World After by Susan Ee
So, I raced through the second installment of Penryn & the End of Days. World After is the sequel to the immensely popularAngelfall which I read last week (was it last week? I think so...with Christmas and time off of work the days seem to blur together).
World After starts out shortly after the end of Angelfall. Paige has been rescued but something is just not right about Penryn's little sister. Penryn struggles to not only accept Paige in her new form, but to also accept that Raffe is gone and may never return. One thing leads to another and Paige is missing again with Penryn hot on her trail to try and rescue her little sister. Again. Will Raffe return? If he does, will he get his angel wings back from Beliel? And what's with those scorpion things? All questions that are answered in World After.
I enjoyed this installment better than the first one. It was just as quick of a read as Angelfall, yet I felt that Ee explored Penryn as a character a little bit more and the story didn't seem so rushed. The angels seem rather two-dimensional...for the most part they're arrogant, chauvinistic warriors. Raffe seems to be the only angel with any depth at all. I'm still rather "meh" about the romance between Penryn and Raffe...just doesn't seem believable yet. Hopefully as the series goes on I'll become more invested in the romance (if the romance continues? It probably will, but you never know...).
All in all, an enjoyable book and a solid continuation of the series. Let's see where this series goes!
...you totally loved books one and two of a trilogy and get stuck on the final installment.
The Kingdom of Gods was so different from books one and two in The Inheritance Trilogy. Books one and two followed a similar pattern and book three is totally different. Not a huge deal, but when it's not what you expected going in, it can be a bit off putting.
I will back to The Kingdom of Gods...but after it sitting on my nightstand for a month and a half without being completed I think it will have to be relegated to a "time off" corner for a while.
Until we meet again, The Kingdom of Gods...until we meet again.
Endless Knight by Kresley Cole
Endless Knight picks up right where Poison Princess leaves off...almost like it's part of one giant book that they cut in half at the end of a climactic chapter.
This second installment in The Arcana Chronicles is excellent...maybe even better than the first book. Endless Knight delves deeper into the world After the Flash and introduces the reader to more Arcana Cards ready to do battle.
I wonder if I liked Endless Knight better because you see less of Jackson in it? Oh, Jackson (or "Jack" as he's suddenly called in this book) is still there, no worries...but the focus is definitely on Death - when will Death show up/who is Death/what will Death do to Evie when he gets her/etc? Cole did a great job of creating a sympathetic figure...Death seemed to fall into the gray area of bad, but not quite bad.
While we're at it...let's point out the elephant in the room. Evie definitely has a type she goes for, doesn't she? This shouldn't be a huge spoiler since you can see the cover art and all...but inPoison Princess it's all about Jackson...now we are intoEndless Knight and she's easily distracted by Death and their previous history.
Yep...Kresley Cole has implemented the tried and true (and tired?) trick of young adult love triangle. So, let's go ahead and pick teams now...are you Team Jackson or Team Death? I know a lot of people are sick of the YA Love Triangle, but it doesn't seem to be a weary plot point in this story. Both guys are sympathetic enough that you can root for either of them and still feel bad that the other guy is going to lose out.
I'm curious to see where Cole will take The Arcana Chronicles. This next bit might be a spoiler so stop reading now if you aren't interested in my hypothesis...
Seriously - you've been warned - potential spoiler ahead.
Ok - so I did notice the one line thrown into this book about the Card that doesn't know he/she is a Card until he/she kills another Major Arcana. Pretty sure that will be Jackson. And I think Jackson will turn out to be the Sun Card. Evie as the Empress is attracted to Death because he is her antithesis...yet, the Sun is what would make the Empress (ie. life) grow and flourish...so the Sun seems like it might be the right choice.
I guess we shall see. Going to give this one five stars because it was a great read that stuck with me even after the last page was read. Can't wait for number three!
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
So...couldn't finish this one.
Seemed like it should be a fun premise, yet the characters were trite and the story line tired and old.
There were some funny one-liners in the book which almost kept me going...but in the end it just wasn't enough.
Looks like I won't be going to Hex Hall/Hecate/whatever it was called anytime soon.
There is a lot of love out there for Angelfall. I think it's well-deserved love.Angelfall is one of those books that hooks you by its bat wings and drags you along for all 247 pages until you finish and go "whoah!". It's compulsively readable and so fast-paced you feel like you are sprinting away from the killer angels right along with Penryn.
So you may be asking - if you liked it and if it's such a readable book...why knock it down two stars?
