Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn see the new, closer companionship as beneficial - both personally and practically.
I've really enjoyed these books and I am not saying I hated this one but I was so so disappointed. There was so much time spent on the "big picture" or too many other ancillary characters that there was no true character development and no further attachment effort made for existing characters. The book moved so slow basically just covering the ground of all the buildup to the end /climax that the book makes clear is coming which steals any true oomph. Ultimately there wasn't any climactic moments and I was left dissatisfied. Since the reader already knows almost exactly what will happen from the beginning of the book the only thing that kept me listening was the previous attachment I had formed to characters in the first few books and even that wasn't quite enough.
As for the narrator, I like the narrator's voice except the voice inflection she used for Simon grated on my nerves and stole whatever enjoyment I might have had during his parts of the book.
I won't be picking up the next book as at this point I don't have any real interest in knowing where else the story could possibly go.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Disillusioned healer Blackthorn and her companion, Grim, have settled in Dalriada to wait out the seven years of Blackthorn's bond to her fey mentor, hoping to avoid any dire challenges. But trouble has a way of seeking out Blackthorn and Grim. Lady Geiléis, a noblewoman from the northern border, has asked for the prince of Dalriada's help in expelling a howling creature from an old tower on her land - one surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns.
A great read but it was so much slower paced then the first that I found myself really wanting to skip ahead. I stuck it out and trait was glad I didn't as I caught clues to things I would have been sad to miss.
Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage. Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother's side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city's secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire.
UPDRAFT was a definite winner for me. From the characters to the mysterious world set high in the air amidst bone towers it wasn't surprising that I was hooked from the start. The story stars a young female protagonist named Kirit who is a law/rule breaker. These law breaks she commits seem to be done in ways she thinks would be harmless but ultimately end up costing her and her family almost everything. The progression of her character was well executed and each choice she makes has a major impact on the direction both her life and the story takes.
The was a very character driven novel. The world is fascinating but instead of laying on a huge amount of worldbuilding information the major focus is on Kirit and everything she does/is going through. We do ultimately see how her life and actions fit into the bigger picture of what has been going on in the past generation of people within the Spire, the Towers and all of it's people. This is a story of secrets upon secrets and Kirit is determined to uncover as many as she can. She wants to know everything but she also wants to do what she thinks is the right thing for everyone. It was a winning point for her personality that she was willing to make sacrifices at times and not just be selfish. I thought at the beginning that she was going to be a very selfish character but that was so far from the truth. She might make what some would consider missteps along the way but I think all of them work perfectly and I can't imagine making different decisions myself.
Family, Flying and who comes First
There is a big focus on family in this book. The ones most important to you of course are your family but I was surprised to find people were not called by "mother" or "father" or "aunt" etc. - they were all called by their actual names. I really liked the way this was done as it made the family connection way less personal and made you really pay attention to how the characters acted versus relying on readers presumptions or implied affections that normally come with those terms. People really keep themselves a part from each other. Each tower looks after their own and isn't supposed to come to the defense of others. Also folks are really quick to turn their backs on people they deem unlucky. Its sad but all of that is explained in its own way as you move through the book. It made for a unique culture.
I know this is a weird way to combo it but this is a book of flying. Did you ever dream of flying? I think everyone does. I've never thought about hang gliding (the image pictured on the cover) but this really makes me want to try it. Honestly, I don't think the cover even accurately depicts the way I think the wings look based on the visuals that were painted in my mind from descriptions I picture them as actual maneuverable wings not a big clunky frame like a hang glider would have. The amazing descriptions given of the flying here really gave it a unique feel.
Great Supporting characters
While the focus and perspective is from that of Kirit the secondary characters were still well developed. I could have used a little more connection with her cousin Nat but the time spent with Wick and
On the World Building
While I loved the world I found myself constantly asking questions that I wish were answered. If the spires they inhabit are bone and is alive then just what is the creature that its growing from beneath the clouds? Are we ever going to learn what is beneath the clouds? How is it or what caused them to live on these spires. Much of this is probably ancient history for the characters in this world and thus no one likely knows I bet - so then that makes me wonder - am I ever going to learn these things? Because hey I really want to know. Thus things like that I'm still left wondering and hoping I'll get to know more in the future books. Which of course I most definitely will be reading because I found the world fascinating. I ultimately didn't mind that there were a number of unanswered world building/history type questions because if all of them were answered it might have tipped the scales the other way into the dreaded info dumping style and we all know how much that can hurt a book. I mention all of this because the world building style does leave a lot in question and this can either totally work for it with a reader or against it. For me I was given that perfect amount to get my brain whirring and leave me wanting more more more - in the best kind of way.
