Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

17378527This review contains spoilers.

I get the feeling Maggie Stiefvater didn’t want to let go of her characters. One more book after The Dream Thieves to tie up the story would have been a fine way to end the series. Instead we get dragged through Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King with minimal plot development in either of them. There’s some good character development, and I do tend to prioritize characters over plot, but something still needs to happen. In The Raven King the main quest of the series, finding Glendower and getting the favor, was ignored for most of the book right up until the very end.

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Review: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

19057Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without many life prospects. Then one day he stops a bank robbery and starts receiving playing cards with messages on them. He must figure out the messages and help the people who the cards lead him to.

The first chapter involving the bank robbery is fantastic. It’s sarcastic, funny, and the dialogue is snappy. Unfortunately, the rest of book fails to live up to it.

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade final for IreneZzz… Boring. Such promise with little delivery.

Pros:

  • Interesting premise: The idea of parallel Londons with differing levels of magic within each one is a fantastic idea. Grey London, what I presume is our London sometime in the past, has no magic; Red London is flowing with it; White London tries to dominate magic and it fights back; and Black London, well, no one can travel to Black London anymore.

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Review: The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton

7381740I’ve been wanting to read Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, but didn’t want to commit to reading 800 pages by an unfamiliar author. So I started off with Catton’s much smaller debut novel, The Rehearsal. It also happens to be her Master’s thesis which explains some things. It’s highly stylized and experimental with non-linear, ambiguous storytelling and characters delivering florid monologues like they’re performing in a play. Good for a writer’s workshop, maybe not for general public reading.

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Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

25361488Here is it. The end of The Lunar Chronicles. It’s sad to finally say goodbye to these characters. I didn’t realize until the last few chapters that I was going to miss reading about them so much. It took a while to get into this series, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I thought Cinder was okay, but nothing spectacular. Scarlet again was just okay. But Cress stepped it up and Winter is a fantastic conclusion.

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Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

18685732Burial Rites is a fictionalized account of the last months of Iceland’s last executed criminal. In 1828 Agnes Magnúsdóttir is convicted of killing a man she was a servant to, and a farmhand. She is sent to a farm in Kornsá to await her execution, with a family who thinks she’s a monster. The details of the crime she supposedly committed, and the events leading up to it, are revealed throughout the story.

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Review: The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya

20575413This is the first Russian novel I’ve ever read and I really wanted to like it. Soviet dissidents in Cold War Russia trying to read and distribute banned books while avoiding arrest by the KGB? Sounds like something I’d be in to. Unfortunately, at no point was I drawn into the story or characters. In fact this might be the first time I didn’t care about any of the characters at any point in a novel.

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Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

9627755This review contains spoilers.

This book started off so good for me. We’re back in Paris, but this time we’re following the story of Isla (pronounced EYE-la), who’s in her final year at School of America in Paris. She’s had a crush on Josh Wasserstein, the school’s most talented artist, since freshman year. But he seems barely aware of her existence.

After an embarrassing encounter with Josh in a cafe in New York City, Isla finally starts hanging out with him at school. They quickly discover their mutual attraction to each other and start dating.

And this is where the story started to lose me.

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Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

16101168Contemporary YA is one of my least favorite genres, so why I decided to read Anna and the French Kiss last year I don’t know. But a Parisian boarding school and a British love interest? Of course I loved it. It didn’t talk about any Issues and was just a fun, light book. St. Clair was one of the most charming and likable love interests I’ve ever read. Definitely on my list of fictional crushes.

I decided against reading it’s sequel/companion novel Lola and the Boy Next Door when I saw that it takes place in San Francisco. Paris to California? No thanks. I’m kind of sick ofseeing everything take place in California. (Used to live there. Not charmed by it.)

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Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a frustrating book to read.

Things I liked about it:

  • The locations.
  • Karou being an art student (though Karou herself I’m a bit ambivalent about)
  • The writing style. This is not usually the type of wiring I like, but it flowed well and added to the magical, otherworldly feeling of the story.
  • Zuzana. I wished we saw more her. Hopefully she appears regularly in the next book.
  • Karou’s chimera family, especially Brimstone.
  • The mystery of the teeth.

Many elements I don’t usually like in other books I enjoyed in this one. However, what I didn’t like (and what the whole story is pretty much based around):

AKIVA. Such a dull love interest. I guessed his and Karou’s connection, and at first it seemed like their insta-love was subverted. However, once their connection is explained it still feels like insta-love.

Reading the summary for the sequel, it sounds like Karou and Akiva will spend some time apart, and we get to see more of Elsewhere. Also Thiago. He’s shown to be a creepy scumbag so far, but he intrigues me. Onto the sequel!