Monday, 16 March 2015

In The Afterlight review

In The Afterlight
Dais Daily

I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous about an ending of a series before. The Darkest Minds and Never Fade were both amazing books that I had given 5 stars too. In all honesty, I didn’t want the series to end. I feel like I could read about these characters for another five book and I would never find a single second of boring.

In The Afterlight delivered on every front. The ending was amazing and the entire series feels like it all comes full circle for Ruby. The is a touch of ambiguity in the ending of The Darkest Minds series. Throughout the book, I had assumed that Ruby would chose to get the procedure done to have her abilities nullified. But instead you don’t know if she does. And you don’t know if life for all of those children get any better. But I kind of like that.

Out of this entire book, the only thing I didn’t particularly like was the death of the older Stewart brother. I loved him, and I loved his a Ruby’s relationship.
What Clancy does to Cole was just plain cruel. Different in a way than I had seen from him previously. Yes he’d called in government officials to ransack/capture/kill the tweens of East River, but even he said that his decision was a bad one. However, in In The Afterlight, Clancy purposefully goes out of his way to manipulate Cole’s want and need to understand his abilities, and for that reason alone I thought Ruby was a fool to relieve Clancy’s scarring memories.
I really wanted something huge to happen with Cole. Like in the evacuation on Thurmond for them to be losing and then Cole comes out and BAM. Sends fire up everywhere. But later we read how there were Reds there at Thurmond anyway, so maybe that idea wouldn’t have been as explosive as I would have wanted it.
I wasn’t as emotional assaulted by his death as I had been with Jude’s but I felt like Cole’s potential wasn’t quite reached.
Oh and I also didn’t quite like how obvious it was that it was Ruby who was the one sending all the emails in the middle of the night. As soon as we first discover she’s sleepwalking, I knew it. And I had guessed that perhaps Clancy would somehow be involved. Though I will also say that I don’t blame Ruby for not figuring it out sooner because she hadn’t thought Clancy would dig that low.

I don’t think I’ve ever connected to a character quite as much as Ruby. We see her grow from this frightened and damaged girl into a force to be reckoned with, willing to do anything to protect not just those she loves, but also the people who don’t have anyone else. She is a hero in the truest sense of the word. She is perfect in a way that she is also as flawed as any of us. She was over bearing, cynical, outright cruel; and it only made me love her that much more.
We start at Thurmond, and we end it at Thurmond. The difference between these two Ruby’s is stark in contrast. Ruby goes in and makes her own rules, not afraid of what this place could to her. She’s outgrown that life. I was so proud of her.
That part where she’s telling Liam that she has to walk out of Thurmond on her own two feet, it was beautiful and bittersweet.

A lot of people have said that they had issue with the pacing of this final instalment, but I thought it was perfect. Though looking back on it now, yes they were in the Rach for a prolonged period of the book, the dialogue and events that went on there were never boring and so I didn’t find a fault with it. This book had me more hooked than the first one. It was all consuming and I couldn’t look away for a second.
The writing and sequence of events. The actions and reactions in this book. They all outshine the previous two books in my opinion.

When the first breakout on Oasis went without hitch* excluding the pop up of Liam* I was literally squealing in excitement.
Moving to the subject of a one Liam Stewart, I kind of had a love hate relationship with his in this book, which I found surprising. I found myself siding more with Ruby and Cole in the situations where they would butt heads. He was incredibly reckless, but we already knew that, and again it shows Bracken’s excellent way of making these characters more real with their flaws.
Chubs and Vida? Called it. Right from Never Fade I called that the two of them would get together.
I want to touch quickly also on the sibling rivalry between Liam and Cole, I found it really refreshing and at the same time frustrating. The same goes for Liam and Ruby’s relationship.
They’re in a strange place as a couple. They hardly communicate at all. We know that Liam is afraid of Ruby wiping his memory again, and we know Ruby still struggles with herself becoming a monster and Liam being unable to forgive her completely.

The Darkest Minds trilogy is strong from start to finish. I honestly think that it is the most consistently brilliant series that I’ve ever read. The characters aren’t changing, their evolving and the plots kept me on my toes from page one. I’ve never been connected or invested in a whole group as much as those from The Darkest Minds series. I’ll love them all dearly forever.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Never Fade review

Never Fade

As with most series, a middle book can sometimes fail to peek at the momentum created by the first book, and then the suspense for the final instalment. And while I feel Never Fade doesn’t fall prey to this reoccurring theme, I do have to grudgingly admit that I did like The Darkest Minds more.

