Sunday, 22 February 2015
Thursday, 19 February 2015
Thursday, 12 February 2015
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
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.
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.
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 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
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
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.