Saturday, June 27, 2015

City of Lost Souls

I have had City of Lost Souls on my shelf for...well jeez, at least a year. And I picked it up and promised to read it more times than I can remember. I am SO CLOSE to being finished with Cassandra Clare's two shadowhunters series. I dunno, I started out loving them and then somewhere along the way they got really long and filled with too many declarations of love, and I got kinda bored and discovered that Maggie Stiefvater is basically a goddess with a typewriter. So yeah, she's sorta in the middle of my list of books to read. But anyway, I've been incredibly busy at work (that's right, you heard me! I got me an adult job) so it looks like this summer's reading project is getting off to a slow start. But I shall prevail!

Retrieved from Goodreads
Lilith is gone, and the shadowhunters are safe again. That is, until it turns out Sebastian isn't dead, and he manages to bind Jace to him so that one can't be killed without the other dying. Understandably, Clary and the rest of the New York Institute are shattered and trying to find a way to save him. This involves trying a lot of things that don't end up working, and Clary deciding to go to Jace once she figures out where he is, but without any real plan to save him.

So, yeah, not my most elegant book description. I'm sorry, but it's in the 90s here in the pacific northwest and I am basically melting even with a fan blowing on me and ice packs strapped to my neck and back. And I just got off a week of work. And did I mention I finished reading a huge ass book? Seriously, why are Clare's books this long these days? They really don't need to be. This was a 535 page book that could have been cut to 300-350. I promise I didn't actually dislike this book. I'm just disappointed in Clare. Present in CoLS are some of the things I love about the shadowhunter world: vivid descriptions, cool paranormal world, and some dialogue that makes me laugh out loud (hard to do). But....there's all this stuff in between. Clary spends time with Jace when he's possessed and feels conflicted. She spends time with Sebastian and feels conflicted. Maia and Jordan feel conflicted. Simon and Isabelle are conflicted. Mangus and Alec...well you see where I'm going. Somewhere along the way these became character books rather than action books...and I'm sad about it. Clare can write steamy and she can write sad, but she is also pretty good at writing action! And I miss the snappiness of City of Bones. Maybe I'm too used to this world now. I have read 8 of Clare's books after all. Ah well. 8 down, 1 to go.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Finnikin of the Rock

So I am way late in posting this review, but I do have good reasons! Last week I walked in my two graduation ceremonies. That's right, I am now completely done with everything associated with my undergrad degree. I finished with straight As, two majors, and graduated cum laude. Afterward my SO and I went on a weekend trip with lots of driving in a cool car and not a lick of reading. But last week I did finish Finnikin of the Rock.

Retrieved from Goodreads
It's been ten years since the five days of the unspeakable, when the entire royal family of Lumatere was slaughtered and most of its inhabitants trapped outside the city walls by a curse. Finnikin has spent those years trying to secure the exiles a new home, but there are those who want to break the curse and take back Lumatere. Finnikin is pulled into this plot by the novice Evanjalin, who has fire in her eyes and is more cunning than most men.

What this book lacked in pace, it made up for in writing. This is a very nicely written book that allows even its good characters to do bad things. When Evanjalin is almost raped by Froi, she later sells him into slavery in order to save two other people. This book does a nice job of showing how people react differently to losing their homes. However, I think the climax was anticlimactic and I wish there had been more explanation of how the curse was going to be broken. However, overall I enjoyed this book and I think I'll be reading the rest of the series.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Ignite Me

I did it! I don't know why it took me so long considering how I blazed through the second book in the Shatter Me series, but I finished it! It was so frustrating because I was reading it on my lunch break at work and there were only 10 pages left when I had to go back to work. They were calling to me like a siren's song. But anyway, the weather is beautiful and I'm waiting to be picked up for my figure skating lesson, so I thought I'd tell you about the final book in the Shatter Me trilogy, Ignite Me.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Omega Point is gone. Most of the powered people are dead or scattered and injured. Juliette finally realizes what needs to be done: the Reestablishment needs to be overthrown and Anderson needs to be killed. But there are problems. They are so few, and she doesn't have complete control over her powers. She's lost an ally in Adam and she's so mixed up about what she feels for Warner. But this is bigger than any of them, and the final battle draws near.

So, I have insanely mixed feelings about this book. I'm going to divide this into two sections: parts I liked, and parts I didn't like. Let's go with the good stuff first.

Parts I liked:

  • Kenji. I love his friendship with Juliette. It's so funny and so grounding for her, and it's nice to see a platonic relationship between a guy and a gal in a YA romance.
  • Less imagery. Okay, this is actually more complicated than that. Over the course of all three books you can see how Juliette is becoming more sane. In the first book there's all these crazy thoughts and crossings-out and she's really deep in her head. There's less in the second book and even less in this one.
  • Warner/Juliette sexy times. Okay, let's be real, Mafi can write some haaawt stuff. It'll make you blush, but you will enjoy it. Just putting that out there.
  • Juliette's growth. While I enjoyed the last two books, something about Juliette's complete weakness bugged me. I wanted her to...ya know...wake up and realize her power could be controlled and used for good. And that she doesn't have to be the submissive, overly-dramatic girl who cries all the time. And in this book she does gain self-awareness and move past a lot of her drama. This makes for some great joking around with Kenji
Parts I didn't like:
  • Warner/Adam transformation. This one may get long folks. So at the start of the book Warner is a psychopath. But when Juliette calls him on it he points out that all the terrible things he did to her were not actually what she thought, or he had a good reason. Then gets upset that she thought he was a bad person. NOPE. Sorry. That's what we call abusive. I got mad, and that tainted my view of Warner for the rest of the book despite the fact that he becomes a nice guy. Adam's transformation went in reverse. Yeah, I'm totally down with a story that has the MC realize they're in an abusive relationship. But give ME a hint that it's abusive first so his raging out makes sense.
  • Nothing really happened. If you look at the story as a whole, not much happened. I won't spoil it, but there's not much action, and what action there is is really really short. Which takes us to point number three.
  • Resolution. Nope. I'm sorry, stop reading if you don't want a spoiler. No WAY should Juliette lead the new government. Yeah, she's uber powerful, but that doesn't mean she knows how to lead a government. Revolution, sure, she could be a general or something. But a 17-year-old who has no idea about anything in the world should not be the leader. And I'm sorry, but the adults she was with should have realized that, and she won those soldiers over by terrifying them with her powers, not making them realize they have a chance of winning and she's the best choice for a new leader. It will go poorly. I guarantee. Her confrontation with Anderson was what...3 pages and that was that. It was sadly short.
Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta