Was your favorite part of PARANORMALCY
a) the romance
b) the writing
c) the humor
I'm guessing that you chose c because that is the logical answer. PARANORMALCY was a hilarious fluffy and immature read. The book's strength was most definitely not the writing or the romance. The writing, to be honest, was pretty mediocre. The only thing that really made the book shine was its humor.
Now, imagine PARANORMALCY except with mind reading assassins, a darker tone, and without all the humor. This book be potentially really awesome if White's writing style had improved and changed for the book. Her writing remained the same, which did not fit the book at all.
The book's first draft was written in nine days. Some people it work but others... can't. The biggest drawback to the book is its absolutely horrid writing. The two POVs were written in a way that makes it feel like you'rereadingallthewordsinonespurt. One of the narrators, Fia, is especially bad about this. She's also got the attention span of a my dog.
I wish we were at a deli, eating and laughing, and feeding Chloe. I miss Chloe. I wish she were my dog and I had an alcoholic father and I were the type of girl that Adam could date and rescue and fall in love with. I wish my left arm didn't hurt so much I wanted to die, because it also means I can't tap tap tap my leg, without that fidget I don't know how to stop the thoughts and feelings flooding through me.
There is so much going on in that one paragraph that it's hard to concentrate. I know why it was written in this fashion but I felt that instead of adding to the story, it only detracted from it. It was done so poorly that it was a complete immersion breaker instead of something to improve the book as a whole.
Fia's POV was pretty much a jumbled mix of CAPS LOCKS and run on thoughts. I spent a lot of her POVs trying to figure out what the fuck is happening. It was so confusing. There were random thoughts interrupting other thoughts and lots of uppercase for no apparent reason.
Another immersion breaker was the fact that there was absolutely no explaining done in the book. In books, you usually know a few things like where the world is set or how it functions. But in MIND GAMES, I had no clue.
The reader had no idea where or when this book was set. The whole concept of "powers" was confusing and I didn't quite understand it. Most of my confusion was do to the shoddy writing and fast pace of the novel.
This became a huge problem, as I couldn't understand anything at all. I think there was this society that was out to get the school for people with powers. Fia's boyfriend - or was he her boyfriend? - had this evil dad or something. To be honest, I spent most of the book like this:
The problem I had with the characters was that they were very underdeveloped and I felt no emotional connection to them. Fia and Annie were in constant danger, yet it didn't feel like it in the slightest. I was never actually concerned for the characters. Fia and her addictions were very contrived and lifeless and Annie was so bland that I couldn't really care about her at all.
The saddest part of all was the wasted potential. The book could have been something truly spectacular but instead, it ended up being a bar short of the mark. MIND GAMES is occasionally entertaining and it certainly kept me turning the pages. The negatives outweighed the positives however and left me with a disappointing read. I don't recommend reading and I really don't think I'll read the second book.
I really don't know what to think of this book. While I did like it to an extent, I didn't love it or feel anything remotely near "love". In the end, the book left a bittersweet taste in my mouth for a few reasons. NANTUCKET BLUE feels like two books. There's the cute summer job story with really nice characters and an overall fun feeling. This part is my favorite. It's an extremely fluffy thing - something that I usually wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.
And then there's the angsty side of the book with the asshole of a love interest. As you can guess, this part of the book and I are notfriends in the slightest.
The book is about a girl named Cricket (her parents obviously hated her) who is an insensitive bitch an all American girl withlifeless party animals for best friends all American best friends living in a rich person house an all American white picket fence house.
Cricket is invited to Nantucket by Jules, her best friend. Cricket freaks out, as one should, because she gets to spend the entire book at a beautiful island. Everyone is happy and chirpy (haha, chirpy Cricket)
And then Cricket's best friend's, Jules, mother died in a freak accident.
My problem with this isn't the fact that this obviously means sadness and angst. No, my problem was that Cricket, because she's a bitch, kept asking Jules whose mother just DIED if they were still going to Nantucket.
Is this really the time, bitch? Jules is GRIEVING and you're asking her if you can go to a resort? I honestly don't know what was going through Cricket's head right then. I'd be alright if this was the only place where Cricket was so single minded and self absorbed. I wouldn't be happy, but I'd be okay.
It wasn't the only time however. It became bearable once I put myself into the right mindset, which was in this case the realization that this was Cricket's character flaw.
However, Cricket was also very stupid when it came to some things. She was a real idiot. She didn't get why Jules was mad at her for the longest time and then expected Jules to be sorry. Um, no.
It was still pretty noticeable and it was enough for me to deduct half a star.
Another big drawback to Cricket's character was all the slut shaming. She called her own mother a slut for having sex. Yeah, no. She had sex and thought about sex. Just because not everyone is as virginal and pure as you doesn't mean they're worth less. The most ironic thing is that later on, she says how horrible the word slut is and how it is only used to make people feel bad about themselves.
Other then these complaints however, Cricket was a fairly likable, if often idiotic, main character.
The romance was part of the book that kept NANTUCKET BLUE from getting a full four stars from me. There are few things I hate more than people who don't understand the word no.
Zack, the love interest, forced the main character into having sex with him even though she said no and tried to get away. Yeah, that's sure romantic. This happens all the time in literature and real life. Don't agree just because the other person says that they love you. If a guy or girl has sex with you without your consent, it is rape. This isn't a subject to be tossed under the rug or excuse because you think you love someone.
Rape is rape, no matter how or why or when.
Other than these few, yet very, very important complaints, I actually liked the book. Quite a bit even. It was cheesy as hell but after reading WHEN WE WAKE, I felt that I needed some serious fluff.
