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
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]
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
No spoilers here...
So, the Divergent trilogy is now complete. I am left with an odd feeling after finishing this final installment...
On the one hand I felt like Roth brought the story arc to a decent conclusion. I definitely didn't see the "big twist" or the conclusion coming...it may have been telegraphed, but I didn't pick up on it. So, I did like that I was surprised by them.
But, on the other hand, I felt like this book was completely different from the other two books in the trilogy. Maybe the majority of my discontent lies with the dual narrative? I've never been a big fan of stories told from two or more viewpoints...I think they can become confusing and tedious unless (there are exceptions, of course). Unfortunately, Allegiant became confusing and tedious at times...I prefer the story as told from Tris's point of view and I found the Tobias parts to be interesting, but overall "meh". Plus, due to the plot twist, I felt that the story had a totally different vibe than the other two. I can't go into detail without giving a small spoiler so I'll stop at that...but, it just had a different feel to it.
The only other issue I had with it was that, like Insurgent, I felt like it got really "wordy" in the middle of the story. Almost like the story stalled out. It definitely picked back up again...but for a hot second I thought it would meet the same fate as Insurgent in my book...
So...Allegiant. Glad I read it...glad the trilogy reached a satisfying, complete ending. Wish I could read the story from one person's viewpoint and see if I would like it better.
[Read Nov. 2013]
Where has half of November gone already? Life has been busy, but I've managed to squeeze a couple books in...not many more than that, though. Seems like each day something gets added to December's plate, so hopefully I can still manage to fit some reading time into things!
The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
I think I may have found a new favorite author! The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin was excellent.
The second installment of the Inheritance Trilogy, The Broken Kingdoms follows a blind artist, Oree Shoth, in the years following the conclusion of the first book - The One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Oree is in the middle of an on and off again romance with a godling when a dangerous new cult catches a whiff of her magical abilities. To add to the troubles, godlings are murdered across the city and it's up to Oree and her mysterious new friend "Shiny" to not only escape the cult's clutches but to put a stop to whoever is murdering the godlings.
To be honest, I was slightly concerned about Jemisin following another heroine in book number two. I was unsure if I would find the new heroine as engaging as Yeine. While she still makes appearances in The Broken Kingdoms, Yeine is not really integral to the plot line. This is definitely Oree Shoth's book. Once I got used to that fact, the book really took off for me. I found the story engaging and the writing style very similar to the style of the first. The world building subtly evolved and grew.
I did find that I didn't get as wrapped up in this installment as I did in the One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms...which is why this one got four gnomes as opposed to the full five. I think the reason for that was I just found Yeine's storyline more engrossing. Oree still had her fascinating points, however, and she was definitely a great subject. I am looking forward to wrapping up the trilogy...hopefully it reaches a satisfying conclusion.
[Read Nov. 2013]
The Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
I really enjoyed this one! I think it's safe to say that it's my favorite "dystopian" genre book at the moment.
In a humongoid nutshell, Evie is a tormented teen who discovers that she is part of a group of young adults who embody the various Tarot cards. It's up to Evie and the other young adults to either destroy the world or save it.
This book was immensely readable and hard to put down. I'm still on the fence about Cole's Immortals After Dark series...but I wanted to give the YA book a try. I'm glad I did. This book definitely has a different flavor than the IAD series.
The only things that kept me from ranking it a full five gnomes were the male lead and the annoying way Cole phonetically wrote out words in a Cajun accent.
Jack Deveraux? Yeah, he's a douchebag. I may be showing my age here, but to watch him think with his "other" head for just about the whole book and then see Evie justify it away time after time after time...yeah, no. That just doesn't fly. Hopefully he redeems himself in the next book...otherwise, I am going to root for the other dude in the inevitable love triangle that is to come.
Evie was on track to be annoying, but like I figured - she came into her own by the end of the book. Hopefully she doesn't backtrack in book number two just to win JD back...'cause, girlfriend - he ain't worth it!
[Read Nov. 2013]
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
With a title like "Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer", how can you **not** read this book?
Colette Iselin is going on the trip of a lifetime - Paris with her fellow French class francophiles. After her folks go through a nasty divorce, Colette is struggling to keep her social standing up to par by making nice with the popular (if mean) girls in the class. When the class arrives in France, Colette is confronted with the sticky dynamics of doing what she wants to do (doing the tourist-y things and making eyes at the charming French tourguide, Jules) and what her popular friends want to do (go to all the en vogue night clubs and attempt to snag a sexy, French hunk). Oh, and to make the situation all that much more complicated, the ghost of Marie Antoinette has been killing off wealthy French socialites and it looks like Colette may be next on her list.
I thought this was a delightful read! Light and fluffy with a good dash of the murderous paranormal as well. This book fits solidly within the realm of YA - there's plenty of teenage angst/boy drama to go around. With the understanding that it's a young adult book, I found it to be well-written and entertaining, if slightly predictable.
I refuse to think any deeper on the book (I was a history major/French language minor in college) lest I focus on the ridiculous...Marie Antoinette as a serial killer? A secret order of French nobles sworn to protect the throne? Um...lol.
Understanding that this is a light and fun read and going into the story with that mentality will help a lot in how enjoyable one finds the story. At the end of the book, it's a good piece of escapist Young Adult paranormal fiction.
I enjoyed the book and now must bid it adieu.
[Read Oct. 2013]