Showing posts with label urban fantasy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label urban fantasy. Show all posts

Monday, April 3, 2017

[Review] Riders (#1) - Veronica Rossi: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Teen Edition





In RIDERS, Gideon is resurrected as the incarnation of War, a horseman of the apocalypse, and immediately captured to be interrogated.

What intrigued me: The concept! I'm always ready for apocalyptic ya!

Not really an apocalyptic slaughterfest -... sadly

Rossi made the decision to have protagonist Gideon tell the story of how he became War in retrospective, under the influence of a truth serum. There's a sense of mystery to the story because we only get bits of it at a time, and this is just what had me on my tiptoes the entire time and really got me invested. However, because Gideon is narrating, the story sort of loses its focus on the paranormal aspect early on and turns into a typical contemporary story with a nauseating amount of filler that's super exhausting to read.

Because the majority of the book is spent dealing with the origin story, we have to wait for things to get really going. I was hoping for action from the first page and chaos and destruction. Instead of a dystopian, chaotic read with a side of fast-paced fighting scenes, this reads more like a paranormal YA with a twist. This is where I think this book completely fails, because you can't just turn a killer premise like that into a boring origin story book when it has the potential to be epic. I assume we'll find the epicness in the sequels (which I'm not going to read)

Great characters saving the day

Even though the synopsis suggests it, there isn't much romance in this book, and I'm very thankful for that. Because it has a male narrator I was very skeptical and weary of this maybe turning into a cheesy instant love romance. What ultimately breaks this book's back isn't the romance but the sheer lack of world building and plot. Nothing really happens in this, and it's just an awkward, almost road trip feeling kind of contemporary. It's really, really, really a way calmer read than I expected.

Well, at least I liked the protagonist. Gideon is a class A macho army kid, and yeah, I dig it. His voice is interesting, his character well thought-out, and his perspective seems very realistic. I especially enjoyed his relationship with his sister, it's always nice to see siblings who love each other and stand up for each other. Gideon really is what ultimately gained the two stars because the plot is absolutely boring. I like Gideon, I like the idea of this book, but with a massive lack of world building and poor pace, RIDERS isn't anything special and definitely not a must-read.


Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

RIDERS wasn't really what I expected and bored me more than it fascinated me. The interesting premise is pretty much wasted through the snail pace, which is a pity - I was ready to love this.



Additional Info

Published: February 6th 2016
Pages: 384
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780765382542

Synopsis:
"Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?(Source: Goodreads)


Do you like books about the apocalypse?

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

[Review] Soulmated (Joining of Souls #1) - Shaila Patel: Soulmates and Empaths

In SOULMATED, royal empath Liam is looking for his soulmate and finds them in Indian-American Laxshmi "Lucky" who has to choose between an arrange marriage with someone else or going to medical school.

What intrigued me: I love reading about soulmates.

World Building Issues

Part of why SOULMATED didn't work for me is probably that I had the wrong expectations. I was looking for something à la THE SELECTION, set in a fantasy world. SOULMATED is an Urban Fantasy book that doesn't read any differently than the average Contemporary. 

The fantasy elements aren't nearly as explored as I personally like my Urban Fantasy to be - Liam's empathy isn't explained in detail or even just introduced. You're just thrown into the cold water when it comes to him and that massively impacted how much I enjoyed the story. This is subjective, but I do like my fantasy to be laid out, explained, and properly introduced. Especially the empathy remains hardly explained and I'm still not sure if I understand how it works. In general there is very little mythology and world building behind all this to make it more captivating. It almost reads somewhat Magical Realist minus the world building necessary to qualify as such. 

Fantastic #Ownvoices POV

SOULMATED is told from a dual POV, one being Liam's and the other being Lucky's. This is #ownvoices book, meaning that it's written by an Indian American author - and oh boy, does that show. Lucky's POV is approximately a trillion times better executed and more fun than Liam's. I especially struggled with the way Patel tries to make him seem authentic through extremely aggressively Irish choice of words. It's really extremely heavy and does read very awkwardly. I can't say much for authenticity because I am not Irish - but it doesn't come as naturally and reads ... well, awkwardly. 

Lucky on the other hand is so much more interesting, her POVs flow seamlessly, the little nods to Indian culture, her complicated relationship with her mother who just wants her to become a doctor - ahhh. It's so good. I loved her and I loved following her storyline. In my opinion SOULMATED would have massively benefited from being told from a single POV and invested a little more in that world building. 

Together, Lucky and Liam are just adorable. I think that Patel definitely gets away with instant love in this case because this is literally the premise of SOULMATED and it does work pretty well! If you're generally a romance reader, SOULMATED is a treat for you.


Rating:

★★★½

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

SOULMATED is probably a must-read for you if you're Indian American, love romance, or are just looking for an Indian heroine. Because it's quite sparse on the world building and the dual POV couldn't convince me, it didn't impress me, but that doesn't mean that you won't like it.



Additional Info

Published: January 24th 2017
Pages: 300
Publisher: Month9Books
Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9781944816643

Synopsis:
"Two souls. One Fate. 

Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family's standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.

Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother's ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage. 

When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart. 

Liam's father isn't convinced Laxshmi is "The One" and Laxshmi's mother won't even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one's own fate too great a price for the soulmated? "
(Source: Goodreads)


What's your favorite read with an Indian heroine?

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

[Review] Daughter of Smoke & Bone (#1) - Laini Taylor: Chimeras and Wish-Granting


In DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE, Karou who was raised by wish-granting chimeras yet knows nothing of their world, is cast into the human world after angels destroy the portals she uses to visit her family.

What intrigued me: Honestly? The hype about Taylor's writing. I didn't even know what this is about when I started it.

Promising

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE starts off with a lot of world-establishing backstory that I really would rather have skimmed. The awkward part is, the side characters that are used to establish the world aren't really that important after all and could have as well just have been omitted.

The real story and actual premise with the angel attack only starts about a hundred pages in (!!). In consequence, the book is structure-wise all over the place. While I do found the world very intriguing and absolutely longed for any and every explanation that clarifies the demon/chimera mythology, the book does its best not to do that, but play into clichés instead.

...but everything goes wrong

The novel is divided into two parts: one being the introductory storyline, following Karou around and learning more about her family - fabulously developed world, super interesting concepts that are SO unique that I'm in awe. It's witty, it's charming, it's fun, it had all the ingredients for a five-star-read.

The second part though, is a cheesy, rushed and unnecessary instant love romance with a character that doesn't even talk to Karou until about 65% into the book, and that truly ruins the story. Not even the plot twist (that you could see from a mile away!), redeemed this book for me. I didn't enjoy anything involving the angel Akiva and felt utterly confused and thrown out of the story whenever he suddenly got his own point of view chapter for seemingly no reason.

To me, he absolutely destroyed this wonderful book. I don't have a problem with adding romance to this story per se, but his introduction is just way too late and his only attribute is his beauty. I don't understand why he was even in this, if Taylor wanted a love interest, I would have absolutely enjoyed seeing the hilariously cocky ex-boyfriend Kaz with Karou. It would have certainly made more sense, but like this I feel like his character is just a set up for the inevitable love triangle in the sequels.

I honestly don't know what happened here, the book absolutely changes directions half-way in and makes all the mistakes you can make to the point that this doesn't even feel like it's the same person writing the story anymore.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE could have been epic. Its concept reminds me a lot of INKHEART, similarly bubbling with new ideas that I haven't seen in any other novel before, creating a rich and imaginative world. The romance, however, absolutely ruined this, causing DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE to be nothing but yet another urban fantasy read with a sappy instant-love romance and an unsympathetic melodramatic pretty-boy love interest.



Additional Info

Published: September 27th 2011
Pages:  418
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780316134026

Synopsis:
"Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?"(Source: Goodreads)



 Have you read any books by Laini Taylor?

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

[Review] Elsewhere - Gabrielle Zevin: Afterlife and Aging Backwards


In ELSEWHERE, Liz dies in a bicycle accident and goes to Elsewhere, where everyone ages backwards until they are reincarnated on Earth.

What intrigued me: Amazing premise. Wow.

Quiet and comforting

Stories about the afterlife are very tricky to write in my opinion. Zevin decided not to play into any of the expectations I had, let them be religious or not. The concept of death being just another life, this time in reverse, is strangely comforting. Comfort is definitely the first word I'd use to describe ELSEWHERE. It's a very quiet, almost shy story that absolutely lives from its beautiful premise, but is also, sadly, crippled by it.

