Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time.
Want to hear an opening that will pique your curiosity and grab you by your giggly bits?
"IT IS IMPORTANT, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size."
Want to hear more?
"NO child truly believes they will be hanged. Even on the gallows platform with the rope scratching at their wrists and the shadow of the noose upon their face they know that someone will step forward, a mother, a father returned from some long absence, a king dispensing justice . . . someone..."
In this third person narrative, we have a demonized outcast protagonist (called a few things but best known to all as Nona)is not only young (only 8 years old when she is rescued from the threat of swinging from the gallows for her "murderous" crimes)but is unnaturally agile and displays a very distinctive set of skills to boot. Nona is to be raised and educated as a nun in service to the Church of the Ancestor, a church of assasin nuns that take in and train special young girls. The beginning and ending of this book are high octane awesomeness!! I have read other reviews that say the middle feels like a boring snooze-fest. I, for one, really liked the super specialized break-neck training, catty classmates, coming of age and into one's powers, extreme loyalty and inevitable betrayl of (first) friendships and all the melodrama that accompanies. I found them all to be interesting vital-to-the-plot reading goodness. The writing is sublime. The World building, Magic System and Character Development are incredibly complex and perfectly executed (no pun intended). The plot twists were built to a steady creceiendo, crafted and brilliantly divulged. There were sad deaths, sweet deaths, physical/mental capability twists and maulings galore. Though at the core there is Hope, Friendship, Sisterhood and Belonging wrapped up with a gorey bow of violence. Among all of this there are jewels, nuggets of truth and wisdom and beauty:
"be warned, young Nona: a book is as
dangerous as any journey you might take. The person who closes the back cover may not be the same one that opened the front one. Treat books with respect.”
I must I must reiterate, Red Sister is undeniably violent, extremely stabby with a touch of unapologetic comfort zone crushing. There is violence towards (and the killing of) young children as well as extreme brutality and murder of a helpless animal... BUT... if you can find a way to partition and store that in a portion of your brain labeled "Absolutely Unacceptable, Deplorable Actions that Are Only Tolerated in Fictional Settings", you'll LOVE the rest...I pinky promise.
"Violence is the language of destruction, flesh so often the subject, fragile, easy to break beyond repair, precious; what else would we burn to make the world take note? Your death has not been waiting for your arrival at the appointed hour; it has, for all the years of your life, been racing towards you with the fierce velocity of time’s arrow. It cannot be evaded; it cannot be bargained with, deflected or placated. All that is given to you is the choice: Meet it with open eyes and peace in your heart, go gentle to your reward. Or burn bright, take up arms, and fight the bitch."
There is much highlighting in my copy. The story is gripping and the writing, poignant. There are paragraphs of situations that are detestable. There are prose to ensnare and even words to live by:
"The trip from could to should is short and allows little time for reflection."
Reflect on that!!
It also has an excellent quote to wrap up this rambling review:
“Every star, turning in the black depth of heaven, burns for no better reason than that humanity raised its face to look. Every great deed needs to be witnessed. Go out there and do something great.”
Go ahead, do something great! Be the force for good in the world...that and come back and join me for book #2!
"Some things, thought Sarai, were too lovely to devour, while others were too lovely not to."
It pains me...yes physically hurts me to give one of my all time favorite, beautifully minded, creatively unique and the current undisputed queen of poetic prose anything less than 4 stars...I feel like Vizzinni...it's simply inconceivable!!
Now it is true, for anyone who might not have read any of Mrs. Taylor's earlier works (though I doubt there are many of you out there especially those on my Friends list), her writting is usually very deep/evocative and many say "flowery". I personally LOVE how she sees and relates to the world and her imagination and skill are incomparable. Having said that, Strange the Dreamer was slow to start and once it began to pick up pace I found the direction of the plot as well as the major plot twists easily foretold. Also, that ending...that ending...how I LOATHE, how I DETEST that ending!! No spoilers here but be prepared to be disappointed. Laini (if I may be so bold as to call you that), I love you... I truly do...BUT this is nowhere near the callibre, grandeur, the resplendence of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Yes, both the character and world building were excellent! Yes, your imagination and vivid imagery are unparalled BUT the plot was slow to simmer and even harder to savour. The love story was lukewarm, the "Evil" was tame and the ending...I can't even bring myself to dignify that unsatisfying end with another mention...I promise, that's it.
"You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.” “Beautiful and full of monsters?” “All the best stories are.”
