Tag Archives: YA Fantasy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

27 Mar

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Book One in the His Fair Assassins Series

Rating: Four out of Five Stars

This came book came to me in a unique way. I had never heard of it until Amy was freaking out because it was super cheap on Amazon for Kindle. So I glanced at the concept, shrugged and said “eh why not?” and bought it. It sat for a few days on the iPad and the longer it sat waiting to be read the more intrigued I was by the concept. I felt like it was just burning a hole in my electronics just sitting, waiting, wanting to be opened.

So I read it.

As we all know, I am obsessed with early eras. (I have a knack for breaking everything electronic thus I am convinced I was supposed to live in the 1800s before ‘high tech’ happened.) That being said, I haven’t really paid much attention to the 1400s. What’s so interesting about it? It’s right before the most glamorous time period (Yay Tudors!) so it gets overlooked by authors of books because everyone, including myself, is so infatuated with the 1500s and beyond. But, this book was really excellent in capturing, what I feel is, the essence of the country and people during this century and was explained to us in a truly captivating way.

Plus… female assassins? That live in a convent like nuns? Who have attitudes and lusty romances?

Hook. Line. Sinker.

This is a looong book. 500 plus pages! But it flew like I was reading a 200 pager. Ismae is lovely. She’s a feisty, insecure, semi-horny but no idea what it means teenager, that could totally hold her own in a fight against Katniss or June from the Legend series. Talk about a kickass girl fight! Ismae is endearing. She’s had to deal with a lot of shit in her life; abusive father, abusive husband, crazy mother. And yet she overcomes it all and ends up being a wicked killing machine. But although she’s brainwashed for years into thinking one way, she has the courage and strength and, well, faith in humanity I guess, to see what’s real and true. She does struggle, and she does flail a bit figuring out where she stands, but that’s what makes me love her more. She *feels* like normal people do. I think a round of applause should be given to LaFevers for the character development.. it’s really beautiful.

And then the romance… it’s simple. Uncorrupted and sweet. It’s slow moving and innocent. Perfect for the story and the time period and character’s personalities. No InstaLove, no triangle. Just lovely. Lovely.

SO although this book is long, and it’s a bit slow in places, it’s really a great read. This is the kind of book you bring to the beach with you and you read alllll day and when you finally come out of your book coma, you have delish story and an awesome tan.

And the best quote ever… “Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?”

Touche, my friend.

Splintered by A.G. Howard

27 Feb

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Book One in the Splintered Series

Rating: Three (generous) Stars out of Five Stars

5 Stars for the cover. 4 Stars for the first and last 50 pages. 2 Stars for everything else.

To be completely honest… I read this because of the cover art. Splintered is some legit cover porn. It’s vivid, bright and in your face gorgeous! Every time I picked up the book to read I would drool over it. Stare longingly into her eyes… try to come up with an emotion she’s portraying…. It’s captivating.

With that being said, the actual story left me wanting. The first 50 pages I was instantly drawn in to Alyssa. I immediately understood her emotions and her reactions towards the situation she’s in. There was enough of the old Alice story layered into the beginning of the plot that I was infatuated with how things could play out.

But…. once the incident at the asylum happens with Alyssa’s mom and she trips into Wonderland and begins the real adventure we all expect from this type of book, it’s gone. Buh Bye Alyssa whom I love. Hello typical YA novel. Now, Wonderland spinoffs and rewrites are always interesting and I’ve read my fair share of them (The Looking Glass Wars is pretty awesome). This one intrigued me because of the dark gothic-ness of the story line. While it did have the surreal characters, dark and creepy and fantastical, it was overshadowed by the all the other junk I’ve seen before. Love triangle, 0-60 lovefests in one chapter, self depreciating teen heroine, blah blah blah.

I know that Alyssa has always loved Jeb and so the InstaLove isn’t exactly “instant”, but where’s the awkwardness of transitioning out of friends into a relationship? It goes from brotherly protectiveness to sexified makeout scence and then possesive creepiness. Ummmm awkward much? I didn’t understand the relationship at all, it was so poorly developed. And with the pro-tag being in this weirdly relationship-but-not and having a mistress status, (because um the dude HAS A GRILFRIEND YOU TRAMP) the plot when from fame to lame pretty quick. And gag me with how insecure she is. Weak weak weak! I can’t stand weak characters! And Alyssa, why don’t you want to be with the butterfly? He’s hot and looooves and you guys have matching tattoos! TWINSIES!

The story picks up a little at the end so it was nice to end on a high note. But the lack of character development in the love interest was such a disappointment I don’t really have a desire to read another book of Howard’s. Ever.  Or at least any time soon.

Sad day.

 

The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima – the most amazing book I have ever read.

11 Jan

The Crimson Crown

Fourth Book in the Seven Realms Series

Rating: Five out of Five Stars

After finishing this book, I am attempting to write my final review for this series. This is almost painful for me because I am so passion about this book, these characters, this author, I want to do them justice. I feel like I need to hone and perfect my writing skills purely to try to make this review captures just how incredible this book is.