Beyond the neat idea of a utopian afterlife, there isn't anything memorable about this story unfortunately. The voice is very reserved and the main character Liz strikingly colorless and forgettable. Most of the novel is spent exploring Elsewhere, without actually gaining much insight on the world. The world building is almost non-existent, the interesting bits happen within the first 50 pages and from then on it feels like you're just observing awkward mundane tasks. ELSEWHERE has a nice premise but absolutely relies on this.

More of a MG read

The writing is extremely simple and plain, lacking descriptions, but nevertheless I had images in my head non-stop. The concept is definitely powerful enough to make you think up your own expectations of the afterlife, and I really love that. ELSEWHERE's approach to life after death is open, but still imaginative. I longed for every piece of information about this world.

I would definitely say that this is lower YA, even upper Middle Grade because of the language and the approach to the topic. You won't find any typical YA tropes in this.


Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

ELSEWHERE has a nice concept, but that's about it. I think this could really appeal to Middle Grade readers more than it did to me - I expected typical YA, and was disappointed.



Additional Info

Published: May 15th 2007
Pages: 277
Publisher: Square Fish
Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780312367466

Synopsis:
"Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It's quiet and peaceful. You can't get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere's museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe's psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver's license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she's dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn't want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?"(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite book about the afterlife?

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

[Review] Cursed - Jennifer L. Armentrout: Deadly Touch and Familiar Vibes





In CURSED, Ember McWilliams was resurrected by her younger sister Olivia after she died in a car accident. But Ember came back with a supernatural power herself: everything she touches dies.

What intrigued me: I had Armentrout withdrawal.

Copycat storyline?

Armentrout wrote an intriguing novel with an amazing character voice here. What I enjoy most about Armentrout's novels are always the spot on teenage voices with super sassy, sarcastic heroines. Ember is a very strong character and I really enjoyed reading the book from her perspective.

Sadly, CURSED is too reminiscent of a lot of books I know to stand on it's own. The setting in the manor with the evil father reminds me of WITHER, the concept of the deathly touch of SHATTER ME, the gifted children of MISS PEREGERINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, and Adam, the quirky childhood friend is an absolute YA stock character. It seems like there isn't an ounce of originality in this. 


Forced chemistry

A huge chunk of the novel takes place at the Cromwell residence, and from there it just goes downhill for me. The novel severely lacks in world building and is simply just not well-thought out. Protagonist Ember gets kidnapped a third into the novel by people with similar gifts. Hayden, who lives in said house is also gifted, immediately expresses an interest in her after stalking her for months, and their "tension" is very forced, disturbingly sexual from the start, and just overall awkward.

CURSED wasted a lot of potential, relying to hard on the romance and not backing the story up enough. I could have loved this if there was more behind those abilities, less lusting, and more brains. It's hardly believable how easily Ember let's the Cromwells get away with taking her and her family, especially because she's literally a girl with a deadly touch and could kill anyone she wanted.

I wanted Ember to be a strong, kick-ass protagonist given her extraordinary ability. CURSED disappoints me, because yet again a strong heroine forgets how dangerous and perfectly capable of fighting for her rights she is, simply because there's a pretty boy in sight. Sigh.


Rating:


☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I realize that the rating is probably a little to low for this excellent character voice, however there is just too much material that I've seen in other novels before. The tropes that Armentrout borrows aren't even executed extraordinarily, it just reads like an average novel with little to no planning or world building. CURSED absolutely disappoints by being too similar to novels who have simply done it better before. 


Additional Info


Published: September 18th 2012
Pages: 304
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: YA / Urban  Fantasy
ISBN: 9780983157274

Synopsis:
"Dying sucks
...and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. 

After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.

For real this time.(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read books by Jennifer L. Armentrout?

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

[Review] The Devil's Dreamcatcher (The Devil's #2) - Donna Hosie: Time travel, Angels, and Devils





In THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER, Medusa has all forgotten about her adventures with Team DEVIL and gets asked to hunt down someone that stole a priced possession from the devil.