And fluff I got.
It looks like I'm going to be the odd one out with this book, but not in the way you might have thought. In a surprising change of events, most of my friends did not like this book or at least, gave it a two star rating. But I did like it. I've been thinking pretty hard about this book and how I want to review and rate it. After a bit of deliberation, I've finally settled on a happy three and a half star rating.
This book isn't perfect, nor is it anywhere near perfect. It has a lot of problems, yet it also has a lot of positive points to it. While the book takes a long time to build up, the last part of the book is more then worth the wait. The supporting characters aren't all that built up but none of them are stereotypes or jerks.
Please take a moment to read the summary again and take a good look at the cover. I'm sure that by now you have vague ideas of what the book is about. Something that involves lots of scariness and creepiness and staying up all night? Nope, sorry.
THE MURMURINGS' summary isn't exactly truthful. It promises the reader a world of paranormal creepiness. Instead, the book turned out to be more of a mild psychological horror, or more appropriately a psychological thriller. There aren't any paranormal or real horror aspects to the book till the last 100 to 150 pages. Instead, West spends her time building up the story and the atmosphere. This may not appeal to some people but personally, I really liked this.
Sophie, the main character, spends much of the book trying to figure out what exactly happened to her sister and why did she end up dead in an entirely different city - especially since she was "locked away". The book progresses very slowly here but I never felt like I wanted to drop the book.
In the second half of the book, everything changes. Here enters the evil doctors, mental institutions, torture chambers, death, and gore. This part is the main reason I loved the book to be honest. While I enjoyed the beginning parts and Sophie's struggle with insanity or what she perceived was insanity, I do agree with most people by saying that the second part of the book was the main strength.
THE MURMURINGS avoided many of the standard clichés in YA literature. There was a cute romance that didn't overshadow the plot. It was treated as more of a side plot then the main objective of the story. Sophie's inner turmoil didn't consist of "omg, who do I love?". No, instead it ran more along the lines of "am I fucking insane or what?"
Though I found THE MURMURINGS to be a pretty awesome book, I was very disappointed by the ending. I hate easy endings. The ending wasn't in itself easy but the last chapter ruined the whole ending for me. I expect that when someone walks out of such a traumatic experience to have some scarring but from what it sounded like, everything was happy/
Aside from a few problems with lying blurbs and terrible endings, I surprisingly really liked this book. While it's definitely not my favorite, it was enjoyable and exciting, with just the right amount of scariness for the book. I recommend THE MURMURINGS someone who is looking to spruce up a boring afternoon.
THE REGISTRY is a very complicated book, which, while very good in some aspects, fell just sort of the mark in others. There's no disputing that the world presented by Stoker is a very interesting, and frightening, one. As many have done before her, Stoker took a very heated subject - sexism pertaining to women - and amplified the situation.
The world of THE REGISTRY is frightening with the blatant brainwashing that affects every character, no matter how strong and open-minded they are. Even our "strong" main characters fall victim to this brainwashing.
The US has become a complete patriarchy where the role of women is only child bearing, house work, and pleasure. The women of this dystopian world have been completely brain washed into thinking that this way of living is the perfect way, a life where they have no power over anything at all.
I can already see the people shouting: "This isn't that different than how some women live!" Yes, you're right to extent. But, not in the US. Uh no, the US of THE REGISTRY is not anything like what we live in since well, if you live in the US, can you write? Read? Do math? Count to ten? Have a job? Go to college? Refuse to get married? Speak your mind? Touch a member of the male sex - and not in that way?
The women of THE REGISTRY's US can't do any of the things mentioned. They can't even touch a man's hand because their husbands want them to be entirely pure. According to this book that all the women must live by (which is quoted in the beginning of Mia's chapters):
The greatest accomplishment a female can achieve is becoming a wife.
Women of this world are sold to the highest bidder, for thousands of dollars. They have appraisers, who quiz the girls on their cooking, cleaning, singing, baby-caring skills and then, once they've been appraised, they are sold. Sold.
The best part of the book has to be simply the US and the entirely male powered society. The book inside of the book (called The Registry' Guide for Girls) is very interesting, in a unsettling way. A few memorable quotes (note these quotes are from an ARC copy and are subject to change when the book is published).
When courting potential matches, no man wants a talkative lady. It is best for females to avoid speaking...
- 9% into the book
All fathers love their daughters. A daughter returns that love by obtaining a high marriage fee. Not only is a high appraisal price a point of pride, it is also a repayment for the money and time spent raising her.
- 13% into the book
A wife never inquired into her husband's background.
It is common for wives to take on some traits of their husbands - after all, it is the woman's responsibility to know what her husband likes, in a order to please him - but a good wife will ensure she retains her delicate feminine traits.
Yeah, and that's just four of the dozens of notes I have for this book. DOZENS OF NOTES.
Now you may be thinking why I gave this book such a low rating and it's because well, it's boring. It shouldn't be, but it is. One of the main reasons this book is so boring is because the main character has no personality at all. She's just a sack of meat, to put it crudely.
The main character, Mia, is probably the most emotionless character ever. She had no personality to be annoyed at, or love for that matter. I didn't - couldn't - see how she had the willpower to up and decide that she no longer wanted this life. It felt at times like she was just as brainwashed as her - who was utterly unbearable - even though Mia was supposed to be the one who isn't brainwashed much.
What I couldn't see at all was that Mia somehow convinced Andrew to leave his sexist, dominating ways because of how strong she was. Sure, she was strong enough to leave but after that, she didn't really do anything particularly strong.