Never Fade picks up 6 months after Ruby had wiped all traces of herself from Liam’s mind and I very interested in how the Children’s League and Ruby would fit around each other. And though we aren’t given an exact look into that relationship we know enough that Ruby doesn’t like the idea of being Leader to a small band of psi kids, and still wants out.
The story still has its darker edge, which I was glad for. The book is also more psychically demanding on its characters.

I said in my review of The Darkest Minds that Ruby had already gone through a hell of a lot of character development. And actually, the same can be said for Never Fade too.
All along we’ve seen Ruby struggling with her abilities, and in this book, she really gets a handle on them, but she also really sees the dark depths that her powers can achieve. And Ruby fights with the monster side of herself that she has always associated with herself.
Her scenes with Knox, and especially the one with Rob in the car was so engrossing.

The writing was as stellar as the first books, but I felt the very beginning of Never Fade suffered from a little bit of slow pacing. While Ruby was with the League, I was a little distracted in waiting for something to happen to get the story set off.

Never Fade certainly threw in some wicked curve balls. The biggest for me personal was the death of Jude. It felt so personal, and how it affected Ruby hit me that much hard. Through the trials that Ruby and the gang faced, I always thought Jude would make it through unscathed. I was looking forward to watching him grow and thrive.

Again, I loved the secondary characters. At first I thought Bracken was trying to replace Liam and Chubs, and yet still keep the humour from a diverse group, almost like Jude was taking Zu’s place as the one to be protected, and I kind thought that it was cheating slightly, but the more I read into these new characters, the quicker I fell in love with them. Vida won me over almost instantly and I loved every snarky quip that her foul mouth spewed. Jude was my particular favourite. The way Ruby protects him and comforted him.

Although Liam is very much a huge part of the plot in Never Fade, I felt his actual character lacked growth because of that.
A character I was very surprised about was Chubs. He has changed pretty radically when he is first reintroduced in the book. In addition, you see how dangerous and desperate a step it was for him to become a skip tracer so he could find word on the others. He really does come into his own.

Then there was Cole. Liam’s older and hard arsed brother, and as we find out in a few of the very last pages, a Red. I enjoyed Cole’s sporadic appearances and I really hope we get to see more of him in the third and final book.

I was unsurprised by Clancy’s reappearance, though I was very surprised by the how and why of it. His side of the plot was very interesting and comes sort of out of left field. I felt just as slow as Ruby does when trying to piece all of the titbits of information together.

The second half of the book was explosive, pretty literally too. I had no idea of where things would go and I much prefer that. I am honestly so consumed with what might happen in the final book In The Afterlight. I’m going to have to start it as soon as possible. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Champion review

Champion – Marie Lu
Dais Daily

Though I do admit to being somewhat disappointed with the Legend series as a whole so far, I also said that if the third and final book were better than the last two, that I would chose to look back at the series in a more positive light. And I’m happy to report that the third book had me pleasantly surprised.

I enjoyed Champion more than the previous two books, and was genuinely curious and attached to these characters.
The writing finally felt true and had me trying to predict what was going to happen next. The story telling was stronger and more engaging then the series previous instalments. There was so much more realism about the events and reactions.

I was very curious how Day’s illness would fit into the book, considering the way Prodigy ends. It was quite refreshing to have had a somewhat break between the books. I dislike when a trilogy seems all to have happened in the space of a couple months.
I was just as nervous as Day and June were when they were set to reunite.

Reading others reviews on Goodreads, I see that the ending to this series are split evenly between love and hate. I can quite easily say that I really loved the ending. I thought it wonderful and creative. I wouldn’t say ‘fitting’ and neither was it expected, but that just made the end so much better for me. It was a breath of fresh air that everyone doesn’t walk away right at the end into the sunset with his or her significant other.

Also, in my review of Prodigy, I was talking about how annoyed I was that June was all of a sudden ill, and basically had to be carried everywhere and was dead weight. I guess now I have a sort of answer. Though we never did learn if the Colonies were the ones that had administered the mutated plague to June.

June continues to be my favourite of the two main characters. She is a Queen, most definitely. Her courage and devotions was a wonder to read.
I really liked June’s decision to leave the political world behind and jump back into the world of a soldier. I was happy for her.