What intrigued me: Loved the first book and HAD to continue. The ending was cruel.

A new narrator

THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER might as well be a stand-alone. Told from Medusa's perspective, we intitially know nothing about what happened in the first book, THE DEVIL'S INTERN, and it's surprisingly easy to read. In the first book I struggled with understanding all the technicalities of this world, and having Medusa suffer from time-travel induced memory loss as she tells the story, is probably the best decision Hosie could have made for the sequel. I absolutely needed to have some concepts explained again, and I can definitely recommend reading this without having read the first novel.

Unfortunately, I absolutely missed Mitchell's narration. Medusa wasn't necessarily my favorite character in the first book, and this didn't change in THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER. Her narration comes across as distant, almost cold and factual, causing the novel to be very plot-driven. Combined with complicated lore, it's dense and complicated to read. 

More lore, please!

What initially drew me in and charmed me about this series was the friendship between the four members of Team DEVIL. Because the sequel focuses very much on the hunt for the Dreamcatcher and adds four characters from Heaven, the friendship part is very much neglected and replaced by narration. 
Generally I feel like THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER could use more emotion, more descriptions, more heartfelt friendship. The characters all slip into the background so the world can be explored. I did enjoy finding out more about the concepts and technicalities of Heaven and Hell though and sucked up every bit of information about the world. Even though I struggled with this very plot-driven, the world remains fascinating and very unique, unlike any other portrayal of the afterlife that I've encountered in novels. I thoroughly enjoyed the time travel aspects, I still am very infatuated with Elinor and Alfarin, and I am very much looking forward to the sequels from their perspective.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER couldn't quite live up to my high expectations because of the excellent predecessor. It is still a compulsively captivating story. I can't wait to find out more and am longing to finally see Heaven up close. I do recommend this series, especially because you can pick up virtually any of the novels and have the same reading experience.


Additional Info

Published: October 1st 2015
Pages: 272 
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780823433902

Synopsis:
"Hell is full of thieves. But only one has dared to rob The Devil.

The Devil’s accounting office is hiring an intern, and sixteen-year-old Medusa Pallister wants the job. Badly. Not only would she report to the coolest boss in the Underworld, she’d also be working alongside Mitchell Johnson, who, she’s certain, is the key to solving a mystery that’s been haunting her since her death.

Landing the internship is easy, but answers about her past will have to wait. Medusa has barely made Mitchell’s acquaintance when Hell goes into lockdown. Someone has robbed The Devil of his most precious possession: a dreamcatcher so powerful it could be apocalyptic in the wrong hands.(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite novel featuring the devil?

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Monday, March 28, 2016

[Review] City of Glass (TMI #3) - Cassandra Clare: This Whole Incest Drama Is Getting Old



In CITY OF GLASS, the gang has to travel to Idris to find the one person that can help save Clary's mother and awaken her from the sleeping spell.

What intrigued me: Well, I had my issues with CITY OF ASHES and powered through it because I was hoping it would get better.


It all goes downhill from here...

What really caught my interest in this series in the first place was the brilliant first person narration in CITY OF BONES. By the third installment every character gets a point of view passage, even minor characters. There are multiple POV changes, sometimes even twice per page, and the only purpose they serve is info-dumping. 

Clare dumps information wherever she can, introducing minor characters for the sole purpose of narrating a bedtime story length flashback that nobody wants and nobody needs to understand the story. The main storyline is Clary, Simon and the shadowhunter gang (Isabelle, Alex, Magnus, Jace) going to the shadowhunter country Idris to find a cure for Clary's mother who has been in a coma for what feels like 78 years.

In itself, that's a great premise right there and I was hoping the series would start to catch my attention again, but it really just got worse. There are too many characters, too many complicated family relations that nobody cares about, and the reader is just not grounded. I wasn't rooting for anyone, how could I possibly when there are POV changes all the time? Not a single character in this is properly developed and just changing the POV doesn't really mask that. 

Who are all these people???