Her one quality is how unbelievably self absorbed she is. She thinks practically everything is about her. I guess that was her "character flaw" but if you have one flaw and practically no personality, that doesn't work ever.
Whitney is horrible. I spent the entire book like this:
She was whiny, annoying, and useless. The only reason she's in the book is because she was needed to show how super duper strong and brave Mia is. That's the only reason. Mia has to save her ass so many times because she's idiotic.
Andrew was pretty meh as a love interest and as a character. He spent half the book thinking "huh, I thought Mia would sit in a corner and cower pathetically but no! She can actually do stuff!". What? I know it's because how he was raised and how the society is but really? Does he have to stay misogynistic throughout the entire book?
Grant was fucking scary as a villain. He was probably the best character in the entire book. I don't have anything to say other than he made the book. He wasn't afraid to kill, lie, deceive, or plot which is different for YA since usually, the bad guys aren't this truly evil. They all have some sob story to go with but not this guy. No, he was just evil.
The story got tedious after a while. Basically, it was walk a bit, get caught/into tight situation, get out of it, and repeat. It was so boring after the first turnaround because the same plot aspects are not only repeated, they're not even changed up a little.
I really don't have much to say on the plot since it's obvious the author was more caught up in making the society than characters and plotting. While, she did a very good job in making a scary society but not that good of a job with characters, plot, or world building outside the US.
My biggest problem with the writing is with world building. I don't even know what yearish this is set or what the world looks like at all. Is it in the future? How far? Ok, this war? What was it for? Who runs the US? Is it still a democracy? Why don't the other countries help the people in the US?
This book started off so well. I was sure that this would be a 5 star, but it's most definitely not - no matter how much I wish it were. This is most definitely not a book I'd recommend.
Fifth year they took Chris, my best friend since we were little and who I’d just had my first kiss with the week before.
Sixth year, I shot an angel in the face.
I had absolutely no expectations concerning this book. I liked Kress's other book fairly well, but it wasn't anything mindblowing or fantastic. It was a fairly mediocre to tell the truth. However, Outcast definitely couldn't be called mediocre. It was an incredibly enjoyable, fluffy read with an adorable cast and an equally adorable prose.
Outcast isn't an entirely easy book to describe, or more accurately, it isn't easy to describe why I loved it so much. In a lot of ways, Outcast was a fairly average but entertaining book. There aren't too many things that really make the book stand out.
There was some very well done character development, the extent of which isn't often seen in YA books. The main character Riley was the average, humorous main character. Think a country Maximum Ride. The love interest was definitely cute but lacking in a distinct and realistic personality.
But, I did really like Outcast. It was funny and refreshing in its character development and characters. And if I'm being shamefully honest, I must admit that I'm a giant sucker for Maximum Ride-esque characters. Brave, cocky, and entirely hilarious. I'm also a sucker for sweet and sassy dudes. And evil angels. And warrior priests. And books that have badass and nice priests because I'm fairly certain not all of them are evil soul sucking demons (no pun intended).
So basically this book was just perfect for me. Like dancing Banner happy.
So yeah, really happy.
Even though Riley was an average character, she was really adorable. While she was a fairly typical character, she was also a very refreshing one. She was brave, but not really a "badass", if you look at her. She does a lot of really cool things but I don't think I could put her on the level of Allie Sekemoto from "The Immortal Rules", who quite literally kicked ass, or Tegan Oglietti from "When We Wake", who was a badass without actually getting her hands dirty.
Gabe was an adorable character, with his own distinct personality. He wasn't the most unique but Kress avoided many of the standard tropes in his characterization. He was really sasseh and cute. Very "grease" if you know what I mean.
The side characters were refreshingly fleshed unique in their own ways. There was one that really stood out to me in her character development and personality. Lacy started off being the typical stereotypical evil cheerleading bitch but she really grew up a long the book. She became Riley's friend and ally. This isn't really a complete rarity in YA books but it's still fairly uncommon and I definitely appreciate it every time it happens.
When I first read the summary, there was one line that really stuck.
After six years of “angels” coming out of the sky and taking people from her town, 16-year-old Riley Carver has just about had it living with the constant fear.
It probably did for you too because I'm fairly certain the words "angels" and "fear" make you very curious. Aren't angels the good guys? Yeah, not here.
Well, if you read a lot of angel books, you've probably come across the book Angelfall which was one of the biggest books of 2012 (even though it came out in 2011).
Let me tell you a little secret, Outcast bears absolutely no similarity to Angelfall. There's nothing relating them except for the whole "angels terrorizing people" thing. There's no hot angel boy, no tortured souls, no refuge camps, no badass angel ass-kickers. Nope, nada, zero.
So for those worrying or hoping that Outcast will be like Angelfall will be either extremely relieved or horribly disappointed.
The plot was completely different. While Angelfall focused a lot on the whole survivally thingy with bandits and blooooood, Outcast focused more on cute boys and disembodied voices. People who liked the bloooood, badass bitches, and survivally thingy better will probably not like this book as much. But people who didn't like the main character or the bloooood will like this one much better.
People who like both cute boys and badass bitches will probs find this book either awesome or not awesome. (i know - i so helpful)
In all, Outcast was an immensely hilarious book that I recommend to people who love funny angel books with cute boys and angel-hunter priests. Lisbeth gives her seal of approval.
I really regret not reading this sooner. I received this arc one to two months ago but I got it at a weird time and it got hidden under the numerous other arcs I had been accepted for at the same time. The first time I did finally get to it, I didn't make much progress because the writing style is very funky, to say the least. So once again, I put it down to read other arcs.
