Released: September 2012
Source: Netgalley (thanks to publisher)
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date Started: 26th September 2012
Date Completed: 4th October 2012
What do you do when you realize that nothing in your life is what you’ve always believed it to be?When Arionna Jacobs loses her mother in a tragic accident, her world is turned upside down. She’s forced to leave her old life behind and move in with her father. Dace Matthews, a teaching assistant at her new college, is torn in two, unable to communicate with the feral wolf caged inside him.When they meet, everything they thought they knew about life unravels. Dace has intimate access to Arionna’s mind, and something deep within her fights to rise to the surface. They don’t understand what’s happening to them or why, and they’re running out of time to sort out the strange occurrences around them.Their meeting sets an ancient Norse prophecy of destruction in motion, and what destiny has in store for them is bigger than either could have imagined. Unless they learn to trust themselves and one another, they may never resolve the mystery surrounding who they are to one another, and what that means for the world.
I always find it hard to start reviews, I usually end up with some horrible opening line—guaranteed to be as horrible as my titles—and then launching into the barely coherent review. The only thing I can think to start with this book is that it involves a fair bit of death. (Okay, two deaths with the possibility of more). The prologue opens with Arionna’s mum’s funeral and it so sad and depressing, even without the connection to the characters. Then we skip forward a year and Ari’s moved in with her dad, but her mum’s death continues to haunt the poor girl and pull on your heart strings. And then Danni’s life comes to an end, but that kind of gets lost in the plot and doesn’t hurt as much—Danni was practically a stranger. Yet her death still comes as a shock and the sequence of event that follow lead up to something fantastic.
That, of course, is the Norse mythology. Ragnarok. The oncoming end of the world which only Odin’s shape shifting wolves (sorry, I forgot their actual names) can prevent. They are reincarnated every generation to hold off the event, while Skoll and Hati try to kill them and bring about the Armageddon. That is a very sketchy, vague, and terrible description of the mythology, but it’s the basics of what’s in the book and will do. The whole reincarnation part is in play in Fade. When you reach the very end and discover the true identities of everyone, your jaw may be collecting dust on the floor as you flail around on your bed, drawing weird looks from the posters on your wall because of your vehement excitement. Ronan’s identity, I must say, was my favourite. Because of reasons.
Once you uncover these identities, the plot speeds up quickly and you get to the most exciting part of the entire novel. Unfortunately, its the last chapter. And ends too quickly. But it was the twists and turns and heart stopping action in these final sections that pushed this book up to four stars/worms, especially after I found the middle section a little flat.
The wolves and Dace/Arionna’s possessiveness of each other also almost dragged the rating down. I found the wolves a little to… dog-like for my tastes. I like my wolves bloodthirsty and aggressive (even if that isn’t really in their actual nature…), not as friendly as pets.
Dace and Arionna definitely had some chemistry going. I mean, WHOA. But, like I said, they are really possessive of each other. With their history, it makes sense and I didn’t have a problem with it at first, but the further you get in the novel, the more tiresome it gets.
Other than those two little issues, I really liked Fade. The writing was wonderful and the mythology awesome, and from a culture/history I don’t know much about. Sometimes the pacing was a little slow, but it picks up just in time to finish with a bang.
I also think this book contains one of the best fictional father’s ever. Seriously, Arionna’s dad deserves a Fictional Father of the Year award.
Series: Carnival of Souls #1
Author: Melissa Marr
Released: September 2012
Format: Australian paperback
Date Started: 26th September 2012
Date Completed: 30th September 2012
Enter the Carnival
In a city of daimons, strict class lines control every aspect of life. At the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls where, once in a generation, anyone can fight for their chance to join the elite.
Kaleb is of the lowest caste; Aya is ruling caste—but female. They both face bleak futures and, for each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.
Mallory lives in the human world and knows little of The City, beyond the threat it poses to her and her family. But soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.
A tale of secrets, love and the struggle to forge one’s on destiny.
My relationship with Melissa Marr’s writing so far hasn’t been… great. Well, actually, before Carnival of Souls, I’d never actually finished a novel of hers. I’d tried to read Wicked Lovely, but was greatly disappointed and didn’t bother with the rest of the series. But there was so much hype around Carnival of Souls that made me wonder
and from the sound of some of the summaries (fights to the death, daimons, The City), I thought I might really love it.
Right from where we met Mallory I started having issues. In the first page of the first chapter she starts going on about Kaleb. It felt like that insta-love I often tend to dislike, even though I knew better because she said she met Kaleb months ago, but it still felt that way. I don’t think there was any part when it was Mallory’s POV where two pages were written without a mention of Kaleb. I swear he was mentioned every. Single. Paragraph.
Kaleb, however, was actually an interesting character who didn’t spend all his time thinking about Mallory because he had other things to worry about in The City, the place where the daimons reside.
I am actually really confused as to exactly what the daimons and how their society runs. I mean, I get there are castes, but what separates the scabs from the ruling caste? Those were briefly described, but in not enough detail to make it clear. The same goes for describing daimons themselves. Are they some kind of werewolf or something? And what makes a cur? It was all very confusing. The world building in The City could have been improved immensely.
The witches in the human world, where Mallory lived, were much easier to comprehend. And also interesting. Witches hate daimons. Daimons hate witches. All because of things in the novel’s history. It was interesting that we got to see both sides and their plans centuries after the conflict, although there was definitely more of a pro-witches sides from all the ‘narrating’ characters POV (it was told in 3rd person so narrating might not be the right word). I really like the daimon City better, and maybe if we got to spend more time there and not in the human world, I may not have been confused by other aspects.
The City was also were two of the most interesting characters were. Aya (one of the mains) and Zevi. I want to talk about why, but that’s kind of spoilery, I’m afraid. Either way, I think they might have been the best things in the entire book.
Not even the ending was great. It was a “cliffhanger”, yet it didn’t leave me in suspense. I didn’t scream at the book, demanding the next one to be released immediately. I was just kind of indifferent. I didn’t care enough about Mallory to worry about her. And there was no real climax to the plot so, meh. It did nothing for me. I really thought that ending would be the main complication introduced in the middle of any normal novel. But it was an ending.
I‘m not sure if I’ll continue the series. I might get the next one, and if that’s isn’t better I doubt I’ll continue the series. Hopefully the issues I had with Carnival of Souls (Mallory’s obsession, the confusing daimon descriptions, the lack of clear and understandable world building) aren’t there in the sequel. Because otherwise it, like Carnival of Souls, will be a slightly-less-than-average novel.
For extra little tidbits see the full review
Magickal, mystical, and mysterious
Author: Rick Riordan
Released: April 2006
Date Started: 24th June 2012
Date Completed: 27th June 2012
The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second installment of Rick Riordan’s amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a “half blood” whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan’s series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that result in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book’s drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.
As per usual, this review is probably going to come across a little… jerky. This time, it’s because I started reading the third book in this series almost immediately after I finished The Sea of Monsters. Which was a fantastic book. I read it in three days. I would have finished it in one if I wasn’t helping out at work. Just like The Lightning Thief, this book grabbed me from the first word. The writing flowed beautifully, Percy’s similes and metaphors still held their hilarity, and the pace was beautiful.
I really enjoyed the action scenes. I remember reading the ‘first major’ one, where the boat blows up in the Sea of Monsters, and just sitting back thinking, ‘That’s how I want to write action scenes.’ They were just… ugh. I loved them. My limited vocabulary cannot come up with enough words. I can tell you that not once was I confused as to what was going on, and everything seemed… plausible. Sometimes the solutions Percy came up with to get out of a situation were things I never even considered, leaving me pleasantly surprised.
Wonderful and hilarious new characters were introduced in this book. My favourite would have to be Tyson. He’s so adorable, which is not something I ever thought I’d say when referring to a cyclops. But it’s true! He has a beautiful personality. I’m really glad I got to meet his character and look forward to his involvement in future books in this series.
