Aug 09, 2011
Sep 13, 2011
did not like it
I’ll have to decide: join Romeo or let the specter of my soul take me. I know I should be afraid for my future, but all I can think about is Ben.T
I’ll have to decide: join Romeo or let the specter of my soul take me. I know I should be afraid for my future, but all I can think about is Ben.This book mocks the original Juliet's weakness, only to have the newly improved Juliet just as fucking dumb as the original.
So the original Shakespeare version, Juliet met Romeo, fell in love, and died for love within three days. In this retelling of Juliet's story, before this book starts, Juliet still ran away with Romeo, and then said Romeo stabbed her and ate her like a zombie. Flesh and blood dripping from his mouth and everything. It was pretty neat.
Flash forward 700 years in which Juliet is older, wiser, more wary of the perils of insta-love? Fucking nope!
One would think a reimagined, powerful, supernatural Juliet would have learned a fucking lesson or two: nope!
This book was terrible. Here is why:
- A stupid, stupid main character who makes the same mistake as the original Juliet, made worse by the fact that she was KILLED the first time. She's ruled by her passions, there is no reason in her behavior.
- Insta-love, a love triangle between the new, improved zombie Romeo and new boy Ben Luna. Ben. Ben. GEE, I WONDER WHO BEN COULD BE?! It's not like he has a character with a similar name in Romeo and Juliet or anything!!!11
- Terrible side characters: basically, the stars of the book are Juliet and Ben. Nobody else need apply.
- Poor setting: The whole we're gonna give you renewed life so you can play Cupid? No.
- Poor female characters: Her best friend, her "mother," both uncaring, cruel, callous bitches, depicted as inferior to Juliet (insta-love Juliet) in every way.
- The premise: weak as Ben and Juliet's insta-love. The idea of a love ambassador is pretty bloody and neat until you take into consideration the fact that it doesn't make any sense at all, and I'm not talking about the suspension of disbelief and the supernatural element. I'm talking about the fact that the reasoning behind the soul mate thing makes no fucking sense.
He turns and our eyes meet, and that sense of knowing him hits, catching me in my empty gut. For a moment, the sadness and pain in his eyes is my pain, and I desperately want to make it better. I want to reach for him, hold him, whisper into the warm crook of his neck that everything is going to be okay, that I’ll make it that way.(Psst, that's the first time they meet)
Day 0.5 (because it takes place when the day's practically over):
Juliet is awake! Well, kind of. This ain't Shakespeare's Juliet...well, she's the inspiration for it, but the Shakespearean version was a falsehood, told to the dude by the sneaky, conniving son of a bitch that's Romeo. The real Juliet died at age 14, in 1304 Verona. Killed by the man she loved. And now Romeo is kind of a zombie. He reincarnates from one life to another, living constantly on earth as an immortal Mercenary, whereas Juliet only gets to come back to earth once in awhile, as an Ambassador. Think of her as Cupid, she makes sure that a pair of true lovers end up together, or else they will fall prey to the forces of darkness and one of them will die a horrible death like she did. At the hands of Romeo. Did I say that Romeo is a zombie? He's a total zombie.
...flesh in his teeth, blood dripping down his chin.So now Juliet has been given an assignment, she's given the body of Ariel Dragland, a stunningly beautiful, extremely thin platinum-blonde high school outcast with self-esteem issues and mommy problems. Yeah, an outcast, because she's a little bit scarred from being burned as a child.
So here's Juliet/Ariel. On earth. Almost dead from a car accident, and OH CRAP THERE'S ROMEO, now in the body of a boy named Dylan. Juliet/Ariel runs like fuck, Romeo is chasing after her (he's a fast zombie), and OMG YAY A CAR. She runs into the car, and is struck down by insta-love. The rescuer is a high school boy named Ben Luna. The attraction is immediate.
I’m suddenly very aware of him, as well, of his front warming my back, his thighs shifting beneath mine. I clear my throat, blushing for the first time in so long the strangeness of hot cheeks makes me blink.Ben is Mexican-American. He likes to uses randomly inserted Spanish words.
“Then this really isn’t your lucky night, chica."I almost typed "Mexican words" for a moment before I caught myself. Lol. We all have our brain farts.
So crazy zombie Romeo/Dylan is after Ariel/Juliet. They go to the same high school. Hooray! Doesn't matter. What's important is BEN. BEN. She feels such...familiarity with him, she feels an intense longing for him, despite knowing Ben that night for all of 1 hour.She wants to kiss him as he drops her off.
I stay and let him come closer, closer, until I can feel the heat of his lips and imagine just how perfect they’ll feel, how perfect he’ll taste, how—She can't stop thinking about him for the rest of the night.
I fist the damp wipe in my hand, reining in the part of me that aches for this boy with the big brown eyes.Famous last words.
Ben is Mexican.
"Dulces sueños, Mermaid.”Day 2: So Juliet's still got a job to do, right? She's got to find the designated couple of soulmates and make them fall in love or else one of them will die a horrible horrible death. Nobody wants that, except for Romeo. Awesome. So where are they? As it turned out, one of the couple is Gemma, Juliet/Ariel's best friend since second grade. The one girl who has befriended Ariel despite the entire class neglecting and making fun of her. There's an aura over her head. Gemma is 1/2 of the soulmate.
And then I turn back to Gemma...lost in the rosy glow surrounding her chest.And the other 1/2 of the soulmates?
Ben. Something in my gut twists and for a moment I’m dizzy, weightless, as if the floor has been ripped from beneath me, but I don’t know which way to fall.Well, awesome! Best friend in love and designated to be soulmates with the guy who saved her the other night. What could be better? Well, for starters, JULIET CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT BEN.
I shake my head. This has to stop. I can’t go to pieces every time I see his face. I have to pull it together, be a good influence, make sure he commits to the love of his life and lives happily ever after.But it doesn't. Juliet can't stop thinking about him. Romeo is on her ass. And Ben is still determined to prove to us that he's Mexican.
Ben laughs. “Dios mio. Fine, crazy woman.”Day 3: GEMMA. THAT BITCH. SHE'S SO NOT WORTHY OF BEN. I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE HER TO BEN.
Gemma’s thoughtless at best, mean-spirited and selfish at worst, and I want so much better for Ben.What?! Where the fuck did that come from?! Ok, so Juliet's in love with Ben. Romeo's still there declaring his undying (that was a zombie joke) love for Juliet if only she'd give him another chance. And Ben? After three (ok, 2.2?) days of knowing her, this is how he feels.
“I’m not doing this right, and I know I sound crazy, but...I love you. I could see myself loving you for a long time.”Well, that escalated quickly. Three days. Three motherfucking days.
“I love you. I want to do everything with you. I want to marry you and have kids with you and get old with you. And then I want to die the day before you do, so I never have to live without you.”[image]
NOOOOOOOOOOO. WHYYYYYYYYYYYY. Do your fucking job, Juliet. Need I remind you of what would happen if you don't unite the soulmates?
These two are my job, and if I don’t do it, one of them will die. Either they commit to each other or one of them commits murder and becomes a Mercenary. That’s the way it goes. Every. Single. Time.Fuck you, Juliet, you stupid bitch. YOU HAD ONE JOB.
Ben is still Mexican.
“Dios mio,” Ben says.Juliet:
How can I think of loving someone again? How have I let this happen? Even if it weren’t forbidden, haven’t I learned my lesson?Apparently not. Juliet is a motherfucking moron. She's techniaclly over 700 years old, but she hasn't spent all that time on Earth.
I’ve seen centuries pass, but I died when I was fourteen and have spent less than twenty conscious years on earth.20 years. That's a long time as an adult. Time spent being Cupid, making soulmates meet. She's been betrayed by love. She's seen the harm love can do. She knows the consequences of destined soulmates NOT falling in love, and she doesn't learn a motherfucking thing. She fell into insta-love with Romeo and elopes. He kills her. One would think she would know better not to fall into insta-love again. After THREE MOTHERFUCKING DAYS. She knows that the soulmates who aren't together will end up in a horrible death. SHE IGNORES THAT FOR HER OWN MOTHERFUCKING INSTA-LOVE. Gemma doesn't deserve him, says Juliet, the worst fucking Cupid ever.
Not only that, she's determined to destroy the only friendship thar her borrowed body, Ariel, has. Gemma is her only friend. Ariel suffers from crippling shyness. Ariel has no other friends. And yet Juliet as Ariel sees fit to steal away her best friend's soulmate.
She and Gemma are so different. It’s amazing they’ve stayed friends for as long as they have.That would be such a fucking cute sentiment if Juliet didn't steal away Ben under poor Gemma's nose.
Oh my god, the love. THE LOVE. Juliet is so fucking purple-prosey-lovey-dovey. She can't contain her fucking emotions for Ben, a boy whom, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but SHE'S KNOWN HIM FOR LESS THAN THREE DAYS. By the end of day 2, she's ready to declare her love. It's pure insta-love. There is no emotion behind it. She feels the familiarity, the desire, that's it. One little word from him is like AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH MOTHERFUCKING CHERUBS SINGING FROM HEAVEN. Juliet is easily impressed.
Romeo might have praised my loveliness with lyrical poetry, but he never made me feel as beautiful as Ben did when he said four simple words.Puh-please. Is that all it takes to get her to drop her panties? Be a little better than that. Have more fucking depths than that. Am I to believe that Juliet is a motherfucking Immortal Warrior? Fucking no.
The Girl Hate:
"You’re the one who messed up when you got pregnant when you were nineteen."Way to be a bitch to your own mother. Well, to Ariel's mother, but it's Ariel who's going to have to live with the consequences.
This book hates women. Juliet/Ariel's mother is a careless person. Unfeeling about her daughter's feelings. Terrible at showing her love, even if Juliet acknowledges that she does love her daughter.
She means that she cares, no matter how bad she is at showing it.Her best friend Gemma, is also another careless person.
The hard light in Gemma’s eyes fades, and for a second I can see that she cares. Or that she wants to care.So none of the female side characters in this book is careing and loving and nice at all. To be fair, none of the guys in this book are any good, either, but the female characters are prominent, and I hate the female hate in this book.
Gemma is a bitch. She doesn't deserve the angelic Ben.
Gemma is a vindictive, selfish, spoiled girl who doesn’t deserve Ariel and certainly doesn’t deserve Ben’s love.Every attempt is made in this book to paint Gemma in a bad light, including making her the beautiful outcast rich girl, to making her a slutty character who plays around with boys like they were toys (and therefore deserves her heartbreak).
Ben! The Abusive Romantic!:
“He was only protecting her.”Oh, I'm sorry, did I accidentally read a New Adult novel? Ben is violent. He's beaten up people before. He's gotten arrested for it. But it's ok, because Ben was doing it for the sake of other people. He only beats up the bad guys ~_~ Therefore his violence is TOTALLY justified.
Ben flirts with Juliet/Ariel while dating her best friend.
I would almost swear that Ben is flirting. With me. Right in front of his soul mate. Which is so bad that bad can’t even begin to describe it.Uh, yah, you took the words right out of my mouth.
Ben, who speaks with the eloquence of a thousand John Mayers.
“I know you,” he says, with a quiet assurance that threatens to make my tears start all over again. “I know you’re strong and as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. I know you like to eat and hate Shakespeare—at least the love stories—and would do anything for a friend. I know you’re an artist, and you made a wall of bricks look like it should be hanging in a museum."Ben, who is Mexican.
“Olvida la escuela,” he says, anger in his eyes....more
Notes are private!
May 22, 2014
May 22, 2014
May 22, 2014
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
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
Notes are private!
May 06, 2014
May 07, 2014
Apr 23, 2014
Sep 02, 2014
Sep 02, 2014
did not like it
This is one of the most shallow, insipid YA paranormal books I have ever read. It is filled with descriptions of clothes, descriptions of beautiful, w This is one of the most shallow, insipid YA paranormal books I have ever read. It is filled with descriptions of clothes, descriptions of beautiful, wealthy people, meaning-filled loving gazes, and not much more than that.
I might get more complexity from the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine.
He looks up as we pass, and for an instant, our eyes meet, and it feels like the world slows on its axis.Most voodoo books I've read have been, well, doodoo. This book totally sucked, too, but here's the difference. It's still a steaming pile of poo, but it's shit that doesn't stink. It's shit that has no personality. Instead of a fresh, steaming pile of crap, this is fecal matter that's been dried, dunked in bleach, and then encased in plastic because all the character (however stinky) that made the poo interesting in the first place has been completely removed from it.
This book is as whitewashed as voodoo gets. It's an insult to the original religion.
1. A special, different main character
3. A love triangle between a mysterious (and light-skinned black boy!) and a nice, sweet boy-next-door type (shocking!)
4. The most flavorless Southern atmosphere I have ever encountered within a book. This is the South, but don't worry, there's nothing that resembles it in our town, because it's a fucking magical town that looks like a picturesque New England town, y'all
5. Voodoo that has been sanitized within an inch of its life. It's closer to a bastardized version of chanting underneath the moonlight Wicca than anything remotely like the original African/West Indies religion.
6. More clothes than magic. More brand-dropping than paranormal. Chanel. Bling. Furs. Bring on the wealth.
“Look, I’m all for the idea of bringing a bunch of hot college guys to town, but are you sure we should be opening the gates if a bunch of magic-haters are out to kill us?”We're the Dolls and we are. Fab. U. Lous.
We are the Queen Bees of Pointe Laveau high school. We are the descendants of Voodoo practitioners, our families rule the town, and we do anything we please.
We can have anything we want. Good grades. Fabulous clothes. Immunity from teachers’ punishments. Control over everything. Lust and love from whatever boys we choose. It’s all ours. Doesn’t that interest you?”We are stunningly beautiful, all of us.
Across the group of mourners, two impossibly beautiful girls are staring right at me. One is a beautiful honey blonde with perfectly tanned skin. The other, who’s even more stunning, has glistening cocoa skin, a perfect model’s body, and mounds of wildly gorgeous ebony curls.We rule the school. Pointe Laveau is within Carrefour, Louisiana, a town for the ultra-rich. Even among the wealthy, we are the elites.