I got back to it a few days ago and I'm overall, very happy that I didn't let it get forgotten.
The writing style was still very weird and required some a lot rereading before I could completely understanding what was going on. The first 3 - 4 chapters were extremely confusing. The writing style does get easier to read as you progress but I'm afraid that many other readers will loose interest before getting into the meat of the book, which is completely worth it.
My favorite aspect of this book is the awesome mystery. It's not a mystery book so to speak but it definitely has one. You ask a lot of question and every chapter leaves you with more questions so you just have to read one more chapter. And then another one. And then another one. You can't stop reading until, before you know it, you're turning the last page.
One of the huge downsides to this fast paced prose is the eventual loss of proper explanations.
The author definitely wrote this story in a way that made the reader ask a lot of questions. The narrator was as clueless (ok, a bit more clueless) as the reader was. By the end however, the reader is left with a lot of unanswered questions. I know what happened but why did it happen and how did it happen? We are left with a cheap "it just did" answer and that's the end of the book.
As I mentioned above, the main character was extremely stupid at times. He didn't see what was right in front of him. I understand why the author did that but I almost find plot-nesescary stupid even worse then just having a stupid character. In my opinion, it's a sign of shoddy writing. C'mon guys, I'm sure you could've found a better way to progress your plot than making your character a moron.
Callum wakes up with a feeling of amnesia because, well, his whole world is cray-cray. Instead of realizing that something is seriously wrong, Callum goes on for practically the entire book thinking everything is fine and he somehow forgot that he was a) an asshole, b) a football star, and c) the brother of a cripple.
Dude, that's not something you can just "forget". I can forget to ask someone a question. I can forget to do my homework. I don't go "Oh my god, I accidentally forgot that I have a crippled brother. Darn." That just doesn't happen.
The good thing is, besides that complaint, he was a pretty good hero. He didn't slut shame or act like a huge jackass to everyone. I did like him a lot, even though I did often want to slap him upside the head for acting like a huge moron.
This book really only had two characters of importance. While I don't think I can count that as a flaw because it fits the story, I would have liked Other Dimension Girlfriend to have had more of a personality other then that bitch.
One point of disappointment is all the wasted potential with some of these ideas. It could have been amazing if some points were delved into more. There were a lot of little things that were mentioned once and then never heard of again. These little things could have made the book so much better.
The ending is the main reason that UNDERCURRENT couldn't get a full 4 star rating. It was extremely rushed and underdeveloped. It felt like it should have been 10 - 15 pages longer with less of an abrupt ending.
UNDERCURRENT could have been amazing if not for a few points. I do recommend this book however. It's a pretty good science fiction story with an engaging plot that makes you want to keep reading. Overall, I'd say that UNDERCURRENT has earned the
*please note, Benedict Cumberbatch has not actually given this book his seal of approval.
The only reason I read this book was because of Renae's review. I couldn't have been any less interested in the book, to be honest. It sounded like another boring dystopian with a hint of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.
I'm so happy to say that WHEN WE WAKE was different from everything I'd ever read in the genre. Dystopian and science fiction are my favorite genres, and have been ever since I was a kid. I don't often get lucky with them however and I tend to find most of my favorite books in the fantasy and contemporary genres.
I got lucky.
WHEN WE WAKE is set in 2127 where the world is very different from how it is now. But in a good way (for the most part). The world is greener, for one. Mankind learned to live by the land and follow the three 'R's of recycling. Homosexual love isn't viewed any different than heterosexual love - which is awesome. Yet the world is certainly not perfect as racial tensions are higher than ever.
I guess Lennon's 'Imagine' world hasn't happened yet. (I'm so funny, aren't I?)
Tegan wakes up to this world - like she literally woke up. She was cryogenically frozen for 100 years after being accidentally shot and 'killed'. This is the point where you have to just go with the flow. It doesn't make any sense that Tegan could sign up for being frozen without actually knowing what she was signing up for.
Tegan faces the obvious cultural shock of walking up a hundred years into the future, not to mention the grief that comes with the realization that all of Tegan's friends and family have been dead for a very long time. She also faces the trouble that comes with being the first successful awakened person, target of a cult, and being used by various institutions and people.
Thankfully, Tegan is more than apt to care of herself. She's one of my all time favorite heroines. Tegan is strong and willful. She's definitely not afraid to speak her mind when and wherever she chooses.
"It was the truth," I said.
"Truth! We didn't put you on camera to speak the truth! We needed a pretty face!"
"Well, tough," I snapped. "You got me instead. I guess your little clockwork doll broke down."
"I am so tired of being used. The army tried to do it, Tatia tried to do it, and now you're trying to do it. I'm a person, not a symbol, not property, and not a prop. If you want me dead, I can't stop you, but I won't make it easier for you either. Dirty your own fucking hands."
The quotes remind me a bit too much of MOCKINGJAY, the finale in the Hunger Games series. Katniss was being used by both the rebels and the formal government for much of the book. What disappointed me was how well Katniss took it. All I wanted was for her to say what Tegan did.
I really love Tegan even though it's not like she was ever the most original character. I like that about her in this case. People can be brave without being a superhero - it's actually possible. Tegan was a brave, wonderful girl who wasn't a superhero, nor did she try to be. I think she was perfect without being... perfect.
While the book deals with a lot of really serious and deep issues like racial discrimination, Healey doesn't fill her entire book with that. She instead fills her time with needed character development and the most important thing to any book - character interaction. Each and every one of Healy's characters are well rounded. I feel like Bethari, Joph, and the others could be in my life and that they could be my friends.
What I truly love about the characters is how different they are. They all come from different religious backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. This is very much lacking in most YA (and Adult) literature. The characters are usually white, very rarely anything other than a Christian or an Atheist, and straight. There is nothing wrong with white Christian straight people but I do really love when authors add characters that break the average mold.
Tegan and the other characters were definitely my favorite aspect to the book but the moral and ethical problems that were introduced were another one of my favorites. There are a few that I wish were more elaborated on but for the most part, I felt that they were a very nice addition to the book.
Before I end the review, I want to say that I, like some other reviewers, am very sad to hear that there is a sequel to WHEN WE WAKE in the works. I found the ending perfect for the book and wouldn't want it any other way. I will probably end up reading the sequel just because I want more Tegan but I highly doubt it will be anything like WHEN WE WAKE. But then again, you never know. Healy is probably talented enough to pull it off.
WHEN WE WAKE is an intelligent, beautiful dystopian that really challenges the norm of dystopian novels. With this book, I have a bit more hope that, just maybe, other authors will realize that there is more to dystopian fiction then love triangles. I recommend this book with all my heart and will be seeking out Healy's other books.
Where do I start? AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE is about a girl who has moved to Pakistan and has to adjust to living there which basically means it's a high school drama set in well, Pakistan. That's really at AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE was - a high school drama. The plot promises a YA political thriller. I mean, it actually says this in the plot summary:
an increasingly tense political situation that becomes dangerous with alarming speed
But then again it says this in the plot summary...
an enigmatic Muslim classmate
And everyone knows when a plot has the word "enigmatic" in it, it's usually about a romance not what it actually promises. In fact, I don't think I've read one books with the word "enigmatic" in the plot summary that didn't have romance as the main focus... (seriously guys, if you can find one non-romance focused book with the word "enigmatic" in the summary, I'll send you some chocolate).
My biggest overall complaint is the simple fact that AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE glorified cheating. I don't think this is the intent but even so, it was there.
The love interest, Mustapha, is engaged to Aisha. Emma comes in and starts flirting with Mustapha, trying to get him to leave Aisha (who he admitted to loving). That's what the main story is about. Aisha is portrayed as the jealous bitch even though she's just trying to get Emma to stop. Emma even acknowledges that she is flirting with Mustapha but she continues throughout the book.
Cheating is not okay. I don't give a damn if it's because you love her (you don't). Cheating will never be ok. Mustapha is also to blame since he seems to want the best of both worlds, both Aisha and Emma.
The main character in the novel is where many of my complaints center since she's so infuriating. I really wanted to strangle her around twenty times, which isn't really that much but I restrained myself - a lot. Emma hates every person with boobs really.
If the girl looks at her the wrong way, she giving her death glares. If a girl dresses a certain way, she has to be an idiot. There's one character where Emma takes one look at her and nicknames her Hip-Hop Barbie. The little adjectives here and there make it very obvious that she thinks that everyone is an idiot to her genius.
Emma seems to think that the world revolves around her. Everyone in her family is mad? Obviously, the only reason they could be annoyed is because of her. I mean, it couldn't be any other reason!
The other characters were stereotypes. There was the ice queen bitch who hates the main character, the amazing handsome wonderful love interest, the idiot friends who don't know as much as the amazing wonderful main character, the angsty little brother who hates the main character, the understanding teacher, the parent who is like totes annoying and doesn't understand our main character ... I could go on and on.
The only character I'll go over is Aisha, or better known as ice queen (she was seriously called Ice Queen). Aisha was that bitch who takes one look at Emma and WAAHH I HATES YOU AND I WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE 4EVER. Except, in this one, I totally agree with that sentiment. Sure, it was weird that she immediately hated Emma but the first time she met Emma, Emma flirted with her fiancé and disrespected Aisha's country. I would hate her too , oh wait I do.
As I said, the plot is very disappointing. The only "political tension" in the book is at say 75% and it's only mentioned a bit before forgotten in favour of the romance. The "political tension" comes back at the very end in an odd and sudden terrorist attack but that's it.
The summary says that ...her life and those of her sister and brother depend on her resourcefulness and the unexpected help of an enigmatic Muslim classmate. but honestly Emma's life isnot in danger and Mustapha isn't really doing any helping.
The plot summary is a LIAR.
The one positive thing in this book is the writing. Though, childish and mediocre at times (well most of the time but who's counting right?), some of the descriptions for the places were truly amazing. I felt like I was right there with Emma at times. That was awesome.
In conclusion, I really hated AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE and wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
This review should have been out over a month ago. Over. A. Month. Ago. In fact, I had written up my first draft and was about to publish it. Then I thought a bit more about the book. Did I really love it as much as I thought I did? Was it really a 4.5 read? It took me +1 month to realize that no, I didn't love it as much as I thought. No, it was not as amazing as I thought. No, I will not publish my first draft. I am very conflicted about my feeling towards Stormdancer.
This book has been one of the most anticipated books on GR. I haven't seen such a mass waiting for a book in all my time on GR (7 months) - not even for Throne of Glass. I'm pretty sure most of it came from the fact that Jay Kristoff is such an awesome guy (read his review of Stormdancer here). The fact that there were a dozen giveaways for the book hosted on all the popular blogs. Everyone, including my self, was counting down to September 18th.
