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Review of Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw

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0425184056.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgTen years ago Kate Winters’ parents were taken by the High Council’s wardens to help with the country’s war effort. Now the wardens are back…and prisoners, including Kate’s uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane – the High Council’s most feared man – recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council’s experiments into the veil, and he’s convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft. (from Goodreads)

The story was pretty interesting and had a neat concept with the “Skilled”. I also liked the setting with the Graveyard city. So this is what rather kept me going for a bit while reading. The magic system itself was interesting and somewhat different from what I’ve read in the past. That kept the flow of reading along. Somewhat. The world building was alright although I wanted more detail and more explanation. What type of world was this? Yes it’s got magic in it but am I looking at fantasy with a Graveyard city? Is it a steampunk setting? What am I looking at here?

Now let’s move onto the characters.

Out of all of them, Silas even though he was pretty much your typical villain, was actually the most interesting. Even though he was the most interesting though, he wasn’t really that likable (understandably so, he’s a villain BUT I  always root for the bad guy). He wasn’t really part of the “cool bad guy” crowd I suppose for lack of a better explanation.

Edgar, who is Kate’s friend, meh. Not sure if I really liked him. He was a wuss. Sure, he had some few good moments. Otherwise though he just wasn’t that great at all. Kate was okay. She was a typical strong girl character you see in most YA novels like these.

In summary though, I’d have to say these characters in the book are ho hum. There’s not much feeling to them, they’re not likable, and they’re just…blah. Because of this and the lack of world building I just didn’t feel that much into the book and didn’t grab my attention. Sure, there were good points in the book but it just wasn’t quite enough to get me into the book like some others have. I’m not sure I’m going to go further into the series. I’d say take it or leave it with this one. I’ve seen other reviews where some have really enjoyed the book. Unfortunately much as I wanted to, I didn’t so much.
I give it a 7 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

March 13, 2017 at 7:24 am

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Around the world, black handprints 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 grown dangerously low.And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly 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 one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored 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? (from Goodreads)

Oh my. It’s been a while since I’ve read an excellent book. Then you pick up a giant tome like this one and it just sweeps you off your feet. I fell in love with this book in the first few 50 pages. It had an interesting fresh look on fantasy for YA without your standard monsters (ie: dragons – not that there’s anything wrong with dragons, but we’ve all seen and read about them dozens of times).

The idea of the chimeras and the seraphim with a Romeo and Juliet twist is what I found the most appealing in this book. Now it may not be entirely different when it comes to the starcrossed lovers theme, but putting that theme with something different and fantastical is always a good thing and refreshing to see. Also, I loved the setting. Not many that take place in Europe, so that also makes the book all the more worth reading.

The characters are all memorable. Loved all the chimeras they each had their own personality and you couldn’t help but love them all. Zuzana made the perfect sidekick with Karou, I loved her and how much she supported Karou through it all. Thiago is horribly slimy and makes your skin crawl. The plot goes back and forth between what’s happening now, and in a different fantastical world, but it’s weaved together and it’s so well done you don’t notice any hitches. It’s a beautiful plot, and although the size might intimidate some, don’t be. You’ll be surprised at how fast you fly with this book because the plot is so engaging and will draw you in.

Definitely recommended. It’s something different, and the cliffhanger ending will make you scream.

I give it a 10 out of 10

Written by Karoline

May 28, 2014 at 7:13 am

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The Greyfriar by Susan and Clay Griffith

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GreyfriarIn the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once-great cities were shrouded by the grey empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to re-establish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, and the green temples of Malaya. It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming. Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick-witted as well as with sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles into a life of duty and political marriage to a man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans. (From Amazon.ca)

I was very skeptical of this one. I wasn’t sure what to think of it. It’s got fantasy. With history and a bit of steampunk added. Which is a great combination, but it really all boils down to the story and its’ characters. It’s certainly got a nice blend of fantasy/history as well and I liked that. I was really expecting something cheesy with a romance in it that’ll make my stomach turn. Thankfully I was wrong!

I enjoyed this novel until the very last page. The action was well done, the world building was really good and well established, and the characters memorable. The blending of different genres also is nice you have a bit of steampunk, alternate history, fantasy, paranormal, and just a little bit of romance. It’s perfect.

Of course what adds to this awesome book is Gareth (one of the main characters) has a castle full of cats. No seriously. That is AWESOME. I reacted the same way I did when I saw Hellboy with his room full with cats. (I squeed and squeed until I couldn’t no more) so for me, that was a major added bonus. The chemistry between Adele and Gareth was good as well. Their characters seemed perfect for eachother I really enjoyed how they got along.

I haven’t gotten around to reading the second book yet, but I’m hoping it will be just as good as this one! I definitely recommend this book to fantasy lovers out there. It’s definitely worth a read through.

 

I give it 9/10

 

Written by Karoline

July 9, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Entwined by Heather Dixon

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Entwined

Entwined

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it’s taken away. All of it. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation. Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest. But there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late. (From Amazon.ca)

It’s very well written, and although the plot is a little slow to start off, I think it’s essential for it to go at that pace. It introduces the reader to a detailed world with a good amount of characters to read about. The sisters in the book are distinct enough so the reader can figure out who is who. Some of their personalities are stronger and more memorable than others (Bramble comes to mind). There’s real well placed moments of humor throughout the book and you do find yourself laughing here and there. The more fantastical and magical elements of the book are also well done, especially towards the ending where the pace of the book goes at whirlwind speed and keeps the reader engaged well until the last pages.

The character of the Keeper is also well written. As the book progresses his sinister side comes out and it does get a little, well creepy. It suits the story and the setting (where the Princesses go to dance). The setting itself does seem marvelous and beautiful but there’s a coldness and detachment to it – which is a very likely home for the Keeper himself as his personality also is a reflection to the setting.

The ‘couples’ of the book are well done and they suited each other.

It’s another retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses but I feel that it’s much more than that. It’s well detailed, and despite it’s length, it’s a beautifully written story where when you’re done with the book, you feel satisfied, and complete. Definitely recommended for those in love with young adult books, fairy tales and the retelling of them, but also those that like fantasy stories without intense descriptions of magic.

9 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

April 16, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

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Innocent Darkness>When spirited sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock and her best friend Steven V Darrow take a flying car out for a joyride, neither expects Noli to be sent to reform school to mend her hoyden ways. While at the dreadful school, an innocent wish sends Noli tumbling into the Otherworld where the handsome huntsman Kevighn wants her as the next blood sacrifice to help restore his dying world. V arrives in the Otherworld to help Noli, but before they can return to the mortal realm they navigate the dangerous intrigues of the Otherworld and convince the High Queen to send Noli home while dealing with their emerging feelings for one another. But if Noli lives, an entire civilization will die. (from Amazon.ca)

Ohhhh I really tried to like this book. How it first started out had promise. I really liked how Noli was portrayed. She seemed like a strong character, and typical when you read some of these steampunk novels. They’re strong willed, always going against the social mores, and always tinkering – which Noli does. She’s also in love with botany – that was pretty interesting and different too.

As the plot progresses, I thought it was off to a good start. The reform school part really got me into the story and I thought it was going to get better. Then the faeries come in. I’m not much for faeries, they’re my least favorite paranormal beings (so perhaps I’m biased when it comes to this). Then the book suddenly stops becoming steampunk and goes into the romance and fantasy phase. This is where my interest in the book started to drop. Noli’s character started to becoming something that I wasn’t expecting at all. She becomes all girly, needy, clingy, and all around irritating.

The romance aspect of the book was starting to irritate me as well and the plot just seemed to have taken a nosedive from there. V was interesting at first as well, but then when the romance starts to happen I was personally starting to get real sick of all three: Noli, Kevighn, and V. Then when James and Charlotte joined in the picture the story got unbearable and predictable.

This book just wasn’t the one for me. Perhaps others will enjoy this one. It just stops becoming steampunk and then evolves into fantasy and romance. I was really hoping for a good novel featuring engines, gears and goggles. Not much so in this book. Sad to say I was very disappointed in this one.

I give it a 3/10

Thanks to the publisher for providing me a copy of this book via Netgalley!