We wear the most stunning clothes, and we hope you like seeing clothing descriptions because they are on practically every page. But we're worth it, our clothes are all designer, and they deserve to be shown off.
She’s paired her oxford with a set of Chanel pearls featuring a diamond-encrusted, interlocking double C. Her high-heeled Mary Janes are studded with what look like diamonds, and her hair is artfully mussed.The school has a dress code? Oh, you don't say. Guess what, we don't give a flying fuck.
Fuck classes. Fuck the drinking age. Alcohol in school? Why the eff not.
“Gin and tonic?” Arelia asks eagerly as she smoothes a corner of the blanket. It’s cashmere, I notice. “Or would you prefer champagne today?”Our lunches are catered. We don't eat in the cafeteria like the bourgeoisie. Everywhere we go, we are trailed by an adoring crowd of admirers.
Not only are they undoubtedly the most gorgeous girls in school, but they’re being trailed by a crowd of adoring-looking guys as they sweep into the cafeteria in a cloud of expensive perfume.Our version of Voodoo involving dancing around a circle to open the protective gates of our community in order to meet boys.
“Dandelion and mojo beans, sandalwood and lemon balm, we draw your power. Spirits, open the gates of Carrefour on Saturday night.”Eveny, we welcome you to our circle. First on the itinerary to become a voodoo queen: a makeover.
"We’re getting you a haircut and a makeover on Thursday after school. We’ve already scheduled an appointment for you at Cristof’s Salon.”Eveny:
The thing is, I’ve always felt a half step different from everyone else.Meet your main character, Eveny. About to turn 17, she is your typical special, different main character with immensely powerful power who doesn't do jack shit to earn it. A descendant of a powerful Voodoo Queen, Eveny holds tremendous powers...powers of which she doesn't have a fucking clue. Powers that she has never learned. Power that she has never earned. Powers that comes through her only through the lucky accident of her birth. Give me a break.
I hate characters who have no merit. I hate characters who inherit everything by the basis of luck. Eveny is wealthy because of who she is. Eveny is powerful because of her bloodline. She never fucking has to earn anything. She never works hard for anything. I have zero respect for her. She knows The Dolls are shallow, and yet she feels a connection to them anyway, she slums with the poor kids, she can similarly chill with the rich kids. She dangles a guy along while lusting after another. Eveny is a character without character.
“It’s like one big country club,” I say.Expecting an authentic, drowsy, languid, atmospheric Louisiana setting? You're shit out of luck.
You want hot weather? Swamps? Fuck you. The privileged gated community of Carrefour in which Eveny lives is magically climate-controlled. There are flowers and temperate climates year-round. There are McMansions everywhere. Designer boutiques. French bakeries. It's like fucking Beverly Hills. There is no local flavor, unless our precious precious fucking Eveny decides to slum it out and go into the slump for a crawfish boil. And even then, the crawfish is frozen. What kind of self-respecting Louisianan eats frozen crawfish?
There is almost nothing of the Southern atmosphere that I love so much. The gated community of Carrefour might as well be anywhere, and indeed, it is described as looking like an "Atlantic seaside resort." Fuck that, seriously. The town is so tremendously wealthy, and the wealthy areas, not the actual, realistic South, is where we spend most of the time. There was no fucking point to this book being in the South, besides the fact that the setting is used as an excuse for the fuck-up sanitized version of "Voodoo" within this book.
And speaking of "voodoo."
"At one time our ancestors were very powerful practitioners of voodoo. But in 1863, they, along with Peregrine’s and Chloe’s ancestors, struck their own deal with the fates because they felt voodoo was getting too commercialized."This is what passes for voodoo in this book. It's practically Wicca in its cleanliness. It's herbs, dancing, a few cute little voodoo dolls. Now, I know that voodoo isn't the bloody sport that it's portrayed as in the media. I know that it's not all animal sacrifice. I know it's a peaceful religion, I don't expect gore and magic and screaming. I, however, expect more than....
...some sort of sorority ritual.And more than...
“There are a few things to know: First, all charms have to start with asking Eloi Oke to open the gate so that we can talk to the spirits. Second, they all have to involve herbs or flowers, because we channel our power from them. Third, they always have to be specific. Like you can’t say, ‘Make all the boys fall in love with me.’ Instead you’d have to ask for your own beauty enhancements, or ask for the love of a specific guy. Or both.”The Romance: There is insta-love. There is a love triangle. Eveny falls into insta-love with a...
“But I mean the one with the blue eyes,” I mumble.Are you kidding me? Can't you just make the love interest, you know completely black? Why does he have to be light-skinned? Why does a black guy have to have blue eyes? Oh, I get it, it's striking, but I can't help but feel so severely disappointed that what feels like copping-out on the issue of a person-of-color love interest.
Oh, and the love triangle. That fucking love triangle. Between the light-skinned black guy Caleb whom every girl in town lusts after, and nice guy Drew, whom she just can't bring herself to care about, despite the fact that he's obviously in insta-love with her.
I wish I weren’t thinking about Caleb. I wish I hadn’t spent the last twenty-four hours daydreaming about being pressed up against the solid chest I’d collided with outside the library.As if I didn't make it quite clear: so not recommended.
All quotes were taken from an uncorrected review copy subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Jun 24, 2014
Jun 25, 2014
Apr 01, 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.[image]
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.[image]
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.[image]
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
Feb 04, 2014
Feb 05, 2014
it was amazing
Actual rating: 4.5
The girl whose beauty was once fabled became a horrifying monster.Actual rating: 4.5
The girl whose beauty was once fabled became a horrifying monster.Percy Jackson's dad is not only guilty of being an absentee father, he is a rapist. The Gorgon Medusa knows it well; she is one of his victims.
This book is just so fucking good. So fantastically amazing. I'm practically allergic to giving 5 stars, but I can pretty much guarantee you that this ranks among one of my favorite books this year. I have scarcely read a retelling of modern-day Greek gods and goddesses that is more faithful to the original. I have scarcely encountered a character who is more sympathetic, so loveable, whose story is as heartbreaking as Medusa's.
Medusa's personality is amazing. She is so strong, yet so unsure of herself; so scared, so damaged from her past, so fearful to love, but never resistant to it. As a victim of rape, she hates herself, and she has to come to terms with the fact that she is a victim. Needless to say, I absolutely adored Medusa's character, and I'm not going to have a separate section on her character analysis or else this review will run the length of an entire book.
The Greek Gods may be deities, but they are quite human in their imperfection. Many of them are benevolent. Some of them are, gently put, petulant, sulky, fantastically moronic motherfuckers. Humans throughout the ages have suffered grievously at their hands. These poor mortals have been cursed, some justly, most unfairly, and nobody is less deserving of their punishment than Medusa.
Summary: You might have heard of Medusa. A terrifying creature with snakes upon her head. So monstrous that anyone who gazes upon her turns into stone. She was raped by Poseidon while serving as a maid to the goddess Athena. Instead of pitying Medusa, Athena scorned her, cursed her, doomed her to an eternity of misery and solitude.
So much for Athena's reputation as the Goddess of Wisdom.
Medusa's skin is lizard-like, she has a tail. Her head teems with slithering snakes. She calls her snakes "The Girls." The Girls may be snakes, but they are sweet, gentle creatures. They are oftentimes her only companion.
They are gentle creatures, individually named by me but normally referred to as a whole, since they intertwine together more often than not. More importantly, they abhor death just as avidly as I do.Medusa is monstrous in appearance, but she is not a monster. Medusa is all too human at heart, she is kind, compassionate, she is gentle, loving. She hates being a monster.
And it sucks. It genuinely, truly, absolutely, unequivocally sucks. I hate stealing lives.Medusa is still broken and haunted by her rape, 2000 years afterwards.
There are few who love her, looking like she does. Friendship is hard for one whose looks can kill. Even so, isolated on the Greek isle of Gorgona, Medusa leads a quiet life. She has two friends, a kindly, old, blind fisherman named Mikkos, and then there is the god Hermes.
Hermes is her best friend. The golden, kind, gentle (Vans sneaker-wearing) god is the only one who has sought her company and friendship throughout her curse. Hermes is kind, persistent. He seeks her out, he has never abandoned her.
I loathed and feared him at first, convinced he would abuse me like his relatives had, but he is a persistent thing. It took years—literally, hundreds of years—but he chipped away at my shell with acts of kindness small and large.Hermes has a knight-in-shining armor thing going on.
He is always trying to right wrongs, save people, and make the world a better place, which is one of the things I love best about him.And his latest mission, in fact, a mission he has been trying to accomplish ever since Medusa has been cursed---is to free her from her monstrous existence; Hermes intends to right a wrong that has been allowed to fester for too long.
“The simple fact is, my uncle raped you, and somehow my bat-shit insane sister blamed and cursed you for it happening in one of her temples. In no way did you deserve what happened to you.” He shakes his head slowly as he closes in on me. “You’ve born it better than any other person I could ever imagine. It’s time for it to end, though. I sorely regret not doing anything earlier.”Medusa is scared, terrified at the prospect. She has suffered this punishment too long, she is too resigned to her miserable existence. Medusa does not dare to hope that she might regain a normal life. But maybe...after all these millenias, it is time to allow herself a spark of optimism.
Before—I had no say in my punishment. I’ve born it quietly....and off they go to Olympus.
The Greek Pantheon is not altogether bad. They can be kind, and luckily for Medusa, they are reasonable. They realize that they're not perfect, and their sister, the goddess Athena...is kind of a bitch. How else do you explain the punishment, the shaming, the utter hatred of a girl who has been raped?
Athena is sitting next to Poseidon. Her hair is in a tight bun, her expression sour as she peers down at me. There is disdain there, and something else—something I can’t quite pinpoint. But whatever it is, I am more than aware of her revulsion, and it saddens me. I worshipped her. Served her. “How many times do I need to say it? The little whore got what she deserved.”Luckily, Medusa has defenders. There are gods and goddesses who believe in her innocence. Like the fantastically awesome Hades, lord of the Underworld.
“Niece,” he stresses, mimicking her formality, “this isn’t the first time you’ve overstepped your bounds by punishing innocents; this one just so happens to be the last remaining victim. If you even try to spew that victim blaming crap again, I’ll take you down to the Underworld with me for a spell. Maybe then you can understand what true justice entails.”That glorious motherfucker. LET ME LOVE YOU, HADES.
Medusa may be freed of her curse, but it's just the beginning. She has not been human in a long time. She has forgotten what it feels like to be freed. She has to learn to love again, to trust again, she has to undergo physical therapy...she needs to learn to be angry.
“Anger is good. I can work with anger. She doesn’t need your coddling, Nymph-girl. She needs somebody to help her kick some ass.” His lips curl so high that I swear, the corner of one side of his mouth closes in on an ear. “And I can do that.”Enemies from her past resurfaces, and as good as her current life is in Olympus, peace doesn't come without a price. There are people who want their vengeance.
But Medusa has allies now, she has friends, she is no longer alone. She has a lover who will not give up on her.
Another kiss, a light brush across the center of my lips. “I will fight for us, Medusa. I will not give up. Please do not give up on yourself, either. Never forget that I love you. Never forget that you mean everything to me.”The Setting & The Writing: It is modern time, and the setting works perfectly. Medusa is isolated, but she knows about the modern world, she has technology, gifts from the outside world brought to her by her friend Hermes. He can travel the world outside, she cannot; he brings the world to her.
The gods and goddesses of Greek mythology have grown, adapted to their time. They live in Mount Olympus, and they have modern technology (Hades uses an iPad). They have grown perfectly to fit the modern era. They are not so incongruous with the time at all.
The setting is a modern-day imagining of Olympus, and it fits perfectly. Olympus is a city, beyond the reach of mortals. There is technology in it, there are modern shops and restaurants in it. It is populated by nymphs, gods and goddesses, satyrs and centaurs. Welcome to the 21st century.
The writing flows perfectly. It is evocative, it reaches emotional depths. Medusa's narrative is in first-person, and it is modern enough, although rather formal, and it never feels inconsistent or out of place. The writing is absolutely spot-on.
The Greek Pantheon: I found the portrayal of the Greek gods and goddesses very authentic to the originals. Let's get the big issue over with: the portrayal of Athena as an insane batshit. This is controversial, but I accept it. For one thing, it is true that in Greek mythology, Athena cursed poor Medusa to be monstrous, despite the fact that the girl did nothing wrong. Therefore, the portrayal of Athena as less-than-flattering in this book is completely acceptable to me. I agree with Hades' assessment of his sister.
“For somebody who is supposedly the bastion of wisdom,” Hades continues darkly, “you do a piss-poor job of exhibiting it yourself.”As well as Hermes'.
His voice matches mine. “No. It’s like I said—she’s insane. Her being named the purveyor of wisdom is one of the greatest of cosmic jokes.”The gods and goddesses are modernized, as fitting the time, but the main aspects of their personality remains very true. Zeus is pretty awesome. And totally chill.
He is lounging in his throne, dressed in a t-shirt, torn shorts, and flip-flops. There is no beard, no mustache—just sandy hair and weathered, tan skin.The gods are reasonable. They squabble among themselves, like a big, boisterous Greek family.
“Cease your frivolity, cow,” Athena hisses at her sister.We meet so many of the gods and goddesses. We get to know Persephone and Hades as Medusa lives with them for awhile. Hades likes coffee, Persephone hates it. Hades and Persephone loves each other, despite what Medusa knew of them from legends.
It is obvious he and Persephone are deeply in love, which is yet another surprise. Like most everyone, I’ve read the stories of how he’d kidnapped her and held her against her will half the year in the Underworld. Only, Persephone doesn’t act like a kidnapped victim ought to act; that, or she’s an excellent actress who suffers heavily from Stockholm syndrome. She dotes on his words, as he does to hers.There is Aphrodite and her husband, Hephaestus. Aphrodite is wonderful, gorgeous; as kind as she is beautiful.
