Book One in the Fire and Thorns Series
Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Oh my little lovely book. You’re just a gem of wonderful aren’t you? Yes, yes you are.
After reading a lot of the reviews of this one, it’s pretty hit or miss with folks. People either love it or hate it. And while the beginning was a bit slow, the personal growth that Elisa experiences is infatuating. Who’d a thunk that being kidnapped would end up with the fat little princess being a warrior queen? A MAGICAL WARRIOR QUEEN! GET SOME!
Ok, but for real. This book was good. The writing and the tone Carson uses is lyrical without being overwhelmingly flowery. I like when author’s really take the time to describe the scene and paint the picture in your head. But sometimes it can get to be so much that I get bored and I forget the dialogue that was happening before we walked into whatever area we are in. This book manages the balance well. It brings you into the world without smothering you with it. And the characters were really well done. They have personalities and quirks and aren’t the cookie cutter YA makeups.
Now I have to be honest here and say I struggled a bit at the beginning of this book. Typically YA princesses are young, thin and pretty. It’s super rare to find a chubby pro-tag in a high fantasy young adult book. So it took me some time to understand the character’s way of thinking about food and herself because quite honestly I couldn’t relate, I didn’t understand. But this different point of view is one of the reasons I really like this book and encourage girls to read it. That typical Barbie doll heroine that thinks she’s ugly because she’s self depreciating won’t be found here. This is a real young girl’s struggle with her weight. And no, the whole book is NOT about how big or skinny she is but it’s a theme that is always underlying the major pieces of this plot and it’s beautiful. It’s a unique perspective that I haven’t read in fantasy before and could really resonate with readers.
Elisa’s weight struggle isn’t the only reason why I like her. Although the fact she takes pride her in mental beauty more than her physical beauty is intriguing. I really enjoyed reading Elisa because she’s, well for lack of a better word, human. And she’s brilliant. She’s the type of person that grows wings when the fire starts. Her realistic adaptability and her desire to be good, do good, make good, is breathtaking to read. Elisa doesn’t go from dowdy second born to sorceress queen in one chapter, its a complete journey, confusing, full of rejection and hurt, and full of her passion to over come. Which she does, but not without sacrifice. And although she encounters a lot of pain, she’s resilient in the fact that she does not break. Elisa is the epitome of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. She’s inspiring.
BTWs – this series has some really good novellas. I encourage you to read them!
On the Menu: 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend
Description: I am a big fan of blends. They are definitely my go-tos when I am strolling around the wine aisles. This 14 Hands blend is one of my favorites. It’s smooth, rich and luxurious. It’s the type of wine you pour yourself a glass of when you want to ooze tranquility and satisfaction, the type of wine you drink in a lavender bubble bath with candles (that’s what I did). And of course, the perfect wine to drink while reading a book late into the night. It’s full flavor but not overpowering and a good “stand alone” wine.
Photo Credit: Fancy Free and Footloose
Female heroines can be constructed to project a plethora of ideals. Some authors create their characters to be a strong, feisty women and some choose the more young, idealistic girl version. Regardless of how exactly they turn out, all of them have a unique identity that allows us, as readers, to connect or not connect with them. And, as we can all fully attest to in our real lives, an identity always has characters flaws that we either play well with or completely despise. What are the worst flaws? The Seven Deadly Sins. In today’s Wine and Women Wednesday, we are going to look at seven very different female protagonists in young adult books to see how their character epitomizes one of the seven deadly sins and how they do or do not overcome it.
Nikki – Everneath
It is a well known fact that I did not enjoy reading about Nikki. She was weak and lazy and completely infuriating. Sloth is described as “a failure to do things one should”. And it is very apparent that Nikki does not ever step up and take responsibility or control of her situation. She is pure “pity me” through out the entirety of the book.
Saving Grace: In book two, Everbound (which I admit I have not read) she supposedly goes after Jack with Cole by entering into the Underworld. Nikki actually gets off her ass and does something. Way to find a back bone, kiddo!
