna tell you that a manipulate bitch of a siren has her claws into me and is using me because then you'll just make me stop listening to her and put myself at risk. And I really love you, so I have to do this. FOR US! I'm thinking of you as she's straddling me, really.
8. Professor Kipling Pine: looking past the absolutely Gary Stu name, he's also a young stud. A full professor at an university by his early 30s who looks like a young Indiana Jones. "A history teacher who used to be an archaeologist," who happens to know archaic languages, can identify Aramaic from Phoenician, etc. Man, where was he when I went to college? Most of my professors were in their 40s, at least, and none of them were into steampunk. So sad.
9. Red Bull: a crucial plot device
10. Plot & writing: nonsensical, full of holes. The book was also completely plot-driven, leaving no room for character holes, and I ended up being absolutely bored with the entire book, despite all that was taking place. There was no dull moment, but there was plenty of dullness. I read it, but it did not grip me at all. The writing is purely YA, there's nothing beautiful about it, it's easy to read, and that is the best I can say for the writing.
11. Deus ex machi ---oh, wait, I promised to limit it to a list of 10.
Thank the gods, it's over. ...more
Notes are private!
Aug 16, 2013
Aug 17, 2013
Aug 16, 2013
Mar 04, 2014
Mar 04, 2014
Actual rating: 3.5
Finally! A heroine who's got her fucking head on straight!!
Murder. Magic. Mayhem. No insta-love. No love triangle. A cave full of yo Actual rating: 3.5
Finally! A heroine who's got her fucking head on straight!!
Murder. Magic. Mayhem. No insta-love. No love triangle. A cave full of young men, assassins to be, their deadliness defies their age. A young woman on a mission that will likely kill her. An assassin assigned to guard her.
This was a fast read, an enjoyable book that is light on romance, with a realistic, complex heroine who has a fatalistic streak (and who can blame her). This is a fantasy book with elements of magic, there is a rebel nation to be saved, a secret lair of killers, a murderer to be found.
Summary: 17 year old Ileni was supposed to be one of the greatest sorcerers among her people, the Renegai, but no longer. She is losing her magic. Her powers are fading day by day. Once, she was a revered magician among her people, now she is the object of scorn and pity. Ileni has been trained for greatness her entire life, she has sacrificed her family to be a great magician, and this is an imaginable downfall. Unable to face the prospect of living without a future, without her lover, Ileni volunteers herself for what is essentially a suicide mission.
...not a single person still cared about her day-to-day life. Everyone had put her out of their minds.Ileni doesn't care about living, but maybe she might find something worth living for.
“How can you know what your life is worth if you don’t know what you would trade it for?”In a secret cave, there is a guild of assassins. They have been in existence for hundreds of years, their mission is anything but quick. They are but raindrops in the deluge that they hope will eventually overthrow a country ruled by evil sorcerers, one that has long threatened both the rebel Renegai and the assassins. The Renegai are a sect ruled by magicians, they are wary of the assassins, and the feeling is mutual. In order to maintain their tenuous peace, the Renegai sends the assassins a teacher to teach the younger assassins the use of minor magic. Two of the previous magicians sent to the assassins have died, under seemingly suspicious circumstances, in quick succession.
Ileni's powers are fading so fast that it is almost gone. She volunteers to be the next teacher; Ileni knows she will likely die in the caves, and she doesn't really care. Her mission is not only to teach the young assassins magic while keeping secret the fact that her powers are almost nonexistent, but to investigate the murders.
She faces many hardships along the way. Hostile young students, assassins who are trained to kill. Their targets may be children, it does not matter, because each death is one more contribution to the overall goal of freedom. She has to teach these people without revealing her weakness. She has to face assassins who are hostile, who distrust her, who belittle her, who threaten her, who bully her, who mock her. Her life is in constant danger, even with a guard, the assassin Sorin.
There are spies, murderers, dark magic, a Master magician who is so powerful, so all-controlling he can send people to their death with but a word. Ileni thought she would end her life in these caves. Nope. It's just beginning.
The Setting: The one major weakness in the book. The setting is tremendously unclear. The entire book takes place in a cave, and while that's not a problem, the setting and the context remains missing. It is extremely vague. To be honest, I can barely recall the book's fictional country name. All I recall, not even half an hour from finishing the book, is that there are big bad dark magicians from another country and that there are two sects of rebels, the assassins and the magicians (the Renegai). I am reading the ARC, so I don't know whether there will be a map given or not, but overall, this world building did not please me at all. Not to mention the fact that a good big of the world building was delivered through a SPEECH.
