Graffiti Moon is one of those books that really needs to be aborbed properly; you hear the words, and let them sink in for their full affect until you're completely wrapped up in this dreamlike contemporary story.
There were a number of things I really loved about Graffiti Moon, yet a few areas I found lacking. It's deeply moving at times, humourous at others, yet it still felt to me like it lacked a certain charm.
Reasons to Read:
1. Words that ebb and flow:
I'm so glad I listened to this one on audio, because the prose-like writing in some passages is totally meant to be read aloud. And the writing style really lends to the story's setting, because it gives the whole book this sort of dreamlike quality to it which is perfect for a book that takes place in the middle of the night. And I loved that there was this huge emphasis on art, and different kinds of art, and how it doesn't always have to be traditional.
2.Humour, anticipation, and romance:
First of all, this is definitly my kind of sense of humour. I loved the jokes, and the quirky little bits - like how Lucy punched Ed and broke his nose on their first date after he tried to make a move on her. I loved how they could laugh things off and (eventually) move on. And there's just so much build-up to all the various, mixed-up subplots that the anticipation just keeps building and BUILDING until you're waiting for it to explode. And for them to just make out already.
3.Very much a coming of age tale:
There's a strong theme of growing up and change which is prevelant in Graffiti Moon; and I just loved seeing how these various characters gradually evolved throughout the night and really got to know each other, and themselves, a bit better. And of course, this ultimately leads up to some drastic changes for a couple of characters.
And while I had hoped I would fall in love with this story much like most other readers had, I still felt like something was lacking. It took me a little while to get into the story and connect with the characters, because there felt like a few too many subplots were moving forward for me. I prefer to focus on one or two central, and keep the rest to a minimum. Otherwise it just feels like background noise.
But mostly I felt like there was all of this build up (which I loved)... but with very little by the end. I'd be anxiously listening, waiting to hear what happesn next, holding my breath... only to be caught off guard by rather small conclusions and responses taking place. It was like blowing up a balloon only to watch it slowly fizzle out.
So while I really did like it, especially the poetic writing style and phrases (which are gorgeous and I could read passages from this book without needing any context at all, just little snippets of prose) and I loved the emphasis on art and growing up- I didn't LOVE it. It failed to move me the way I had hoped it would.
Thoughts on the audio:
I'm a big fan of audio books that feature multiple narrators, so having three voices: one for Lucy, one for Ed, and one for Poet worked really well for me. Plus, they all fit the personality of each character SO well & I love listening to accents. No complaints here!
So I FINALLY jumped on the VA bandwagon - I feel like I'm the last person to have read it! I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Bloodlines last summer for review and decided to give it a shot - much to my surprise, I totally fell in love and it wasn't until I read Bloodlines that I actually had a desire to read VA!
I can totally see what all the fuss is about - I'm not a huge fan of vampires or paranormal books in general, but I really love that VA doesn't feel like every other vampire book out there. And a pretty awesome, strong lead female definitely helps too!
Reasons to Read:
1.This isn't your standard YA vampire fare:
I love that Richelle incorporated her own twists on vampires and different elements. To be honest, the vampires in the VA world very rarely felt like traditional vampires - or even vampires at all - for most of this first book. They just seemed so normal and, well, more like fancy humans. Especially since Rose is a dhampir. And I LOVE the magic aspect to it.
2.Great blend of paranormal and contemporary:
I also love that this one isn't overloaded with paranormal events and elements; there's a distinct contemporary feel to it, similar in the way that a lot of the characters go through very real, very familiar struggles. It definitely makes them easier to relate to, it's just more exciting than any of the highschool drama I ever witnessed haha.
3.Rose is a very different sort of main character:
I think in YA, we kind of get used to reading about the misfit characters - ones who aren't entirely confident, or just don't feel like they fit in. In some ways, Rose definitely is a misfit and there are times when her confidence is a bit lacking... but overall, she isn't like that. She's very confident about herself, overall, and often does find ways to fit in and roll with the punches. It's nice to live vicariously through characters like her at times. And while there were a few times where I could easily see how immature and young she was (which isn't a bad thing, it's factual) I also know that there's plenty of room for improvement in that area too (seeing as there are a whole bunch of books in the series).
4.Strong female friendships:
I know that there are some special reasons why Lissa and Rose are bonded together, but I find it so heartening to read about two characters who can be so close as friends. Too often I feel like the good friends take the backseat in books, or turn out to be jerks. But these two such depths of loyalty and mutual concern for each other, something which I wish we saw more of in YA books.
And yes, there's definitely action. And mystery. Plenty of other elements to keep you intrigued and easily hold your attention for the book and leave you looking for more at the end.