I was extremely lucky to have entered a beta reader form back in April or May. I had in fact forgotten about the fact that I had entered it (I had entered every giveaway for the book :P). On an uneventful day in July, I received an email saying I had been accepted into the beta reading! I ran around the house screaming, only stopping to tell my mom (who was a bit shocked) that I had got accepted!
I came into the book expecting to finish it in a few days. It took me around two weeks to finish it. There are two main reasons why.
1). The prose.
2). The plot.
The beginning of the review will be separated in the prose and the plot. Then, I will continue on with the characters. This review will be extremely long and I will give away a (minor) few spoilers. Read with caution.
I love beautiful proses. Proses which make you sigh while reading (and secretly plot to make the author give you writing lessons). Jay Kristoff can write. Very well in fact. But, when you get bogged down in wonderful, amazing writing, you lose grip on what is actually happening. I had to read everything aloud (which was really awkward at times) just to figure out what the hell is happening! I was lucky to read 2 percent of the book in 30 - 45 minutes (just to give you an idea of how fast of a reader I am, I can easily read 100+ pages in 1.25 hours.)
THe first 10 - 20% was all descriptions. All of it. What happened during that time? The main character went downtown to get some food and find her father. Honestly, is that actually necessary for the story? I like the world building in books, in fact it's very necessary for a book. World building is one of the reasons I never like Hunger Games (one of the minor ones). But, to devote the beginning of your story to building the world and detailing every little thing. that is very excessive.
Six men sat in a semi-circle around the low table of the gambling house, their cushions torn from some abandoned motor-rickshaw. The walls were rice-paper, painted with the figures of exotic women and even more exotic animals: fat panda, fierce leopards, and other extinct beasts, Low light flickered in the overhead globes. A sound box sat above the bar; crafted out of dull gray tin, its speaker cans connected to the main unit with frayed spools of copper wiring. Guild-approved music spilled from its innards; the thing wavering notes of shakuhachi flutes, accompanied by the clicking beat of wooden percussion. The growl of a struggling generator could be heard somewhere downstairs. Fat black lotusflies swarmed among the rafters.
Each man had stripped to his waist in the sweltering heat, displaying a myriad of irezumi - tattoos - in all colors of the rainbow. A few of the players were Tiger clansmen, sporting ink from the hands of minor artisans that marked them as men of moderate means. Two others at the table had no kami spirits marked on their flesh at all, just simple patterns of koi fish, geisha girls, and wildflowers that singled them out as low-born.
-Location 116 of 4796 • 2% of ARC
That was beautiful writing, amazing writing. Can't you just feel the heat, hear the music? But, the book was filled with these. I could see everything nicely, but I couldn't see what was happening because I found myself skimming the descriptions and not reading some of the very important parts of the book.
Another problem I had with the book was I know nothing of Japanese culture. What is a shakuhachi flute? Many of the words felt like they were unnecessarily put in, because does the average reader know these words? I didn't think so.
If you're still reading, congratulations. You get a cookie! Not actually, I ate the cookie, but you get the idea of a cookie!
If you wanted me to make an outline of everything that happened in the book, I couldn't. Even after I got used to the prose, I can't tell you what happened. I still don't really get the ending. And what's with the green-eyed boy? I found myself lost very often, having to read the same pages over and over again until I finally understood. The info dumping was atrocious, and I wonder how no one has seemed to mention it. My eyes clouded over every time someone said "Let me tell you a story..." I like having basis on the past of a fantasy people but I don't want to know everything about it in one book.
Once I finished the book I had three thoughts. One was "This was bad ass!". Two was "JAY KRISTOFF, COME TO THE MIDWEST SO I CAN MEET YOU!" Three was"Wait, what happened just now?" I still don't know what happened. The plot just rushed around - one moment here, one moment there. I found it hard to keep track of everything that was going on in the book. The beginning I read twice so I have a good idea of what happened there. The best part of the book had to be the parts where Buruu and Yukiko got to know each other. When the Guild boy came in, it went down hill.
The romance was weak. It mainly consisted off dreams, sighing, kissing, and some sex (it is an adult book). That's it. I really wish that Mr. Kristoff had excluded it from the book. It was one of the most emotionless romances I had ever read. It beats the Katniss/Peetagale (their names are interchangeable and Katniss' feelings change depending on the page) romance of the Hunger Games.
Characters (or the fangirl part of the review):
Yukiko was an awesome, ninja/steampunk heroine. Steampunk ninja with a chain katana.
She did ride a thunder-tiger (griffon) who happens to be the sweetest thing ever (Shipping Yukiko/Buruu - I admit nothing). She was intelligent, yet still a young girl. She still relied on her father (this book did not have the missing parent syndrome), but it's not like she couldn't handle a demon or two.
Buruu was the most adorable (though I wouldn't survive saying it too his face) griffin ever. He is ever loyal to Yukiko, has a sharp wit, and a penchant for calling people insects. I just wanted to hug him. And I will never forgive Mr. Kristoff for the ending, the only big part which I remember sadly. :( He was sweet, caring, loyal, loving, funny, and I think Kristoff must have known a griffin because he can't be fake!
The other characters were wonderfully fleshed out and I couldn't find one which I felt I didn't know (save for the green-eyed boy and the other love interest). Even characters who appeared very briefly seemed really and tangible. I connected very well with them and feel like characters were Mr. Kristoff's strength.
I am very conflicted about the book. In one way, the book was amazing, one of the best reads this year. In another way, it's mediocre. It's not amazing, not bad. I hope I made it clear that I do not hate the book. In fact, I liked it. It's just in hindsight, I saw that I never really liked the book. Stormdancer did not meet the hype. It's not terrible but it doesn't deserve all the 5 star reviews.