Thoughts on the Narration
Khristine Hvam does a wonderful job on the voice acting of Kirit. I loved the way her personality shone through in her voice. The atmosphere she was able to weave made me feel like I was right there next to Kirit soaring through the air or in the gyre with her. I must note that a few of the male voices (her cousin and Wick) didn't really sound distinctly different from each other to me but they still worked well. (Probably because each of the characters come heavily into play during mostly separate parts of the book.) There is singing in this book! So of course the narrator sings these parts. Be prepared - Kirit is known for how bad her signing is...so the narrator in turn gives us a very true to form performance. It didn't bother me but I can't help but note it because I found it funny that Khristine had to purposefully sing bad (not that I know what her real singing voice sounds like.) Overall, I highly recommend the audio edition whether you're an audio reader or not, and you know I will absolutely be reading the next book. More please now!
24 of 26 people found this review helpful
A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief - she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust but no people and no answers. She knows only one thing about herself - her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin. She finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her.
ALIVE was an interesting book that took some getting used to at first. It's a young adult novel that starts out reading on a middle grade level because all of the characters have the minds and maturity levels of 12 year olds in 19 year old bodies. It made for some really simple dialogue and sometimes repetitive observations from the characters. However, as the book progresses you see the kids maturing at a fast rate because something is special about them. What that is you have to continue to read to find out.
I heard it was best to go into this book as blind as possible and I definitely agree that is the best way to do it. While I had a little impatient of a start because of the maturity thing I ended up really enjoying the book. I think this will be one of those cases where I find the first book to be "Ok" but I have really high hopes for the second one because by now at the end of the first the kids are mature and so I think some of the foibles I had in ALIVE won't be there in book 2.
While there isn't any romance there sure is a lot of time where M spending her time agonizing over two boys. Sometimes that really peeved me but hey I guess that might be rather realistic so I can't fault it. I'm interested to see what direction that takes because currently I think its the start of the dreaded love triangle and I really hate love triangles. Lately when that rears its head I just bow out of continuing on with a series but I'm totally going to stick it out with this one because I think it has some great potential.
Thoughts on the narration
The narrator did an excellent job. I could almost hear the kids maturing as I continued to listen.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods.
The Grace of Kings was unlike other fantasy novels I’ve experienced before. The writing, setting and culture were very great and I enjoyed the characters immensely. The main characters had great character development and the struggles they went thru really intrigued me. The way events were shaped by them to form the bigger picture was fantastic.
And oh dear what a bigger picture it was! All too frequently epic fantasy novels are set in an almost stock medieval world. So seeing this Eastern inspired land was such a nice change.
BUT! Now here is my downside – The first half of the book was such a huge chore for me. The pacing was a big problem for me and at times I seriously struggled to continue. It was like a huge boulder that took a long time to get going but once rolling couldn’t be stopped. There was so much historical and world building information dumped so frequently in between character scenes that my brain wanted to shut down from the history lessons. It stole my thunder every time. There was also big flashback personal background histories given as each new character was introduced. These personal backgrounds essentially included their entire life (almost) from childhood and I grew tired with that pattern quickly. I’ve never experienced the amount of character background info given in one book as I did here. In my opinion a better balance needed to be struck between character background, plot and world building.
Due to the type of world and cultures present women didn’t have strong roles. One wife, Jia, did influence Kuni strongly but ultimately she was still just a wife. There was another one that comes along in the second half who was very prominent, but ultimately this was a very male dominant world. Perhaps the female presence will get stronger in the next book but I am not looking forward to the court intrigue that seems to be what will be the focus for much of that. I don’t hold this against the book but I would have loved to see stronger or more female characters.
Here is where I admit I was very emotionally moved. This was by Mata and his wife and the love that develops between them and ultimately the sacrifice she makes gave me the tears eyes. I was also very invested in Kuni and Mata’s relationship and how it changed over the course of the book. Both were good men that end up at odds because of their different beliefs and goals. My heart broke for both of them and their misunderstandings.
Ultimately, I had a love hate relationship with The Grace of Kings. It was a great epic fantasy that suffered under the weight of major things that didn’t work for me but was saved by beautiful writing and ambitious characters. I’d recommend this to epic fantasy readers who are fine with a very slow, more tell, less show type of storytelling.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful
Twenty years ago all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place left to rot and forgotten by the world.