She took a deep breath and continued. “Two hundred years ago, when most sorcerers swore their allegiance to the Rathian Empire, my people separated from them. We were labeled renegades and hunted down. We fled here, to these mountains, to maintain our ways, build our strength, and wait for the right time to return. In exchange for my presence here, your master will leave my people in peace to pursue their task.”I just call that lazy.
The magic is also very imprecisely explained. We do not get a good explanation of the magical system and how power was used. We do not get a good explanation on why Ileni has lost her power. This probably wouldn't matter to most people, honestly, but it bothers me, because I like knowing these things. Magic is so important to Ileni, and because of its importance to her, I feel like she should have let us know more about it and how it worked.
The Characters: I really like Ileni's character. I admit that she is rather fatalistic, but I can't blame her. She has been groomed for greatness her entire life, and it has been taken from her. Wouldn't you mope about it? I know I would. Ileni is severely depressed about the loss of her magic, but she never sulks, she never whines, she sucks it up and does what needs to be done, be it instructing the assassins on magical use, or investigating the previous teachers' deaths. Even the slightest use of magic leaves her drained for days.
...the tiredness seemed to come from within her, as if her body simply had no interest in remaining awake.She has to use all of her mastery, all of her wits in order to convince her students (who could kill her in a heartbeat) that she is a competent teacher, who is perfectly capable of killing them with her own magic, instead of a completely helpless girl in a cavern full of young men.
A cavern full of young men, you say? I smell a lot of romance, you say? Not fucking likely. These guys are assassins, they don't give a shit about girls. They're killers. They have a purpose in life that extends beyond the reach of their penis. They are bad-ass, they are threatening, and Ileni is truly in danger here.
He led her around the edge of the cavern, far too close for comfort to several of the duelers—none of whom glanced in their direction, even though they must never have seen a girl here before.THAT'S RIGHT! Ignore the girl! There's no room for wimps here. There are no flowers in the fucking caverns, y'all.
Ileni faces a lot of hostility from the boys, she even gets beaten up, and I like the fact that she holds her grounds. She is not perfect, she makes stupid decisions occasionally, but she learns from her experience. Ileni is smart, she is an investigator, despite the loss of her magic, and her extremely limited use of it, she perseveres through. She learns to fight. She doesn't become an assassin, but she can defend herself. She is realistic, and I like that.
And despite her despair, I love how she can open up, how she can find a moment of joy when the opportunity presents itself. She does not constantly wallow in her depression.
She knew this would end badly. It was so ridiculous and so doomed that she could almost despise herself. Except, except . . . except her whole life was ridiculous and doomed, so if a brief interlude of happiness had come her way, why not grab that? She had forgotten how good it felt to be happy.The Romance: Loved it! Absolutely loved it. The romance is light, so very light, and builds up believably. Sorin may be an assassin, but he's not an ass.. He is cold, he is guarded, but he has been trained to be that way his entire life. Sorin has been raised since childhood to be a killer. He spends his life training. He has had zero exposure to anything else. His single goal is to train to be a killer, to be a worthy subject to the Master. He longs for the day when he is sent on a mission, even if it means dying.
For Sorin, dying is noble. Dying for a cause is something worthy. He has no time to worry about girls, he has no time for jealousy, and indeed, it amused me a great deal to see how little Sorin gets jealous in the few attempts when Ileni actually HOPES that he might be.
She also hoped—stupidly, and hating herself for it—that Sorin would be jealous. But when he stepped closer, the only expression on his face was disbelief.Sorin may be cold, but he is not hostile. He is Ileni's ally, someone she can trust.
“I can help make your time here more successful, if you’ll listen to my advice.”Sorin and Ileni's relationship builds up beautifully, they become friends before lovers. Neither of them trusts easily, and frankly, both of them have more to worry about than the matters of their heart. They acknowledge their attraction to each other, but it is a slow process, and one I found completely believable. They complement each other. They test each other. They challenge each other's beliefs.
“I can help make your time here more successful, if you’ll listen to my advice.”And their romance...it is so awkwardly adorable, when it finally happens.
“I have no right to risk my life for this.” He stepped back against the door, as if she was a threat. It was the most flattering thing he had done since she entered the caves. “It means nothing. It was inevitable, even. After all, you’re the only girl I ever see.”I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy. All quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley and is subject to change in the final edition. ...more
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Jan 02, 2014
Aug 15, 2013
Aug 06, 2013
Aug 06, 2013
really liked it
Actual rating: 3.5
"I cautiously take down a pink bikini and hold it against me.Actual rating: 3.5
"I cautiously take down a pink bikini and hold it against me.Apparently, this feeling is commonplace to any woman, of any age, from any era.