I have been a high fantasy lover all my life. I grew up with Harry Potter throughout childhood and went through high school with Eragon. Wizards, witches, and dragons were my mind’s companion and I adore my author’s imaginary worlds more than the bleak, sometimes colorless and cruel world we live in. This book though, has introduced my mind and soul to a completely different delicious culture of imagery.

I wish I could explain just how amazing Cinda Williams Chima‘s work is, but unlike her I lack the language to articulate the emotions she creates in me while I read. Her gorgeous world building, incredible prose, tangible character had me so invested in this series. I laughed, I cried, I hurt with Han and I was desperate with Raisa. I hated and loved right along with everyone in the book. Han and Raisa are more than just characters to me. They are living and breathing friends in my mind. They are the most wonderful, passionate, fierce people I know. They have fears, insecurities, unwavering faith in each other, and a true epic romance.

The pure brilliance of this writing literally has me wonderstruck. I am gagging on my praise because I just can’t focus my mind on one thing long enough to get out all of my swooning. I love that there is heartbreak and deaths because that what really happens in the world. People have awful things happen to them, but this fantasy novel shows that you can overcome even the most insurmountable obstacles if you trust your instincts, believe in your friends, and rely on love to power all.

Basically what I am trying to say, is this is the best series I have ever read. It’s the most beautiful, real, tragically wonderful (although it does have the best ending!) book/series of all time. Sorry, JK, your HP books have been usurped.

Promised by Caragh M. O’Brien

3 Jan

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Book Three in the Birthmarked Series

Rating: Three out of Five Stars

I enjoyed this book, but overall I think it’s the weakest in the series. Still, the ties and emotional connections I had to the characters from the previous books makes me want to bump my rating to 3 stars.

Here is my criticism: Why oh why do authors think it will be boring if people have normal emotions? Fo reals. I understand the need for drama and foreshadowing and plot twists blah blah blah. But heavens above! I could not keep up Gaia’s epiphanies or Leon’s brooding love-sick control freak-ness. Gaia seemed to change direction in each chapter and I was so flustered by her mood swings I almost stopped reading. Now I understand men when they deal with PMSing women! For a character who was so steadfast and determined, solid and stubborn in the first two books, she sure does a lot of roller-coasting in this one. And I find it hard to believe that she would just get up after that tragedy happens, shrug and move on. I wish O’Brien would have spent more time focusing on her emotions during that realization. And Leon, oh brother. Just the same old same Cassandra Clare type love interest. All passionate brooding but nothing I could really sink my teeth into until the final chapter.

With my love loss for Gaia and Leon, it was hard to truly adore this book the way I did the others. I was infatuated with Gaia’s bravery in book one and two but her heroism in these books stretched by WSOD a tad too far. I couldn’t connect that way I wanted to. Thank goodness the story was technically well-written or I would have set this down. I would have also enjoyed a quick recap from the first books. I hadn’t read the other two books in awhile and it took me a quarter of the book to play catch up before I remembered everything.

If you have read the first two books (and the bridge), you should definitely read the third to complete the series. The story itself is still captivating, even if its pushed to be unrealistic. Just go into with the notion that the characters are not the same they were when you met them.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

27 Dec

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First Book in the Seraphina Series

Rating: Three out of Five Stars (I’m stretching the three stars status)

Seraphina came to me as a recommendation. And the fact that Christopher Paolini endorsed it by having a quote from him placed on the cover I was like “yeah buddy! Score zone!”

And then I started reading and I was all:

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My issue with this book was that the world wasn’t explained enough in the beginning so I felt like my mind was whirling around plot points without actually getting a hold of them. I like the concept, I can grasp the concept, but it was too much too soon. Where was the meat and potatoes of the world building in the first chapter? I was thrust into the world, that’s very surreal and different from my own, and wasn’t given the chance to acclimate. My WSOD was accosted.

The only time I was completely on board and ingrained in this story is when the characters were having conversations. The dialogue is fantastically written. Those scenes felt less like reading and more like watching a movie. So engaging! I just wish that the rest of the book was as fascinating and griping.

With the character’s being mediocre (although Seraphina finally grows some ladyballs in the end) I was really disappointed in this book. Maybe I put it on too high of a pedestal to begin with? I don’t know. I just wanted so much more from this book. I wanted action, romance, adventure! I wanted all the amazing things in Eragon that I loved so much but it never developed into anything. It was just fluttering on the edge decent. Sad day 😦

The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

19 Dec

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Third Book in the Seven Realms Series

Rating: Five out of Five Stars

I can’t even put into words how much I feel for Cinda Williams Chima.  I am hovering around “obsessive love” and “complete infatuation”.

Be glad you aren’t in the room while I am writing this, otherwise you would hear my awful voice breaking out into heartfelt aria. Much like my previous reviews of the Seven Realms books (The Demon King, Book One and The Exiled Queen, Book 2) this is will be a lovesick gush fest about Chima.