I also really learned to love Anden. His character was complicated and intricate, I actually wish there had been more of him, and not just a sort of love interest. Both Day and June comment on the darker side of his personality, and I wished that had been explored a little more, because we know he walks a hard path of pleasing people, and doing what’s right.

I was happy to see the way Marie Lu included him in June’s life, after main events ended. I felt it actually would have played out that way too. It was a logical thing for June, and I hoped they were somewhat happy.

It was truly a beautiful and bittersweet ending. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Darkest Minds review

The Darkest Minds
Dais Daily

I’ve been waiting for the right time to read The Darkest Minds for a very long time. I’ve never heard or read a bad word spoken about it. This obviously makes me nervous. What if I was going to be in the small percentage that didn’t enjoy the book? I started to hype the book up so much that the thought of actually starting it was somewhat terrifying.
I knew that I had to be in the right frame of mind to start this series. I wanted to make sure that I could give my absolute full attention to the start of this beloved series.

I can honestly say that I devoured this book. I was eagerly consuming every word.
The plot from the very beginning was intriguing and had a darker vibe then I was expecting, which I loved.
The whole setting at camp is unsettling, but I really was transfixed but all of those scenes.
I was so enamoured with the idea of these kids having to be colour coded based on the abilities. It’s such an original and well executed idea.

From start to finish this book stayed thrilling and complex. The action was well paced and written in a way that I couldn’t look away for even a second. Every moment lead beautifully into the next. I wasn’t even aware of how much time was passing as I read. My emotions were being thrown around like a ragged doll, and it was brilliant.
Bracken makes it so that every scenario feels completely plausible and has you questioning if something like this really could happen. There is such a sense of realism through the whole of the book.

Ruby goes through some of the best character growth that I’ve read in a while.
In the very beginning she goes out of her way to make sure she blends into the background, but as the story progresses she learns to look for those she cares about and fights admirably to keep them from harm.
I was so fascinated with Ruby’s abilities from the get go. I was so curious to see the extent of her capabilities and was so proud whenever she accomplished some small task.

From the very beginning, I was suspicious of Clancy, and always thought he would be some sort of double agent in some way. Though I certainly hadn’t expected it to go quite the way it did. Alexandra Bracken has a brilliant way of completely blind-siding you with events.

I couldn’t find a single fault with any of the characters. They were all written perfectly and made believable by their very real faults. Liam’s unwavering need to protect, Chubs’ brutal honesty. And then Zu’s muteness. They made up a complex trio that I fell in love with.
Chubs was incredible and definitely pushed my opinion of the writing even higher. I loved how his and Ruby’s relationship change and grow throughout the story.
His slam down with Clancy was awesome.
I know that we haven’t seen the last of Clancy, and I hope that the next time that him and Ruby meet, they can be on a little more equal footing, in terms of powers.
I also really hope that we find Suzume again in Never Fade.

For once I really liked the idea that our main character didn’t have much of an idea of their actual plan. There was ever a specific endgame goal and I preferred in that way. It let the story breath and things could play out just as they needed to.

With the end, I find myself really excited at the thought of having a hardened and colder version of Ruby, and honestly, if that is the way that Bracken goes in Never Fade, I have no doubt it will become one of my favourite books.
I’m so excited to continue this series.
The Darkest Minds is a perfect example of how to start a series and leave all of its readers waiting in desperate anticipation for the next one.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Prodigy review

Prodigy Review

If you’ve read my previous review on Legend by Marie Lu, the first book in the Legend series, you’ll most likely already know that I wasn’t quite sure if I liked the book or not. And unfortunately, the same problems again apply to this book that I found with the first one.

I didn’t find the plot that engaging as I had done with the first book. Though I do admit I quite liked the bigger scale of the book, and how we finally got to know a little more about how The Republic came into existence and its place in the rest of the world.

Again, my biggest problems with these books so far are the main characters young ages. I find it completely illogical that two fifteen year olds would how so much sway over this government, and are that much of a threat.

I also feel a little confused by the ending of this book. I know there is a third book, Champion, and yet, it seems things could have very easily tied themselves up and the series could have finished there, if not for the unresolved issue of Day’s health.
I was also wondering why Day has never told a single person about being experimented on after ‘failing’ his trials. This, we know, didn’t actually happen. June finding out Day’s actual test scores plays a big role in swaying June that she is on the wrong side, and yet, this fact is never actually mentioned to any sort of official or the public. I guess it all comes into play in the third book, but I just found it a little odd. Every the doctor at the end was aware of Day’s, and thousands of others being experimented on, and yet, still nothing comes of it.