Yet again, I did not care. Clary and Jace are so replaceable and annoying, three books of their weird incest romance aren't going to change anything. I didn't care about them, even less about the mysterious new guy in Clary's life that's trying very desperately to kick off a new love triangle. I just... I can't. I'm sorry, but the character relationships are just non-existent. I had no fun, I wasn't rooting for anyone. 
I kept flipping back and forth trying to remember who all these shadowhunter families and their 427847382 offsprings are, I feel like you need an actual lexicon with all the names in order to understand everything that's going on. It's just not for me. It's too complicated, it requires way more attention that I'm willing to give, and I'm just really over it. 


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Absolutely not. One bad sequel is all every book series I start gets. But two bad sequels are unforgiveable.



Additional Info

Published: March 24th 2009
Pages: 541
Publisher: Margaret McElderry Books
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9781416914303

Synopsis:
"To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?"(Source: Goodreads)



 Did you make it past CITY OF GLASS? What's your secret?

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

[Review] The Second Coming - John Niven: What Happens When Jesus Comes Back to Earth



In "The Second Coming" by John Niven, God returns from His 400-year vacation and is insanely displeased with the development of humanity in the 21st century.

Consequentially, He decides to send down his son Jesus a second time to preach His one and only rule to humanity: "Be Nice".

Strong beginning and premise!

This obviously not a read for people who easily get offended. I remember reading an excerpt of this a while ago and absolutely falling in love with the funny, witty, and super entertaining way Niven decides to tackle this topic. From everyone smoking pot in heaven to gay assistant angels and a quick visit to the ten circles of hell. However, I think a whole book on this is definitely too much. 

Throughout the course of the novel. Jesus gets sent down to Earth and decides to participate in a talent show, because that seems to be the only way to get the attention of 21st century humans. Until then, there is a lot of filler describing Jesus' new life on earth as a struggling musician. I noticed how I zoned out after a while. The beginning, set in heaven, is flat-out hilarious, but Niven is unable to keep up the pace and humor for the rest of the book.

Not for the highly sensitive

While I like Niven's humorist approach, he definitely overdoes it in some parts. Every time Jesus encounters another human that doesn't belong to his new-found group of apostles, they're portrayed as vicious and mean.
When writing parodies and social critique it's easy to overdo it, losing the entire message and just turning the whole thing into a joke. I'm definitely not someone that gets offended by religious critique very easily, but "The Second Coming" is walking on a tightrope. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's just flat out insulting and overdone. You can just tell that there is hardly any effort put in character development, but every single chapter is just part of some elaborate joke or pun. There is no way you can connect to the characters at all, so reading a whole book on this is very difficult.

Rating:

☆☆

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I absolutely loved the first 50 pages but quickly lost interest after 150 pages. This would have worked better as a short story.


Additional Info

Published: 7th April 2011
Pages: 376
Publisher: William Heinemann
Genre: Adult / Fantasy / Urban
ISBN: 9780434019564

Synopsis:
"GOD'S COMING - LOOK BUSY!

God really is coming, and he is going to be pissed. Having left his son in charge, God treated himself to a well-earned break around the height of the Renaissance. A good time to go fishing. He returns in 2011 to find things on earth haven't gone quite to plan...

The world has been rendered a human toilet: genocide; starvation; people obsessed with vacuous celebrity culture; 'and,' God points out, 'there are fucking Christians everywhere.' God hates Christians. There's only one thing for it. They're sending the kid back.

JC, reborn, is a struggling musician in New York City helping people as best as he can. Gathering disciples along the way - a motley collection of basket cases, stoners and alcoholics - he realises his best chance to win hearts and minds may lie in a TV talent contest. American Pop Star is the number one show in America, the unholy creation of English record executive Steven Stelfox... a man who's more than a match for the Son of God.
 "(Source: Goodreads)
Continue Reading...

Monday, January 25, 2016

[Review]: City of Ashes (TMI #2) - Cassandra Clare



In CITY OF ASHES, the second book in the The Mortal Instruments series, über villain Valentine Morgenstern steals the second of the mortal instruments very conveniently shortly before it will be used in a trial against Jace.

I liked the first book alright, but didn't really enjoy this one at all. There is a multitude of reasons for that, mostly because it's nothing like the first. 

Not what I bargained for

CITY OF ASHES isn't told from Clary's perspective. The booksisn't even about Clary anymore. The first one set up a new world being introduced to her and gave off the vibe that it all would be about her. But really, the books are more about showcasing this insanely big world Clare has created. 

The new omniscient narrating perspective is very confusing and makes this feel more like an adult novel than a YA. In general, this is unlike any YA I've ever read. It's hardly possible to root for any characters because the perspectives are changed all the time, a new character gets introduced every twenty pages and also brings more information dump with them. 

Clare is the queen of information dump. Oddly enough, she seems to be aware of this and just decides to stop explaining 3/4 into the book. New weapons, new demons, new runes, everything thrown at you without any explanation whatsoever. I feel like you need a lexicon to read this. I had no idea what was happening to whom with what weapon and how half the time. Trying to make sense of action scenes is very short from being torture. 

Why it's not worth DNF-ing either

There's a lot wrong with this book and I didn't enjoy it half as much as I did CITY OF BONES, which didn't even receive a very good review from me either. 

However, this insane world full of new concepts and beings is just too interesting to quit. The writing is sub-par at most, full of cringe-worthy similes and annoying foreshadowing, and unlikeable characters. Still, I probably won't quit this series. I want to know what Valentine did to Clary and Jace. I want to know more about this world. And this is why these books are so popular and beloved, I think.
Even when you acknowledge and fully realize it's mediocre at most, you won't quit. You won't want to. Let's hope the third one doesn't make me want to claw my eyes out.


Rating:

★★☆☆

  

Overall: Do I Recommend?

Ugh. I'm not even going to attempt to answer this truthfully. They're a guilty pleasure. Just do whatever you want but be aware that this isn't high class literature.



Additional Info

Original Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Published: March 28th 2008
Pages: 453
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Urban
ISBN: 9781416914297

Synopsis:
"Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?"(Source: Goodreads)


 Have you read CITY OF ASHES?

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Monday, September 22, 2014

[Review] Fated - S.G. Browne

In FATED, the personified Fate, also known as Fabio, falls in love with a mortal.

What intrigued me: I enjoyed BREATHERS by him and thought I'd give his other works a try.


Fabio is a remarkable and interesting character that is definitely worth getting his own story and I loved how he went through significant character development. However, his character development is extremely obvious and you could've guessed what's going to happen already on page five. His love interest Sara is a major Mary Sue. Her entire character is defined by being the perfect match for Fabio and not even once acting like a rational human being. Wherever she goes, people smile. Whomever she talks to, has a perfect day. Come on. Come on here.

It's almost impossible to keep up with all the characters in FATED - every single human emotion has a corresponding character. Browne NEVER states at no point in the novel what these characters actually are, besides personifications of certain emotions. I wished this had more explanations, more reasons, more world building.

Browne manages to tease the reader extremely by not giving answers to the most interesting things. The actual plotline and love story between Sara and Fabio is simply boring. I rather would have read about Teddy, the personification of Death and his relationship to Fabio. Or about the Devil! How come the Devil didn't get an appearance? If you're going to write about heavenly matters and basically angelic creatures, you have to include the devil.


The ending left me extremely unsatisfied. It just seems like a very convenient conclusion for the story that doesn't make the author have to make any effort at all - just by ending it like this, the novel doesn't come full circle and just leaves me as a reader confused. 


Another convenient coincidence is how Fabio finds out about Destiny's involvement. I'm not going to go into any detail in order not to spoil the novel for anyone, but it makes NO sense for her to leave clues that obvious especially not given the fact that she has such a skilled accomplice.


Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

Overall: Do I recommend?


No. It's fine if you're exploring S.G. Browne's works, but other than that, there is no reason for anyone to read this novel. It left me disappointed.

Synopsis:

"Over the past few thousand years, Fabio has come to hate his job. As Fate, he's in charge of assigning the fortunes and misfortunes that befall most of the human race-the 83% who keep screwing things up.

Frustrated with his endless parade of drug addicts and career politicians, Fate has to watch Destiny guide her people to Nobel Peace Prizes and Super Bowl MVPs. To make matters worse, he has a five- hundred-year-old feud with Death, and his best friends are Sloth and Gluttony. And worst of all? He's fallen in love with a human.

Getting involved with a human breaks Rule #1, and about ten others, setting off some cosmic-sized repercussions that could strip him of his immortality-or lead to a fate worse than death."
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