But at the same time, I could definitely tell that this book was really more of a set up for later books because it lacked a lot of the excitement and action I was highly anticipating after hearing so much about these books. And there were too many times when people just felt far too oblivious to what was going on around them. I definitely have the impression that I'll love the later books though.
Lastly, I also don't feel like I missed out by reading Bloodlines & The Golden Lily first. Yes, I am definitely spoiled for some things - but honestly, I never would have read VA without Bloodlines. And I didn't find Bloodlines confusing without having read VA, but I believe I'm in the minority on that one.
Thoughts on the audio:
The other bit that might have taken away from my experience was the audio and narration itself. I didn't love the narrator, but I did get used to her voice. The problem was when she switched to different voices for other characters - Lissa and Mia were just far too annoying, and I really can't stand the Dimitri voice. My sister told me at one point that it reminded her of an old Russian lady, and after that I just couldn't picture anything else.
A stunning fantasy world, brave & vulnerable characters, swoonworthy romance and a story that lends to thought-provoking questions and discussions!
Tamora Pierce's books - you get a similar strong heroine in a high fantasy setting!
Full cast is brilliant - you're completely and utterly immersed in the story, listening to a diverse cast of narrators unique to each character.
YES! I listened to it extremely quickly actually :) I just wanted to listen to it all the time!
Fantasy books were my first love when it came to reading, and I grew up on stories bursting with mythology, knights, and princesses (my favourites were those that had characters who could be both a knight AND a princess). Nothing gets my heart pounding and the pages turning like a magical, adventurous fantasy novel!
I first heard of Graceling immediately after reading The Hunger Games a few years ago - I kept getting recommendations for it, but for whatever reason I didn't pick it up until recently. Waiting to read this book until now was one of the biggest mistakes in my reading history! I'm convinced that Kristin Cashore is a genius and this book is proof of that.
Reasons to Read:
1.A richly developed fantasy world:
This is a must for good fantasy books; I need to buy into the magical world and the best ones have a well-established world with its own rules and norms, but with enough similarities that we can relate to them. Plus, I like books that include MAPS of the fantasy worlds. That's pretty legit for me. And the names of places, things and people should be vaguely familiar but not so overdone that they come off as silly and fake. Graceling easily avoids any and all of these issues and stands as one of a few YA fantasy books that works so well!
2.Familiar problems & issues:
I don't think it's much of a secret that Graceling delves into some questions regarding the role of women within a society and the obstacles in their way as equal members of society. What may be surprising, however, is how WELL Kristin deals with this and successfully weaves it into the story. I wouldn't call it subtle, but it is oh-so poignant. Katsa is a bit of an anomoly in her world, where women are often mistreated and lack the means to protect themselves; but as she slowly begins to recognize how problematic this is and ultimately questions if she can do anything about it. It's striking, and resonates so well because of how familiar it is to us.
3.Katsa & Po's friendship:
I love Katsa, and I love Po! Even separately, they were fantastic characters that I found amusing and amiable. But it's the way that they played off each other and slowly grew closer together that truly sold me on them as characters and their role in the story. Here's a couple you can't help but root for the whole way through; and most of all, I loved seeing a respectful male lead who wants to encourage the heroine and do everything he can to help her in the way she needs and respect her decisions.
So, I've now joined the ranks of Graceling/Kristin Cashore fans. I'm KICKING myself for waiting this long to have read it, and I've moved on to Fire already :) Graceling is a thought-provoking and addictive read, one that will leaving you craving more. I could honestly say so much more about this one, but I'm going to save it for a spoiler-filled review, coming soon :) Perfect read for anyone looking for a heartbreaking, emotionally touching, thought provoking read.
This one has a well-deserved new space on my favourites shelf; and I can't wait to finish off Fire and then get started on Bitterblue (as soon as I manage to get my hands on a copy)!
Thoughts on the audio:
A few people had told me that I must listen to Graceling on audio because it was good- and they were right (again. Clearly I have awesome people recommending books to me). This would actually be a perfect book to introduce a new listener to audiobooks because it's Full Cast, although you'll also be spoiled by it for other books. Full Cast is fantastic because it's such a great quality; there are multiple narrators, all of whom are excellent. Plus there's a little bit of background music at times that helps create a good atmosphere for listening to the story. Hands down, the best, most addictive audio book I've ever listened to. WELL worth the cost of buying it!
If you're new to audiobooks, or just haven't given this one a try yet then I HIGHLY recommend that you pick it up. Like now.
Absolutely - it's a fantastic story, with two superb narrators.
I hadn't, but I definitely would again after listening to Clockwork Prince.
The Infernal Devices is the Shadowhunter series that has really captured my attention and held it; there are so many things to appreciate in this fascinating story, and I find that the world Cassandra has created in it blends very well with the elements she includes.
Clockwork Prince is an excellent follow up to Clockwork Angel, provided some much needed back story and focuses on developing the relationships between the characters making a very enjoyable story. And as always, some shocking twists.