In addition, I’m just going to touch on this sore spot lightly, but what on earth was all the shit about June being ill?
Why does it come on so quickly, like literally, within a few hours she can barely stand and passes out a bunch of times? And yet, there is no actual name for this mysterious illness, we are never told what made June ill, and if will now cause later problems or if it was serious. And, by the end of the novel she is fit and healthy. What kind of illness comes on that strong that it renders the person useless, and is then done away with. It rather irked me, and just made me resent June slightly. Which I didn’t like because I had grown to really like June’s character.

I much prefer June to Day, though I still find that the book benefits from the duo point of views. I enjoyed June’s colder and more methodical approach to things.

I quite liked the story line of June going undercover in her previous Republic alliances, while she helped put in place the pieces of the Elector’s assassination. That was all quite thrilling, and I was starting to like the young Elector himself.

I don’t have any issues with the writing in itself, but I didn’t connect as much to the characters as I had in the last one.

Will I be reading the final instalment, yes; but at this point, I think it’s based solely on my curiousness on how the series will end. I’m not particularly attached to these characters and their lives. I would just rather finish the series that leave it sitting on my shelves.

I’m choosing to look past the negatives that I’ve found and hope to have the third book satisfy me and if it surprises me, than I would be happier to remember the series on a more positive note. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Legend review

The Legend series seems to be quite a beloved series to many, and I was eagerly awaiting reading it for myself.
Legend has an interesting premise. Two kids from different sides of the track. Day and June are both fifteen. Day is a criminal, and June is the only person to score 1500 on her Trials.
Day is a Robin Hood kind of character. Stealing from the Republic and giving some relief to the poor in his sector, Whereas as June, is tipped for big things in the military, youngest at her university and avid follower of all rules. Their world collide when Day is accused of killing June's brother, Metias. And so June is set a mission to find the elusive Day.

I've seen on Goodreads that opinions are quite varied which surprised me, because most people I had actually spoken to about this book had nothing but high praise for it.
The idea of the Republic and Colonies warring was quite refreshing and I wish that side of things were expanded upon, we are only given the briefest glimpse and for me, it wasn't enough. I wanted to know how things had gotten to the point they had, how their systems and governments had come into being.

My biggest problem with this book was the main characters themselves. Each are only 15 years old and yet they are capable of doing things like scaling buildings in seconds. Day breaks into banks with trained military guards. Manages to overwhelm his guards and almost escapes his cell. And June, well she practically leads her own platoon/unit. She ranks higher than some people double her age, and I find it all very had to believe.
Perhaps if they were both seventeen, maybe even sixteen would have been better. But I can't help thinking of them as just children. And so it makes the whole thing seem rather unbelievable for me.

I will say that the story did keep me entertained and was certainly engaging. I was very curious to how things were going to plan out. Especially when June discovers she isn't the only one with a perfect 1500 score. Though the whole, 'government is actually evil, so we both most miraculously escape' thing is getting terribly boring. I'm hoping the next instalments offer something a little more complex.
Legend is quite a short read, and I think Marie Lu has done well to fit all she has into the book. But I feel like the book should have been about a hundred pages longer so that she could have fleshed out characters better, or giving us better insights to governments and world building.

The writing is quite solid and nothing that I could particularly find fault with. Although sometimes Day and June did feel like almost the same character. They have a lot of the same skills and so it wasn't completely as diverse as I would have liked it to be. Like I said, it could have been longer to try avoid the two characters coming off seemingly the same.

I wasn't blown away by Legend, and neither was I totally bored by it. I know a lot of people keep the series in high regard, and I'm definitely willing to hold off writing the series off until I've finished the other two books. Even if I end up not liking the seconds book Prodigy, I'll still most likely finish it's third book Champion, as I don't like leaving series uncompleted.
So sadly, Legend only gets 3 stars from me.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Ruin and Rising review

I can't believe I left it so long to read this series! Shadow and Bone had been on my reading radar for almost two years before I finally opted to go for it.
And honestly, I was so annoyed at myself for waiting. This series is phenomenal!

Ruin and Rising is the final installment to the Grisha Trilogy, and Leigh Bardugo certainly doesn't disappoint.
Throughout each book the writing has grown stronger and stronger. Something I value in a series. Descriptions, characterization, and character arcs all became stronger the longer I read.