This book was an unexpectedly pure fun to read. I hate using that word..."unexpected," but the truth is that premise behind this book and its contemporary high school setting is not one that typically appeals to me. This is going to sound like the most backhanded compliment ever, but this was a truly enjoyable, easy to read book despite the fact that it included just about every single high school trope I can think of. Backhanded compliment? Totally, right?
The concept of time travel is for me...iffy. Besides the adult Outlander series, I've rarely encountered a book that does it well, and I was initially wary as I entered this book. Disclaimer: I did not read the first book, and as it turned out, I did not need to. I do not feel that not reading the first book in this series impeded my enjoyment or understanding of this book in any way. This book can be read as a standalone, even if the main character from the first book is prominently featured in this one, as well. The background of the first book is so subtly given to us and Cat and Alessandra (Less)'s history together were so well-explained that I did not feel that I missed anything at all diving into this book headfirst.
I chose to read this one and not the previous book because for me, the premise of a girl from the past going into the present is more intriguing and interesting than a girl from the present going back in time. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that, it is just more fascinating to me to see how a character from history would deal with the modern-day world. And it is so hilarious to see how Less deals with the modern life, from her horror at wearing modern clothing compared to the all-encompassing dresses and corsets she is used to, to her first experience with...a particular piece of underclothing.
"'The string goes where?' I ask incredulously, dropping the garment from my fingers as if it holds the plague.Less is wonderful, a completely endearing, adorable character, with more complexity and character development than I would have thought in a light novel of this nature. We first meet her in this book when she is suffering from a broken heart due to a betrayal. Less has been a good girl all her life, a dutiful daughter, a loving sibling, a model of propriety...and it has gotten her nothing but heartbreak.
"I believe it was the hope of Matteo I loved more than the man himself. The dream that our union would quiet my growing discomfort with the role and skin I had been born into, the idea that a man could honestly care for me, not out of duty, but for who I was as a woman.Frustrated beyond herself, Less is ready to try something new, something like following in her future-day cousin Cat's footsteps. She travels to the future with the help of a mysterious woman, and ends up meeting the previously-known Cat and posing as her cousin. We see modern-day life through her prim, 16th century eyes, we smile at her naiveté, and we cringe at her errors as she learns. Less' speech is extremely formal, perfect for her time, but very out of place in the present. We stay with Less as she learns the basics of modern day life, and tries to live life the way she never has before...with abandon.
Less is beautifully introspective. I loved reading her thoughts as she reflects upon her own character, her own life, her mistakes, and how she views love. I love seeing her as she grows from a prim, reserved Italian Renaissance lady into a stronger one, more confident in herself, more willing to take risks, make mistakes, even if it means getting hurt in the process.
"My faith remains in the truth I have fought so hard for my cousin to believe: the pain of not having [my feelings returned] may be excruciating, and it may not be worth the turmoil of heartache, but choosing to take a chance and living life always is."Honestly, I didn't find Less completely endearing all the way through. Her insta-love and then love/hate relationship with Austin frustrated me, and her actions towards the latter half of the book made me like Less considerably less (you knew that pun was coming). The latter half of the book was where this book got knocked down for me, otherwise, it would have been a solid 4, maybe even 4.5 stars. She is also altogether too perfect to be truly realistic (with "raw, natural" acting talents, but I enjoyed her character all the same.
This book is not without its faults; I mentioned initially that it was filled with tropes, and it is. There is the bad-boy love interest (with a sad past, of course), the queen-bee bitch (who's more vulnerable than she lets on), the perky best friends, the love triangle, etc.
The most annoying part about this book was Austin. I understand that he needed to be there to help her learn to live life to the fullest, but he was just a jerk most of the time. I don't like the bad-boy act, I don't think a bad past is a good excuse to be an asshole. He is very condescending and patronizing towards Less, he calls her "Princess" in a denigrating manner all the time, and it just really got on my nerves. Their hot and cold relationship frustrated me, and even if she does not like Austin all the time and calls him out on his poor behavior, it was annoying to me to see the excuses Less makes on Austin's behalf.
Overall, still highly recommended for a light, fun read. ...more
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Aug 11, 2013
Aug 12, 2013
Aug 11, 2013
Aug 06, 2013
Aug 06, 2013
really liked it
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,” I whispered, in the faint light of the fire, after I’d calmed down and let my rage melt into sorrow. “Who is the faire
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,” I whispered, in the faint light of the fire, after I’d calmed down and let my rage melt into sorrow. “Who is the fairest of them all?”This is an alternative fairy tale, using the story of Rapunzel and Snow White, where Rapunzel is the evil queen. I was worried that it would be too literal of a combination of the two tales, but it was indeed a very well done interpretation of both stories, with just enough of a twist on both to make this book original without feeling like too many liberties were taken to completely screw up the original stories. I'm quite nitpicky when it comes to the latter, and this book satisfied all of my expectations.
The book shines in its characterization of Rapunzel and in the beautiful writing. I absolutely loved how Rapunzel was portrayed, and how her character grew from an innocent, naive teenager with the simple mindset of a sheltered child, to someone who could be utterly believable as a complex, seemingly evil Queen.
I have to admit, I had some really, really bad misgivings about this book when I first started reading it. I think it's understandable, because Rapunzel, in all of her naiveté does some unbelievably stupid things within the first 10% of the book that just made me want to throw the book down for good. For example:
- We find out that she remembers nothing about her life before living in the forest with her adopted mother, Mathena. Why? Mathena says her parents are bad people, and so has given her an amnesia-inducing herb to make her forget all the bad things that happened to Rapunzel when she was with them. Rapunzel completely buys it.
- Rapunzel meets and insta-loves the handsome Prince Josef. She then proceeds to go against Mathena's advice to stay away from him, and instantly hates her for denying Rapunzel the chance to meet him again, despite having trusted Mathena completely for the previous 10 years of her life.
- She casts a spell to seduce Prince Josef and make him fall even more in love with her...which turned out to be an unbelievably stupid decision.
Luckily, Rapunzel's character grows so much more after that. She is a stunningly beautiful wild child; growing up in the forest with her "witch" of a mother, she is so cloistered that her initial innocence can be forgiven. Through her heartbreak after her disastrous encounter with Prince Josef, she grows, over the next few years, into a wiser woman, but that in no way prepares her for her eventual destiny: that of becoming a queen.
Rapunzel is completely overwhelmed at court. She has only ever had Mathena for company, and her encounters with people were limited to the women who come to Mathena's cottage seeking herbal or magical assistance. She is scared, she is terrified, she is bewildered: talk about a fish out of water. For the past seven years, all Rapunzel has ever longed for is to be with her beloved prince---now king, but she is utterly unprepared for the ostentatiousness, the loudness, the sheer number of people surrounding her in her new life.
It is not an easy life, despite its opulence: the old ways mix with the new. Rapunzel's pagan upbringing with her knowledge of magic and herbs, is completely at odds with the new Christian ways of the court, where the previous queen's devoutness is legendary, and where an insidious, charming new priest, Father Martin, has enraptured the people. She has such a difficult time at first: the court is full of the malicious rumors of the new queen---a supposed witch---whom the king has married entirely too soon after the death of the beloved Queen Teresa.
Rapunzel endures their whispers, their gossip, their stares. She adapts, she learns, she matures, and she eventually becomes someone she hardly recognizes in the mirror.
I focused on my beauty, which was easier to control. I rarely ate, so that my waist would be more narrow. I used every spell I knew to make my skin smoother and my hair more lustrous, my eyes brighter. I had Clareta brush oils through my hair to make it shine.Her evolution is a heartbreaking one; Rapunzel has ample reasons for her pain, and I empathized with her through every moment of it. Rapunzel's narration and character development is the highlight of the story. I was pleasantly surprised at the depiction of the relationship between Rapunzel and Snow White, it was certainly nothing I had anticipated at all. Their relationship is real, Rapunzel's love for her is endearing, the progression of her jealousy, the insidious seeds that grew therein were brilliantly portrayed.
I loved the gradual resolution of the questions and mysteries throughout the book; the plot lines were resolved very well, and there were no blatant plot holes. The world is a vague idea of Europe, beautifully described, from the wildness of the forest to the ostentatious king's court; we are never given a definite time and place, but certain names and artworks are referred to (like Dante's Inferno and the Unicorn tapestry) to give us a feel of medieval Europe. There are well-built themes of old vs. new, good and evil, paganism vs. Christianity.
The characters are mostly well done, all the different relationships within the book were so well-built in their development and in their eventual failure. One flaw I found in the book is the characterization of Snow White. I didn't feel like Snow White was a good character. She is beautiful, certainly, but I felt that her character was a little...flat, compared to the rest. Outside of Rapunzel's complex relationship with her, as a character, Snow White is largely one-dimensional on her own.
The first part of the book was slow, but it eventually became such a wonderful story. This is how a fairy tale retelling should be done. ...more
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Aug 25, 2013
Aug 28, 2013
Aug 08, 2013