I so loved the way the gods and goddesses are written in this book.
The Romance: There is a romance in this book, and it is completely understandable. The love in this book comes pretty fast, but it develops from friendship, from a history of knowing each other for thousands of years. I understand it, I support it, and I completely adore the couple.
And I want to give Medusa a hug for daring to love again, for finding the strength to look for love and to accept it after the traumatic events of her rape.
He murmurs sweet words of comfort, ones that do not rush me to wrap up nor belittle me for my outburst. And I know, just know, in this moment that I love him. That I am in love with him.And he, in turns, is the best of lover, the most wonderful, compassionate, loving of friends.
“You have a goodness in you others would have long let die away in such circumstances. This is what I fell in love with. Not your body—which, I won’t lie, I enjoy very much, or your beautiful hair (because you know I most certainly was fascinated with your snakes, too), or those eyes of yours I find myself so easily lost in on a regular basis. Dusa, I love you. Who you are."This is such a wonderful book. ...more
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Feb 20, 2014
Feb 21, 2014
Feb 20, 2014
Jun 28, 2005
Mar 01, 2006
really liked it
Chiron looked surprised. “I thought that would be obvious enough. The entrance to the Underworld is in Los Angeles.”As someone who has worked in L
Chiron looked surprised. “I thought that would be obvious enough. The entrance to the Underworld is in Los Angeles.”As someone who has worked in Los Angeles, I can tell you that this is completely accurate.
While Harry Potter was spending his summers at the Dursleys, Percy Jackson attended Camp Half-Blood. This book has done the impossible: it has redeemed the name of Percy.
Yes, that's right, that snot-faced, lily-livered waste of air of the very same name from the Harry Potter universe. That name is now relegated to the ranks of "acceptable," because of my love for this book.
Perseus (Percy) Jackson is the kind of kid with whom you can't help sympathizing. He is the type that's born under a dark star, because inevitably, wherever he goes, whatever he does, however good his intentions, he can't help but fuck everything up. Everything that can, does and will go wrong. A simple field trip can turn into a disaster in seconds.
Jay-Z's got 99 problems, Percy might have more. He nearly flunks all his classes, he's got dyslexia, he's got ADHD, and then there's Nancy Bobofit.
Nancy Bobofit appeared in front of me with her ugly friends—I guess she’d gotten tired of stealing from the tourists—and dumped her half-eaten lunch in Grover’s lap.Nancy Bobofit is not a major character in the book. I have to mention her because her character resounded with me. I had my own Nancy Bobofit back in grade school, only her name is Mimi. Nearly 2 decades later, the memory of her horrible face still makes me shudder. But I digress.
As if the bullies aren't bad enough, his dad is a no-show, his stepfather is LITERALLY named Ugli, and there are crones foretelling Percy's death as well as a minotaur chasing his ass around. AND NOBODY'S TELLING HIM A SINGLE FUCKING THING. What's with all the secrecy, man?
As it turned out, Percy is *whispers* special. He is a half-blood, meaning one of his parents is a Greek deity. He gets sent to Camp Half-Blood, with roughly 100 other kids like him.
It's a freaky place for a kid who's known nothing but relative normalcy his entire life. All of a sudden, he's playing Pinochle with a Greek God (Dionysus---what a drunk), his best friend Grover turns out to be a satyr, and the gorgeous blond girl who rescues him thinks he's a doofus and she keeps calling him "seaweed brain."
To be fair, Percy had it coming. He is kind of a seaweed brain.
"Another time, Athena and Poseidon competed to be the patron god for the city of Athens. Your dad created some stupid saltwater spring for his gift. My mom created the olive tree. The people saw that her gift was better, so they named the city after her.”Not your best moment, Percy.
As it turned out, Percy IS special. His dad is one of the Big Three gods. Which kind of sucks, because that's not supposed to happen.
“About sixty years ago, after World War II, the Big Three agreed they wouldn’t sire any more heroes. Their children were just too powerful."A lot of people would think it was pretty cool to have such a powerful dad...not really.
Now that I was declared a son of one of the Big Three gods who weren’t supposed to have kids, I figured it was a crime for me just to be alive.Not only does Percy have to struggle to fit in at Camp Half-Blood, but there's some shit going on in Mount Olympus. The gods are fighting again (when are they not)...
"During the winter solstice, at the last council of the gods, Zeus and Poseidon had an argument. The usual nonsense: ‘Mother Rhea always liked you best,’ ‘Air disasters are more spectacular than sea disasters,’ et cetera."...and consequently, like a brother playing a prank on his younger siblings, someone's stuff was stolen. And Zeus thinks that his bro, Poseidon, put Percy up to it.
Of course, blame the poor kid. Now Percy is shit out of luck YET AGAIN, and he's got no choice but to go on this huge stupid quest into the underworld (Los Angeles, ha!) to clear his name.
He's not alone, he's accompanied by the snarky, gorgeous, fiercely competent Annabeth (she of the seaweed brain name-calling), as well as the most incompetent satyr that ever lived.
In his pocket was a set of reed pipes his daddy goat had carved for him, even though he only knew two songs: Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 12 and Hilary Duff’s “So Yesterday,” both of which sounded pretty bad on reed pipes.It's going to be a loooooooong trip to the Underworld.
The Setting: THIS. THIS IS HOW YOU DO GREEK MYTHOLOGY. I am a Greek mythology buff. I FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK. This book is just absolutely fucking perfect in every way when it comes to rewriting and reinterpreting the Greek pantheon. It is so hilariously, awesomely irreverent, but completely fitting. The gods are reimagined, but they stay true to their true nature, and the myths are retold in a cheeky, flippant manner that had me giggling my ass off. This book is so fantastically snarky to the Greek gods. Everything is incredibly well-explained to a lay audience, like how the Greek gods can't seem to keep it in their pants.
Annabeth nodded. “Your father isn’t dead, Percy. He’s one of the Olympians.”And apparently, the habit runs true for both male and female goddesses.
“What? You assume it has to be a male god who finds a human female attractive? How sexist is that?”The existence of Greek gods and goddesses themselves are well explained, and believable.
“Come now, Percy. What you call ‘Western civilization.’ Do you think it’s just an abstract concept? No, it’s a living force. A collective consciousness that has burned bright for thousands of years. The gods are part of it."I had my doubts about the execution of the premise of Greek mythology, and all my doubts have been destroyed. his book does great justice to the Greek gods, it is the most faithful rendition than I have ever read.
The Characters: Yes, Percy is a special snowflake, but HELL, I LOVED THE LITTLE SHIT. He's got a special destiny. He is a special child. I DON'T CARE. Percy is such a sympathetic character, and although he won't be replacing Harry Potter in my heart any time soon, there is a special spot for him. He can give up pretty fast. He's kind of a wimp, but you know, finding out that you're a hald-blooded demigod is kind of a big deal, and I understand his attitude of "GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE."
I didn’t know what else to do. I waved back.He doesn't really want to do anything big. He's pretty stupid sometimes (Auntie Em, geez), he's not exactly heroic. He only does the heroic shit when there are no other options.
“All right,” I said. “It’s better than being turned into a dolphin.”I loved Annabeth, she is all I could want from a female supporting character. I can't say that I'm fond of Grover...but I can't help feeling that we'll be seeing more of him in the future.
“But a quest to . . .” Grover swallowed. “I mean, couldn’t the master bolt be in some place like Maine? Maine’s very nice this time of year.”Overall: a fantastic book. A good middle grade book makes you feel like a child again, and this book did just the trick. I found myself giggling throughout the book, and an hour after reading it, there's still a smile on my face that can't be wiped off. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 15, 2014
Feb 15, 2014
Feb 15, 2014
Jun 03, 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 “loo
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 Lumi [image]
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
Mar 04, 2014
Mar 04, 2014
Actual rating: 3.5
If you liked the Grave Mercy series, you will love this book. Frankly, I found Grave Mercy to be boring as fuck, and I ended up liki Actual rating: 3.5
If you liked the Grave Mercy series, you will love this book. Frankly, I found Grave Mercy to be boring as fuck, and I ended up liking this book a lot better. If you are a fan of the video games Prince of Persia, Assassin's Creed, you will find the setting in this book pretty fucking awesome, because that's where we are, yo!
Mysterious sect of assassins training in a desert hideout? Check!
Crusadin' Templars? Check!
Saladin? (Yes, THAT Saladin!). Check!
There is political intrigue, there is vengeance, there is bloodshed. If you're in need of your lords and ladies and palaces, there is that, too; we spend a considerable amount of time spying within the royal courts of Medieval Jerusalem.
This is one of the more unusual books I've read. It is set in the time of the Crusades, in Syria. The heroine is a Muslim (Saracen ) girl who trains to be an Assassin. Don't worry, there is nothing preachy and religious about this book. I am the first to cry bloody fucking murder if a book tries to impress religion upon me; this book talks about religion, both Christian and Islam, with a more analytical perspective, appropriate to the historical time period. This book is about a Muslim warrior girl, but it does not try to push any religion upon its reader at all.
There are a number of good things about this book:
1. An assassin girl who actually kills
2. An assassin girl who's completely uninterested in pretty pretty clothes; SHE WANTS VENGEANCE, BLOODY VENGEANCE
3. Believable characterization (and "damaged," she is raped, and she has to come to terms with her self-loathing)
4. No insta-love, no love triangle, light on the romance
5. An awesome setting
6. No girl-on-girl hate, positive portrayal of other female characters
So why the 3.5 instead of 5?
1. More assassin, please
2. The beginning & the plot - it took quite some time for this book to get going
3. The writing - it was good, not great; no purple prose, but the writing didn't have anything amazing going for it. There was a lot of telling, and it lacked the kind of brilliant psychoanalytical insight I seek. The writing is action-filled, but I found it to be very much dry at some points. It just lacks pure emotion.
4. The flashbacks - again, in the beginning, there was a considerable amount of flashback that dragged the story down considerably
5. The magic - it felt completely unnecessary, it was largely unexplained; I felt that the main character and the book itself, would have been stronger without it
6. The names. WHY ZAYN? Most of the Muslim characters in the book have somewhat normal names, but I just don't really get why the main character has to have such a strange, outlandish name that does not befit the time period.
The Summary: Zayn is a 17-year old Saracen (Muslim) girl, living in the village of Rafaniyah with her mother, Miriam. We are in Syria, in the time of the Medieval Crusades. Their little village has been conquered by the Frankish lords, and they are serfs who harvest olives for a living.
Zayn is not a well-loved girl within her village. She is a bastard. Her mother, Miriam, is shunned for having a child out of wedlock. She is branded a whore. Her daughter is little more than disgrace. Zayn doesn't know who her father is---her mother keeps that a closely guarded secret, but Zayn has always been different, she is stronger, faster than others; she feels a fire within her when she gets enraged.
Zayn turns down a forced marriage to a village leaders' son; in vengeance, the village turns against her.
The villagers claim that Zayn is a witch. They say that her mother is a whore. Guy de Molay, the village's Templar leader, captures them. Guy de Molay burns her mother at the stakes, he forces Zayn to watch that fiery death, he rapes Zayn.
Zayn survives the rape, but she wants to die. On her way to kill herself, she is interrupted by a man. He has an offer for her.
“Be reasonable. If I leave you here, you will most likely die, and Guy de Molay wins. Come with me, and you get your chance at retribution. Which option appeals to you more?”Come with him, train to be an assassin. Use her extraordinary strength to be an asset. In return, he will help her get revenge on Guy de Molay.
The man's name is Junaid, he is a Commander with the Assassins, a heretical sect of Islam. They are little more than mercenaries. They are spies, killers, in a truce with the great warrior, Saladin. Zayn is to become one of them. There is no room for weakness, there is no time for self-pity. It is a brutal test to become an Assassin, and it doesn't matter that Zayn is a woman. She has to survive, she has to excel like anyone else to become one of them. Failure is not an option. There is no room for fear.
Junaid did not smile back. His eyes were hard. “I cannot teach you if you are afraid. Faithful Ones are chosen not only because of strength of mind and body, but also strength of character. You will be expelled at the slightest sign of weakness, and I will take you back to the sheepherder’s shed so that you may finish what I interrupted.”Zayn trains, day in and out. She fights. She hones her skills. Not everyone is her friend, in fact, almost nobody is; Zayn is a woman, reviled, distrusted for the rumors regarding her strength. Zayn is hated by her male peers, she is seen as filthy because she is a woman, because she menstruates.
“I speak for many of us when I say this,” Bashar continued, ignoring her. “We do not think she belongs here. She will only cause us trouble. Furthermore, it has come to our attention that she is currently unclean.” He watched Zayn’s jaw drop with relish. “We strongly believe she should abstain from handling holy texts and training with us until she is clean again.”That douchebag.
Zayn undergoes extensive training. She learns to fight, she learns social graces, courtly etiquette. It doesn't come second nature to Zayn, because she is not a girly girl, but these skills will come in handy, for Zayn's next mission will take place in the royal courts in Jerusalem, as a lady-in-waiting to a noblewoman, Lady Marguerite.
In Jerusalem, a childhood friend will resurface. A former crush, which may grow to be something more, if he doesn't blow her disguise first. Zayn has a lot to overcome, including her own passion, her anger (which is so thoroughly justified)...
“Your anger,” he interrupted, his voice firm but gentle. Like his eyes. “She says your passion burns brightly in your face, Zayn. How will you deceive a Frank, a lady, a knight, when your hatred for them is so clearly written in your eyes?”And her own self-loathing because of her rape.
You are ruined, and no man will ever love you.The Setting: This is such an unusual setting, and I absolutely loved it. I can probably count on one hand the number of books with a Middle-Eastern medieval setting. I hate to use the word exotic, but that's what it was. It is different, it is unusual, it's not something you encounter every day in a book. We are taken from small olive-farming villages to the large town of Acre. It is glorious, brilliant with color.