The Grisha series has easily cemented itself as one of my favourite series.
The Russian influences were amazing and something that I really enjoyed and thought made the series prosper that little bit more.
And yet, I felt there was something missing from the final book.
I wanted something huge, something epic for ending the series on. And I guess some people could say that it did happen that way. I don't quite feel the same way.

Alina Starkov goes through a tremendous amount through the whole of the series, and we see her progression written so beautifully.
The only downfall I had with Aline herself was that I wanted her to want more.
I understand she had conflicting emotions about her lust for power and in the end I wanted her to get the powers and have the destiny she deserved as the Sun Summoner, even if it wasn't anything she had every planned for herself.
I actually kind of wanted her to struggle more with that lust. I wanted her to feel just a small semblance of what The Darkling must have felt. So that there connection could have grown. I wanted them to see that they were more alike, that they truly were the only ones who understood.

Onto every bodies favourite villain, The Darkling. After falling for the Darkling pretty hard in, Shadow and Bone, the first in the series. I was torn from then on. I loved to hate him. He was a perfect antagonist.
The further on we read, the more I felt he was beyond redemption. And yet, I wanted him and Alina together. There were bouts when he was just a lonely boy and I truly felt for him. And I love a book that can make you question yourself, because at the end of it all. All the Darkling was truly trying to do was save Ravka. And his ruthlessness and cruelty was a means that justified that end to him.
I truly believe that the years and his humanity had faded, but that he could have been brought back from that brink.
We see the boy behind the Darkling facade, and I loved the scene when he asks Alina to say his name.

And I'm going to say it.
The Darkling was in no way near enough in this book. Though the whole plot revolves around Alina defeating him, he is hardly ever present.
To think that readers would have been satisfied with only 'visions' of the Darkling is a huge mistake on Bardugo's part.

The secondary characters deserve as much praise, maybe even more. They were perfect. They had flaws, witty dialogue, a diversity that made them all a pleasure to read.
Nikolia was a particular favourite of mine. I've been honest in my disliking of Mal from the beginning, and because I know Bardugo would never let Alina be with the Darkling I had hoped that the two of them would wind up together.
He was fast talking, witty, and had a way that made me squeal in excitement every single time he was in a scene.
Nikolia goes through the ringer quite a bit in this novel and comes out a little battered, I wanted the best for him and I was pleased he was able to take the throne of Ravka.
Genya, Tamar and Tolyer, and even Zoya had me smiling. The whole group dynamic was balanced and written impeccably. Even Baghra, whose story had never truly been revealed until now.
Mal, in all honesty, I wanted dead. Not because I didn't like him as a character, but because I felt it needed to happen, for the sake of the story.
And for the record, what was that bullshit about him coming back to life because the magical ancestry part of him died, not actually Mal himself.

I wanted the series to end one of three ways.
Scenario 1: Alina comes into her power, ultimately killing Mal, and fights the Darkling in an explosive, epic, and harrowing match of light and dark. Where she ultimately wins and she and Nikolia rule over Ravka, though there is nothing romantic between them for many years while she mourns the lose of Mal. Then they fall in love gradually and live happily ever after in all her Sun Summoner glory.

Scenario 2:
Alina regrettably kills Mal. Alina fights the Darkling, again in an epic fight, where she can summon her own army of light. And reduces him to nothing, but because they are so alike and are connected so tightly, refuses to kill him. Because of her mercy, the Darkling sees he is unfit to rule Ravka.
Nikolia becomes an awesome king.
Eventually the two reconcile, though never romantically as they help the other to keep balanced. Alina can help rule Ravka or not. The Darkling didn't 'win' and yet he gets to see Ravka thrive and prosper, just as he had always hoped for. The two live long lives in which they protect Ravka.

Scenario 3:
Nikolia is killed. Alina kills Mal. The Darkling is defeated and then publicly executed, and the Sun Summoner rules Ravka with a broken soul. Mourning the men that she each shared unique and strange connections with.

To be honest, I wanted a brutal ending. I wanted something that would stick with me. Something as memorable as the Divergent trilogy ending.
Through the whole of the book we're told about the consequences of having such power. And yet, what consequences do we actually see. Everything works out perfectly for Alina.
Mal is revived after his valiant death.
The Darkling in defeated.
The Fold folds away.
Nikolia becomes an excellent King.
And Alina is relieved of a power she had never wanted in the first place.
That's my main qualm with this book.