Reasons to Read:
1.A more in depth understanding of character relationships:
One of my favourite things about Cassandra's writing and her books is how well she fleshes out the relationships between her characters; they're fully three dimensional and each is unique in its own way (much like relationships in real life). The Infernal Devices, in my opinion, is where this is best scene in her stories, particularly the deep friendship and bond between Will and Jem. She is able to include subtle intricacies that are so hard to include in books, but they're plentiful in Clockwork Prince and really allow you to pick up on exactly how each character stands in relation to the others.
2.Flawless character development:
First of all, you need to understand that I'm a Will fan. Don't get me wrong, I love Jem as well, but I have a soft spot for desperately broken boys like Will. But I also wasn't overly impressed with his actions in Clockwork Angel, so I was curious to see where he'd end up in the sequel. And I was positively thrilled to get to see some of the layers lurking beneath his cold and hard heart. Will is such a fascinating and complex character because there's so much hidden inside him from his past and I loved getting to learn more about that aspect of him.
3.There isn't a perfectly happy ending:
It really should be considered torture having us read these books, get close to the characters and then watch as these terrible things happen to them. It's heartbreaking, and makes everyone I know in real life wonder if I'm crazy for caring about fictional characters so much (possibly). But I appreciate that Cassandra incorporates a sense of realisim into her stories, and that is especially clear in Clockwork Prince. People die. People get hurt. Not everyone is happy. But this gives us a chance to see their inner strength and get to know them even better. I wouldn't trade that for anything. The reality is that bad things happen, and you either learn to survive or give up.
The one thing I didn't love about Clockwork Prince is that it didn't seem as if the overall plot really moved along. Maybe it's because I listened to the audio over a long period of time that it felt so slow, and while I enjoyed it, by the end of the book I didn't really feel like too much had been accomplished towards the ultimate goal.
Thoughts on the audio:
Ed Wistwick and Heather Lind do a wonderful job for the audio. Both had excellent voices, and Ed in particular was superb. The one thing I really liked about him is that he was able to capture the different voices and make them sound effortless, but without doing any funny voices or accents. Ed clearly stole the show, and while Heather was good her voice could come across as a bit bored and emotionless. It's a long audiobook, and it took me a while to get through, but definitely worth buying.
Electrifying, heartbreaking, unforgettable
Matched by Ally Condie (similar plot structure)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (beautiful writing styles)
Romeo & Juliet (forbidden love)
Lena was fantastic and very well done- Sarah very accurately portrays the changes in Lena's perspective and attitude. I also appreciated that she could switch over to Hana and make her sound different and distinctive from Lena.
Absolutely! If only I could ;)
Full review (originally posted to Esther's Ever After blog)
I somehow thought (perhaps naively) thought Delirium wouldn't be as heartbreaking the second time around as it was the first time I read it. I thought that it would be less shocking, less gripping, less everything. That's my confession, coming from someone who picked Delirium as her NUMBER 1 book of 2011. Of that whole year.
And I can now absolutely, confidently say that I was wrong. If anything, Delirium is even worse when you're rereading it because you remember just enough of what to expect from it.
It's like getting on to that really big, really scary roller coaster for the second time. No, it isn't quite like the first time where every drop startles you but you know it's coming, and even though you're expecting it the ride is still THAT intense. That's Delirium for you. That's exactly what it will do to your emotions.
Reasons to Read
1.A unique dystopian:
I had read other dystopian books before Delirium, but this is the book that really sold me on them. And Delirium still stands out even among the numerous others currently being cranked out. Rather than focusing on daring action scenes, most of Delirium is a fairly quiet plot. Lena is a rather quiet, obedient introvert. She has no desire to do anything else besides what she's been told she will do and that day (the day she'll be cured) is coming soon. Delirium is different because it goes so far as having others try to control what's inside you, as well as everything surrounding you in society. Love as a disease? That's scary. Just think about it.
2.Lena's growth as a character:
I can't stress this enough, but Lena changes SO MUCH as a young woman over the course of Delirium. And that continues into Pandemonium (hint), but it all makes perfect sense. Her development is so gradual and natural that you barely notice it and there really aren't any sudden, jarring changes that don't add up or conflict with her character. Lena, along with Alex and Hana, are all very well-done characters and I love getting to see the different sides of them.
I know I'm biased because I'm a total Alex fangirl BUT I really do think that Alex is reason enough to read Delirium. Just give it (him) a chance. Alex is like the perfect dream boy, and I just love him as a YA romantic interest! He walks that fine line between being brave and protective, but without becoming overprotective and controlling. He's thoughtful, and such a warm person. He's just the perfect boy to balance out Lena. He just steps into a scene and does something cute, and it's like
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