Its domes, spires, and minarets shimmered white in the sun, contrasting brightly with the aquamarine water. Ships from Venice and Genoa and even farther away crowded the harbor, a forest of galleys and pinnaces, all laden with goods. A caravan of bedouin camels traipsed through the dust, carrying bolts of silk and bales of spices.Which mask some very real human suffering as they travel deeper into the kingdom of Jerusalem.
Beggars pulled at her skirts, stretching their disfigured hands out to her in supplication. Blind, legless, leprous—they were all there, hiding in the shade. A one-eyed woman, cradling a tiny baby, peered up at her from within a worn, sun-beaten face. Zayn tossed down her coins and tried to shut the woman—all of them—from her mind. She had never seen such human suffering. And this in the holiest of cities.We are brought into the royal courts, gloriously decorated, wined and dined with sumptuous feasts. There is King Baldwin, the young Leper King of Outremer and his sister, the widowed Queen Sibylla. As far as I can tell, the history and the timeline within this book are historically accurate, nothing sticks out for the worse.
Zayn, The Girl: Zayn is deeply sympathetic, and I felt a great deal of compassion for her. There is the major driving force of her rape...though she survives, she can't help but feel like she has been violated by it, body and mind. She thinks she is unloveable. She thinks she is ruined. Zayn is afraid to love, because she feels like love will never find her again because she has been rendered worthless because of her rape.
I’m damaged. I’m afraid to trust men. I don’t know how to cope with my feelings for you.Zayn hates herself so much, her rape has changed the way she sees her own body. Zayn thinks she is worthless, she hates her body, she hates her body for what it has brought her.
She hated herself, the curves of her body, the hairless skin of her face, her childlike eyes and lips…everything that made her female and feminine.Zayn has to overcome so much in order to trust herself again, and I admire her so much for it.
Zayn, The Assassin: Zayn has natural, slightly magical talents, but she works hard, and she trains hard for it. She is "different," yes, but it doesn't define her, because this is a girl who actually puts in the sweat, the blood, and the tears. Zayn is not afraid to kill. But sometimes, she falters, and it pissed me off.
But there was something else, too…something that maddened her with its simplicity, with its validity: Earic Goodwin. His presence had shattered her focus.She is so obsessed with her conscience sometimes, and how she is perceived by someone she admires that she allows that to fuck with her focus and thus make her lose track of her mission. I liked the fact that she is a warrior, I just wished Zayn was more bad-ass.
The Romance: Very light, but it's a little unbelievable. It's a childhood crush that comes back to haunt her. Their interaction is thankfully few, and that's what makes the romance---when it sends twinges into Zayn's heart---so much more unbelievable. I'm glad that the romance is not the focus of the book, but I wish that there was either less of it, or more of it, so that the relationship feels more realistic.
Overall: A solid debut, and an interesting premise that you don't come across every day.
Quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof subject to change in the final edition. ...more
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Feb 19, 2014
Feb 20, 2014
Feb 01, 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 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
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Apr 03, 2014
Jan 16, 2014
Feb 04, 2014
Feb 04, 2014
it was ok
There is so much going on in this book. You have your main cast of leading Shakespearean characters (Hamlet, Juliet, Romeo to name a few), thro [image]
There is so much going on in this book. You have your main cast of leading Shakespearean characters (Hamlet, Juliet, Romeo to name a few), throw them into a bizarre underworld filled with Norse mythology, Greek mythology, and elements of Celtic mythology and Jewish mythology and what you have is a mess. But it's a really interesting mess.
Valkyries, Frost Giants, Fire Giants, the Washerwoman, the Norns, Fenrir, the Sirens, berserkers, shades. You name it, you've got it. This book also takes a liberal interpretation with its Shakespearean characters, too. This is not to say that the characters were horrible, they're not: but neither do they feel authentic.
It takes Romeo's worst qualities and amplifies them, his anger, his impetuousness are amped up to the nth degree. I absolutely loved the character of Juliet in this book...the problem is that she's not Juliet. She is a Shakespearean heroine who all of a sudden becomes a sword-wielding, kick-assing character out of fucking nowhere. Juliet's got spunk. I loved her character in this book, but she is just not William Shakespeare's Juliet!
This was truly not a terrible book by any means. It doesn't have a single one of the tropes that I hate so much in YA fiction, and it is light on the romance. Hell, despite my fear at some points that there would be a little hmm-hmm going on between Juliet and Hamlet, there was no love triangle at all.
So why did I give it a 2? Simple. The book itself was just way, way too ambitious. It is a very, very interesting premise---but it ultimately lost its focus on the main plot. This book far overreached itself.
The Summary: It is days after Juliet's death. Romeo is sick, ill from the poison he has ingested. Furthermore, he is sick in spirit. He is heartbroken. His beloved wife, Juliet, is dead, and he will do nothing to get her back.
Romeo consults a witch, a Strega. She tells him that Juliet is stuck in hell. Her soul is in torment.
His Juliet stood before him, or at least, the shape of her, frozen in blood, monochromatic crimson, but unmistakably her. Thick chains bound her across neck and waist; manacles clasped her wrists. Her eyes were the worst of all, open, bloody, blank and unseeing, yet somehow still accusing.Romeo is desperate to rescue her. The witch tells him that the person he seeks is in the North. She gives him a cryptic clue:
“You must go north. You will find the man who can help you there.”The man Romeo seeks is Hamlet.
Hamlet sits in a pub in Denmark. He is drowning his sorrows the best way he knows how: by drinking himself silly. His mother is getting married to his uncle the day after tomorrow, and he knows that his father has been murdered. His father's ghost has come back to talk to him, the late King Hamlet warned his son of his uncle's treachery, and tasks Hamlet with the charge of protecting the corpseway.
What is the corpseway? It is a passage into the underworld.
...the unearthly portal that divided the realm of the living and the dead.Against all odds, Romeo finds Hamlet. They don't exactly get along at first. Romeo is distrustful of this drunken prince. Hamlet suspects Romeo of being in league with his uncle---who else knows that his father has been murdered. Finally, they overcome their differences: together, Hamlet and Romeo descend into the corpseway, down into the Underworld.
What they find there isn't exactly Hell. It is the Underworld, only not the Underworld they imagined. It is Valhalla. It is Sheol, it is Hades, among others. There, they find lost souls, creatures from many mythologies, bizarre monsters---and Juliet.
And this is where the book lost me. I wish I could tell you that there was a point to this book that I could put together to tell you in one sentence to end my "summary" section.
It is just a journey through the underworld. It is action-filled, it is pretty interesting at times, but it was just completely pointless; the point is to rescue Juliet...but this book seems to be an exercise of in aimless extravagance because there is so much going on without a visible purpose.
The Plot: Filled with holes. There are so many unanswered questions. For example, just from the beginning of the book...
- How the FUCK did Romeo and Friar Laurence travel all the way from Verona to Denmark?
- How in all the living hell did Romeo find out about Hamlet in the first place? Verona is a long fucking way from Denmark.
- How the fuck do they communicate so well? Romeo only speaks Italian. Hamlet learned Italian at University, but as I very well know, it is one thing to learn a language, it is an entirely different thing to SPEAK it. They communicate flawlessly. I don't believe it.
Deus ex fucking machina : There is so much of this going on in this book. Whenever something inconvenient happens that places them in danger, they get through it just by sheer fucking luck. Romeo about to die? OH NO PROBLEM, THE MONSTERS ABOUT TO KILL HIM WAS JUST AN ILLUSION!
But they were gone, the hillside, too. Romeo found himself in a strange, barren wasteland.HAMLET'S ABOUT TO DIE! LET'S END THE CLAPTER ON A CLIFFHANGER.
He plunged into the spectral river on the maggot’s back, and when it surfaced, screaming its rage from its horrible, rotting mouth, he saw through the portal.A chapter later, oh, why there he is, reappearing out of thin air.
“It’s me.”All safe and sound with no explanation whatsoever. HOW THE FUCK?!
The three of them get separated. Despite the vastness of the multi-tiered Underworld, they always manage to find each other again. They go from one version of an Underworld to the next, from Valhalla to Sheol to Hades, with pretty much the snap of a finger. There is no transition, there is no subtlety.
Romeo: This book utilizes Romeo's worst qualities: his grand, romantic gestures, his impetuousness, his youth, his anger. Romeo is SO angry throughout the book. Despite his need for Hamlet's aid, he keeps snapping at him. He keeps blaming him for dragging Hamlet into the mess that Romeo wanted to go into in the first place.
“I don’t care!” Romeo could not hold back his anger any longer. “You’re mad, and I’m a fool for letting you lead me here.”Romeo is bitter, he is self-pitying, he is a whiny git, and I wanted to punch his lights out. Hamlet feels much the same way.
Hamlet groaned. “Oh, stop pitying yourself. You were desperate and unhappy at home, you’re desperate and unhappy now. Nothing has changed, except that now we’re closer to your goal.”He never, ever stops fucking whining. Hamlet isn't my favorite character in the world, but he has my compassion, because he actually tells Romeo to, well, shut the fuck up and grow some balls.
“Have you listened to a word you’ve said? You’re miserable without your true love, and you’ve come here to find her. You are closer to rescuing a loved one from death than any man has ever been, and now all you’re doing is complaining.”Hamlet: Well, to be fair, Hamlet is kind of intolerable sometimes. He is by far the most level-headed of the two, but he has a few inappropriately snarky moments where he could be a leeeeeeeettle more sensitive to poor Romeo. They're plunged from the normal world into Valhalla, they're about to get stabbed by a Frost Giant. Naturally, it's neither a good place nor time to make light of things.
“I thought you said it wasn’t terrifying!” Romeo shouted, his eyes wide with fear.Yeah, I'd say so!
Hamlet is rather nonchalant about things. He is TOO chill sometimes. Like stepping through a portal to the world of the dead is nothing at all. It's just the Underworld, maaaaaaan.
“I don’t know. I never stepped completely through the corpseway.” Hamlet’s thought trailed off as he moved through the light, sliding his feet cautiously along the floor. “Seems safe enough. Come on.”Oh, it SEEMS safe enough. Well, that's just fucking dandy now.
Oh, and HOW do you know that the corpseway is safe for humans to travel through, Hamlet?
“I stuck my head in,” Hamlet argued. “It came out again. And my father’s ghost was able to traverse the corpseway. I see no reason that it might not work exactly as I’ve described.”That makes perfect sense.
Juliet: My favorite character in the book---and the most inconsistently portrayed. This Juliet is NOTHING like Shakespeare's Juliet.
Don't get me wrong, Juliet is pretty kick-ass. She confronts Hamlet and Romeo with the cold, hard fafcts of their idocy in their knight-who-say-NI quest to rescue her.
“Was there no way to find out, before you did this to me?” Juliet asked, her large brown eyes full of hurt. “The two of you never thought that a bit more preparation might have been required before tampering with the forces of life and death?”She can wield a sword, but HOW THE FUCK?
Juliet proved tireless with her blade, to Hamlet’s surprise and delight. He could not imagine the ladies of his uncle’s court taking such bloodthirsty delight in defeating monsters.Well, that's just awesome, but HOW?! How the fuck did Juliet learn to wield a sword so capably? She has not been fighting in the underworld, she has been a prisoner, chained, suffering from partial amnesia. In life, she was a pampered, loved noblewoman. How the FUCK did she get so competent?
But Romeo had seen this fire in her from the very instant they’d met, though it had been only a small spark then. Set among the tinder of conflict, she was now ablaze.I love Juliet in this book, I really do, but this is not Juliet!
Well, not really.
Cause we're in Valhalla. We go into the Afterjord. We meet the Valkyries. We meet Berserkers, Frost Giants, Lava Giants. Fenrir, Odin's ravens (who are really cute). There are the Nordic Norns (the Fates). And then we meet the Irish Washerwoman, who launders the clothes of the people who died. And then we're in Sheol, with the Shades. And then we're in some Greek mythology, with pretty pretty sirens. Then we're in some hall with maggot men. Some of the monsters are pretty gruesome, and awesomely so.
The cloth fell away from the thing’s face, revealing no eyes, no nose, just the sightless, round countenance of a maggot and a circular mouth full of teeth in endless rings.But it's just way, way too fucking much because as entertaining as it is, the plot is completely lost in it.
The Romance: No love triangle, thankfully. I found the romance to be completely acceptable here, although I did disagree with the portrayal of Ophelia (a character who barely appears) as a marriage-mad chick. I was afraid that there would be a love triangle...
Something in Juliet’s voice bothered Romeo. There was a smirk to her tone that was too comfortable with the prince. She spoke the way she had spoken to Romeo that night at her father’s party.But thankfully, this book was without.
Overall: a solid, entertaining book that just completely fell short on the plot. ...more
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Feb 22, 2014
Feb 22, 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
Jan 01, 2014
Jan 07, 2014
it was ok
I can't help but think this book should have been titled: Perfume: The Scent of a Witch instead of Salt (explanation to come). It might have been more I can't help but think this book should have been titled: Perfume: The Scent of a Witch instead of Salt (explanation to come). It might have been more appropriately titled Dirt, because it was just as dull.
This book wasn't terrible, but it was excruciatingly boring and the premise of the book is absolutely absurd. You could read the first 15% of the book, then skip ahead to the last 10% of the book without missing anything of vital importance.
In a nutshell, this is the plot: Penelope (Pen) is a witch who has had her powers stolen away from her when she was 9. She is an orphan. She wants to be a demon fighter (an Enforcer) anyway despite the fact that she is powerless to fight against them without other people's assistance.
Pen meets a boy, Carter. Pen keeps running into Carter. Carter smells like nutmeg. There is a spark of interest between them. Pen gets attacked by demons. The demons think Pen smells nice.
“Witch,” the demon hisses, “you smell good.”[image]
Pen takes her Enforcer exams. Pen talks to Carter some more. Pen gets attacked by demons. The demons think Pen smells nice.