I feel like Leigh Bardugo played it safe and gave everyone the happily-ever-after treatment that we are all sick of in YA literature.
It was a predictable ending that lessened my validation that I was going to remember the series for years to come.

This isn't a bad book. I just had more issues with it than I did the previous two books. The characters and writing just about balance the book. 4 stars

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Shadow and Bone review

Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, the first in her Grisha series has been out for a while now, and I finally conceded and bought it. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to read it, it’s just because it takes me 50x longer to get around to reading popular reads.

Shadow and Bone was quite high on my TBR when it first arrived and I when I finished my latest book, I went straight for Shadow and Bone. Once I had decided to start it, I became increasingly more excited about it. I’ve heard many good things about the series and was eager to form my own opinions.

First off, I would like to say how much I really enjoyed the Russian influence in the novel. Though I did struggle with some pronunciations at first I still wanted more. I loved the Grisha, separate from each other and yet forming a solid front. I loved their different coloured keftas and all the different abilities and talents that they could have. I wish there had been a little more history on how the Grisha came to be.

Though the writing isn’t anything out of this world, that in no way means that the actual book suffered for it. The plot in Shadow and Bone is mesmerizing. It’s conflictions with power and doing what’s right war with each other beautifully. Just as the elegance and violence do.
The plot twists are unguessable and throws you off in a way that has you racking your brains for any earlier signs. My previous opinions were scattered to the wind and I loved this book it. It’s harder these days to find ways to disorient your reader, as plot twists have become increasingly easier to guess. How easily I was tricked by such clever writing.

On to the focal point of this novel. The Darkling.
I loved him. Not because of his smooth manners and swoon worthiness. But because I find him the truest character of them all. <spoiler>How some peoples quest for power struggle with the knowledge of right and wrong, whereas the Darkling does not. Though he believes he will help Ravka, it is truly his own self that he wishes to empower and he certainly isn’t sorry for it.
The coldness and callousness is what makes him the villain. Now his hunger for power, but would he would do to get it.</spoiler> Because even the most pure hearted can locked in the throes of power.

Alina is a character at first that I was unsure of but then grew to very much enjoy. A girl with absolutely has no place in the world is suddenly thrust into the role of most important woman in all of Ravka’s history. What I loved most about her though was her willingness to do the right thing and continue fighting. Though the decision is very tough, especially at the very end of the book. She understands that hers is a power that comes with very real consequences. I’m curious to how Alina’s new found power will come into play now that she isn’t enslaved to the Darkling whims.

Throughout the book we are told that ‘like calls to like’ and I feel that’s absolutely true.
Alina and the Darkling are the opposite sides of the same coin, so they are bound to never truly be free of the other. They each resent the attributes of the other because they are so different, and yet, you cannot have light with darkness.

I’m very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series and will be buying them in the immediate future. I need my next fix of the Darkling. I also want to see how the whole of Ravka deal with the events.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Graceling review

The Graceling series is a series that I have been always been excited to read, and late last year I bought all three books in the series. Unfortunately, all three copies are completely different from one another. I have a large print Graceling. A normal sized Fire, and then a HUGE hardcover of Bitterblue, so none of them match, which everyone knows is a huge inconvenience if you like your shelves looking neat or level.

As a fan of the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas, I was told I would enjoy this book as much as those. And obviously that made me hugely excited to finally start the series.
If I'm totally honest with my self, I really didn't enjoy Graceling as much as I was hoping.
The whole of idea of peoples 'Grace's' was really interesting and I did enjoy those aspects of the book, but I found the whole story didn't completely engage me.
I would like to put the reason behind why I didn't like it so much to being in a reading slump, and yet, even in peak reading conditions, I don't feel my thoughts would of been much different.
The plot was ok and the pacing wasn't a problem. I was just wishing for a little more to happen. The majority of the book is people camping in woods, and there is only so much you can read about setting endless fires and catching endless fish.

The entire conflict of the book is solved within two sentences. I thought perhaps I'd skipped a couple of pages by accident.
But nope, one minute Katsa is under the King's influence, then BAM, she throws a knife and he's dead.