Isle of the Lost gave me that same feeling of watching those campy kids live action Disney movies from my childhood. The characters were over dramatized and situations a bit silly at times but it was all in good fun.
I think this rag tag group of wannabe teen villains spawned from the classic Disney villains will win over the readers that love those Disney movies. Though I guess it could go the other way but I think I enjoyed it because I went into reading it expecting it to be campy. I watched those Disney Descendants character trailers on YouTube before reading and that really helped set the tone of things for me. Tho the book I think was slightly father then the trailers seemed. Which I’m thankful for because I think the old school Disney cartoons were much darker.
Underneath the campy story is a sweet story of a group of kids coming to realize mire about themselves and what they want rather then just trying to be what they think they should be. I personally think this one would fit better into the middle grade genre because of the overall tone and type of adventure reminded me more of middle grade fiction but could very well be enjoyed by Disney fans of various ages.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Trapped within the dead city of Marandur, Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain must escape both merciless barbarians and the pitiless Imperial Legion. Beyond those dangers lie the mightiest and most unforgiving powers in the world of Dematr: the Great Guilds that rule the world with iron fists.
The Pillars of Reality series continues in The Assassins of Altis to be a great action filled adventure. Following Mari and Alain into ever greater danger as they leave the city of Marandur.
The Mechanics Guild has always been right on their trail every step of the way and that continues to be the case here, except things get way more intense for them because the guild is no longer trying to hide their intent to kill Mari. Luckily they encounter a number of people along the way who are willing to help them.
I really enjoyed how much more I learned in this third novel about the background of Dematr and how all the people came to be there. It was just as I suspected. :-)
Things get moving pretty fast, action wise, on their journey and yet there is still plenty of time for the romantic development between Mari and Alain to progress. Tinge is also spent delving deeper into the building of the characters themselves. I felt as if there was much more time given over to their character building this time around as compared to the first two books. Mari seemed to get even more of the spotlight, or maybe that is because she has such a stronger alpha personality. She can be quite the temperamental missy. Thank goodness for Alain or I would be beating my head against a rock. In case anyone didn’t already know I think this series is most definitely a romantic fantasy. The flame burning between these two is a major part of the plot, which I’m seriously enjoying because of how inexperienced yet earnest both characters are in their feelings.
Major developments take place and we are set up well for the next big step in the series and things end off hate at a good stopping point. So many exciting things happen that I can hardly wait for the next book to be released.
Thoughts on the Audio Narration
The narration by MacLeod Andrews was again superb. He has such a way of moderating his voice that really makes me feel the differences in the characters personalities and presence. Mari comes across so hot headed and moody (which of course she is and annoys me about her sometimes) and Alain just as reasonable, mild mannered as I picture him. The excellent narrating makes me enjoy these books all the more! If you enjoy a good romantic action adventure fantasy give these books a go.
For centuries, the extremely powerful and ruthless vampire witches of the European Council have wandered the Earth, controlling governments, fostering war, creating political conflict, and often leaving absolute destruction in their wake. One of the strongest of them is set to create some havoc in the city of New Orleans, and it's definitely personal.
DARK HEIR is the 9th book in the Jane Yellowrock series and she certainly has gone thru a lit up to this point.
The state of affairs
– Leo had kept information from Jane again that leads to all hell breaking loose. Please don’t act surprised Jane, it’s not like that isn’t the way he operates.
– Jane and Beast have soul bonded and what that means for the birth of them is being further explored.
– Jane is definitely changing and I’m fine by that. She has her half puma form and another type of puma form but I kind of miss her changing into other animals.
– It’s nice to see a lack of romance drama! Jane and Bruiser feel comfortable to me, which is a plus. I totally liked the accent that The narrator gave Bruiser!
– Time bubbles…ergh, no. I personally don’t like this new ability of Jane’s. It’s just a bit too hokey for my tastes.
– how many books am I going to have to hear about the European vamps? I guess I was wrong in my thoughts that I wasn’t seeing any bigger picture story arcs. I guess this could be considered one but ultimately it just sounds like more big baddies are coming to town.
– Magic, witches and Molly. I’m always pleased when Molly shows up in a book!