This review rant will not be in normal format, instead it will be in freehand along with unmarked major spoilers.
I really shouldn't review this book. I really shouldn't. It's just going to make me angry, plus I have other books to review. But, books that make me so angry like FROM ASHES, I need to review, no matter how bad it is for my sanity.
FROM ASHES is pretty much the worst book I have ever read. I know I'm going to say it again and probably will till the end of time but at this time, I cannot imagine a worse book. The only reason I finished this piece of utter shit is because FROM ASHES is the most readable book ever.
Yes, I know, that makes no sense since I mentioned (once or twice) that I HATE this book but it's true. Molly McAdams has succeeded in making a book you hate to love to read (I'm pretty sure that's the first of its kind). I wanted to know what happened next even though I was literally screaming at the book.
The characters in this book are just terrible. I could go on forever but here is a basic summary:
Cassidy: Cheating, bitchy, judgmental girl who thinks she's better than everyone. One of the main characters whose only problems in life are: trying to decide which guy (out of 5 guys) she loves, handling a real life job, and being unable to have sex 10 times a day.
Gage: Boring, possessive, and bland all describe Gage. Me no like.
Tyler: THIS GUY IS WORSE THAN TRAVIS MADDOX. He is one of the worst love interests - no characters - I've ever encountered. Ever.
The plot of FROM ASHES makes absolutely no sense, at all. It was just terrible. In fact, I will recap the book's plot for your enjoyment/torture. Get ready guys because this is one messed up book.
The books starts off with Cassidy recounting how she's so scared and has so many problems. These problems range from bad to not being bad at all. The worst being her parents abusing her as a kid not being able to decide if she loves Tyler or Gage this week and the least being that she's too pretty.
I know, I know, it's so horrible.
Somehow, these abusive parents allow Cassidy to leave her home and travel to Texas. Note, this is realistic fiction and everyone knows that this is all very plausible. Anyway, she moves to Texas with her hot best friend (but he doesn't have aaanny romantic feeling towards her). There, she meets his even hotter (I know, I know, how is this possible?) cousin Gage. Let's examine some quotes now.
What with Tyler's possessiveness and all no one even attempted to get close enough to me. Not that it bothered me...
Cassidy says this after stating how Tyler could never like her romantically. Also, how can you be okay with this amount of obsessiveness.
Gage was like a brother to him [Tyler] and Tyler hadn't seen him in a few years, so their sharing an apartment would be good for Ty.
HAHA you can guess how long Tyler thinks of Gage as a brother instead of a rival.
Tyler dropped my hand, only to put his on the small of my back as he led me over to Mr. New [Gage] and the leggy blonde.
You just met Gage and you're already calling his girlfriend a "leggy blonde".
"I'm Brynn [this is the leggy blonde], Gage's girlfriend." Her eyes narrowed.
Woah, already jealous huh? Now the next few quotes are from Gage's point of view.
All I could think about was closing the distance between us [Gage and Cassidy].
You just met this girl a few hours ago. Slooooww down cowboy.
I was frozen in place, taking in the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen.
DUUDE you met her a few minutes ago.
I couldn't even stop the growl that came from my throat when I saw it [Tyler holding Cassidy's hand].
WHY ARE YOU GROWLING MAN? Staph kthanks.
And yeah, I'm not gonna lie, I'd already pictures her beneath me.
"She's mine Gage, Let's get that clear right now." [said Tyler]
Dude, no. She's not.
"Damn, when you said your cousin was bringing a chick, I wasn't expecting her to be so hot," Jake said.
"Jake, touch her again.... see what fucking happens." [said Gage]
Ok, so Gage is already threatening people to lay off "his woman". At 3%.
How was I already so into this girl that it physically hurt to think of her being with Ty?
Trying to figure that one out myself honestly.
"she's been cooking for herself since she was six" [Ty on Cassidy]
Why does the main female character always have to know how to cook and seem to be the only one who does?
Anyway, a bit more plot and then we'll go over quotes because I have the whole book highlighted (well pretty much all of it). The next 10% or so is Cassidy lusting over Gage's body while sincerely denying that Ty could ever love her all while Ty continually tells Gage that Cassidy is "his". At 10% in, Tyler forces himself onto Cassidy.
Before he does that, Tyler visits Gage.
I already hated thinking about what happened between Tyler and Cassidy, but having Tyler tell me he was about to go screw her made it that much worse. I'm sorry, not screw her, bang her. Like it was no big deal, just announced "I'm gonna go bang my girl." [from Gage's POV]
God, what is wrong with Tyler? How could anyone like this guy? This is disgusting especially since this is coming from a guy who supposedly loves Cassidy like a sister. Just disgusting.
After that, Cassidy smartly decides not to sleep in Ty's room like she always did before. So what does she do? She sleeps on the couch and then lets Gage pick her up and put her on his bed. She's not even scared when she wakes up on the bed of some guy she met a few weeks ago.
A bunch of random and un-noteworthy things happen (including Cassidy's eighteenth birthday). Let's examine some of these quotes shall we?
... there was no doubt in my mind I was in love with Cassidy. [Gage's POV]
First of all, what kind of sentence is that? I mean, does it make any sense to you? The second thing is that this is 12% into the book. Twelve percent and Gage is confessing his love.
I loved everything about him.
I loved him.
Sometimes, Sassy Gay Friend is the only way to express my feelings... *sigh*
I cook for six ridiculously obnoxious college guys while they take turns playing Xbox.