On the subject of Katsa. I can honestly, that though I wanted more from the book as a whole, Katsa was it's defining trait. She carried the book when I lost interest, and I actually think she may be one of my new favourite characters.
Katsa is deemed 'cold' and a 'killer' because of her Grace. But that isn't true, and I found myself instantly taken with her.
Katsa's adamant nature, towards marriage, children and 'belonging to someone' was delightfully refreshing and something I could relate too immensely.
Katsa is utterly fierce and loyal and we see her transition from 'Randa's dog' and 'Lady Killer' to a woman capable of controlling her own choices and life.
She was an absolute delight to read.

Katsa and Po's 'relationship' is something a lot of people have taken issue with. But I found it soothing to have no insta-love and love triangles.
People have criticized Cashore's portrayal of Katsa not wanting any commitment, and yet having a physical relationship with Po, for not wanting to lose any of her newly found freedom. And I praise her for it.
Katsa could almost be classed as an aromantic. And if she were, it is still acceptable to love someone without being an a particularly romantic relationship.
I feel Katsa, and everything she stands for, and every stereotypical protagonist she stands against is this book defining 'grace.' See what I did there. That was a bad joke.

The supporting characters were placed and characterized quite perfectly and I loved almost everyone.

I will certainly continue with the Graceling series, yet at more of a hesitant rate.

Though I don't think this book deserve 3 stars, I also don't feel it warrants 4.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Reading Slump

So, ever since Christmas, I've been in a huge reading slump. It's been hard to find any free time to read anyway, but when I do have a spare hour or two, I find that I'm  either putting off reading entirely, or I'm just not into anything that I'm actually reading. And I don't really want to force myself into reading these books when I think that I could enjoy them so much more if I gave them the time they deserve.
To top things off, I've been so incredibly ill over the whole of January, including my birthday. I really should go to a doctor.

My Goodreads challenge this year is a total of 60 books, which if you look at what I read in six months last year at 45, isn't particularly that much of a stretch.
It roughly equals reading five books every month. On a good day, that's quite plausible to me. And yet, at the rate that I'm going, that goal seems unattainable. And I know I shouldn't read just to achieve my goal, but there are a lot of high profile reads that I want to get through this year.

But in the whole of January, I only managed a measly two books. Which I know isn't really terrible. But I'm still disappointed.
I think I just need to clear my head and start again with a book that I'm really excited about reading.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

TBR Pile

So I thought I would do a little update on my TBR Pile. Which I know, is enormous, and I am quite ashamed of it. But.. In my defence, my Read pile is pretty much exactly same, there are only about twenty books in it.

I'm clearly not going to go through ALL of my unread books. But there is roughly about 250 books here. Which is a huge amount, then if you add that to the 220-230 that I've read, it means that I've got a rough amount of about 470 books in total, which is crazy!

Below is a picture of about 6 months ago when I put all my unread books together for the first time.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Siege and Storm Review

Again, like all fairly popular books, I am quite late to the Grisha trilogy, and I honestly don't know what I've been doing with my life for so long before reading these books. They are phenomenal, really and truly.

Siege and Storm is the second and middle instalment in the Grisha trilogy. I gave the first books, Shadow and Bone, 5 stars, and I was so hopeful that I would go on to love the second book just as much and thankfully that was true.

So much happens in the space of this book, and yet nothing feels rushed or quickened to get to certain points. The writing clever and mesmerizing. Again I loved all the Russian influences.
I've admitted before I have a penchant for slightly darker books, and though the story isn't quite 'dark', it has literal darkness in it and I found it all so fascinating. The Darkling growing power has me mesmerized.
The Grisha are shattered and scattered, and the stakes are so high with everything, the tension of when the Darkling will next appear never leaves you throughout the whole book.

I'll admit that I did notice the absence of The Darkling, but not in a way that made me disappointed.
Leigh Bardugo cleverly manges to insert him into the core of the story even though he isn't actually as psychically present as he was in the first book.
It just made me even more eager for him to finally show again.
I will say that I hadn't banked on seeing The Darkling so very early into the story, which was a pleasant surprise.

The biggest transformation comes easily from Alina herself. When we first met her, she was a lowly soldier without a place in the world, and yet, we've seen her grow and flourish, and even sometimes beginning to questions her when her actions are not to what we have come to expect from her.
I love Alina's struggle with her growing power and I loved her desire to do what was right for Ravka, especially at end.
Can I jusy say how much the last few sentences had me pumped for the third and final book.
Shit is about to go down!