Elisa – Girl of Fire and Thorns
I adored this book. But the beginning took a lot of getting used to because for once the main protag was….well… fat. She was a chubby little whale of a girl that used food to feed her feelings. Her over-indulgence of food made up for the fact that she didn’t like herself. As a princess, and a later the King’s secret wife, she spent more time in the kitchen eating and then DOING anything for her suffering country.
Saving Grace: Unlike Nikki from Everneath, Elisa’s saving grace happens not from her own free will, but by force. Elisa is kidnapped and made to eat like an average person. With smaller proportions, the required physical activity, and the terror that comes with being kidnapped, Elisa finds her true self and strong will that was buried underneath her gluttony for so long.
This one is pretty obvious. Penelope is as jealous as a jealous girl can get. She is constantly cutting people down in order to get her way, always discontent with what she has. Her desire to be Henry’s wife and the most beautiful girl in New York makes her ugly, cruel, and mean.
Saving Grace: Well, to be quite honesty, she doesn’t have one. But she gets what deserves in the end, a husband that doesn’t love her and an awful reputation.
Evie – Poison Princess
Evie starts out as being a naive rich girl with hidden super natural powers. She is slowly torn apart by the events she witnesses and comes to a breaking point at the end of the book. She let’s her rage consume her and unleashes all her wrath on a man that has murdered and tortured girls for years. (Well deserved if I do say so.)
Saving Grace: Evie is, before she becomes a crazy bia, a caring and naturally charming person. She isn’t TRYING to become a hate-fueled person, it just happens. Because we get to know her so well before wrath consumes her, its stands to reason that the sweet girl still resides in her somewhere.
Fire - Fire
Oh this girl. This girl is feisty. While Monsters are doomed to be the most enticing attractive creatures in their world, Fire is the only human Monster left. And she’s a female to boot! She doesn’t wield her power as much as she could, but she does manipulate Archer into doing her will. She never settles down with him though or let’s him get too attached. She only wants poor Archer for her desires, physically and emotionally. And it eventually gets him killed.
Saving Grace: Besides with Archer, Fire only uses her power to save lives. She saves hundreds of men when she reveals her hair and draws attackers away so they can escape. All in all, she’s not such a bad gal.
Deuce – Razorland Series
This was hard for me to decide on just one character, as a LOT of YA ladies have quite the ego. But eventually, I had to settle on Deuce. She has grown up in a culture where being a Hunter is the epitome of success. When she becomes a Hunter, her potential is fully realized. But her glory doesn’t last long when she is cast out. Deuce is constantly battling the fact, especially in Outpost, that she may not be the best. She always thinks she must be the one to go first, be the hero, save the fallen. And while she is pretty amazing, her pride gets in the way of seeing reality sometimes.
Saving Grace: Alright, Deuce IS a badass. She is an incredible fighter and her bravery is astounding. And for the most part, Deuce tries to use these skills to help people and not to hurt.
Celeana – Throne of Glass
One of my favorite YA characters out there, Celeana could easily be slotted as pride, greed, envy or wrath. But greed seems to fit her well, especially after reading the novellas that go along with this series. Celeana is constantly bribed and showered with gifts. She aches for more clothes, more books, more more more all the time. She revels in the fact that she lives in a castle and has everything at her disposal.
Saving Grace: Celeana was willing to give it all up for love. She would have thrown it all away to move with Sam. And giving up everything for love is always a saving grace.
In Young Adult literature, there seems to be a formula in which modern authors like to stick with when writing a female protagonists. Low self-esteem, self depreciating, some sort of family trouble, a sultry bad boy vying for her attention that treats her like shit, a clean cut “better” choice male specimen she chooses to ignore but still lead on, yadda yadda yadda.