Why? Why the fuck do you do is Cassidy? You say hate doing it yet you do.
Ok, back to boring plot summaries. Gage and Cassidy sort of, kind of get together then Cassidy does something and Gage gets all macho man angry and dumps her. Cassidy gets all depressed cause "O NOES HE DON'T LIKE MEH".
Then Cassidy meets Gage again and they make up. Somehow. I really have no idea how that happened. If anyone figured this out, I'd be happy to add it in. One chapter Gage is like "RAWR SHE HATE ME" and Cassidy is practically mirroring that feeling, and in the next?
"Cassidy," I breathed.
She launched herself at me and wrapped her arms around my neck, whispering into y ear. "I missed you so much, Gage."
In a few pages, Cassidy has already attracted another guy who tries to force her into having sex. All I can say is, girl get yo rape whistle out. Doing his Travis Maddox thing, Gage goes and breaks Max's nose. Why do love interests need to break people's noses? Is that cool or something?
Gage's pants get tighter a few dozen times and then Tyler tells Gage that Cassidy preformed oral sex to him and Gage goes insane. I think Tyler and Cassidy get together in this time but I'm not sure because Tyler kisses Cassidy all the time.
Like, pretty much every page but DON'T WORRY GUYS HE HAS NO ROMANTIC FEELINGS TOWARDS CASSIDY.
Cassidy get's a job and everything is quiet for a bit before (yep there's always a before...) TYLER TRIES TO FUCKING RAPE HER. This part made me so angry. It wasn't the worst part in the book but, god, it was close. This time, he doesn't do anything that bad, but just wait ok?
Gage gets pissed and goes out whoring. He brings home a couple of girls and has sex with them (but there was this funny moment when he screamed out CASSIDY during sex and got slapped). What happens on the next page?
Tyler tries to, more forcefully this time, rape her. This is where I'm going to share a few of the GRRRR quotes.
"You'll enjoy it, Cassi. I promise."
Dear Tyler and other men out there, just because it's sex, doesn't mean people enjoy it. You are forcing yourself upon a girl and just because you think, "she'll like it", doesn't mean it's not RAPE. R. A. P. E. RAPE.
"You want this, Cassi, don't tell me you don't. Your little moans and sighs, and damn it, Cassi, you're met as fuck. So why are you telling me to stop?" Tyler searched my face and shook his head slightly. "I swear to God, if you say you don't want this...."
THIS IS A LOVE INTEREST PEOPLE. HE'S NOT THE ANTAGONIST, HE'S THE FREAKING LOVE INTEREST. This is just sick, ok? There is absolutely no excuse for rape, and out of all the ones people tell the victim, this is the worst.
No. Just no.
Now, what does our favorite love interest do after he stops humping her? He goes out, gets drunk, and brings home a girl to have sex with. WHAT WHAT WHAT. NO. This is NOT ok. Ever. NO. Why are these guys going all Travis on me?
Cassidy goes into a rage and Tyler kicks her out of the house without phone or proper clothes. Cassidy almost dies of hypothermia before being saved by the amazing, strong, wonderful Gage. Once she warms up, Gage yells at her telling her that he's mad at her for being kicked out and almost dying.
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?
Nothing happens for a while (except for Cassidy's friend trying to get her to date someone even though she's stringing along two other guys). Gage tells Cassidy that he loves her and she goes too. They go through that "OMG I THOUGHT YOU WOULD NEVA WANT MEH?" conversation.
Gage and Cassidy have lots and lots of sex everywhere (bed, shower, couch, and the kitchen table) and he calls Cassidy his girl around 15 times. Jesse is introduced and he's in lurve with Cassidy as well. I'm still trying to figure out what they all see in her.
Cassidy cooks for some guys and this is what one of them say to her:
"I want a damn SMB too! Doesn't matter if she thinks it's 'nothing fancy' or not, thee isn't another SMB out there like Cassi. That's it, I'm kidnapping and keeping her." Jake sounded exasperated.
"What the hell is a SMB?" Ethan asked, but we all looked confused.
Jake looked at us like we should know this already. "SMB? Sandwich-Making Bitch."
What. The. Fuck.
But, wait, it gets better.
Cassidy was wiping tears from her eyes when her laughs turned into soft giggles ... "And I didn't take it as offensive. It's like that whole women-belong-in-the-kitchen-barefoot-and-pregnant thing; it's funny."
GRRRRRR NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO IT'S NOT FUNNY AT ALL. IT'S DEMEANING AND ENTIRELY UN-FUNNY.
After that, Cassidy basically turns into a sex addict and has sex everywhere. Gage hits some more people and accidentally hits Cassidy. She then finds out her old house had been burned down - yes, parent's house got burned down with them in it.
She leaves and meets Connor Green who she has an affair with. She then has the gall to confront Gage about his one night stand a few months ago. Whaaaa? Cassidy is also the one who says she doesn't trust guys.
Gage and Cassidy get together and Connor comes to ask Cassidy to go live with him. She declines and moves in with Gage. Turns out he made her a house and what do they do the moment they enter? Have sex. Then have more sex (ON THE KITCHEN ISLAND PEOPLE).
They get married; Cassidy almost dies (twice - scorpion bite and labor issues) and has three kids. The end. All I could get out by the end of the book was RAWR I HATE THIS. It was just terrible. Never, ever recommend. In fact run away.
This site is so awesome, oh my god. Tumblr without porn (so far...) and books <3
This site is so awesome, oh my god. Tumblr without porn (so far...) and books <3