Now I think I mentioned this is my review of the first book, but I was never overly fond of Mal. Just the fact that it had taken him so long to 'see' Alina. I just find him a little boring. Not as a character, but as a love interest. I need a little more excitement that just 'growing up together'. The only thing he really brought were his tracking abilities. That doesn't mean I wasn't rooting for them, and that my heart didn't give a sad little tug when Alina was saying that their story would never be over.
I feel that Mal will play an even bigger part in Ruin and Rising though, and I am very intrigued at how their relationship will now play, given everything that has happened and all that Alina has faced and still has to face.

Stormhond, he was fantastic and such an intriguing character, I very much loved him. He was ruthless and yet fair and I quit liked his ruggedness. As Nikolai, I still enjoyed his character immensely and I really hope that this was not the end of him.

Unfortunately for most series, the middle books or sequels are most usually the weakest in the series. That most definitely is not the case with Siege and Storm, I enjoyed just as much as it's predecessor, even more actually.

I have to read Ruin and Rising. Now. I need to know how this story ends. And I have no doubts by now that Leigh Bardugo will execute it to absolute perfection!
The Grisha series is certainly making its way very quickly up my favourites list and I hope that the third will cements its status as one of favourites series of all time.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Everything Leads to You Review

Everything Leads to You is a book I went into very much expecting to love.
The whole 'movie' element is something that was always incredibly important, even if at times it wasn't the very main focus, and I loved that, as a self confessed movie buff is was nice to read about someone else who had the same level of love for movies.

And as someone who is a firm believer in letting people be whoever it is they want to be, the sexuality of the main character was not a big deal to me in any way. I found it so refreshing to have a character who was already well aware of their sexual identity and that it was well established from the beginning.

When I got to PART 3, entitled The Apartment. I couldn't help but feel like I was waiting for something bad to happen. I don't know if it was just because I was a little used to small tragedies because a couple of my recent reads had them, but I kept waiting for something to come along and blindside me.
Which now I think about it, is pretty silly. Everything Leads to You, isn't a book thats going to break your heart just because it could. This book is fun and light and quite beautifully done. The cover for Everything Leads to You is absolutely stunning too!

I really enjoy Emi's attention to detail when it comes to her sets, and her methodical way of achieving what she envisions for scenes.

I wished we had known Morgan a little more. She is all Emi can think about in the very beginning and yet, we only meet her 3/4 times in the whole of the novel. I just would have liked to know a little bit more about their relationship.

All the characters were very well written and plausible. Each with their own flaws to make them more relatable.

And though I did like this book. It wasn't as 'thrilling' as I hoped it would be.
Nothing really big or exciting happens. Everything goes exactly as Emi plans it would.

I will say also that I'm not sure if I was a fan of the ending or not. It just seemed like it could have gone on for a little more and then I would have been satisfied to let them go.

The writing is quite beautiful, and yet, I found this book lacking. There was no real 'romance', there is only one page of 'flirting' and there is only one kiss in the entirety of the book. Now that wouldn't be a problem at all if Emi hadn't been thinking about all these things from the very near beginning after meeting Ava. 

Everything Leads to You, is in no way a bad book. But it was just a little to light for me. As a lover of things dark and disturbing, I find it to good to be true when things are going exactly how the main character wants them to.

So with a heavy heart I give this book 3 stars.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014 Favourites

I read some really amazing books this year. I definitely think it's been my favourite year of reading.
I finally got around to some really popular reads and I also discovered some hidden gems.
Unfortunately, I only started my Goodreads Reading Challenge at the beginning of June, and I have no record of what I read in the very beginning of 2014, so my favourites were also based on the books I could vaguely recall reading this year.
It was a bit of struggle trying to determine if some were read late 2013 or early 2014.
But from June of 2014 I read a total of 42 of my 30 books goal.

As to be expected, narrowing down my list of favourites to just 5 is an impossible challenge, so I instead chose 7.

  1. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  2. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
  3. Easy by Tammara Webber
  4. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
  5. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
  6. Before I fall by Lauren Oliver
  7. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Though I did say that it seemed an impossible task to order these books, I do have to say that there is one that was by far my favourite and that was The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. 

It was the originality that really made this book my favourite. It is so unlike anything that I've read that even 100 pages in, I knew this was going to be a new favourite.

So for my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2015 I have set my target for 60 books, I have a good feeling that I'll easily accomplish this number, especially if this year is anything like 2014.