It lost a star because it was just too short. Yes, 247 pages is not enough for this book. It easily could have had another hundred pages to flesh out the world and the situations Penryn and Raffe found themselves embroiled within. Because the book IS so readable and fast-paced, it felt like I was flying by each plot point within the book. I know it's set in a modern-ish world, but I still felt like more world-building and more building up of the plot could have really made this book a lot more satisfying.
It also lost a star because there wasn't much character development. It's hard to feel anything for a romance or for a character's suffering when you hardly know the character. I think the lack of character development may have been a result of the book being too short...again, another 100 pages would have allowed Ee to really establish the characters. As it stands, I could really care less whether Penryn recovers her sister and/or she gets together with Raffe. *shrugs*
Don't get me wrong - I really enjoyed this book. Despite my ambivalence towards the characters and their plights, I already went out and got my hands on the second installment. It really does deserve all the love it's been receiving as well - it's one of those books that makes you scratch your head at publishers wondering why they chose to pass on this gem. It's always great to see an indie book make such a huge splash.
Bottom line - check out Angelfall. While I may have not liked its shortness and/or lack of character development, I am definitely in the minority. It's a fun, quick read with an interesting premise
How do you know you have been reading too many Weather Warden books lately? Why, when you are driving home from a relative's Christmas party in the middle of a big thunderstorm and you think "wow - there must be major conflict between the Wardens or the Djinn...", of course.
Ok, not really. But I did just drive through a storm and the thought "Weather/Earth/Fire Wardens and Djinn - what an excellent premise for a series!" did go through my head.
Windfall is the fourth installment in the Weather Wardens series. I'm not going to rehash the plotline because, frankly, this is one of those series that you pretty muchhave to read in order. And, really, the whole series so far has been pretty formulaic - there's trouble, Joanne (main character) is caught up in it and looks to her lover Djinn, David, to save the day...something probably happens to prevent/limit David's power and Joanne is forced to take the lead and something really bad happens to Joanne in the process and/or she loses David or David's bottle...but, she manages to pull through and then the book ends with something big problem looming on the horizon that is just big enough to make you want to go pull the next book in the series to find out how Joanne will beat the odds yet again.
Sounds tiring, doesn't it? But, surprisingly, it isn't tiring or redundant. Each of the four books I have read so far have been enjoyable, quick reads. The fashion sense and some of the other things are starting to show their age (I think Windfall is turning 9 years old this year?), but other than that, I have found the series to be a fun read.
Plus, there are NO vampires. NO werewolves. NO other overused fae/paranormal/fantastical creature. No, this book has Djinn. And that's a win in my book.
The only negative that dropped this one down to 4 stars for me was that there seemed to be a lot of filler and set up interspersed with random bursts of rapid-fire plotline. I would have preferred something a little more balanced to make the in-between parts less draggy. And the villains were projected from the beginning...Joanne kept stumbling through the story clueless about who the bad guy(s) were which I found implausible considering they pretty much had flashing neon signs with arrows pointing to them as "VILLAIN!!".
Ah well. Still really enjoyed this one...still really enjoy the series. Like the cover blurb says - you'll never look at the Weather Channel the same again!
The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
This was a good read. Plain and simple. I was wanting to read a solid fantasy novel and this really fit the bill.
The Warded Man has all the makings of great fantasy:
- Does the story have a group of average people who overcome insurmountable odds to become epic heroes? Yep. Two average Joes and one average Jane evolve into pretty memorable characters who can only get better as the series progresses.
- What about horrible villain(s) threatening all of life as we know it? You betcha! Scores of evil demons (aka Corelings) rise from the Core each nightfall to kill as many humans as possible before sunrise.
- How about a cool world? Yep indeedy. Brett creates a rich world of which we only seem to scratch the surface in The Warded Man. Fragile, hand-drawn wards protect humans at night from the corelings, yet there are whispers of a time when the wards were used to attack and kill the corelings. Lacking the knowledge about the offensive wards, humans have been at the mercy of the corelings for centuries, praying for a time when the Deliverer would return and rescue them from the demons' claws.
Suffice to say, I really enjoyed this book. I tend to like my fantasy chock full of dragons, elves, dwarves and the like - this book has none of those. And that's ok. Brett creates a rich and vivid story with characters you want to see evolve and grow.
Looking forward to The Desert Spear!
I have been putting off reading this book for some reason. Maybe I am overloaded on vampires? What I was *not* aware of, was how long the book had been out...I read the 10th anniversary copy of the book! That's some staying power...
All that to say, I don't know why I put it off - it was really enjoyable! It's a fast-paced story written in an engaging writing style which makes it a pretty quick read. At first I was concerned because I just didn't like Anita Blake. She struck me as a self-righteous...well...bitch. And I am still on the fence as to whether she is or she isn't one. But as I read the story I found myself warming up to her quite a bit. She definitely has some flaws which can ultimately make a character interesting.
There are about a million books in this series...don't know how far along I will get in the series before I throw the towel in, but as of right now? Bring on the next installment!
4.5 gnomes out of 5
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
That was my reaction about a third of the way into the book --> Finally, it looks as though I have found a series that a) branches away from the typical vampire/werewolf plot line that permeates the genre and b) is written in a style that doesn't irritate the crap out of me.
I have a few dragon/shifter books on my to-read list...but this was the first one of the field that I have read. And I loved it! It's steamy and seems to be the start of a really interesting world. It's not just dragons that shift in this series -- it's all the fae creatures you could ever imagine...from gargoyles to gryphons to whatever.
And to top it all off, there are Elves! I love me some elves. Not like Santa's Elves...think more like Tolkien, Forgotten Realms, or Dragonlance elves.
Dragon Bound starts the Elder Races series which, you guessed it, encompasses all the fantasy races. There's definitely plenty of material here - Thea Harrison could keep writing this series for quite a while and she has enough variety within the fantasy races alone to keep things fresh and interesting.
The plot of Dragon Bound was interesting...the romance steamy (but pretty typical if I'm being honest). Was it predictable? Maybe a little...I should have figured out what Pia shifted into before it happened. In fact, the page before Pia shifted I guessed what she was. I predicted the end of the book as well...BUT the other factors of the story/characters/plot made it compulsively readable so I didn't really care that it echoed of other stories I may have read.
Thea Harrison has a very readable style to her writing. The story flows smoothly and it's not filled with annoying sayings or choppy plot like other well-known authors/books in the field.
Dragon Bound definitely caters to the Alpha Male storyline too. There's a positive review from J.R. Ward on the cover recommending it to fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood - she's right. There's definitely a similar vibe both in character style and series set up (if that makes sense?. Wrath is to the BDB as Dragos is to the Elder Races.
All in all --> 4.5 gnomes...rounded up to 5 because I am excited to read where this series will go!
[Read Dec. 2013]
Atlantis Rising by Alyssa Day
I wanted to like it. I really did It has good reviews on Goodreads and the premise seemed interesting. I just couldn't stand the writing style.
This may be one I come back to later, though. The premise seems too good to let go so easily...
So, until we meet again, Atlantis Rising, until we meet again.
[Read Dec. 2013]
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
I started this book without hearing any of the hype pre-publishing. I think that was a good thing...seems like the more hype you heard, the less you liked the book.
In The Bone Season, Paige Mahoney spends her days working in a crime syndicate. She is a dreamwalker - a rare type of clairvoyant. While her gift is rare, the English government has outlawed all types of clairvoyance and if knowledge of her gift was ever made public, she could be executed for high treason. On her way home one day she is kidnapped and transported to Sheol I - a penal colony for clairvoyants. Once there she discovers a mysterious race of creatures called the Rephaim who enslave clairvoyants and put them to use fighting another mysterious race of monsters called the Emim. Paige refuses to be enslaved and fights back against her captors - including her mysterious keeper, the Warden.
Without any preconceptions - I really enjoyed this book! I wouldn't say that it was anything groundbreaking, but the story was interesting and the world-building has potential to be really engrossing. I felt that Paige was decently developed as a character. I wish we had gotten more in-depth development on the Warden's character, though. He was aloof and mysterious for a portion of the story and then it was like a light switched and all of a sudden he was talkative and emotive. It was a jarring switch...didn't seem believable.
Only a few things kind of annoyed me while reading this story:
The romance wasn't that believable...and I think it's because of the Warden's light-switch flip from aloof to caring.
And, to be honest, I think this is a challenging book to read via e-reader. The author uses a lot of jargon and the reader would benefit from easily switching back to the glossary to get a handle on the slang. I didn't use the glossary and it took me about half the book to really start feeling comfortable with the terms.
All in all, I thought this was an enjoyable read. Knowing that this is the first installment of a pretty lengthy series made the slow world-building okay. I think book two will (hopefully) take off pretty quickly and further develop the world/universe and answer any remaining questions.
I give this one 4.5 gnomes...but I'll round it up to 5 because I think this series has major potential.
[Read Dec. 2013]