The Sea of Monsters also exposed me to the twists, turns and cliffs Riordan weaves into his writing which I didn’t get to experience too well in The Lightning Thief because of the film (which was actually quite different from the book, but some aspects were still the same). A little more was revealed about the prophecy and antagonists which are driving the overarching plot of the series. And the cliffhanger at the end! It wasn’t a particularly bad one that cause me pain, but it was something I did not see something. The plot has definitely thickened.
I was not disappointed by this novel, which did not drop anywhere near the depths of ‘second book syndrome’. All the things I loved in The Lightning Thief and more were found in the pages of The Sea of Monsters. I can’t wait to read this rest of these novels and watch the prophecy unfold. Speaking of, I must return to The Titan’s Curse!
Author: Cynthia Hand
Format: Australian paperback
Released: January 1st 2012
Date Started: 8th June 2012
Date Completed: 17th June 2012
Clara Gardner knew that as a part angel she would one day have to fulfill her purpose, rescuing Christian from a forest fire… what she never considered was what might happen if she were to fail.
Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend Tucker, Clara must deal with the repercussions of what happened the day of the fire as the two boys vie for her heart. And, as she is drawn further into the worlds of angel and part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality she must face: someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain after a shocking revelation, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning…
So this is the second book in the Unearthly trilogy and blah blah blah. I can’t be bothered to right a proper/half decent intro, so on to the barely cohesive points!
I enjoyed this book. It was good. Fantastic?… No. But good. Definitely good. I found that I predicted most of the major plot points in the first half of the novel, so there wasn’t anything that really surprised me. Clara’s voice is easy to read, and the plot didn’t drag on much so I read this somewhat quickly (i would have finished it sooner if I hadn’t had exams that week). I also forgot how much time passes in these books. The novel is set over a year or so, and the time flies by when you’re reading it, learning about Clara’s mother’s past and meeting more angel-bloods and discovering more about the angel-blood world. I really liked those world building elements, they’d have to be some of my favourite parts of the novel. Another is the scenes before the person close to Clara passes away. Hand wrote those scenes in such a beautiful manner, I almost cried at how incredibly sad it was. Almost.
One of the elements I didn’t really like so much was the whole Christian-Tucker relationship things. I love Tucker, he is one of the most incredible, amazing, drool worthy fictional guys I have ever come across. I really loved seeing his relationship with Clara develop in Unearthly (Which I want to reread and experience again) and was annoyed that he barely seemed to appear in Hallowed. Christian seemed to play a bigger role in this book. Don’t get me wrong, Christian is a good character but… I don’t know. I just don’t like him that much. He isn’t Tucker. And that whole scene on the porch at the end of the novel didn’t impress me at all.
Basically, Hallowed was good. And there’d better be more Tucker in Boundless. XD
Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Australian/UK paperback
Released: May 1st 2012
Date Started: 31st May 2012
Date Completed: 8th June 2012
I have done bad things. I can’t take them back, and they are part of who I am.
Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.
Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever… because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.
I just finished reading this and… Wow. Just wow. I’m speechless. I’ve sat here for five minutes, just thinking. And… I don’t know what to say. This is the Good Book feeling, I don’t get it very often. Why is the next one a year away? I need to know what happens next. I need to because this book… Veronica Roth, if for whatever reason you somehow come across this, thank you. Thank you so much for writing this book. Those final chapters, when you revealed what you did about their purpose… I agree with that so much and I hope others who read your novel come to realise that what you said is true to some degree.
Now, other guys who are reading this, I hope that wasn’t too spoilery. Those who’ve read the book should understand, and if you don’t, read it and find out. It is a realisation more people need to come to.
I guess I should write a semi-proper review now. Although I’m not entirely sure what to say.
In this novel, we got to learn so much more. Tris had a lot more freedom after the events in Divergent, but at the same time, was more constricted. Mainly because of the acts she committed and things she witnessed in the prequels final scenes. Some of Insurgent is spent with Tris as shy tries to come to terms with the grief and guilt that lingers in her. It was possible that these moments could drag down the plot, but they didn’t. The plot moved on, nice and steady. It was fast where it needed to be, took time when things needed to be explained. I found the pacing perfect.