Han – let’s get married and have babies. Raisa – let’s hang out and be BFFs. Please let there be a crack in reality so I can crawl into this world. I adore this book so much. I can’t write a review that can urge you enough to pick it up. If you like high fantasy AT ALL you need, must, are REQUIRED to read this series. Its beautifully written with a world so real that it the scenery has its own story and personality. I am having such a swoonfest over Han it’s embarrassing. He has become my new Mr. Darcy. And much like with Elizabeth, I want Raisa and Han to work out sooo bad my emotions are going haywire. Chima just taunts us and teases us with their relationship and makes it so tantalizing real, I feel like I am part of them.

I can even begin to explain my love for this series. It’s on par with Harry Potter by the infamous JK and the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore. Just amazingly written with characters that are so alive you forget that they are in a book.

Just do yourselves a favor and read it. For real. Read it. Please, for my sake. It will make your life so much better.

Angelfall by Susan Ee

5 Dec

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Penryn and the End of Days Book One

Rating: A Million Stars out of 5!! (ok ok Five out of Five Stars)

HOLY SWEET BABY JESUS!

I need to catch my breath after this book. I feel like I just got done running a marathon of greatness and wonderfulness and every other positive descriptive words you would like to include. This book.. it’s just so… freaking amazing… I can’t even….

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So I have used this quote before “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it” – William Styron, Conversations with William Styron but I have never felt it ring so true than with this book. Susan Ee shoots a shot gun in the first chapter and doesn’t slow down the entire book. It’s insanely well written, captivating, fast paced and brilliant.

The main character, Penryn, is so kick ass. Like, Uma Thurman Kill Bill status. But it’s not surreal! Sometimes I see awesome females and go “yeah right so would not happen in real life.” But Ee takes the time to explain WHY Penryn is so f88cking awesome and it makes me relate to her (even though I can’t hurt a fly) in such a personal way. Her tie to her sister and mother are perfectly described and when she becomes brutal and ruthless, I like it because I would do the same thing to save my family. Penryn’s relationship with Raffe is also well founded, no cup of instant love my friends!

This story is unique and different than anything I have read. It takes your typical angel/demon stories and injects it with Hulk juice. It’s a gripping tale that will have you enthralled the moment you open the book until the second you close it. Be prepared to not work or sleep or eat or shower while reading it because you will not want to put Angelfall down.

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

3 Dec

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Book Two of the Seven Realms Series

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Be prepared for another one of my swoonfests here because

I LOVE CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA.

She is one of those authors I want to watch write the outline of her book so I can just view art as it’s being created. I want her to be my coach at world building and character creation. And when some day I write my own book, she will be atop my greatest inspirations along with J.K. Rowling, Christopher Paolini and Kristin Cashore. I just want to crawl into her imagination and live there for a while. Oh wait… that’s what I do when I read her books….

Alright, so steering off the path of my lady crush, this is another incredible book by Chima. The world is tangible and real and the characters are relatable and lovely. I was disappointed that Amon didn’t get to narrate like he did in book one because  is such a dynamic character and offers a very different viewpoint then Han and Raisa. It makes the story much more rounded and complete in my mind. I also would have loved to have experienced his feelings toward his forced but not forced relationship. Although we can experience his feeling towards the situation through Raisa, I would have liked Amon to have more of a presence in this book.

Han has officially become my fantasy boyfriend. The whole bad-boy-gone-good-but-kick-ass thing is my ultimate dream man. He’s like the Edward to my Bella and the Jace to my Clary. *sigh* I just love him and love Raisa/Han make-out scenes. (I did warn you about swoon-festing right?) Raisa, like always, does female heroines proud. She’s smart and feisty and yet still a girl. She reminds me a lot of Hermione: totally badass and yet still unarguably female.

Well done, Master Chima. I would recommend this series to everyone. Romance, magic, action, passion and just a damn good story? No one could pass this baby up.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

26 Nov

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Book One of The Selection Series

Rating: Five out of Five Stars

I love you. I love this book. It is amazing. The end.

In the words of my mother, “This book is Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.” UH HELLO! Greatest description ever.

The Selection is, by far, one of my greatest guilty pleasures in a long long time. I like to stick with fluff books for what fluff books are. You know the kind, tidy little happy ending books you read when you just get done with intense books like The Maze Runner series or Birthmarked? Well that was what I was planning this book to be. I needed a break. But oh heavens above! did I fall in love with this series! It has romance, action, drama, mystery. I cannot even TELL you how obsessed with this story I am.

It has an interesting twist on the post apocalyptic plot which I AHdore. And what’s amazing about this book is that Kiera Cass creates unique and believable characters. I was worried that Prince Maxon was going to end up like Leland in Wither, sweet and charming but naive and happy to be oblivious. But he isn’t and it’s sooo nice to have a romance be, oh I don’t know, DEVELOPED in a YA novel. It does have the Almighty Love Triangle, but it’s not overpowering or overshadowing so it doesn’t make it as annoying as it usually is.

Gag me with my amount of flattery right now but I can’t help it. I love me some princes, dystopia, and realistic heroines. Any girly girl will LOVE this book. And, like me, give it to your mom to read! It’s nice to throw them some bomb YA novels once in a while.

 

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