Admittedly I’m not as excited anymore about this series as I once was. Normally these would fit my adrenaline junkie tastes perfectly but I find I’m no longer emotionally invested and don’t believe I’ll continue for now. One big baddie has just been blurring into the next for me without me seeing much indication of a bigger picture type of story arc or any end game in sight. The books are still enjoyable but I think my tastes are veering away from the long drawn out urban fantasy series. It makes me wonder if I personally have a threshold number of books in a series before I burn out on it and some start to feel like rinse repeat. Tho really that’s what some of these series are, meant to fit a certain mood or reading appetite and I think mine are just going thru another phase.
Thoughts on the audio narration
This is the first time I went with the audiobook format for this series. It was difficult to get used to for the first few chapters but once I did I slid right into the narrators characterizations and really enjoyed it. She does accents really well as far as I can tell. They sounded natural and not forced at all. I think if I were ever to revisit the books I would choose to go the audio route for sure.
Gail Carriger created a fascinating steampunk vision of Victorian England in her “intoxicatingly witty” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) debut novel Soulless—the first in the best-selling Parasol Protectorate series. Changeless is the second in the series and finds Alexia Tarabotti, now the Lady Woolsey, quite put out after her werewolf husband goes missing. So, armed with her trusty parasol, Alexia boards a dirigible and heads for Scotland to find him.
Changeless is the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series. While I enjoyed it well enough, I felt it was a weak follow up to the first book Soulless. There just wasn’t the same amount of oomph for me, probably because the mystery in this one didn’t track as well as the first one did. It was more round about I guess.Even tho Alexia is now married to Lord Maccon there is still plenty of fun tension and antics between the two of them. We get to see much more of the silly Miss Ivy Hisselpenny and quite a bit of Alexia’s half sister Felicity as the three of them are setting off for Scotland. Which just so happens to be where Lord Maccon is from (and his former pack and only remaining relative) and where the trail leads as far as this books current mystery. The mystery being the odd stripping of the supernatural state from all of the supernatural community making them for all purposes human and mortal once again.
The highlights of this installment for me were the dirigible ride, the kerfluffle between Ivy and Felicity over Lord Maccon’s clavager Tunstall, and the introduction of the cross dressing inventor character Madame Lefoux. Oh yes and a big and tumultuous surprise at the end of the book. But other then that I felt the mystery weak and the culprit much too obvious. But overall still loads of fun. I’m obviously already half way done with the next book while writing this review and thankfully it’s a much stronger book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Victorian romance mixes seamlessly with elegant prose and biting wit—and werewolves—in Gail Carriger’s delightful debut novel. Soulless introduces Alexia Tarabotti, a parasol-wielding Londoner getting dangerously close to spinster status. But there are more important things than finding a husband. For Alexia was born without a soul, giving her the ability to render any vampire or werewolf completely powerless.
Why-ever did I wait so long!?
I simply can’t believe that I’ve waited this long to dive into Soulless because it was hilarious and extremely fun. If you’re asking yourself why you haven’t read it yet – you should just stop right now and pick up a copy. Personally I already owned the print and so picked up the audiobook when I happened to listen to sample and adored the narrator Emily Gray. So when I couldn’t listen I was reading and vice versa. It made this a delightful one day read.
There’s no freedom like that of being a spinster
Miss Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster. Why? Because she’s half Italian, and has a stronger nose and darker complexion and sharper tongue then what is considered attractive by London’s social elite. And well – when that is the case no aristocratic man will ever want you – so says her mother, sisters and well – just about everyone. But her spinsterhood is a fact that she has quite resigned herself to and actually uses to her advantage. She does what she likes, is friends with whomever she pleases and has the sharpest tongue when she’s of a mind not to curb it. Which is frankly never. She even has a very special parasol that she had fashioned for her protection. And then there is the most important thing about her…she is soulless.
There is a mystery afoot!
Did I neglect to mention Alexia is also frightfully bored? She has been pestering the Lord Maccon the alpha werewolf in London who also happens to be the head of the head of the local Bureau of Unnatural Registry that she should be allowed to work for the Bureau given her special condition. When rogue vampires start showing up and solo vampires and werewolves start going missing Alexia somehow finds herself mixed up in all of it.
My dear she doth protest too much
Now here’s where things get saucy – not too saucy mind you because lets remember the time period this is taking place in. But you remember how sharp tempered I said Alexia is? Well it seems Lord Maccon rather likes that in a woman, along with all the other undesirable traits that the rest of society snubs her for. And eventually against his own personal judgement he lets her know just how desirable he finds her. Reading these two at their cat and mouse…or should I say dog and cat? – was so much fun. I’d have to say that their relationship did make me consider this book closer to being a paranormal romance versus urban fantasy and I enjoyed every minute of it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful