Tag Archives: fantasy

Review: THE DREAM THIEVES

ImageStars: 4.5/5

Format: Kindle ebook via NetGalley

Read: August 18, 2013

I have been in love with Maggie Stiefvater’s work for a long, long time. Not since the beginning, mind you, but since she published SHIVER. I’m lucky enough to have a casual acquaintance with her, I have a picture of her and my rabbit, and I have some doodles in my signed books from her especially to me.

Although this is true, I am not biased. To date, I have not met a book she has written that I haven’t liked. A lot. Her writing style is just so dry-humored and smooth like dark chocolate.

Okay. So back to the review at hand. THE DREAM THIEVES is a wonderful sequel to THE RAVEN BOYS. This book mostly focuses on Ronan with a good dose of Blue and little Adam, and Gansey. There’s an assassin in town that’s looking for a valuable thing that Gansey may or may not possess and will stop at nothing to get it. Plus, Cabeswater has disappeared into thin air and with it, any chance Gansey has to find the king he’s been looking his entire life for.

Maggie’s prose is lyrical, witty, sad, and rings with the truth of consciousness for every one of her characters. She breathes life into the pages seamlessly and grabs you along for the ride until the words run out. I was so, so pleased to get to read this second installment in The Raven Cycle a month early and I will definitely be buying the hardcover when it comes out!

I received a free ebook copy from NetGalley and did not receive any other recompense for this review.

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, advanced reader copy, Review

Review: DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE and THE CLOCKWORK THREE

 Stars: 4/5

 Format: Hardback 

 Read: December 15, 2011

So this book started fairly slowly, and continued at a fairly slow pace. The world description, character description, and plot threads were beautifully done, but I felt like I was being dragged by my shirt slowly down dusty alleyways that had no foreseeable ending. There’s Kaoru’s world that slowly becomes not-Kaoru’s world and then the story leaves you as confused as Kaoru. Most of the time, I felt like I was sitting there in a math class that has no patterns to even try and follow and it was highly frustrating.

Now those who love epic fantasy books that have a lot of world building and confusion up until the end, some satisfaction, and then way more confusion will love this book. I have to admit, I liked the characters enough that the pace wasn’t an issue for me (most of the time), and I liked Akiva the more I got to know him.

I have mixed feelings about this book, and right now I’m a little emotionally wrung out to figure out exactly why I liked this book, I’ll try to go with stating facts.

1. Angel and chimera lore was very well researched. I felt that there was no inconsistencies and we were given enough information just to wonder and marvel at these different races.

2. Wishes were involved. The fact and fiction of magic was fascinating and logical if not a little sad.

3. The humanity of the non-humans. This was interesting to me, because I always like to explore what defines humans as humans versus other creatures. I think that what we’ve termed as “humanity” is not exclusive to humans at all, but more of a universal rightness that exists in all creatures. This book is a fabulous example of that.

I hope that is more descriptive than the rambling words my brain produced.

 

 Stars: 4.5/5

 Format: Hardback 

 Read: December 18, 2011

This middle-grade read was given to me by my mom as a senior in college gift. The writing is geared towards middle grade, so no lavish descriptions or large words, but it is just as lyrical as some young adult books. Throughout this book, I was reminded of The Thief Lord with the whimsical characters and action.

This book is more of a suspense book. Nothing huge, but each chapter alternates between the three main characters and the chapters more often than not end in cliffhangers. I had to resist the impulse to flip ahead and see what happened. It was sweet and innocent, with some violence and a little technical jargon with the clockwork pieces, but it was also mysterious and fascinating. The hotel, for example, holds many secrets with boarded up rooms and odd guests. I love exploring old houses, so I was very excited when I came upon the old hotel. However, since it is geared toward middle-grade readers, there were plot strings that were never resolved. It felt a little like there was only one purpose of this book, and the plot threads that were on the side were largely ignored once they had played their parts. This didn’t detract from the book, but just indicated it was not like a young adult book I’m used to reading.

Light-hearted and fun, it was long for a lower level book but definitely an easy read for a day or so. I would recommend it as a breath of fresh air for your brain. It was a very nice break from dismal and gritty novels I’ve been reading.

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Review

Review: HOLLOWMEN and THE FAERIE RING

Stars: 4/5

 Format: Kindle Book

 Read: November 13, 2011

I’m sad to say I didn’t love this as much as the first book. It starts 6 months after Hollowland ended, and started fairly well. And then everything went to pot.

So they end up having to move, like usual, because no place is truly safe. I get that. Remy has to find her younger brother, so they take a detour to Arizona and I get that too. Remy is kind of emotionally damaged, so stuff isn’t quite so engaging for the reader. That’s fine. And then the author begins picking off characters. Which is also fine. However, the fact that Remy has basically turned into a flat, monotonous character that expresses few emotions and all shallowly is what bothered me.

When people begin to die, Remy doesn’t engage. I felt like I was reading the story through a fog, where everything was dampened and not always in a good way. I know she’s emotionally damaged, but I felt like this was an extreme that wasn’t plausible. So my favorite character is gone, there’s a whole slew of new characters, and other characters are mentioned in passing as dying. The whole story is very removed from Hollowland in a way that didn’t connect well at all with me.

I didn’t feel the characters at all. In fact, I went from Hollowland being my favorite to mourning the characters and story prematurely in Hollowmen. Because whatever spark that was in the first book, was gone from this one. I might also be overly disappointed because I had anticipated this sequel for so long that I sort of built a fairly large expectation, but even looking at it from a neutral stand point, I just did not connect with this book.

However, I will read any subsequent books in this series and hope that Remy will find her way back to us.

 Stars: 3/5

 Format: ARC Book Won

 Read: October 18, 2011

After so much hype and a gorgeous cover, I deeply wanted this book. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC, only to be highly disappointed by the book itself.

The characters are fascinating, if a bit slow to develop, but the plot was the main problem. It felt that the author was overenthusiastic about writing and pours out several plot threads at once, most of which having nothing to do with the main agenda of the book. Tiki steals to care for her family, oh wait she has a mysterious birthmark-tattoo on her wrist, on wow she happens to be inside Buckingham palace and happens to have a ring fall right in front of her, she takes it… and then the writing changes completely. It’s like two different writers tried to fit the same book idea and characters into one novel. The writing starts declining from “mediocre” to “childish” to “high schooler trying to write a book and make it big with no regards to prose or character development”. It wasn’t too bad, until everything is resolved. Then everything magically turns out okay; all that was missing was “and they lived happily ever after”. Which, you know, is fine in some circumstances, but felt like silk tacked on to a burlap sack. It just doesn’t fit together, no matter what you do.

Even the lore was weak, if nonexistent, to the point where I had no reservations on whether or not the agent even read any faerie books before taking this one on. I wanted to love it so much, even just like it, but in the end I just couldn’t. It was a rocky “oh well this is getting better” only to turn to the next chapter and have it decline again.

It was just painful to read, having so much potential gradually get burned to dust. You’re welcome to try it, but don’t expect too much or your soul will cry a little.

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Filed under 3 stars, 4 stars, Review

Review: THE DEMON’S SURRENDER and FIRE

After leaving my blog for dead, I have returned haggard but alive. My major is eating me alive, testing my every move so that when I stumble it can laugh at my show of weakness and mock me. (In case you were wondering what kind of hideous major could do that, my answer is molecular biology coupled with organic chemistry and physics classes.) As a bonus at the end of this post, I will have a picture of me for you in my lab coat looking professional.

Stars: 4/5

Format: Hardback personal copy

Read: October 6, 2011

I disagree that the point of view ruined this book. It didn’t, not completely. I liked Sin alright, she was dynamic and interesting, but compared to Alan, Mae, Nick, and Jamie, she can’t win. Taking this point of view was a challenge, mainly because in order to include all the facts that are needed, Sin does a lot of creepy stalking in the shadows. More often than not, there’s an entire scene in which Sin is watching interactions from outside a door without voicing a thought in her head and you forget that it’s from her point of view.

Also, there were some loose plot threads. For example, you see Jamie from Sin’s eyes, and all of his struggles are shrugged off because Sin has written him off as a magician gone to the dark side. Mae (lovable Mae whom I fell in love with in The Demon’s Covenant)is a rival and is viewed in a not so nice light, and the interactions with Alan were just flat (not Alan himself, but Sin because she’s not so dynamic). Plus you never really find out what becomes of Sin’s little sister and brother, other than “they live happily ever after” together. I was interested in that bit (though it was a hugely side plot) and I got nothing.

Was it a good book by itself? Yes. Was it a good companion book to the series? Yeah, more or less. Was it a good way to end an awesome action-packed and witty trilogy? No. If this book was a stand alone, in addition to a book with no Sin POV, I think people would like it more. As it is, I don’t believe becoming experimental in side characters at the end of a three or so year trilogy with very vocal fans was the greatest choice. However, I enjoyed the book, even if it wasn’t quite up to par.

If you enjoyed The Demon’s Lexicon and Covenant, pick up this book. But I’d wait for a price drop because there’s a high chance you’ll be a little disappointed and paying too much for it will fuel your frustrations.

Stars: 5/5

Format: Hardback personal copy

Read: October 1, 2011

After reading Graceling, I was super excited to pick up anything with Kristin Cashore’s name on it. I went to Amazon in search of her next masterpiece, only to find her next book didn’t involve any characters from Graceling. In fact, it was termed “a companion”. The word companion usually means nothing good in the world of a reader, and I didn’t buy it. If I were honest, I flat out refused. But shopping at McKay’s used bookstore here in Nashville, I came across a beautiful, pristine copy and picked it up for almost 75% off. I wasn’t disappointed.

Where I thought that Kristin Cashore couldn’t match the characters in Graceling, she most definitely did. Fire is lyrical, witty, funny, and lovable. She is so different from Katsa, an entirely different species in fact, yet I found myself loving her just as I had done with Katsa. The characters are beautifully woven, like fine silk and rubbed to perfection. Fire has weaknesses, but she’s not weak. She’s complicated, ashamed of herself, but so utterly and undeniably human at heart you can’t help but want her to come out on top.

Of course there’s a romance, no novel from Kristin Cashore could be complete without one, and it’s fairly obvious who is going to hook up with whom. However, in another typical Kristin Cashore plot thread, you never can quite predict much else. Fire had me entranced, where no chapter was boring and I only skipped ahead once just to make sure nothing horrible (such as the world ending) was about to happen before I turned in for the night. This is a rare feat for me, since I have little control over my eyes and brain impulses with books.

Pick it up. If you didn’t want to because there was no Katsa, do it anyways. You will love Fire and you will adore the complicated Archer and the elusive prince and his brother the king. You will not go wrong and it will be money well spent.

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Filed under 4 stars, 5 stars, Review