Read it if you want something Strange in your life but don't expect emotional resolution...see, I didn't mention the ending again. Go ahead and read it, you know you want to. After all, at the end of the day it still is a glimpse into the magical brain of Mrs Laini Taylor (so amazing my spell check names her after just 3 letters).
This book was seriously entertaining. There were several main characters and all were just as fascinating as the next. I cared for each equally- with the exception of Eli whose pertinent information I not only craved but was unfortunately doled out sparingly. Miranda-the Spiritualist- was strong yet humanly flawed. We found her frequently lacking, as seen when she was reduced to worm-like status writhing in the dirt when an adversary showed his strength, yet ultimately she proved extremely impressive. Josef, who was many things but his most treasured title being warrior swordsman, was another amazing character...you'll just have to see about the rest. I could say that a lot about this book so as not to give too much away but if you are still debating whether or not to give this a shot I say go for it! It was a fun way to spend a rainy day.
I must be on a Schwab high because after finishing a Conjuring of Light I could find no other book to satisfy my What The Heck Am I Going To Do With Myself Next Itch...I ended up here, which was SO unlike a Conjuring Of Light...BUT...that's okay because this was satisfying on a whole different level while still having the Schwab(esc) prose that we fans have come to associate with her and love her eternally for. Anyway, a really quick summation: Archived is about dearly departed loved ones, their "essences" that are stored on shelves in libraries called...you guessed it, Archives after they do the actual departing... and the kick @$$ people who are learning to navigate the often times emotionally and mentally turbulent waters of Grief as well as acquiring and fine tuning the skills necessary to preserve said people/places and the Archives they occupy....holy run-on sentence...sorry about that all of you OCD grammar folks. Here is a sample:
"It hasn’t even been a year since Ben died. A year of words no one can say because they call up images no one can bear. The silliest things shatter you. A T-shirt discovered behind the washing machine. A toy that rolled under a cabinet in the garage, forgotten until someone drops something and goes to fetch it, and suddenly they’re on the concrete floor sobbing into a dusty baseball mitt."
I for one am constantly in a state of awe at how Mrs. Schwabs' mind works. Her mental gears must be pearlescent and Fabulous in order to create such a cornicopia of ideas. How does she repeatedly come up with such fantastical worlds and the characters to populate?- all of which are wrapped up in beautifully colored prose.
"you’re dying—not the fast, stone-drop way, there and then gone, but still. I can’t stop squinting at you, as if I might see the disease picking you clean, stealing you from me, bite by bite."
This was a good book. Will I continue on with the series whilst juggling such a daunting TBR pile that is populated with the likes of Laini Taylor and Adam Silvera? Probably not...unless one of those itches arises that apparently only Mrs Schwab can reach.
I am such a jumble of emotions right now that I find it hard to collect my thoughts BUT I'll try because this book's praises need to be heard.
“Are you strong enough to win?” she asked. Was he? This wasn’t a tournament magician. Wasn’t even a sliver of magic like Vitari. Osaron had destroyed an entire world. Changed another on a whim. “I don’t know,” he said honestly. Lila flashed a glimmer of a smile, sharp as glass. “Good,” she answered, pushing open the door. “Only fools are certain.”
I must be a fool because I am certain, certain you'll fall in love with this book. This book...oh..this book was everything a person could hope for in a final installment!! The prose were beautiful, evocative and poignant to the point where I found myself taking breaks to appreciate what I had just read. I highlighted so much I had trouble picking which to add here and which should be left as nestled jewels to be discovered at the author's behest. The world building was mind blowing and the character development too perfect for mere words. There was a CRAZY amount of action starring one of the most badass, impossible to kill female heroines I have encountered to date. Did I mention there was action galore? The romance was perfectly meted as to not overpower the awesomeness that was the solid plot. This plot was a thing of beauty BUT it did fizzle out a bit in the middle, picking up again when they all got on the pirate boat...YAY more Pirating!
It seemed like A Darker Shade of Magic was Kell's story, A Gathering of Shadows was Lila's and A Conjuring Of Light was Holland's time to shine/redeem/explain his backstory. I'm a sucker for a good "Bad- Guy turns out to be a misunderstood, morally ambivalent demi-hero" tale and I'm telling you now that Holland's story will give you the feels whether you want them to or not. Lila and Kell stoically fell in love and plucked my heart strings as I am sure they will with you.
"she’d already taken two Londons as her own. She was a thief, a runaway, a pirate, a magician. She was fierce, and powerful, and terrifying. She was still a mystery. And he loved her."
This might have been Holland's time to shine but each character had their time in the limelight, showcasing their abilities as well as having their stories wrapped up tightly. I LOVED the push and pull of Rhy & Alucard's Love tug-of-war just as much as Kell & Lila's quiet adoration. I even relished the sarcastic bickering between Kell and Alucard and the undeniable love they both had for Rhy. Oh Rhy...That is all I'll say about him, his story still a shard in my heart.
The ending was amazingly inclusive though...usually a bonus. Every character met their fate with dignity, poise, snark and a touch of sadness for all that had been lost... for not every ending is a happy one.
"What are we drinking to?” “The living,” said Rhy. “The dead,” said Alucard and Lila at the same time. “We’re being thorough,” added Rhy.
The feels this book will coax from you will be intense, you have been warned! It has been days since I closed this book and tried to move on but its hold is still firm still loving.
"Myths do not happen all at once. They do not spring forth whole into the world. They form slowly, rolled between the hands of time until their edges smooth, until the saying of the story gives enough weight to the words—to the memories—to keep them rolling on their own."
This might not be the birth of a myth but it IS a story you'll not soon forget. I hope you enjoy this series as much as I have.
Man oh man was this book GOOOOD! It was steamy (though I must admit to skimming through the naughtiest of bits), extremely well written, well researched, action/romance packed and neatly wrapped up at the end (for most of the leading characters that is). It was told in multiple POVs which can be tricky but worked here. There was quite a bit of Romance so those who are deathly allergic beware BUT most importantly there was Science! Science how I love thee!! A few reviewers complained about the amount of Science in the book. I personally can not stress enough how the Science and the incredibly detailed Steampunk(ness) drew me in and kept me firmly within its loving, mechanically and biologically technical grasp until the very last page. The Steampunk/ Mad Science aspects were done so expertly that they not only seemed 100% believable but quite possible, for those of us who would be so inclined, to replicate in our very own garages. The Romance was not an insta-love, nor was the reader bludgeoned with its presence or urgency the entirety of the book. It was sweet, slow to mature, and you couldn't help but root for it to solidify (and I am not the biggest of Romance fans). I believe The Science was so well explained that even Scientific newbies could follow along and puzzle the concepts out without prior knowledge of anatomy, physiology or chemistry....All that is required is an interest imo. ALSO, there were kraken, derigable, personal submersibles, steam powered/ mechanical everything (including nerve repairing arachnids), mad scientists, international espionage and you guessed it...air pirates! No good Steampunk yarn can be spun without the trusty air pirate or two. If you like Alt-Historical, Steampunk, Romance or Science based tales of espionage, love against the odds, scientific perfection and mechanical wonders filled awesomeness...you have found your next fav and new topper of the ever growing TBR pile!
This book hit the spot!!! I have been skim-ditching, it's a horrible habit (one I am trying to wean from and sort of my thing lately), like crazy which led to my frustration levels building exponentially with every discarded book found littering my bedroom floor. I had been insatiable for a book...not just ANY book mind you..which book you ask?? I had no clue...a common problem no doubt but a catastrophe for a bibliophile on the hunt for a no named, non classified genre-less gem...searching (in vain) for too many weeks to be healthy. Did it have to be the motherload of all literature, the Holy Grail? Nope, just something to scratch a very ill placed itch. Agatha H and the Airship City had been sitting on my ereader for SOO long I had to scroll a ridiculous amount of times to even locate it again after relegating its name to longterm memory storage (cranially that is)..anywho, it was 2am and I came across Agatha and thought that I'd throw a Hail Mary and sample a bit. A bit turned into a bunch which turned into a marathon read...just what I needed...go figure. Who knew a Steampunk Bizaro- Europe, action packed, light hearted, Romance lite, compendium (previously a graphic novel) populated by Evil (?) Geniuses, madboy tinkerers, sentient bots (revavants), talking animals, LOADS of phenotypically varied chimera, air pirates and more (much much more) could be the answer? I really love the Steampunk genre BUT, and that's a big but, only when it is done right. A lot of books claim to be Steampunk and mention nary a doodad, robot, corseted Tinkerer or anything remotely Punkish. This was just plain old fashioned fun. It felt like olden times: reading with the blanket over my head as to not disturb, book hooked you right in the beginning, the pages and subsequent chapters flew by at breakneck speed, there were always an abundance of twists and turns (though a bunch being a tad too easily forseen) all wrapped up neatly with a satisfyingly succinct (sometimes saccharine sweet) conclusion. There are too many things I adored about this book but I do have a favorite concept and a warm fuzzy feeling for an entire group. My favorite concept is the Spark...that oomph which resides in each mad Genius beseeching/demanding them to build, create, beget and bring forth Newness and Life into a world where previously there was none...and at times after there was some but that's a whole other bag of technicolored -technomancy. My favorite group is the Jagers who are "monsters" who, quite humorously, pretend to be a lot dimmer than they actually are and the outcome is very amusing. They speak in a unique (yet endearing) slang. They take an instant liking to and are suspiciously protective of our kick @$$ (though reluctant at first) female heroine. It is told from varying POVs which I find tricky at times but thought Phil and Kaja Foglio pulled off nicely.