Roth also did a wonderful job reminding us of what happened in the first book, many of the minor (and major) details of which I’d forgotten. She wove little facts throughout the novel at the same time as revealing new tid bits of information. No big chunks of the story where spent reminiscing, as some other sequels have been known to do.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this novel was learning about the two, more ‘minor’ factions we didn’t hear a lot about in Divergent, Amity and Candor, and the people that filled their ranks. We got to see how they thought, we got to witness their customs, and observe their beliefs. It was also good that Tris met a number of Erudite members. Most think they are the enemy, set out to distract the factions. But, well, not everything is as black and white as the Candor believe. This applies to the Factionless, which play a fairly large role in the plot of the novel, and the world they live in.
My favourite pages would have to be in the final chapter. That… gosh. It was that section that has left me speechless. It is that section that makes me want to give Veronica Roth a round of applause. The entire book does, actually. Insurgent is a wonderful read. It made me remember the realisations I have come to many times. It’s a book, a series, I think more people need to read. It’s just…. amazing. I honestly can’t explain it. Just read these books if you haven’t already. I’m going to try and convince my dad and friends to.
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Format: Australian/UK paperback
Released: 5th April 2012
Date Started: 28th May 2012
Date Completed: 30th May 2012
In The Calling, the sizzling second book in the Darkness Rising trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong pumps up the romance, danger, and suspense that left readers of The Gatheringclamoring for more.
Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.
Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home. Plentiful action and romance in this second installment in the Darkness Rising series will keep readers enthralled to the very last page!
When I’m reading a book I’m planning to review, I usually write a couple of dot points down in a draft as I go so I can remember what I thought at different stages of the book. Except I didn’t with The Calling because I could not look away from it. So this is going to be a short review. Really short.
I read The Gathering, the first book in the Darkness Rising (the sequel series to the Darkest Powers books) last year and was…. not disappointed, but not blown away either. It didn’t surprised me as much as I wanted it to. Keep in mind, however, that I was not new to Kelley Armstrong’s supernatural world. I’d read all the available novels in her supernatural series, as well as the Darkest Powers before hand. I knew as much as anyone except Armstrong could possibly know at that stage. It was slightly tedious following Maya around as she learnt most things I already knew, if not spoiled for myself by going on the internet before reading it *facepalm*
The Calling, however, was a big surprise to me. Like the last sentence of the summary up there says, I was enthralled. I could not put it down. I read almost half in the first sitting, half in the second, and finished of the last little bit in the third. It was so good. The plot was fantastic, it didn’t slow down once from the first chapter to the last. It’s definitely something I will probably read again one day.
We also learnt more about Project Phoenix and the supernatural types involved. Well, not so much the supernatural types. They were hinted at because the characters themselves are not entirely sure. Two supernatural types being ‘resurrected’ were confirmed in the novel. The code/scientific names of two others were revealed, but we’re not entirely sure what they are exactly yet, though we do know a little about some of the powers they have.
In the final chapter, the gang from Darkest Powers were… hinted at (that would be the way to put it, I guess). Armstrong has already hinted that Chloe and gang might appear in the final installment of the Darkness Rising series, The Rising, but this little section confirmed it in my eyes. And made me insanely happy. I’ve missed those characters. I really hope they do make an appearance. I can’t wait to see what destructive action they’ll get up to. However have to wait another year before it comes out. That’s the bad bit.
Author: Cassandra Clare
Format: Australian paperback
Publisher: Walker Books
Released: 8th May 2012
Date Started: 22nd May 2012
Date Completed: 28th May 2012
The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.
No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?
Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.
And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?
Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.
After that really long summary (if you actually read it), you obviously know that this book is the fifth book in the Mortal Instruments series. The prologue of City of Lost Souls picks up the night City of Fallen Angels ended before skipping to weeks in the novel’s timeline to begin the first chapter. At first, the story seemed kind of jerky. The first three or so chapters were flicking between numerous characters, filling us in on what advancements had occurred in those two weeks and setting up the stakes. There were also a few inconsistencies (I think) that I noticed through this part, little details that contradicted a characters actions or description a few pages later they were written. Nothing major, but I could’t help picking them up and it distracted me.
It was in the beginning chapters that Clary annoyed me slightly. All she cared about was Jace and separating him from Sebastian. Her parts felt like Jace this, Jace that. Fortunately, this was not kept up through the entire novel. Her attitude changed after a key even in the early stages, rescuing her from my annoyance. Although this did come back in one chapter in the final stages of the novel, when she was fighting with Sebastian in a house and it seemed the only things she could slam into were walls. I think she hit two walls per page in that particular scene. It got really repetitive. I began wishing for a table or something to appear so she could crash into that and mix it up a little.
This novel seemed a little more lovey-dovey than the previous books. A lot of the characters seemed to be (re)hooking up and new relationships were being established. The mushy talk got a tiring at some stages. I wanted violence and action, not romance. Well, not all the time… But yeah, I guess I can see what place it had in the development, but I rolled my eyes a few times reading it. I’ll be interested in seeing how these relationships develop in the final installment, particularly one that ran into some complications in the epilogue.
As those who have read the Infernal Devices series would know, there are a lot of overlapping elements between the prequel books and the Mortal Instruments. I had a lot of fun reading City of Lost Souls and finding the connections. They often caused me to fangirl, make an excited and emotional post on Tumblr, and run to inform my sister. This related more to the lineage of particular Nephilim families, as well as key objects from or links to the Infernal Devices series. Also, Brother Zachariah. His actions and words in this novel have got me thinking about his identity, and the possible events that may occur in Clockwork Princess. Hopefully these questions will be answered there or in City of Heavenly Fire. I also want to learn more about the Iron Sisters and hope the play a larger role in one Clare’s upcoming novels.
Two things I really loved about this book was the final chapter and the opportunity to learn more about Sebastian. Throughout the series—well, the third- current books—we haven’t really known much about Sebastian other than the basics. Because of particular characters’ choices in this book, we get to see a lot of him, allowing us to try and get inside his head and understand his motive. He is no less perverted and evil than I imagined, I’m not even sure if we know the full details of his plan even now.
The final chapter (chapter 21) was amazing. It was action packed, heart wrenching, suspenseful, filled with twists I did not expect. It was exactly what I wanted from this book. I would be happy to give that chapter a 5 worm/star rating on its own. But I have to rate the book as a whole, obviously. Which lowers the rating slightly. It was still a really good book though, with a suspenseful ending. Except the cliffhanger isn’t as bad asthe one in City of Fallen Angels at least. I don’t think I could be that again (even though I loved that ending)
Format: Australian paperback
Author: Rick Riordan
Date Started: 18th May 2012
Date Completed: 21st May 2012
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
With cover art from the major motion picture, this first installment of Rick Riordan’s best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.
I apologise in advance if this review seems to have a weird tone or something. I just finished watching the anime Angel Beats and I’m pretty sure it broke my heart.
Now, onto Percy Jackson! I can’t believe I’m only reading these books now. They’ve been out since 2005 and honestly, they’re right up my alley. Greek mythology. Action. Monsters. Quests. This book has it all. I really should have read it sooner.
I have to say I really like Riordan’s writing. Percy’s voice is one that sucks you in immediately. It was very easy to read and quite humorous, I had to make myself do homework instead of reading, restricting myself to a chapter per study break. I really loved the similes and metaphors he used to describe things, like when he compared Grover losing control of the shoes to a possessed lawn mower. That will be a mental image that will stay with me forever. The characters were also enjoyable. Each had their own little quirks and history, not all of which we know yet. The three main characters—Percy, Grover, and Annabeth— are well on their way to becoming three of my favourite fictional characters.
The book never got slow or boring. There was always something that kept your attention, whether that be action, Grover’s antics, Percy’s voice, or another aspect of Greek mythology being revealed. I think the mythology may actually have been one of my favourite parts of the entire novel. I have always been interested in ancient cultures and their beliefs and love reading stories based on them.
I definitely recommend this book to most people. I think it’s targeted at young adolescent boys, but I’m an older (17) teenage girl and I loved it. I’m definitely going to read the rest of the books in this series as soon as I cut down my To-Read list a little.