“You smell good,” another adds.Pen goes shopping for a pretty dress with her sister and her gay friend. Pen gets to know Carter some more. Pen gets attacked by demons. The demons think Pen smells nice.
“You smell good, little witch.”Pen goes to a party, a ball where she gets paired with Carter. Pen gets to know Carter some more. Pen gets attacked by demons. The demons think Pen smells nice.
“You smell unique, little witch.”Pen goes out hunting for demons despite being completely fucking useless against them. Carter finds her, like the stalker he is. The demons think Pen smells nice.
He sniffs me, overexaggerated.Pen gets into a fight with her gay BFF. Pen feels betrayed by Carter. Pen gets attacked by demons. The demons think Pen smells nice.
The demon gets quiet. It stares among the three of us, weighing its options. “You smell good,” it says to me.Pen does research about her ancestors. Pen gets back together with Carter. Pen gets attacked by demons. The demons think Pen smells nice.
The demon gets quiet. It stares among the three of us, weighing its options. “You smell good,” it says to me.Pen does some more research about her ancestors. Pen falls in love with Carter. Pen gets attacked by demons. The demons think Pen smells nice.
“She does smell really, really delicious,” the brown loafers boy says.Pen finds out more stuff about her ancestors. Pen is in full-throttle love with Carter. Pen gets attacked by demons. The demons think Pen smells nice.
It steps back and inhales the air. “Do you know why you smell so good? You smell like the void, but with whipped cream on top. You are decadent.”Pen solves the mystery of her family. Pen and Carter are Meant To Be. The demons think Pen smells nice. So does Carter.
He smiles and pulls me in. “Witch,” he says, his lips on my neck, “you smell good.”Carter and Pen are the best smelling couple in the fucking history of the world. His scent, man. His fucking scent.
Carter steps toward me, and I catch a scent off him. Whatever it is smells a little like nutmeg. A nutmeg boy.Really. I can't imagine what Carter smells like.
Carter leans in closer. I can smell his musky nutmeg scent.Whatever it is, it sures saves money on a car freshener.
The other being that his car smells like nutmeg, which is a wonderful smell to be trapped in.I wonder what that scent is.
He smells like nutmeg mixed with cloves and it’s such an intoxicating scent.I mean, damned if I know.
“Most boys don’t smell like nutmeg.”[image]
Girl-on-girl Hate: The Bechdel Test (wikipedia definition): asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. This book doesn't horribly fail this test, but it does not portray fellow females in a positive light.
Most of the other girls in the book, like Pen's fellow Enforcer testers (who should have been perfectly competent women) are shown to be empty-headed chicks who talk about guys and drool over guys in the major instances when we see them.
They are going on about some of the boys from their courses who are testing down the hall.The majority of the beautiful women in this book are cold, harsh, cruel. If a girl is beautiful, she is going to be represented as bitchy at heart, for example, one girl, Shira, is beautiful with a voice that is "sweet and dripping with venom all at once, whereas her plainer sister, Taylor, is sweet and nice. Another woman, Ellore, is perfect in appearance, but again, her beauty is portrayed as a bad thing, Ellore is "beautiful, perfect, and probably deadly."
Whenever a beautiful woman is seen as a love rival, she is portrayed as a slutty, thirsty bitch.
She smiles at Carter, completely ignoring me, and leans against the table, purring like a cat in heat. She chomps her jaws, blowing a bubble with her gum.I'm pretty sick of one-dimensional books.
TSTL: There is a tremendous amount of deus ex fucking machina in this book, and that's the only fucking reason Pen survives as long as she does.
I was an idiot for going in there when I heard the scream. Such an idiot. What was I thinking?The premise itself is absolutely stupid and incomprehensible to me. Pen has lost her power. She is fucking useless on her own, as a witch, because she cannot use powers to fight against demons, the type of demons that have killed her parents and siphoned off her powers as a child. Yet she insists on becoming a demon fighter, yet she insists on CONFRONTING demons, hunting them out.
Pen is not fucking badass, she gets saved a tremendous amount of time by Carter. I cannot understand how she can last all these years pretending she has powers when she has none, when she attends a school FULL OF FELLOW WITCHES. I cannot understand why she would want to fight demons, knowing that she is completely fucking useless against them without her powers. She almost dies more than once. She cries.
I almost died. Someone did die. Demons attacked me. I used magic. Carter is here. I don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t.Pen's thought processes are just mind-numbingly stupid. She goes out and hunts demons while being powerless; she essentially has a fucking deathwish. I shake my head every time Pen performs another seemingly impossible task because it is completely incomprehensible how fortunate she ALWAYS is.
Not recommended unless you want to be bored out of your mind.
At least Pen smells nice. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 16, 2014
Jan 18, 2014
Jan 07, 2014
Aug 05, 2014
Aug 05, 2014
it was amazing
EDIT: IT'S RELEASED!!!!!!
I am not sick, or crazy, or broken.EDIT: IT'S RELEASED!!!!!!
I am not sick, or crazy, or broken.It is so rare that a second installment is better than the first, and it has happened.
Do you like female demonic assassins who actually kill? Do you like snarky, irreverent humor? Do you like blood and death? Do you hate insta-love and starry-eyed romance? Do you want a character who might seduce her lover one night and then kill him the next morning?
Why am I lying? Never say it’s to impress this boy-man-monster? That’s both embarrassing and probably pointless, as I’ll most likely kill him before morning.Well, come on in!
To sum it up, this book:
- Has a blood-thirsty soul-eating demon girl who kills bad people and eat their souls.
- Takes your love triangle and your insta-love and your *sigh* romance and laughs in its face before spitting into said face, stomping on it, and ripping it off (not necessarily in that order)
- Has a genuine, complex friendship between two females, furthermore, said female is a disabled and missing a leg, but is far from helpless.
- Has a wonderful cast of characters who are not one-dimensional in their purity, evilness, or righteousness.
I have to confess, I have a special bias for this book. I love the main character in this series so much that I'm suffering from the mild delusion that the delightful Ms. Crewe based Meda after me. Her real name: Andromeda. Yeah, her fictional parents suck at naming, much like mine after me. See? So much in common already.
I mean, it's really not a far stretch of the imagination at all to turn a grown-ass Asian woman who's afraid of clowns, hates any type of physical activity that doesn't start with "stair" and end in "master," with a day job as a suit-clad, pantyhose-wearing analyst, who's searching for love on an internet dating website into a half-demon soul-eater who kills bad guys, leaving them in bloody pieces all over the wall, whose reaction to a hot French-accented demon boy is "Oh, you're pretty hot! Get out of my way NOW, BITCH. Things need to die. You're still cute, though ^_^"
See? We're practically the same person. Also, my exes did say that I had a glare that could destroy the soul. I wonder why my relationships never worked...
**minor spoilers for the first book**
Stupid Crusaders with their stupid rules. For a homicidal group, they’re appallingly restrictive.Meda is a half-demon who eats souls for a living, so it's the most fucking ironic thing in the world that she's now with the Crusaders. Yeah, those Crusaders and those Templars, like the red-pointy-cross-wearing descendants of the dudes back in the Middle Ages who went to Jerusalem on a holy journey to find Monty Python's Holy Grail and protect the pilgrims spread Christianity to ALL THE PLACES and ended up going back to England with battle scars with their tails between their legs, cause, well, lol, English dudes don't exactly know their way around a desert, plus, Saladin, that bad-ass motherfucker! Yeah, those dudes.
And now the half-demon Meda is one of them. Yay! Not really. More like ugh. But it's not like she has a choice. Meda is a Beacon, and the Crusaders kind of have to protect her, whether she wants them to or not. Meda is sorta, maybe special because she's a Beacon, but it's not for sure, yet. All they know is that Beacons are special somehow, and they have to keep an eye on her, just in case. Most Beacons are duds, so Meda might not be special at all. Her fate is undetermined. But right now, the Crusaders are
Meda is not happy about this (no shit). Her group of stick-up-their-ass Crusaders trying to "protect" her are bad enough, but now there's a new group of Crusaders in town, and they have very cryptic ways of proving authenticity to one another.
She walks toward our guest, but stops with five feet still separating them. “On Tuesday morning, what did I tell you I would be having for lunch?” she asks him.But yeah, they ain't in town for vacation. Apparently...
“War is coming.”As brave and bad-ass Meda is, she kind of craps her pants. This is HELL we're talking about. She can kill bad dudes, but facing down an army of demons who want to kill her? Nuh uh!
Meda's not exactly the most liked person in the Crusader compound. Crusaders tend to hate demons -> Meda is half-demon -> Crusaders hate Meda. Logic. With this new shit popping up, Meda REALLY has to keep her demon in check, and kind of blend in, in all sorts of horrifying ways.
She shakes her head. “You need to try harder. Try to look…” she fumbles for the word, “cheerful.”And not just pink!!
“I’ve always thought you’d look good in yellow. A bright, sunshiny yellow.”Apparently, someone forgot to tell 6-year old Khanh that. Don't I just look so fucking happy and harmless?
The new Crusader dudes are here to prepare for a fight, and in order to prepare Meda for the upcoming battle, they're going to cross some unforgiveable boundaries of privacy. Like possess her body without her consent.
You don’t have a choice. I hear footsteps close in behind me. You don’t have a choice. We will slip in your mind, take over your body. We will steal your freewill; we could plunder your thoughts, your memories, your every private moment if we wanted.But this is motherfucking Meda we're talking about. She is a half-demon. She is a monster. She constantly suppressed her darker urges every moment of every day, and she's not going to fucking go down without a fight. Despite how much she loves her friends, Meda has a demonic side that won't be suppressed and pounded down.
Jo wants me to be someone else. Someone who kisses ass and follows rules – a tamed tiger who sits and purrs until she shouts “attack” at her enemies. But I am not a pet.Will the Crusaders push her too far? Will Meda realize her internal goodness and join the fight against evil, or will she be tempted to the dark side to wreak havoc and destruction by the one person who is capable of understanding who she really is?
I’m at a crossroads. One path is a slow, painful, righteous trudge uphill to a place where my nemeses see the light. The other is easy and fun, downhill and dark. Armand takes my hand.Meda:
A real monster is too clever for that. A real monster shakes the hands of elderly couples as he invests their life’s savings in his Ponzi scheme; she kisses babies and runs for political office; he waits until she’s in love. A real monster knows that an attack hurts; but a betrayal scars.I fucking love Meda. She's special, but she's not a special snowflake. Yeah, of course she's going to be special. Why would we be reading a book about a character who's completely normal and powerless? But there's a difference between a well-drawn character and a Mary Sue. While both may have special destinies, I don't feel like Meda is a Mary Sue because:
1. She has no fucks to give. Her nature is killing, and it literally pains her to suppress it. She needs food, she eats souls. She kills in the book, and she is unashamed of doing so. I love me an assassin who is willing AND able to kill.
2. Her future is yet undetermined. There are lots of Beacons in the world, she is but one of them. She only has the potential to be awesome, it's not a sure thing yet. Meda's special destiny is not a sure thing, and it's probably not going to save the world.
One day I will have the opportunity to do some great good, a good so great as to change the course of human history. But the potential to do good and choosing to actually do it, are two very different things. Apparently a lot Beacons turn out to be duds.Beacons are protected for their potential, but Meda could just as easily save the world just as she could invent a new special sauce for Chicken McNuggets.
3. She doesn't suffer from insta-love, and she doesn't give a fuck about romance. If you've read the first book, you will have been as shocked (and pleased) as I was. Meda wants her freedom.
4. She still has a conscience and a deep sense of friendship and loyalty.
5. She is not perfect. She is contrary, she is often bitchy, she has major trust issues, and she sometimes can't see anyone's point of view but her own.
“You treat living here like a joke.” She hasn’t turned back to me. “You float along, barely civil, and act like they owe you. You act like they should be grateful the Great Meda Melange didn’t kill them today. You want them to treat you like a Crusader?” Now she does look at me. “Then stop acting like a demon.”I understand her frustration, because Meda tries to behave, but the Crusaders are unwilling to trust a half-demon. Gee, I wonder why they can't trust someone who kills people and eats their souls. I really wonder.
I allow myself a sway in his direction, an inhale of spicy boy scent, a minute in demon dark eyes.This book has a hint of romance, I would hesitate to call it "romance," because it's more of a "the couple that slays together stays together" kind of case. The boy is a demon. Meda is a demon. She's stuck in a compound full of people who are:
1. Scared of her
2. Hates her guts
3. Wants to kill her
4. Wants to USE her, and THEN kill her
So really, when this gorgeous fucking demonic Adonis (with a French accent, AW HAW HAW) appears and gives her a wink that nobody else can see (he is a demon, after all), can you blame her for checking the dude out? They are alike, Armand and Meda. They are demons. They understand each other's darkness, and their flirting and banter are absolutely delightful. She is a monster. So is he.
“I give a girl something she thinks she wants more than anything else in the world.” There’s another pause. “Then I take it away.”
And there is no question that despite their friendship, they are on the opposite sides.
We’ll face each other in battle, and when that day comes, we will do our utmost to reduce the other to bloody pieces. And we will do it unapologetically.Thank you to Angry Robot for providing me with a copy for review. All quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
May 28, 2014
Jan 05, 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 i
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
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 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...[image]
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...[image]
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
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Dec 07, 2013
Dec 09, 2013
Dec 07, 2013
Nov 01, 2007
Feb 22, 2011
Warning: this is erotica. This book is FREE. You may read it here: http://www.bettiesharpe.com/ember/
I don't usually read erotica at all, but the prem Warning: this is erotica. This book is FREE. You may read it here: http://www.bettiesharpe.com/ember/
I don't usually read erotica at all, but the premise of a fairy tale and Prince Charming got me intrigued. My first erotica (bought purely because my innocent 18-year old self just wanted to own a naughty book, if I may be honest) was Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogy. It was titillating, and after the first 50 or so pages, it got pretty boring, quite frankly. Anyways, what I learned from reading that book, was the fact that while erotica is good, it gets boring in huge doses when all the characters do is fuck and fuck and fuck endlessly in every position you can possibly imagine. Oh, and spanking? Not for me, thank you very much.
Fast forward some years later, and oh, hey! An erotica based on a fairy tale. Interesting...but erotica? Still boring. If I've discovered something about myself, it's that sex is books just don't do it for me. If I wanted porn, I'd watch porn, thank you very much. But then I read the summary, and this sentence sucked me in.
Poor girl. If Ember had spent less time studying magic and more time studying human nature, she might have guessed that a man who gets everything and everyone he wants will come to want the one woman he cannot have.Well, color me intrigued. I'm glad to say that this book is a lot better than Anne Rice's. For one thing, there's an actual plot, and the sex is nowhere rampant. The writing is lovely, and while the story is imperfect, I cannot complain much because the writing in this free book is considerably better than book on which I have actually wasted (and I mean wasted) money.
I may have been drawn to this book by a premise of Prince Charming, but I think I'm an idiot for not realizing that this is a retelling of Cinderella. I mean...Ember...Cinder...Khanh, how can you be so fucking smart and yet so damn clueless at times? -_- I honestly didn't know this was going to be a Cinderella tale until the Stepmother appeared.
Summary: This is Cinderella, with a twist. And I don't mean that because of the sexual nature of the book. The retelling of Cinderella is not altogether traditional, and I had some problems with it.
Prince Charming actually has a name, but nobody has ever called him by his real name. He is Prince Charming simply because everyone who has ever laid eyes upon him will fall in love with him. It is the blessing placed on him at his birth.
“May he be charming. May every eye find perfection in his face and form. May every man respect him and every woman desire him. May all who meet him love him and long to please him.”Prince Charming has brought unwarranted success to his nation, his country wins every war because warring nations cannot resist his blessing. As such, he is also a superior diplomat, through no skill of his own. He has brought peace, prosperity to his nation, and despite his whoring, despite his despicable personal life, his people literally cannot help but to love him.
"Ember" is a wealthy merchant's daughter, with a dying mother who warns her against looking at Prince Charming. Ember cannot resist, and looks upon him, subsequently falling in love with him against her will. Her mother concocts a geas for her to wear, so that she can resist the prince's charms.
After her mother dies, her father remarries. Enter the stepmother and stepsisters, but they are not who you would expect. All goes well within their lives until their family falls into debt. And how they choose to make the money needed for survival will bring the Prince back into Ember's life, unwanted.
The Writing: Loved it. The writing is unexpectedly beautiful, and fitting in tone for a fairy tale. There is crude language used in reference to parts of the body, but explicitness is expected in a book of this nature. The writing and how well done it is really took me by surprise. I didn't expect that much quality from a short piece of erotica such as this.
I also thought that for a short novella, it rather delivers a remarkably well done commentary on the nature of love and human nature.
“You’re cruel. Don’t you think it must be a peculiar sort of hell to live surrounded by sycophants? Like living in a dollhouse. No matter how perfect your playmates, they are cold porcelain. Soon enough, you would long for the heat, the softness, and the imperfections of living flesh. You would long to hear words and wishes other than your own.”The Plot: I won't comment on the plot, because the story is so short that to be detailed would be to ruin the surprise, but I did have some problems with the plausibility. Ember's actions also did not make sense to me at times. While I loved the writing, I can't say I enjoyed the plot turns, nor to mention the gaping holes within it. It got altogether absurd at times. While there is a considerable amount of sex in this story, it does not take over the story, and it is interspersed and scatted, and doesn't occur every other page, unlike Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty.
The Characters: I mostly liked "Ember," (quotes because she never gives us her real name). She is a witch, but she has a dark sense of humor, and is able to laugh at herself and her childish fantasies of the prince.
I dreamt he leaned over me crying; his hot tears fell upon my cold cheeks. “Oh, she was so pure,” he wailed. “She was so delicate and special. She has died for the love of me. I can love no other!”Her actions were sometimes nonsensical to me, since they went with the plot (which I felt was lacking), but overall, Ember is a not-disagreeable character. I didn't like the fact that she was an altogether powerful witch without much explanation, among other things.
Overall: a beautifully written erotic book that didn't deliver on the dark fairy-tale promise. ...more
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Nov 22, 2013
Nov 22, 2013
Nov 14, 2013
Nov 14, 2013
did not like it
Voodoo? More like fucking doo-doo.
My reviews usually follow a pattern: introduction, summary, analysis of characters/settings/plot. Fuck that shit. I Voodoo? More like fucking doo-doo.
My reviews usually follow a pattern: introduction, summary, analysis of characters/settings/plot. Fuck that shit. I am so incandescent with anger that I can hardly think straight right now, much less formulate a fully analytical review. You want a summary? Look at the fucking summary on the book's page. I'm not gonna fucking bother because the problem with this book goes beyond that.
But in brief: the characters are nothing offensive, nothing special, lacking in personality, development, complexity; in essence, they lack essence.
The plot is dull, full of fucking holes, because at the very end I still can't figure the fuck out why the hell the special-snowflake that is our main character is so bloody special in the first place and why the hell her powers came out of freaking nowhere when throughout the book she's been all "Nooooo, nooooooooo, I don't want anything to do with voodoo, despite my heritage as the great-great granddaughter of Zee Great Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau." Despite having such a grand fucking heritage, she's still completely moronic and Too Stupid To Live, wanting to rush off to visit a woman who wants to buy some freaking Panther Plasma (you heard me right, Panther Plasma) to create some kind of Avada-Kedavra-related spell. Ok, so the woman wants to use this plasma whose only purpose is to be used to KILL SOMEONE, let's just go running off to fucking visit her before consulting the adults.
But the stupid characters and the hole-ridden plot are the least of my complaints about this book. Here we go:
Let's start off with two definitions:
Misappropriate: /transitive verb/
1. to put to a wrong use.
2. to apply wrongfully or dishonestly (dictionary.com)
Example: This book misappropriates the traditional folk religion of Voodoo by twisting it into a form that is fucked up beyond recognition in order to make the religion fit into the plot.
Whitewashing: (slang) the entertainment industry's attempt at making ethnic characters more appealing to the white, money-spending masses by making exotic characters less ethnic and more "white." (urbandictionary.com)
Example: This book whitewashes the entire traditionally Haitian/African-based Voodoo religion by making every single practitioner white, or if not white, so mixed as to appear merely "exotic-looking."
I am absolutely aghast at the rampant amount of cultural and religious inaccuracies and inconsistencies within this book.
New Orleans? What New Orleans: This book takes place in New Orleans. You might have heard of it. It's a city in Louisiana, valued because of its cultural heritage, its mishmash of culture. It was also absolutely devastated, ravaged, destroyed, gutted to the ground thanks to a little event known as Hurricane Katrina some 10 years ago. The city is still recovering. It is still a mess. Not that you'd know from reading this book.
I read books based on the South for the atmosphere. There is no atmosphere in this book. Besides some name-dropping of places, besides the mention of the heat, besides for like...2 paragraphs of some broken-down places in New Orleans, this place might have taken place in Wichita, Kansas, for all I know. But wait! It still could be Wichita, Kansas. They've got hot summers and poor areas, too! There is absolutely nothing in this book that makes the city of New Orleans into a real place for me. As for the poor? What poor? The people in this book are the rich few, the privileged few of New Orleans. They're voodoo guild leaders. They just happen to be millionaires, driving Range Rovers and Lexus and Mercedes and blue SUVs living in their plush, posh mansions on First Street and taking their yoga classes.
New Orleans is an extremely diverse city: you wouldn't fucking know it from reading this book. Let me refer you to this page on New Orleans' cultural diversity (boy, I'm just a fountain of fucking education tonight, aren't I?). To sum it up: White: 22%, black: 60%.
And then let's see how diverse this book is: OH, WAIT, IT'S NOT. From what you can tell about this book, the characters are like....99.754% white, and the rest are a mix of "exotic" golden, caramel skin, chocolate-colored eyes. Not a single fucking black person to be found anywhere within 500 miles of this book. Everyone is blonde, red haired, chestnut-haired, copper-haired.
“Just about,” Claire said. A strand of her long blond hair fell forward. She tucked it behind one ear and continued transcribing the woman’s list.Well, that is such an important sentence. I would never know what happens with the plot if Claire's blonde hair didn't fall over her shoulders. Claire is just so, so pretty!
OH WAIT, ONE CHARACTER HAS BLONDE DREADLOCKS. THAT MAKES IT ALL OK BECAUSE BLACK PEOPLE WEAR DREADLOCKS. Just kidding. Fuck you, book. Everyone is "pale skinned," "porcelain skinned." Anyone not completely white, anyone who is mixed-race is "exotic." Any accent that is anything but American is "exotic." Fuck the word exotic. It is paternalistic, it is patronizing, it reeks of cultural insensitivity when you lump everyone whose coloring is different than you into one fucking word because you can't be fucked to distinguish them otherwise.
And blue eyes. So. Many. Blue. Eyes.
Voodoo is the religion of white people: You heard me. I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry throughout this book. Back to our theme of the day: edumacating. Voodoo is a West-Indies/African-based folk religion. Its practitioners are mostly black. "Fuck that," says this book. "Let's make all the LEADERS of the Voodoo religion into white people or else barely mixed people. Let's completely whitewash Voodoo uses to making "doll babies" (voodoo dolls) and some mild chanting and summoning." Let's also conveniently ignore the fact that so few people actually practice Voodoo as to make it barely register in the country's statistical demographics, yet these leaders are as rich as fucking TV evangelists with their millions of weekly worshippers. SCREW THE DETAILS.
Voodoo is not a pretty religion. There are many types of it, let's keep it simple and stick to traditional Haitian Voodoo. It uses music, chanting, dance, spirit possession, animal sacrifice. Yeah, animal sacrifice. Speaking in tongues? Ever watch a documentary? It's bloody, it's dirty, it's not clean, it's deeply spiritual. It's scary, and it's not something you fuck around with lightly, and turn into a spiffy little ritual with white tunic wearing practitioners as this book does. This book completely whitewashes the elements of traditional Voodoo into a neat, clean little package of mysticism. It limits the extent of it to pretty much loas, houngans, some herbs and spells, and voodoo dolls. And a little bit of blood, thrown in for good measure.
The books? OH, THERE ARE VOODOO MANUALS. Seriously, there's African Potions and Recipes for Love and Authentic Haitian Voodoo for Health and Wellness. The chanting? It's more like something a bunch of Wiccan priestesses would chant under a full moon:
Ancient Priestesses of the light,FUCKING SERIOUSLY? IT RHYMES?
The quasi-Voodoo people in this book are the leaders of the Guild, a bunch of largely white families in charge of the Voodoo religion. They have members in Europe, Asia, all over the world.
Once a secret, old-school voodoo society, the Guild of High Priests and Priestesses had become too large for them to know each and every member.No, Voodoo isn't a religion restricted to portions of the West Indies, the South, and some regions of Africa at all. *rolls eyes* The Guild are wealthy, they hold an annual Priestess' Ball where all the people get dressed up and all the women put on fancy headdresses. A large portion of the beginning of the book is devoted to the clothes shopping and planning for the annual Priestess' Ball instead of the actual fucking plot.
Fuck the whitewashing, fuck the cultural misappropriation, fuck the lack of diversity, fuck everything about this book. Way to take over a culture for your own use, Tom-Cruise-and-the-Last-Samurai style. ...more
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Nov 16, 2013
Nov 16, 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, [image]
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
Jan 01, 2013
Apr 20, 2013
really liked it
I really, really fucking hate it when a character in a book refers to a character in another book and exclaims "She's just like me!" No, beeyotch, you I really, really fucking hate it when a character in a book refers to a character in another book and exclaims "She's just like me!" No, beeyotch, you are not Elizabeth Bennet *snaps fingers*. No, you are not Juliet. Do you even realize how stupidly the characters in Romeo & Juliet behaved? Nuh uh. Don't you dare make that claim.
Therefore, it is with the greatest amount of shame and hypocritical horror when I found myself laughing as I read this book, "MEDA IS JUST LIKE ME." I don't know how Ms. Eliza Crewe managed to capture my personality so well without ever having known me, without having met me, without knowing of my existence in any conceivable way, but bravo, Ms. Crewe, BRAVO.
Fine. There are some discrepancies between us, ok? I can't fight, and I'm more inclined to run (seriously, I am a fast little mofo), and I used to sleep with the blankets tucked up all around me, particularly around my feet so that monsters wouldn't eat my toes while I cowered in bed. And Meda, while fantastically snarky sometimes, never has a profanity-laden vocabulary. But it's all good. Meda is a teenager! I was a squeaky clean teenager once. But I can see the potential in Meda as she grows up to be more like me. Ah, Meda, my dear. You have much to learn as you grow into your twenties. Your mind and mouth will no longer censor itself, and Meda, my love...the fucks will fly. ^________^
I should probably go back to the actual review and talk about stuff that's relevant to this book. I will try to tone down my narcissism meanwhile...
In short: Interesting (though imperfect) plot. Likeable main character. Above all else: the characters are fantastically conceptualized, the dynamics within the group are absolutely brilliant.
Summary: Meda Melange isn't exactly human. She knows she's half human...but the other half certainly ain't anything remotely angelic. Why? Um, one clue may be the fact that SHE EATS SOULS. Here's where Meda and I differ: I crave chocolate, Meda craves souls. She's not all bad, though, she only munches on a soul every, say, month or so. Me, on the other hand *snorts*.
Meda is pretty much indestructible to the average human. Her skin is like fucking steel. She almost cannot be hurt. Until she runs into a group of demons and realizes that...well, fuck, she's not so indestructible after all. Well, shit happens, and Meda lucked out and gets her ass saved (and eats a huge dose of humble pie in the process) by a group of Crusaders. No, not the ones in the 12th century who traipse to the Holy Land. These are oh-so-righteous people whose destiny is to protect humans with special destinies who will make a contribution to mankind called Beacons. They think Meda is a Beacon. Meda doesn't want to die. Meda lies her ass off. She pretends to be a Beacon in order to:
1. Infiltrate the Crusaders and figure out their super special secrets!
2. Survive (she did almost get her ass handed to her, after all, girl's gotta live)
One thing leads to another, and Meda and her very disorganized group of Crusaders find themselves on the run from a bunch of bloodthirsty demons who wants Meda's ass handed to them on a silver platter. Meda seriously lucked out, because these Crusaders are good-hearted and are so convinced that she is a Beacon that they will risk their life to save her.
Meda also slowly uncovers the truth about her past. There are secrets! Lies! A sexy half-demon in a dungeon! (Another way Meda and I differ, she ignores him, whereas I would have kept him imprisoned in my bedroom. It's understandable, though, Meda's not even legal yet.)
Needless to say: this book is a lot of action, and a lot of fun.
The Characters: The best thing about this book.
Meda Melange is one of the funniest, most kick-ass character in YA paranormal that I have read in a long time. She is truly kick-ass. She can FIGHT, man. If Rose Hathaway and Charley Davidson were to have a daughter together, I like to think she would turn out to be just like Meda. Let's just conveniently ignore the fact that two females cannot have a child containing both their DNA. Because, as we all know, scientific facts have no place in YA literature. As a Soul Eater, Meda has twice the kick-assing potential of Rose Hathaway, and half of Charley Davidson's snark (and for many people, that's a good thing. Charley can be way too much sometimes.)
Not everyone likes me. Not everyone likes my sense of humor, my snarkiness, my personality. That's fine. As such, not everyone will like Meda. There is a fine, fine line between humor and bitchiness, and as it turns out, Meda is a character I can relate to, a character I understand, a character whose personality I love. If you don't like her, if you hate her, if she grates on your nerves, it is completely within reason and I will not judge you for it.
Meda has a hilarious inner monologue. The first few chapters are particularly brilliant examples of it. We get to see her bad-assedness firsthand as she ruthlessly kills a murderer and eats his soul. Truthfully, I would have liked to see her fight more instead of suppressing her inner demon and pretending to be a normal human girl.
We get to see her internal weakness and her guilt at what she's done. We get to see her use her feminine charms and tears (she is not beyond fake-crying if it gets her out of a tough spot) to manipulate a very naive, starry-eyed Crusader boy:
I consider the many tools at my disposal, eyeing his large blood-splattered frame, and settle on my weapon of choice – one so infrequently used I need to dust it off first.*snickers*
Meda uses whatever she needs to lie, trick her way into the group to earn their trust. It doesn't always work---particularly when there's a fellow bad-assed girl in the Crusader group who's just not into her crap.
Cue innocence! My sweet lashes flutter against my helpless cheeks, my useless hands wring the edge of my guiltless, blood-soaked nightgown. My lovely lips quiver over my pearly white teeth.Meda is not perfect. She feels guilt. She makes some discovery that blows her world apart. Her trust has been betrayed, her life has been a lie. She has to come to terms with that, as well as her own dark nature. She kills out of necessity, but she hates herself for it, when her base nature isn't rejoicing in the darkness.
I’m ashamed of my wickedness – when I’m not reveling in it.Certain books completely ignore the side characters: this book does not. The side characters---namely, Jo, Chi (Malachi), and Uri, are all equally well drawn. The dynamics of their relationship are spectacular. Jo and Meda, and Jo and Chi in particular.
Jo and Meda do not start off well. Jo is a really, really tough kick-ass girl. She is truly a match for Meda---except for the fact that she has lost one leg in a fight years ago. Meda and Jo start off on the wrong foot (no pun intended, I swear on my grandmother's grave, I would not be so callous D:). They distrust each other, Jo knows Meda isn't who she seems, she knows Meda's just putting on an act of innocence. In turn, Meda looks down on Jo, calls her a "gimp," because of her disability, and hates her tough-girl personality. Slowly, they learn to trust each other, they learn that each has her strengths and her underlying weakness, they come to trust each other, they develop an odd sort of friendship. The developing relationship between Meda and Jo is a beautifully written one. Jo is such a complex character, she hates herself, she hates her disability, she hates her helplessness.
“I just get so mad sometimes. I’m never going to be a Crusader, never get married, never do anything. But who do I get to be angry at? The demons? They’re constantly trying to destroy mankind and, if at all possible, Heaven too. There’s enough reasons to be angry at them – my leg’s superfluous. The other students, the Crusaders for how they treat me? They’re not trying to be cruel, I am damaged. They’re so very kind, so full of pity. I’d rather they hate me than feel sorry for me.”Meda never sees Jo as helpless, and Jo appreciates her for that. Their friendship builds on top of that.
Jo and Chi...wow. They were best friends, until the incident where Jo lost her leg. Chi feels guilty, and they both pull away from each other.
“You don’t deserve to be a Crusader – and it isn’t because you don’t have the legs, but because you don’t have the heart.”Their hurt, their anger, their tense relationship is so intensely well done.
The Romance: Um, what romance? Throw away your expectations of romance, of love. There's no insta-love, there's no love triangle, there's none of that shit here. Can I get a "Fuck yeah?" FUCK YEAH.
The new attendee, a man, crouches in the doorway. Well, not really a man, a human teenager. One of God’s most misbegotten creatures – big like grown-ups and yet dumb like children. Selfish, moody, reckless, with a tendency to sleep too much and complain too often.This book is tremendously fun. It is not without its faults. There are elements in the book that I tend to frown upon (death of a parent, a special destiny), etc., but it is also wholly original in other. It takes quite a few YA tropes and throws it out the window to a bloody death, and I found it absolutely admirable. The book is action-driven, plot-driven. I would have liked this book to be less fast-paced. It felt like some scenes were glossed over far too fast, and I would have liked to know more about Meda's past. Not a perfect book, but still quite enjoyable. Because Meda is the main character. And Meda is so me, man! ...more
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Nov 15, 2013
Nov 15, 2013
Nov 05, 2013
Mar 11, 2014
Mar 11, 2014
really liked it
The darkness agrees with me. It asks me to release it, as loud as a roar and as quiet as a whisper. I remember what my sister said long ago: You mu
The darkness agrees with me. It asks me to release it, as loud as a roar and as quiet as a whisper. I remember what my sister said long ago: You must control the darkness. You can’t ever give in to it. But the shadows want to make me happy, and I deserve a little happiness.This book is fantastic. It has the misfortune of having one of the worst summary opening lines I have ever read. I mean, come on "She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man?" SERIOUSLY? After reading that line, my expectations for the book just dropped. I expected a stupid, brainless girl, the sort who spends her days watching TLC's Hoarders or Toddlers and Tiaras. I was so blessedly wrong.
Ignore the summary. This book is fantastic.
The main character is flawed, she is hurt, she is vulnerable. But she is intelligent, she is rational, she can use her brains. She is depressed, but fuck, wouldn't you be, too, if you were sentenced to hard labor in Tartarus after seeing your sister's corpse flayed open like a wild animal?
Zephyr is not strong, but she grows. She is in pain, suffering from the murder of her beloved sister, Zephyr. Yes, this book has the standard YA elements of a special destiny, but what differentiates it from other YA books of its ilk is that the main character is fanstastically built, the mythology is wonderfully wrought (and the Greek gods and goddesses well represented), the romance is light, the emotions there, but believable. And really, there's better things to think about when the gods are out for your blood---than love.
I just don’t need the distraction. I need to focus on not failing. That’s going to be hard enough for me to do without getting all twitterpated about a boy.YES! That's the fucking attitude I want!
My point is that the main character does not feel like a Mary Sue. There is a supporting cast of character that actually does stuff. There are relationships and friendships. There are questions as to whom one can trust. The main character is a Harpy with *gasp* dark skin. Thank you, book!
My one complaint in the book is that it's slow, and in the middle, the plot kind of fell into the yawn category. I wanted more action, I wanted more excitement, and this book didn't deliver what I wanted for the middle half of the book.
The Summary: Zephyr Mourning is a Harpy, and she is in Hell. Actually, she's in Tartatus, same thing, you know. And man, it fucking sucks. For one thing, it sometimes rains excrement in Tartarus.
Rain in Tartarus means a lot of different things. Today it’s a fine mist of excrement falling from the sky. It’s like having an outhouse upended over your head.It wasn't always like this. Life wasn't always so miserable. There was a time before, when Zephyr was happy. She wasn't the best Harpy in the world---she fails at magic, but she doesn't fail at ALL magic. It's just that the magic she can wield---Erebos---is the forbidden sort. Harpies are supposed to use light magic---Aether, and Zephyr is incapable of that. Since Erebos is forbidden, Zephyr is the most useless Harpy ever, failing her Trials, but nevertheless, she had a future.
That promise of a future ended with her sister's murder.
I can’t think of my sister without remembering the last time I saw her, her chest a gaping wound, her blood soaking into the concrete of the patio. She was my best friend and now she’s gone.Zephyr is in Tartarus because she somehow managed to kill the minor god who murdered her sister. That isn't supposed to happen, literally. Harpies---lowly warriors in the scheme of things, aren't supposed to be able to kill any type of god, and the Gods, the Exalted, wants to know how she did it. They captured her, they ripped out her wings, and now they want to make her pay. Zephyr doesn't care anymore, she's so tired, so lost, so desperately sad.
I’m finally realizing that my imprisonment is permanent. I’m not going to go to high school, or college, or anywhere else in the Mortal Realm. I’m going to be forever stuck here in Tartarus, covered in sludge and pretending to be brave. A year has passed, and I feel just like I did the last time I saw Hermes. Desperate, confused, and incredibly lost.As lost as she is, as hopeless as she feels, her life will not end in the pits of Tartarus. Her friends Cass is with her, and she has bigger plans. She doesn't want to remain in Tartarus for a moment longer, and she is taking Zephyr with her as they escape to the Mortal Realm. Zephyr has another motive for escaping to the Mortal Realm. Her sister's soul is not in the Elysian Fields, it's just gone. There is a mysterious being, the Nyx, who can find lost souls, and Zephyr is desperate to locate him...it...her. The Nyx. A legend, like the Easter Bunny. Like the Boogeyman.
“He’s dead. He was betrayed long ago by his beloved, and killed by a sword made of bright. But as he lay dying, he swore he would return, that not only would he avenge his murder, but that he would slay the bright Exalteds who killed him.”Luckily, Cass and Zephyr are not alone. As awesome as both of them are, it takes more than a little luck to escape a fucking drakan. Zephyr is terrified, she's ready to give up. Really, what's the use? Her sister is gone, she is on the run from a mess of gods and goddesses (Hera, that bitch) who wants her ass on a platter. What's the use? Might as well end it all by being eaten. Dying is easier than this.
I’m suddenly just so exhausted.But fate---or rather, a childhood friend, has bigger plans for her.
“Are you seriously going to sit there and wait for it to eat you, or are you going to cross the chasm?”She is not alone. She has friends. But who is her friend? Who can she trust? Is it Cass? The legendary liar? The one whose Pellacis family line is known to be betrayers? Her one true friend in Tartarus?
Nanda’s expression turns stormy. “A Pellacis?”Is it Blue? The charming boy with a smile that could be deceptive?
I like Blue and his playful attitude.Is it her childhood friend, Tallon? He may have rescued her from Tartarus, but what's his true incentive?
“I would guess that the kid you knew has changed some.”It is not by accident that Zephyr came to be rescued. Zephyr is a pawn, she is a plan, she is a hope to her people, the downtrodden Vaettir. And she fears that she may fail them all.
Not even the frowns of the few skeptics in the crowd can remove the hope of all those people looking at me, wanting me to be the answer to all their problems.The Setting: This is an altered version of Greek mythology, with some of its main players, like Hermes, Hera, and Hades (I stuck to the H's), and as a mythology Nazi, I have to say that this book worked just fine. I have no problems with how the gods and goddesses were portrayed, such as the fucking awesome Hades. As cuddly...
Hades suddenly opens his arms, and before I can retreat out of his reach, I am wrapped up in a hug. It’s a strange sensation, and his darkness wraps around me in a comforting embrace. I want to stiffen, to resist even this small measure of affection. But the darkness is calming. Reassuring.As he is terrifying.
... the whole of his darkness draws back from him, so that for one shining moment his form is revealed. The inky aura looms over him like a snake about to strike.These gods are not the focus of the book, but the brief glimpses we get of them are glorious. The book centers around Greek mythology, building around the myths of the Titans, Cronus. The book has its own system of immortals, with definite ranks. From the lowly Vaettir, with partially human blood, downtrodden and used by the Gods.
The gods tell us the vættir are the ones who are flawed, our human blood compromising us. But it’s the gods who betray the ones they love without remorse.To the Exalted, gods like Hades and Hera, all-powerful beings, to lesser gods of the Acolyte order, who use and abuse the lower classes at will. This book focuses on the tension between the ranks, and it does so very well.
The descriptions of various places are awesome. We see Tartarus, the river Styx (which smells just fucking horrible).
I smell the river long before I see it, the stench of rotting flesh and dead fish wafting across the plain toward us. It smells like hatred and lies, and I wonder if that’s why some vættir refer to the Styx as the River of Deceit.Zephyr: Love! Love! Love~ Zephyr is the kind of character I have always wanted in an YA book. A heroine who is angry, sad, flawed. She sometimes gives up, but the thing is that we don't blame her for wanting to give up. Initially, Zephyr is so angry that I completely understand her attitude of "Why bother? Why bother when I have no future." Because really, can you feel otherwise when you're in a place that rains crap. But what I love about Zephyr is her rationality in the face of chaos.
I take a deep breath and fight back the hysteria. I have to try to think about this rationally.It's her realism, she's not some starry-eyed girl who takes unnecessary risks.
I already know that I stand absolutely no chance against a cerberus. No need to tempt the Fates.It's her self-realization. She knows when she's behaving badly.
The physical contact combined with the childhood nickname is enough to break through the haze of rage. I look down at him, and I suddenly feel very guilty.It's the fact that she's so human, she's not a prophetic heroine, she's scared. She's not ready.
But I’m not brave. Never have been, never will be.That's what makes Zephyr a character I like. She is a girl who is forced to grow up.
The Romance: No insta-love. No heart that goes pitter fucking patter every 5 seconds. Don't worry, her friend is totally hot, and she does feel things for him, but really, THERE'S BIGGER THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT HERE. Not to mention she's a Harpy. Love is an emotion that good Harpies do not feel. Breeding is the game for the survival of the species. Love is out of the question.
Whoever my father was, I know I was the result of a breeding contract, not some torrid affair. Love just isn’t in the cards for Harpies.When Zephyr catches herself noticing something about the guy she loves---his eyes, his muscles, she tells herself to snap out of it.
Harpies do not have crushes, especially on their childhood best friends.She hates herself sometimes, for feeling such things, for being so weak as to fall for someone.
No wonder I failed my Trials. I’m not even a Harpy. Feeling this turmoil and sick excitement over the mere thought of kissing Tallon proves what a failure I am. Harpies never fall for anyone. They definitely never fall in love.Zephyr isn't a pretty pretty princess, and Tallon doesn't treat her like one. They argue, they clash, he pushes her beyond her limits when he sees that she's going nowhere with her apathy.
“Apologize for what? Trying to keep us from waking up to a battalion of Acolytes on the doorstep? If anything, you owe everyone an apology for putting them in danger and for being a brat.”They have a great relationship, trust is built, friendship regrows from lost time, and I completely ship the two of them.
He laughs. “If anyone is strong enough to stand with me, it’s you. You can handle my darkness.”...more
Notes are private!
Mar 19, 2014
Mar 21, 2014
Oct 18, 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 [image]
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
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Oct 29, 2013
Oct 30, 2013
Oct 13, 2013
Jul 05, 2012
Sep 24, 2013
did not like it
The instinct to live is a strong one. Have you ever tried to hold your breath? Inevitably, your lungs will burn, your body will fight with your [image]
The instinct to live is a strong one. Have you ever tried to hold your breath? Inevitably, your lungs will burn, your body will fight with your brain to take that deep gasp of air. Survival instincts are just that---instincts. They override willpower, because the human body wants to live above all else.
Throughout this book, it was made abundantly clear to me that whoever created Meg Lytton forgot to program said survival instinct within her. I don't know when I've encountered a dumber witch throughout my reading experience...and that's saying a lot.
This is Tudor times. This is a period in history when it was very, very easy to have your neck separated from your head, your body drawn and quartered, and if you're very lucky, it will happen in that order. There was a Youtube video that went viral awhile back, entitled Dumb Ways to Die. Well, Meg Lytton would be the star in her very own Tudor version of said music video.
It's a tough time to be a Catholic, because of all the anti-Catholic sentiments in England. It's a tough time to be a Protestant, because there's a certain queen on the throne of England who became known as Bloody Mary. There's the threat of the Spanish Inquisition due to her very Spanish, very Catholic husband, Prince Philip.
Above all else
...the girl’s body twisted and rocked, her legs flailing helplessly as the rope strangled her....it has always been a tough time
...she had been found guilty and rolled down a steep hill in a barrel filled with iron spikes....to be a witch.
...her wasted body had been engulfed in a white-hot wall of flame. The wind shifted, and now the unmistakable stench of roasting flesh blew across our faces.It's not exactly a secret what happens to witches. Meg has been there, witness to many deaths of those condemned and accused of witchcraft. Knowing this, Meg, our intrepid heroine, will certainly strive to abandon her witchy ways! To practice discretion at all cost! To not endanger her body, her soul, her family's reputation, the Lady Elizabeth's possible future as Queen of England.
Bitch, please. Meg's a fucking moron. Witchcraft was in her blood and she would willingly risk death rather than to go against her witchy nature. You know what's in my blood? The urge to fling my poor fucking Nook across the room during reading this book, but no, I have some self-restraint, unlike Meg.
She and her aunt go practice their witchery in an old-broken down palace by night. Repeatedly. Despite the many, many close calls of discovery. They scry upon a dead sheep's entrails. They cast magic circles. They strive to foretell the future. Meg does not restrict her use of witchcraft to the noble task of helping Lady Elizabeth foretell her future and what belies her once Queen Mary is with child, she uses her powers capriciously, stupidly, in others' presence.
I would make sure Blanche was a little clumsier than usual, once spilling the bowl of heated water for the princess’s morning ablutions. Another time, Blanche tripped over some invisible obstacle, the clean linen in her arms ending up on the dirty rushes, much to Elizabeth’s annoyance.She manipulates their mind, she manipulates their thoughts, she manipulates their actions for no higher purpose than her own capricious will, for pranks, for revenge against a spiteful act.
Meg wields her magic irresponsibly, foolishly. It is the equivalent of giving a slingshot to a 5-year old boy and telling him to be careful with it. Sooner or later, someone's going to bleed.
The premise of the book is supposed to be one of suspense, because Meg could be caught and killed for being a witch. It didn't work for me, largely because the gravity of the situation and the suspense was completely gone due to the lightness by which Meg handles her powers. She is completely indiscreet. Meg puts herself, her Lady, and her family in danger more than once. She was caught and nearly killed more than once, and overall, her overwhelming stupidity and lack of caution turned Meg from a character with whom we should sympathize into someone more worthy of mockery.
The plot is relegated into irrelevancy by Meg's foolish tactics and action, plagued with the massive overuse of deus ex machina. Magic seems to be the be-all-end-all solution to getting out of impossible predicaments. It didn't work, the use of magic doesn't necessarily make a plot ridiculous, but the constant, worn out use of it relegates the plot into the land of redundancy. It is a disguise for a poorly-thought out plot.
The dialogue was awkward, it tries to achieve an authentically archaic tone, and only succeeded in sounding stilted and unnatural.
The insta-love was awkward, unbelievable, and even more foolish given what we know. Meg was warned by a prophecy: Beware a traveller who comes over water, over land. Alejandro de Castillo is a Spaniard, newly arrived in England. This is an era where the Spanish are hated and feared---Spain and England are on constant war alert with each other, plus, the Spanish are a devoutly Catholic country...well known for the rough tactics of the Spanish Inquisition. Yet...the moment Alejandro de Castillo meets Meg's eyes...the sparks fly! (And eventually, so does Meg. Discretion? What's that?)
This is my Alejandro de Castillo.
He's 17 years old. He's from a wealthy, well-respected family in Spain. He is a trusted envoy of Spain, despite his age. He is a priest-to be, and yet Meg feels the urge to kiss him anyway. Multiple times. He's also quite comfortable coming into young women's chambers uninvited, despite being a future priest (he's not yet ordained). But wait! He's not just any priest, Alejandro de Castillo is a novice in the Holy Catholic Order of Santiago (try saying that 10 times), whose priests are allowed to marry if they maintain their vows of chastity!
Anyways, Meg doesn't just fall into insta-love. She runs hot and cold. She's alternately a bitchy, sniping harpy to him, while enlisting his aid, while being offended that he doesn't want to kiss her back. When he does return her attention, she turns him away because she's secretly angry at him over something he doesn't have a fucking clue about. Is there even a point to this romance?
There is not a single likeable character in this book. Everyone is an asshole or an idiot. The villains are one-dimensionally evil, you can see Marcus Dent, the Evil Witchhunter and Inquisitor twilrling his mustache as he threatens to ravish Meg and destroy her family if she doesn't marry him! Meg is so lovely, after all. Her fathering is a cruel, devious trope. Her cousin a manipulative sycophant. Her brother a bumbling, ingratiating fool. The women are no better, besides the sickly, spinster Aunt Jane, the other female characters are either "simple" (mentally retarded), cruel and snippy (Blanche Parry), or a complete bitch (Lady Elizabeth).
I absolutely hated the portrayal of the future Queen Elizabeth in this book. It is true that Elizabeth has always been strong-willed, but in this book, she is portrayed more as a sniping harpy than a regal queen-to-be. She slaps people, she pinches Meg out of spite, she throws fits and tantrums, she yells, she shrieks, the majority of her actions in the book revolve around one emotion: anger. It doesn't feel right, and it is a piss-poor portrayal of such a beloved figure. It's one thing to be realistic in a character portrayal, to make a highly revered character seem more human and relatable, but the way Elizabeth is pictured here makes her seem less a human and more of a bitch.
Not recommended to anyone but those seeking the very lightest of entertainment. The historical setting of this book is but an afterthought. ...more
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Oct 11, 2013
Oct 15, 2013
Oct 11, 2013
Sep 24, 2013
Sep 24, 2013
Actual rating: 3.5
This is a book about superheroes---or rather, antiheroes, that started off wonderfully, but gradually wandered into genericville ter Actual rating: 3.5
This is a book about superheroes---or rather, antiheroes, that started off wonderfully, but gradually wandered into genericville territory. It was still very good, but I'm still left with a sense of disappointment. The characters in this book didn't live up to my expectations, or to their own potential. It was the equivalent of a movie-based comic book adaptation, and granted, there have been pretty amazing ones...but still, this is a book. A book has so much more potential for plot twists, for character development, and ultimately, this book didn't live up to my high expectations of it. The quality of the writing is excellent, the character portrayals very well done, but the narrative style didn't work for me, and I had a lot of issues with how cookie-cutter some things eventually became.
If you had asked me how many stars I would give this book, based on the first 5 or so chapters, I would have said five, no questions about it. The beginning was amazing, the first chapter had hook that pulled me in right from the start. We have people digging up a corpse in the middle of a frigid night. We have a talking, walking girl who just might be dead.
This is the present, and we are rapidly brought back to the past...to Lockland University, 10 years ago, where two young men named Victor Vale and Eli Cardale were best friends. Lockland University is the destination of the best and the brightest, and Victor and Eli are the elite among the elites. They share the same intensity for learning, the same sharp brilliance, and a quiet, unspoken rivalry when it comes to life, education, and love. They are like-minded with their fierce ambition, but of the two, Eli seems to be the more sinister, despite his charming, carefree façade.
...something about Eli was decidedly wrong. He was like one of those pictures full of small errors, the kind you could only pick out by searching the image from every angle, and even then, a few always slipped by. On the surface, Eli seemed perfectly normal, but now and then Victor would catch a crack, a sideways glance, a moment when his roommate’s face and his words, his look and his meaning, would not line up. Those fleeting slices fascinated Victor. It was like watching two people, one hiding in the other’s skin. And their skin was always too dry, on the verge of cracking and showing the color of the thing beneath.For their Comprehensive Science Seminar thesis, Eli unexpectedly chooses the topics of EO: ExtraOrdinary people. People with special abilities, specifically, how science...biology, chemistry, psychology...could explain their existence.
An ambitious topic, a creative topic...one that instills a bitter jealousy within Victor. He feels compelled to push Eli further, as they think of ways in which they can trigger these special abilities and become EOs themselves. Victor and Eli become the guinea pigs in their own science experiments, and their hubris goes too far. It works, albeit disastrously.
10 years later, Victor has broken out of prison. Accompanying him is "a hacker, a half-dead dog, and a child". And he is out for revenge. He slowly tracks Eli down and draws him out, thanks to the help from his ragtag crew, the aforementioned child and a hulking gentle giant of a hacker. Like all superhero movies, everything leads up to a final, grand confrontation.
Victor was out. Victor was free.It took me awhile to realize that this book took place in a pseudo-alternative universe. It's still the current world, as we know it, but it's more like a comic book world, because these EOs are not just theoretical. They're not exactly famous, but it is known that these people exist. It confused me a bit until I realized this fact, because this world seems so similar to our own that it is a little bit of a shock to the system to hear people---specifically, science professors, who are accepting and actually receptive to the idea of a thesis involving people with special powers.
What I loved about this book was the writing and the character portrayals. There are no clear cut, no clear message of goodness versus evil here. Both characters can be termed "bad," respectively, even our main narrator, whom we are presumably expected to root for. Victor is not a good man, he has some redeemable qualities, but throughout the novels, his good deeds are tempered with sparks of inhumanity, of violence. He shoots a man, he inflicts pain, he tortures people when it suits his purposes.
I had a problem with Eli's character development. He is a good "villain," if you can call him that, but I felt like his development was out of character and inconsistent from what we know of him. It felt like a bit of a cop-out, an easy way to pin the donkey's tail on a character designed to be bad, if you will. Eli's evolution was unbelievable, nonsensical. He turned from a brilliant boy, a normal boy with a crack beneath surface into a madman overnight.
“What gives you the right to play judge and jury and executioner?”Eli has always been somewhat religious, it's a contradictory fact about him that Victor finds fascinating, but it is as if he becomes a hypocritical fundamentalist Christian in his rock-solid belief of fulfilling his God-given duty out of nowhere. He did suffer through some traumatic events in the beginning of the novel, but I felt that it was insufficient in explaining his personality changes. It's not enough. It turns Eli from a villain with a potentially complex inner darkness into just another fanatically religious, self-righteous trope.
I had a problem with the constant flashbacks in the narrative. It fluctuates a lot. It goes from the present to 10 years past, to last night, to 2 hours ago, to 2 days ago. The chapters are labeled, so that you know where that particular chapter is taken place, during what time, but honestly, it got to be a little too much. The narrative is from a third-person perspective, and we get it from many characters, Victor, Eli, Sydney, Serena, Mitch. It wasn't so bad, because most of the narrative focused around Sydney, Eli, and Victor, but it didn't mesh together well when combined with all the constant flashbacks.
Overall, I still would highly recommend this. The writing is spectacular, and the characters are mostly well-done, with the exception of Eli. My complaints with this book are subjective, and I still enjoyed the book despite what I felt to be its faults. ...more
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Oct 11, 2013
Oct 14, 2013
Oct 08, 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
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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 constan 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
Notes are private!
Sep 29, 2013
Sep 30, 2013
Sep 29, 2013