All this and 2 subsequent books already out for instant gratification, what more could you want from a 2am Hail Mary?? Be advised: this is set to be a 10 book series. So if you are of the sect who do not start a book unless the entire series is completed and available you might want to wait awhile before delving into this one.
"It might be possible for two versions of the same person to coexist: one who knew the thrill of adventure, and another who knew only the comfort of home."
"What was it like, on the other side? Watching the ships come and go, instead of watching the ports appear and recede?"
Sounds promising right? WELLLLL I hate to be the one to burst some expectation bubbles BUT... even with Time Traveling pirates, magical items and animals, and a unique perspective on Time Travel, this book was slow plodding, populated with extremely flat characters (except for Kashmir) and had one of the hardest to imagine, most awkwardly forced together love triangles I have read in decades. PHEW...run on sentence tirade complete. Yes the Traveling mechanics were unique but there's no cure for "I care nothing for the MC or her plights" disease. Kash was the gleaming jewel in this mishmash story which elicited both excitement for new Time Travel possibilities and boredom accredited to "Who-Cares-Just-Get-It-Over-With-Before-I-Start-Demanding-My-Time-Back)itis. The MC has a dad who is far from perfect but whom loves her above all else (even more than his obsessive dreams of a happily ever after reunion with Nix's mom). I saw love in his brief/ chilly encounters almost from the first interaction...almost. Where I saw pained fatherly endearment Nix only saw underapricated, neglectful indifference. Maybe it takes a parent to pick up on such subtleties BUT for me, it was annoying how she kept interpreting almost every word, action or glance of her dads' as being hurtful and callous. The MC has a love interest in Kashmir. Kash is young, dashing, talented, funny, loyal, roguish with a slew of unnamed enticing attributes all on top of a heaping pile of jewels he gifts Nix with whenever the chance presents itself. He is the logical love interest but she sidesteps the messy issue repeatedly and even starts to fall for an islander whose only companionable features are his looks and his curiosity/budding obsession with Nix. I know some of you really LOVED this book and I'm sorry that I may be pooping on your Time Travel parade but even though I could see glints of possibility, I ultimately was left adrift on a sea of disappointment. Too dramatic?!? OK, I might concede to that but I cannot budge on my rating...at least for now
~~~~~ Btwn 3.5 - 4.0 Stars~~~~
This book has me conflicted, torn in two and nervous. Please don't flog me for what I am about to say. On the one hand the main storyline (minus the gratuitous sexy scenes) is awesome! It is unique and engaging and engrossing (and a bunch of en- words to boot) all on top of being very well written. On the other hand, in my humble prudish opinion, the sexy time scenes seem forced and overused. The plot most certainly did not need such naughty parts at every twist and turn of the MCs journey. I get that the (completely predictable) ending somewhat explains the need but come on, there is NO way a person gets broken, torn apart and barely healed and the FIRST thing she/he does is insist on having sex. Not the gentle love making of panicked lovers who have overcome a great herculean feat only to be unexpectedly reunited... NO the kind that makes a reader blush feverishly while trying to finish the book out in the real world. I am sorry if that is totally your thing and I am yucking your yumm. I truly enjoyed the storyline BUT I would have loved it more sans (again this is probably "it's a me thing not a you thing") sex upon sex have I mentioned we should have sex, ok but only after we have some more sex again moments. There were some well placed blush worthy sexy bits that I KNOW will stick in my head for a long time to come...BUT...overall the steamy bits were done to death with no hope of a magic salamander. Ok...enough puritan preaching!! There are a bevy of swoon worthy characters, the action is crazy, there are no insta-solutions to any of the problems faced and the writing is addicting. Did I mention the awesome kick @$$ heroic female characters?? No?!? Well Cat is no longer alone in that category. No spoilers here so I'll just say thay all in all Breath of Fire is a pretty entertaining read!
Main Plot: 5 Stars
Characters: 5 Stars
Action: 5 Stars
the rest ~ 2.5 - 3.0 Stars
I have been looking forward to this book SO very much. I was terrified that it would severely disappoint but after reading some rave reviews from GR friends I trust, I couldn't wait any longer. I am relieved that I gave it a shot because not only did this book not let me down, it succeeded in ways I couldn't have predicted. Some people have complained about the pacing at places and of some info dumping at the beginning but for me, I did not find those to be true.
I have unfortunately (and annoyingly) been chapter checking lately, wishing the ending would arrive quicker. This was the case even when I was completely invested BUT this experience was completely the opposite. I absolutely devoured this in one sitting and time flew by so quickly I was confused when the acknowledgements popped up. There are some major twists and the final one threw me a bit but BEWARE: the ending is a cliffhanger (which I ferociously loathe). My main gripes are that the book isn't long enough and that cliffhanger at the end left me frustratingly anxious for book #2. The writing was seamless/effortless. The characters were rich, intricately complex, gloriously Human, understandably damaged and endearingly realistic.
Which sister was my favorite? The queens, and most of the characters, were beautifully/tragically flawed. All three had very interesting back stories, strengths, weaknesses, relationship (of all kinds) woes, and compelling aspects so picking a definitive side was difficult. If I had to pick one to get behind and root for it would most likely be Mirabella. Mirabella is an Elemental and is believed to be the strongest of the three sisters yet she is the most reluctant to kill her siblings. She is beautiful, which is not a reason in and of itself to pick her but that coupled with her tragic love situation (both romantic and filial), I couldn't help but feel for her.
This was such a delight, I can not recommended it highly enough for fantasy lovers and lovers of Royal intrigue. The romances were tastefully done and not rammed down the reader's throat...so if that's not your thing don't worry, it's not a raging love fest of yuck.
“Vomit is not the loveliest of perfumes.” Mary pats Bunting’s leg before standing up. “Oh, but there you’re wrong. To me, it smells like Traitorous Bitch Who Got What Was Coming to Her by Spilling Her Guts—and that, ladies, is a glorious smell.”
It's hard to believe that this is the end of the Collector's Society and all of the world's they protect. It is a bitter sweet end with lots of questions finally answered and a pretty inventive ending. I LOVED finally finding out who the Librarian is and what she is capable of. The romances are epic.
"No one will come for us, not any time soon, at least. And even if they did, would there be anything left to save? No healing spray can tend these injuries. “I love you,” Finn says. “I will always love you. I’m here with you, Alice. I’m with you until the end, and then beyond.”
But don't underestimate the power of Love (que nauseating awwwws and cheesy harps and such) or the cleverness of our MCs (especially Alice and the Librarian). The bad guys are terrible and numerous. The odds seem appallingly bleak. The hits are constant and seemingly insurmountable. The dialogue is witty and natural and I am going to miss this series something fierce. I hate goodbyes especially when it's to an incredible series with amazing characters, witty banter and clever world(s) development. I LOVE this book, this author, this series and want to scream it all from some rooftops...or cry....FRABJOUS, I'm a mess! If you are a fan of Literature and the classic characters that reside therein then I suggest you check out this series, you won't be disappointed!!
I enjoyed this gem via audiobook using Hoopla, which is annoying and glitchy but that's neither here nor there, and I am astounded anew each time I venture into the extremely rich, creative mind of Mr. Neil Gaiman. He narrates his own books and really who knows better the tone implied or the necessary pivotal points to be highlighted than the Creator himself? I know that is not for everyone. Not all writers are orators to boot but Neil Gaiman has a melodic British accent that is both hypnotic and unassuming (which makes the creepy or scary bits all the more terrifying) AND he is great at varying the character voices so each character feels viable, alive. The depth of this man's imagination knows no bounds and I am always amazed at how well crafted his insanely unique worlds can be. My favorite is still Neverwhere but I LOVED this book...that is until the end which seemed a bit unsatisfying and too much like a copout. Harsh sounding? YES! But only because his work commands, attains and exceeds such high expectations. His tale's impressively woven tapestry is so beautiful that I did not protest too much even after being slightly disappointed. I was thankful to have the chance to experience this wild ride alongside each and every loveable/loatheable creepy crawly, uniquely exotic, and believably Real being within. The MC and his journey encapsulate every fiber of being young and powerless and the beauty and subsequent loss of Youth's innocence (or did he?). I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a dollop of Fancy, a large helping of Whimsy and an abundance of literary excellence.