The books that use this equation only really resonate with me if the protag has a Come to Jesus Moment. What is a Come to Jesus Moment you ask? A CTJM is when the protag finally “sees the light” or they have an epiphany. They finally realize how dumb their choices have been in the past, finally gain some self confidence, finally stop being weak and selfish. These are the moments we ache and yearn for (especially when the main character is a dumb twat). We WANT our protags to become powerful, independent, fierce characters and these are the moments when they finally reach their potential. An important thing to note, is that usually these moments are spawned by other characters in the book. Rarely, if ever, do CTJM just happen within themselves, somebody has to spark it.
Top Three Come to Jesus Moments
Katniss is a badass from the beginning. She’s fiercely protective of her family and friends and she had a backbone stronger than steel. Unfortunately, Katniss becomes quite the whiney bitch as the series progresses. And when Peeta returns after his brainwashing by The Capitol, she is probably is the most annoying character in the book. Enter Haymitch. Haymitch bitch slaps Katniss into realizing how much of a pathetic asshole she is being. He points out that while she hides out in a closet avoiding Peeta, Peeta would have been trying his best to help Katniss remember and get healthy. While she can never really make up for being so lame for basically the whole third book, she does at least vagina up and come around.
America Singer – The Selection
This is one of my favorite series. The Elite, book two in The Selection, just came out and it was AMAZING. But, America started really grinding on my nerves during book two. Here you have the exquisite Prince Maxon fawning all over you and you just keep asking for time, be patient, wait for me forever! It is incredibly irritating. And then she gets mad and hurt when he actually finds someone who wants to be with him, who loves him and doesn’t need all the high maintenance BS? Uh hello! And then, the best part, she calls out the country, HIS country, for their outdated and cruel social structure in front of THE ENTIRE WORLD and expects Maxon to be cool with it? BAHAHA. Can we say deluded? So when Maxon sends her packing it was awesome. And then, we/she realizes how effing awesome he is and he basically says “you don’t deserve me” but gives her another a chance, I about gave him a standing ovation. America does commit herself to not being a self bia anymore but we won’t see if this CTJM worked until the third book.
Elisa – The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Elisa is an overweight, dowdy, second child. Of a king. And poor pity her, she has been chosen by the Gods to bear the Godstone that gives her supernatural powers and destines her to some great task. Unfortunately, Elisa has about zero confidence and is constantly comparing herself to her gorgeous older sis. But instead of trying to live up to her full potential, Elisa eats her feelings and then is shipped off to marry, the poor poor thing, a gorgeous young King. Needless to say, the only way Elisa was ever going to save the plot, and this series, was to have an epic CTJM. And she does. This one is slow to develop though and I like it. I think her true CTJM was when she realized that, uh, she can kick some major ass by using the stone in her belly button and then whips the shit outa the intruders. Bravo, friend. Book Two is going to be a lot more interesting now that you have some kahunas.
Book Two in the Glitch Series
Rating: Three out of Five Stars
I am really giddy to write this review.. and its for a very selfish and conceited reason.
I do a handful of To Read Tuesdays posts on my blog http://www.rattlethestars.com about upcoming books and I did one on Override because I really enjoyed Glitch. I talked about why I am excited, what I want to see and what I think will happen in the new book.
Well someone give me a high five because I was soooo right on my predictions. *swish*
So, copying and pasting my three predictions so I have a reference, I shall now commence my review of the book:*PLEASE NOTE THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS*
1.)I think Adrien needs to be captured at some point. Zoe needs some sort of catalyst for her becoming this “leader” he has predicted she becomes. I think he could be it. Done and done. Adrien DOES get captured, although we don’t find out for a while later how or when, he is taken. But his torture sparks little Miss Lackluster Zoe into womanning up and taking control. And because of her stepping up to help save her “twu wuv”, she gets the general killed and slots herself into becoming a general herself.
2.) Max has to come back into the story. He’s a social climber and although he helped Zoe and Adrien escape, I think the Community will welcome him back with open arms because of his unique glitch. This could also become a crutch for Zoe, she has to battle the fact that she left him there. Hellooo Max! Welcome back to making Zoe’s life hell! Max DOES go back to the Community and becomes second in command to evil doer #1: Under Secretary of Defense. And then, with him playing face swap with Adrien, totally manipulates everyone. Zoe also thinks she killed Max, poor her, and spends a few weeks in a mopey state mourning him.
3.) I think another boy may come into the picture. Since YAs always like that love triangle and Max is on longer in the picture, is another man going to distract Zoe from the mysterious Mr. Adrien? We shall see. So.. this one is kinda not perfectly on point. Because Max really does become the third point again, but he’s Adrien, but he’s NOT Adrien. Huh? Yeah. Let’s just call this one a moot point shall we?
However right I was about my predictions, I was NOT right to be so excited over the book. The first part of Override drove me bonkers. “What’s that Zoe? You hate yourself and are throwing yourself a pity party? Wow, never seen that before. Now I can relate to you” I’m sorry if that’s mean, but it’s soo hard to read. Those first chapters I was trudging through knee high mediocre writing hoping and praying there was an oasis of good action near the end. Yes, it does pick up. But the depth and the quality and the “uniqueness” of Glitch that infatuated me did not flow into book two. Override was a filler. It seems like this was a “Oh hey I got signed for a trilogy, let’s just write some stuff in until we get to the meat and potatoes in book three”. It was disappointing, to say the least.
Shutdown, me thinks, will be amazing. Now that we’ve gotten all the BS out of the way, we’ve got some awesome plot twists to play with in book three. Bring it on Anastasiu!
Series: The Program
Previous Rating: None! Brand new series!
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Why I Am Excited: I’ve never heard of Suzanne Young before but I’m drawn to her because she currently lives in Tempe, AZ which is about 10 mins from me. And I really enjoy reading works from people I can actually visualize when they are writing it… maybe the fact that she lives so close to me makes me drawn to her? Perhaps. But the basis of this book is intrguing. It seems very UnWind meets Beta and Delirium. You’ve got the dystopian aspect of The UnWind Series in the government’s association with raising children and the Beta/Delirium pull with the brainwashing and memory pulling. Young’s basically using all the ingredients that have worked in the recent past to make a book popular. Whether or not that plan pans out remains to be seen.
What I Hope To See: I kind of feel bad but I am caught up in what I hope I DON’T see in this series. First, no love triangle or InstaLove. Second, no overly dramatic self pitying and depreciating protag. Third, no uhealthy relationship between Sloane and James. If she can pull that off, I think my rating will already be a three based on the concept. I also hope this book doesn’t swing too young, too “let me force this idea down your throat”. I feel like it could get a little naive if she lets it just based on the summary provided but then it also deals with a very serious subject of suicide. *exasperated sigh* I don’t know what I am trying to say here.. basically, if it’s handled delicately, it could be awesome. I also hope she can create a world completely unique. Since Young’s pulling ideas and concepts from a lot of popular well known books, I hope she can can capture a different world within her pages.
My Predictions: As always, it’s difficult to predict anything with a new series but I’ll give it a shot.
- Obviously, Sloane has parents that love her and want to protect her. Now this could sway positive or negative. Does she want to keep them happy because they are so devastated by their loss of her brother and she would feel guilty if she messed up too? Or does she genuinely adore her parents and their relationship? This relationship will really define the basics of the book. My thoughts? Option One.
- We already have a leading male in the protag’s life: James. It’ll be interesting to see how Young initially describes their relationship. Passionate? Friendly? Adoring? Do they build each other up or beak each other down? I think they will have a positive relationship so we can really sympathize with Sloan throughout the book.
- Now we know Sloan will have a “Stick it to the Man” moment at some point in the series. Just like all dystopia’s with government over-lording, our character’s always somehow find themselves in a position to fight back. Now this book is about suicide, which leads me to believe it’s going to have the more dramatic vibe like UnWind did, or even the uncomfortable discussions like XVI did. So I am hoping that Young eases us into the plot, really giving us raw character emotion so that we can fly and root alongside Sloan when she undoubtedly will make her stand in the end. Basically, I want to be gripped hard and fast.