Written by Karoline

August 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Neverwinter by R A Salvatore

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NeverwinterWith the last of his trusted companions having fallen, Drizzt is alone–and free–for the first time in almost a hundred years. Guilt mingles with relief, leaving Drizzt uniquely vulnerable to the persuasions of his newest companion–Dahlia, a darkly alluring elf and the only other member of their party to survive the cataclysm at Mount Hotenow. But traveling with Dahlia is challenging in more ways than one. As the two companions seek revenge on the one responsible for leveling Neverwinter–and nearly Luskan as well–Drizzt finds his usual moral certainty swept away by her unconventional views. Forced to see the dark deeds that the common man may be driven to by circumstance, Drizzt begins to find himself on the wrong side of the law in an effort to protect those the law has failed. Making new enemies, as his old enemies acquire deadly allies, Drizzt and Dahlia quickly find themselves embroiled in battle–a state he’s coming to enjoy a little too much. (From Amazon.ca)

It’s best if you read Gauntlgrym before diving into this one. Lots of events are referenced to the previous book and the story is continuous.

Again, this book does not disappoint the typical Drizzt fan. I really like how his character is developing so far. There are moments throughout the book where I too, feel the loss of his previous closest friends but yet these new experiences Dahlia is introducing to him is also welcoming.

I really am liking Dahlia as a character. In a sense, it’s nice to read how both her and Drizzt are bringing out these changes within each other as they’re both different in personality and very different on their views and opinions. I also have to admit I also like the romantic tension between them, it was inevitable and although she’s definitely not as fun loving as Cattie-Brie, but there’s something very likable in Dahlia. The way she fights, her sly sneaky ways, and who can not comment about her sultry vampy qualities as well?

The plot in this book was well done. There’s a lot of intrigue and backroom planning and plotting. I really enjoyed the story with Barrabus the Gray. I wasn’t expecting that little twist but it was really fun to read! The other story arc, with Sylora Salm was also really good and the ending as usual with R A Salvatore, is fantastic and makes you want to read the next book in the series.

The action scenes in this book is the same, but as always, it’s wonderful to read and can be easily pictured. Salvatore’s writing doesn’t change but his characters do – and that’s a great thing. I loved the ending it does leave room for more questions but now it seems Drizzt will be on another adventure to help an ‘old friend’ out.

Definitely recommended for Drizzt fans. The plot in this series just keeps getting better and better. Everything is changing, but I think it’s for the better in this series. Let’s hope it never stops!

I give it a 9 out of 10

Written by Karoline

April 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm

The Hollow Bettle by Susannah Appelbaum

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Hollow Bettle

There’s little joy left in the kingdom of Caux: the evil King Nightshade rules with terrible tyranny and the law of the land is poison or be poisoned. Worse, eleven-year-old Ivy’s uncle, a famous healer, has disappeared, and Ivy sets out to find him, joined by a young taster named Rowan. But these are corrupt times, and the children—enemies of the realm—are not alone. What exactly do Ivy and Rowan’s pursuers want? Is it Ivy’s prized red bettle, which, unlike any other gemstone in Caux, appears—impossibly—to be hollow? Is it the elixir she concocted—the one with the mysterious healing powers? Or could it be Ivy herself? (from Amazon.ca)

What I really liked was the world building. The journey Rowan and Ivy go through was well described and their encounters with different characters was well done. I loved the different settings and their adventure seemed to get even more exciting as the book was nearing to a close. How the setting came about, and the introduction to this story was well done. I liked how the setting was established, with a nice concise history on how King Nightshade came about. It’s almost told in a fairy tale narrative – which was well done, and there were plenty of witty phrases to enjoy (all throughout the novel as well). The idea of the bettles are interesting, but what I really liked was that the use of poison was all over the place in this land. It was different and I thought it was rather clever, definitely something you don’t see in a lot of fantasy middle grade fiction out there.

The characters in this book were also well done. Ivy and Rowan do make an interesting team. The plot was good, although a little slow moving at first. However once Ivy and Rowan teamed up on their journey, it got more interesting thanks to the different settings described, and the various memorable characters they encounter on their journey (Poppy really stood out! I thought it was cute).

The idea of this book is a creative one. It’s told with a nice whimsical flair to it, but it took a while to get used to this style of writing. I’m not sure why, but the pace seemed slower and with the writing style (perhaps it was a little too whimsical) the book just seemed to go at a snail’s pace. That being said though, I still thought it was an enjoyable book and it does pick up the pace after a third of the story. I’ll probably continue this series, I’d like to know what happens next, yet I’m not really in a rush to read it. I’d say take it or leave it with this book.

6 out of 10

Written by Karoline

November 29, 2011 at 6:09 pm