Friday, February 26, 2016

The Rose Society

Wow, this review is a looong time in coming. I got this book back in October, and even went to a book signing with it! I don't know why, but when I started reading it, I wasn't grabbed and I was rather busy, so I put it down and read other things for a few months. But yesterday I was recovering from a minor bout of food poisoning by staying on the couch and doodling in my adult coloring book, so I polished it off. Legend was one of my favorite series of the last few years. I loved the rich detail June was able to notice without seeming unlikely, and her dynamic with Day seemed very natural. When I picked up The Young Elites it was a bit jarring to go from the stark world of Legend to the opulence of this new series.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Adelina has been cast from the Daggers and she wants revenge on those who have wronged her. With the help of her sister, she searches out fellow Elites who want revenge on the Inquisition Axis and her former allies. Meanwhile, the Daggers plan to take down the queen. To do that, they need allies. Gifted allies. They travel to Beldain, where the new queen is an Elite herself. They hope her power and armies will secure them their rights. But her plans are much darker, and could change the world itself.

This book is so gut-wrenchingly sad. You spend most of the book inside the head of a girl who you wish would be a heroine, but isn't. As the book progresses, Adelina sinks further into villainy, and it made me so sad. The world has wronged her, and she is lashing out as her only way of coping without falling apart. Her powers poison her. It's tragic. The world is very oppulent, and I enjoyed reading about the Night King's court. I thought that whole part about her trying to win over the mercenaries felt sort of...contrived, but considering all the books where I've read about mercenaries, this is the first time I've seen the main character actually like them. I really enjoyed seeing things from Teren's POV. He is so twisted and obsessed and self-loathing. I'm interested to see what this character's climax will be. There were some times when I felt parts of the action weren't fully explained, and the final battle left me a little confused as to what was going on. But any misgivings I had about this book were swept away by the last scene. Oh my word, it was so. sad. It painted a great picture. Can't wait for the finale!

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Deliverance by C.J. Redwine

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mortal Heart

I am seriously behind on my reading. I have no recourse for this. I've been tired from work, and decided to binge-watch How I Met Your Mother, including the last season (which I despised the first time I saw it). This means that it took me several weeks to read Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers, the last book in the His Fair Assassins trilogy. It even took me more than a day to write this blog post! But, to be fair, I got caught up in reading The Rose Society by Marie Lu, which will be my next post.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Annith has trained her whole life to be a handmaiden of Death. She wants nothing more than to be sent from the convent walls to do her bidding. But the abbess has other plans, plans that would trap her within the walls of the convent forever. War between Brittany and France is on the horizon, and Annith's sisters are in the middle of it. She wants to serve her god, help her friends, prove her worth. To do so she'll have to do something she's never done before: disobey the convent's wishes.

I'm very unsure of how to rank the books in this series. I think the first one will always be my favorite because it has much more to do with political intrigue and spying. The second and third books are tied. I loved Annith's devotion to Death, while I loved how untrusting Sybella was. But I'll focus on Mortal Heart here. There were several things that disappointed me upfront. I read this book through a physical copy and also with an audiobook (yay long commute). In the pages that I read in the physical copy I found several typos and the use of the phrase "turnip truck" which is so out of context for the time period it made me stop and stare. The beginning of this book is also slow, and doesn't make sense until much later when the reader comes to understand why Annith spent so much time with the hellequin and the the Arduinnites. I guessed all three Big Reveals. But honestly, I don't mind when that happens. I'm an avid reader. It's an incredibly clever book that can make me go "No way! That's so cool!" these days. It may seem like I'm dumping on this book, but I actually quite enjoyed it. Seeing the three heroines come together was very cool, and I liked how the other heroines had been on their own big missions within the time of this last book as well, which is something I think other books who do similar things fail with. Sometimes it feels like these uber-cool, active characters are put in stasis from the end of their book to the next time they show up. I also really enjoyed Balthazar and Annith. There was a growing chemistry with them that I enjoyed, especially since it could have been so easy for it to have been insta-love since this is the first man Annith has ever really spent time with. All in all, a good read!

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (Perhaps closer to 3.75)
Up Next: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Dragon Heir

I've been on a roll with the Cinda Williams Chima books lately. This is the seventh of her books I've read in about...6 months? Less? And I want to start reading her new Shattered Realms series once it comes out in paperback. Once again, I'm quite late in posting this review. I actually finished this book two weeks ago, but work has gotten me very tired (Yeah that's right! I got a job!). But I won't keep you back. Here is my review of the last(ish) book in the Heir Chronicles.

Retrieved from Goodreads
Madison Moss isn't like the rest of her friends. She isn't a wizard or a sorcerer or an enchanter or a warrior. And she wants nothing to do with the war among the Guilds that's brewing on the horizon. She just wants to find a way to pay for college, and avoid ever going back to her home town. But it looks like that's not an option. Madison's power, which she's never really understood, is drawing her into more than one magical battle. With the Roses closing in on the sanctuary in Trinity, and magical forces making her family's life a misery, Madison must figure out a way to stay neutral, or allow herself to be drawn into battles she might not win.

So, this book isn't _really_ about Madison. Yeah, she's pretty important to the climax, but her story itself isn't really fitted with the overall narrative until the very end. I did feel bad for her, having to move back to her hometown, and the dynamic of everyone being afraid of her was interesting. However, as a climax book, I sort of wanted more from her. I also saw a lot of similarities between the ending of this book and the ending of The Crimson Crown. The important thing revolves around a secret stash of weapons no one can locate until they can. The characters in this series have never really connected for me in the way that Han and Raisa did in the Seven Realms series. It's good fun, and Chima write political dialogue incredibly well. Perhaps the problem for me is that the political dialogue that serves as action makes sense in a series like the Seven Realms, but not so much with the modern teenagers of the Heir Chronicles. So when it does happen between the older people who are secondary characters, it doesn't hit as hard. I am going to finish up with The Enchanter Heir and The Sorcerer Heir out of curiosity, but I'll be more excited to read Flamecaster when it comes out in paperback.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ella Enchanted

So I have loved the movie Ella Enchanted for many years. I mean, Anne Hathaway? Hard to go wrong. So I've wanted to read the book for a while, and finally got around to it. I've been pretty bad at keeping up with this blog, so I actually finished reading it a couple weeks ago, but better late than never, right? I've been rather busy dealing with an ant invasion and watching Jessica Jones. Oh my god, that show. But anyways, on to the review!

Retrieved from Goodreads
Ella has been cursed since birth to always be obedient. Luckily, she has a support system around her of her mother and fairy godmother. They never take advantage of the curse. But then Ella's mother dies and her father comes home. Now Ella is off to boarding school with two other girls who do nothing but take advantage of her obedience. She leaves behind  her fairy godmother and Prince Char, who is a recent friend. Ella wants nothing more than for the curse to be lifted so she can be who she really is without other people telling her how to act, and so she can be free to be with Char. But it's not so easy tracking down a fairy, when every ogre who crosses your path can tell you to season yourself for cooking.

This book is almost nothing like the movie. That's my first observation. This is both a good and a bad thing. Ella is a very independent girl who has been forced to be obedient. I won't go into the layers of symbolism in that. Suffice it to say, for being such a short book, Levine really delves into the minutiae of what it would be like to have to obey even an indirect order. Char's story line is a little less developed than the movie, and the characters a bit younger. I really struggled with the fact that Ella is supposed to be fifteen, when the narrator of the audiobook I was listening to made her sound about ten. This book is fast-paced and fun, with some truly poignant moments. However, because it's so short, you don't really get a sense of the world, and I thought the friendship between Ella and Areida could have been more fleshed out. I like the book, and it didn't make me hate the movie. Actually, the first thing I wanted to do after finishing was go back and watch the movie. So sad that it's not on Netflix anymore.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima