"Ripples and waves of light danced on the roof of the cave, the churning maelstrom of the glowing pool beneath reflected on the centuries-old rock worn smooth by the passage of time and water. The boy with the sword stopped in the entrance.."
Lately, I've become fascinated with the opening lines authors choose to use in their stories. After all, the cover is like a first glance at someone, the synopsis.. more like the ritual of approach, but those openers.. they're the greeting. They're the first impression and as they say, you only get one. Just as you might meet a new person, a lot can be gleaned from these first words. You get to see how they hold themselves.. are they confident or unsure.. reserved or aggressive.. how do they see the world around them?
From those first words, I bonded with this story and with this author. She was eloquently descriptive, but she didn't use the most complex language she had available just for the sake of the pretention of artistry. That's not to say her words lacked imagination or intelligence. Rather, she seemed to feel with her words. I could believe she had witnessed what she was describing.. and like the male lead, what she saw was stunningly beautiful and not just in the most obvious ways.
'Mageborn (The Hollow King Book 1),' is the story of a cynical, orphaned solder, Grace Marchant, who is charged with capturing dangerous magic wielders called the mageborn that have often gone rogue and begun harming people. There are others of course, but the magic that is born into them is outlawed, and if they don't volunteer to be enslaved to the crown, soldiers like Grace are sent to retrieve them. After an incident in the field, she becomes caught up with the heir to the throne.. a prince called the Lord of Thorns.. Bastien Larelwynn. A man that the entire city is terrified of, all is not as it seems with him or nearly anyone amongst those connected with the palace.
"She could read the pain, written all over his expression like letters on parchment. It hurt him. It was agony. Like drinking poison and trying to transmute it into something else through sheer force of will alone."
Jessica Thorne, the author, wasted no time breaking my heart. Before the story even really gets rolling, she sunk a character deep into my heart with his pain and left me feeling blindsided, wondering what exactly had just occurred as I stared down at the page questioning everything.
In addition to the descriptive passages, Thorne does an excellent job at managing deep backstories.. both known and unknown to the characters and a relatively creative approach to the magic system which has elemental aspects, but also much more. The mageborn wield many different kinds of abilities and learning new ones as I read was almost as interesting as the plot itself.
There are distinctive class differences at play, between the royals and other well-bred citizens, and the gritty underbelly deeper inside the city, where the soldiers come from. The sense of entitlement and disdain.. regarding those outside the poorer parts of town is palpable. There is a bit of pantheon building here as well, just a glimpse of their gods, which I'm hoping we'll see developed more widely in future releases for the series.
"His eyes flickered open. He didn't even seem to see her, or know where he was. He stared up at her through the light of the pool, helpless and confused. The misery in his voice was a spear in her chest."
The characters are complex. Some of them have had horrible experiences in their earlier years.. and their behaviors often reflect that. They hide things, not just from each other, but from us.. even from themselves at times. The deceit is heavily layered, especially in the court, but it doesn't stop there either. They're all richly formed, for better or worse. Even the villains in this story are great.
That being said, Grace is a little to quick to flip back and forth on what she should know sometimes. Not a writing flaw, more of an individual character flaw. I couldn't decide if I wanted to cheer her.. or shake her until she saw reason.. but she's inherently good and means to do what's right. Her love interest is a beauty though.. inside and out.. a lovely character I spent the entire novel just wanting to protect. The absolute horrors wrought upon him and through him opened up a hole in my chest as I read. At times he made me laugh because he could be such a brat, but I adored him all the same. Perhaps even more due to those parts of his personality. In fact, there's a comment about an omelette that made me laugh so much, I nearly had to explain myself to the other people in my house.
"'Grace,' he whispered. 'I know. You're fine. Where does it hurt?' He laughed, a short and bitter laugh. He couldn't help himself. 'Everywhere?'"
My only complaints are small ones. Periodically, more so toward the end, the author seemed to rely on repetition to draw out a dramatic scene. Something literally might be said in one paragraph.. and restated in the very next.. and it felt unnecessary. The pacing of the novel is great and those scenes would have been just fine without repeating anything. And occasionally, feelings flipped entirely too fast. 'Never' is forgotten very quickly.
Really though, that's the worst thing I can say about this book and it's so insignificant. So minor, it's barely worth mentioning. I genuinely loved this story, the characters, the world, the way it's written.. everything about it.. and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great new fantasy series that is only just beginning..
'How to Find a Higgs Boson and Other Big Mysteries in the World of Very Small' by CERN particle physicist, Ivo Van Vulpen, is a surprisingly fun romp through some of the most complex discoveries in the history of the field.
The various discoveries and theories are told in layman's terms, anecdotes, and analogies even the most novice reader could enjoy. Initially, I had found the text to be overly simplified and a little repetitive, but as I read on.. I realized the author was setting the tone. He intended to get into some relatively heavy topics (no pun intended), even leading up to what he referred to as "one of the most abstract new concepts in physics," and wanted anyone picking the book up to be able to make it through to the end with him.. with a new understanding of the ideas and experiences he planned to share.
There are a few things especially, that I think the average reader will get a kick out of.. like the way the author shares the practical applications of many of the discoveries that have been made throughout the years. Though his analogies, he explains things such as how energy is produced in power plants.. also how electric engines like the Tesla uses (while better than fossil fuel engines), wind turbines, etc.. are not as "squeaky clean" as we think they are because they still have to get that power from traditional sources.
He goes in depth about the presence of particle accelerators and other quantum mechanics developments in our daily lives, via PET scanners, X-Ray technology, old televisions, computer monitors, and more. He even breaks down how they work, as well as the process of creating, destroying, and transforming particles entirely.. turning them into new.. and in some cases, undiscovered particles like his team did the Higgs Boson back in 2012.
"For example, an MRI scan of the knee of a particle physicist who has always been an avid amateur footballer may show that his cartilage is worn and that he should spend his time writing books instead of dreaming of a future on the FC Barcelona first team."
What I found fun, in addition to his sense of humor, were the analogies he sometimes chose to give the reader a better understanding of the scope of a the subject. Like the true physical size of both the series of particle detectors (one of which is a camera the size of the White House in Washington, D.C.) and the Large Hadron Collider, what it's like maneuvering those protons through it, what the equivalent force of that mass in real world terms, and additionally the ways scientists are now trying to capture evidence of dark matter through labs in underground mines and caves.. designed to avoid cosmic ray interference and hopefully get a glimpse of what they seek.
If you have even a remote interest in the field of particle physics or quantum mechanics, whether you're a novice or you consider yourself reasonably well read, I think you'll find something enjoyable about this book. I know I did.
'Duty Bound' is a short prequel novel in the Angelbound series by Christina Bauer.
Lincoln, the High Prince of Thrax is a demon hunter. Their world consists of Heaven, Hell, Earth, Purgatory, and a place called the Dark Lands, and in addition to his kind, there are humans, ghouls, and a what seems to be a number of other races.
There's a neighboring kingdom called Acca that he and his royal family struggle to manage.. run by an ambitious man who costs many warriors their lives to serve his personal agenda. Which of course, incites the prince. He wants to put an end to all the senseless death this story is mostly about the pursuit of that, as well as the structure he works within.
As it's brief, it's tough to say much about where the story is going, without spoiling it.. and I don't wish to ruin it for anyone who might want to read it. I'll say that Lincoln and his mother, the Queen, have an interesting relationship. It sometimes seems hostile, but I don't think it really is. She's suspicious by nature and he's often up to something. They spar verbally, but in a really amusing tone. Honestly, he plays word games like a 10 year old with her, and it's kind of hilarious.
He's kind though, he's good to others, he's supportive of young thrax coming up in training, and he wants what's best for everyone. Of course, then there's a girl. We don't find out much about her, only that she is.. well.. everything he's not supposed to like.
The real struggle is between him and the Earl of Acca. The Earl has his sights set very high and in his unscrupulous ways, is attempting to reach them.. while Lincoln is trying to stay a step ahead without losing his.
It's a fun little novel and I'm eager to move on in the series and see if it develops. The story is well-written, the special weaponry Lincoln uses is very creative, and the races seem pretty well fleshed out. In fact.. the demons have some pretty cool fighting abilities I haven't seen before too.
'The Nexus Mirror (Chronicles of the Enlai Book 1)' by N.E. Michael is a futuristic fantasy novel with strong sci-fi elements about a war that has been ongoing for over two-hundred years, a puzzle-trapped portal hiding a weapon that could theoretically win that war for whomever finds it, and the race to find the girl that's the key.
"My beautiful sister, when will you learn that some fights are just not worth the consequences?"
Now, this was actually a bit of a dense read and not entirely due to the deep story and world-building at play, but it absolutely maintained my interest to the end. The author has woven a number of historical figures and creatures of lore throughout the mythos of the races. Though I'm unsure if I like it in this particular case, I find it incredibly ambitious and very creative. However, some of the technology within is absolutely fascinating and not so far fetched, considering the testing going on in robotics.
"The ceiling was filled with small bee-like robots which flew from computer to computer, plugging their stingers into slits on top of the computers, transferring data, and then flying to their next destination..."
To begin with, there are many 'tribes' within the Enlai race. Each tribe has special abilities they're known for, such as elemental molding or dimension jumping. Some of them are content to lock themselves away in their own spaces and remain uninvolved, while others actively partner up with beings on each side of the war, for their own personal agendas.
What made this story so intense, is that literally everyone involved.. was willing to do just about anything to achieve their goal. In some cases that meant treachery and murder.. while in others.. it meant making the ultimate sacrifice for another. As their personal motivations came to light and their true natures began to show beyond their initial impressions, I often found myself disliking people I thought I'd like and championing those I thought I wouldn't. Michael excels at this kind of malleable character depth.
I grew especially invested in the Shadow tribe and if you read it, you'll understand why. There is just so much fire and heart in their people. So damn much fight. They have some unsavory members, as all the tribes seem to.. but inherently, I get what motivates them.
"His face painted with burns, smoke, and blood, he stood on one leg, the other hung loosely in its place. His arms and chest were on fire, yet his eyes burned brighter."
The action scenes felt a bit overdone to me, not in that they were frequent or violent. I'm good with both. I just find that for me, overexplaining a fight bores me a bit. I want the author to draw the parties to their conflict, give me a few physical highlights, and get back to the story. OR.. or.. if you really want to go into this kind of detail.. save it for pivotal battles, give it to us once or twice, and never again. They read like someone sitting in front of a movie, trying to explain every move to someone who isn't watching, and it's a bit much.
A book with this much story to tell, doesn't even need it. After the first couple of times, each fight got increasingly heavier in my mind, increasingly harder to read, even tiresome. I began to wish I could skip them at times and if I had been reading purely for pleasure, maybe I'd have considered it, but when I review.. I refuse to skip anything AND.. everything else was so interesting, I would have been afraid I'd miss something important anyway.
There's a slight tendency to information dump here and there, but mostly I feel this is due to the sheer scope of the world the writer has created and the time limit within one book to set everything up and still have room to move the story.
Admittedly, the only other small complaint I have is with the 'Reader' tribe, especially Alia, since it's her inner-narrative we're subject to so frequently. I understand that they're typically calm in stressful situations and their ability allows them insight, but the drawn out formal thoughts just don't meld well with the atmosphere of the story. In the heat of battle where one is receiving sensory input in quick bursts, assessing it, and deciding a course of action.. it just isn't how 'our' brains work. Sure, this is a work of fiction and even human brain functions vary.. theirs are probably different, but it just felt out of sync to me.
"They say," he started, breaking the silence and gesturing to the bowl, "these tears are the final gifts of the departed. That is why we collect them. For even in death, our loved ones wish to comfort us."
Honestly though, my two minor criticisms are just that. Minor. Overall, the book is highly engaging, both the backstory and current timeline are fascinating. There were all kinds of shifty characters coming and going, some good and some bad, at all times. Things were rarely as they seemed.. and I loved it. In fact, now I'm going to have to order the second book..
'Chain of Gold,' the first novel in the brand new upcoming series 'The Last Hours' by Cassandra Clare is set to release on March 3rd.. less than a three weeks away! Having never read any of Clare's previous series which have been on my to-be-read lists for years, I jumped at the chance to read an excerpt of the next foray into the Shadowhunters universe provided by NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing.
Though I was concerned I might not know important facts from the author's earlier releases, I was pleased with the way she gently explained anything specific to her world. The details brief enough, so as to come across like a reminder, more than a list of things I might be quizzed on later.
The story seems to center around James Herondale, a Shadowhunter of unusual heritage, that's beginning to struggle with an old problem which could potentially endanger him and his team.. all the while trying to hide his connection to a young woman soon to arrive in London, where they're all living.
When he, his sister, and his mother.. greet a family of new arrivals, long time friends of the Herondales, there's a bit of a misunderstanding which I can't wait to watch unfold. Cordelia Carstairs, her pompous brother Alastair, and their mother are in town seeking allies.. as their father finds himself in jeopardy.
I was also thoroughly intrigued by the glimpse of a young Lucie Herondale, James' little sister, lost in a forest near her family home, in what I assume was some kind of flashback. I found myself desperate to know who her would-be savior was and exactly why he was there.. because it was no happenstance.. and he certainly drew my attention with his playfully dangerous energy.
Unfortunately, the excerpt is incredibly brief.. just a few pages here and there.. but it's more than enough for me to realize I'm going to have to get the book. In fact, Cassandra's note at the beginning of the book implies a fascinating overlay between the historic battle of World War I and whatever is coming for both the Herondales and the Carstairs as their families reunite.
“Let’s get this one thing straight—I’m not breaking our betrothal contract.” He stalked back to me. “Not now. Not ever. If you want to break it, then we’ll discuss it. They’ve talked a lot about our contract on the news, so I’m sure you have it in your head that I’m planning on breaking it. But I’m not. I haven’t brought it up because you’ve been dealing with enough. I was giving you time, but I’d marry you tomorrow if I thought you’d agree.”
Tomorrow? I had zero clue before this moment that he was completely insane. He couldn’t marry me, especially not tomorrow. I couldn’t be queen.
“What if I want to break our betrothal?” I wasn’t sure I did, but I wasn’t sure I didn’t either.
He strode quickly to me, knelt in front of my chair. I hugged my legs tighter to my chest, but he grabbed my ankles. “Look at me.”
I looked everywhere but him.
“Look at me, please.” He squeezed my ankles and let go. “Please.”
I blew out a breath and rested my chin on my knees so that I could meet his gaze. It was hard to really look at him. Every time I did, I wanted him more and more, and I wasn’t sure how much more I could want him without becoming completely addicted. It took everything in me not to wrap my arms around his neck and pull him to me.
He let go of one ankle and cupped my cheek. “Do you want to marry me?” He was using his low voice, the one that set my skin on fire.
My skin was so bright and my stomach fluttered and flipped and I forced myself to choke down my first immediate response. The dumb one that wanted to slide past my lips effortlessly. I couldn’t answer his question because I didn’t trust myself to give him the right answer. The one that made sense.
All signs of anger melted away from him. His back straightened, he held his head high, his fao’ana stopped flashing, and his skin dimmed a little.
But it was his smile that told me he knew exactly what I’d been thinking.
“This is where being your shalshasa comes into play. I’m as sensitive to frequencies as you are, but even more attuned to yours. I can feel your frequencies as your moods shift. Your immediate answer was going to be yes before you got scared.” He rose just a little, cupping my face with both his hands, and all I could see were his aquamarine eyes.
The color I associated with calm and safety. The color I’d painted the walls in my room on Earth so that I could feel more at home. The color I wanted to get lost in forever.
He brushed a soft kiss on my lips. It was quick, too quick, and it left me wanting more.
“Until you can say no—honestly and without stress—I’m going to assume your answer is yes, and that you just need more time. I don’t want fear to be a part of your decision. Okay?”
He leaned in for another kiss, and I wanted. I wanted it more than anything. But I made myself lean back in the chair, pulling my face from his hands.
“I can’t do this.” The words were shaky, but I’d said them. I had to stop it before this went too far.
“Because…” There were too many reasons.
Because he needed a queen.
Because I didn’t want that much responsibility.
“Because you deserve someone not broken.” That wasn’t the one I meant to go with, but words slipping out of me seemed to be the theme for our little chat.
“You’re not broken. If anything, you’re confused. Which is totally understandable. You’ve been through a very rough thirteen years, and memories that would help you readjust to being home aren’t there. So, you need some time to heal. Which is what I’ve been giving you. I think you’d feel less fragile if you got a decent night’s sleep. If you ate more. If you took a moment to take care of yourself instead of spending twenty hours a day in the gym. Declan and his mission are going to kill you.”
"Relief is a memory you will forget."
'In Restless Dreams (The Phantasmer Cycle Book 1)' by Wren Handman is one of those seemingly innocuous titles that slowly shows itself as much, much more than it appears to be.
The pitch is this.. the main character, Sylvia, is a teenage girl whose mother's attempted suicide lands her in the big city. She and her brother end up there with their estranged dad, the rich prep school she's forced to attend, a complete departure from the life she knew.. and one she's struggling to navigate at best.
To make bad into worse, she's the most recent incarnation of something the neighboring fae world refers to as a Phantasmer, a human who can literally change everything simply by believing. Lucky girl, that places her right in the middle between the two warring Courts. The Seelie and Unseelie both have their own strategies for dealing with her ability, and the young men trying to sway her loyalties have intentions of their own.
"When you get older, plainer, saner, when you remember all the danger we came from." -- "Burning like embers, falling, tender, long before the days of no surrender. Years ago, and well you know..."
At the start of the book, it actually seems to center mostly around Sylvia's day to day situation in New York. Some of her classmates are typically awful, but she meets a couple of people who seem nice. As she trudges through her new situation, it's just kind of your average story.
So, when she first really crosses paths with one of the fae and the dialogue takes a sharp dip into this beautifully crafted sort of homage to all things Wonderland, I found myself straightening up in my chair and reassessing the writer entirely.
Certainly, some of the similarities are overt and deliberate, but I feel like there are glimpses of other worlds here too. Influences, even if subconscious, on the author.
"This new thing is made up of barbed wire and gunny sack, a scarecrow of madness. It twitters, something halfway between a laugh and the scream of ripping metal."
Initially, that snippet seemed most obviously some darker combination of Oz, but for me it felt like something I might see in Kingdom Hearts. In my mind, it was both frightening and ridiculous, but it still made me uneasy and I loved that.
There's this brilliant character whose intentions you're never quite certain of. Everything you're shown says one thing about him, yet my instincts continued down their own road. He's a creature of darkness wrapped in some strange joy, who loves to sort of linger in the gray.. toying with anyone who might be able to glimpse him. Ultimately, good or bad.. he's my favorite.. simply for the way he's able to wander along that line, swerving this way and that without much concern for the consequences. Besides, even wickedly so, he's delightfully playful.
I feel like the author really benefitted from her work in scripts. While oft times, this can throw a writer off, resulting in scenes that only play out well in a visual medium, Handman has a unique mastery of how best to utilize what she knows. She's able to create these moments (and if you read this, you'll see one during the night of the party.. there are soaps and hand creams involved, just remember that much), that are warm and funny, visualized so well that I can still replay the images in my memory.
"I don't know...Did you know your belt is made of sorrow?" I ask. -- He gives me an odd look. "You're still high, aren't you?"
Beneath the most obvious plotlines, the changing of the world and the battle between the two Courts, even the potential romantic angles.. what I really love is the origin story of their world and the history within it. The creation of the cycles these beings have been subjected to is uniquely inventive and held me fascinated. The connections they held to great artists, how they benefitted from the work they were putting out into the world, is incredibly unconventional in the best way.
Wren made me laugh out loud, leaving me to explain my strange outbursts to my family.. and made me cry, which thankfully no one was present for. It can't be proven. Never happened. *cough* Really though, the truth is, I was terribly sad and hopeful for all of the fae. Even those who didn't necessarily deserve it.
[TOUR SCHEDULE] to check out the rest of the stops on 'The Diseased Ones' blog tour brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours, Acorn Publishing, and Danielle Harrington!
'The Diseased Ones (The Hollis Timewire Series Book 1)' by Danielle Harrington is an urban dystopian story about a society that is basically all about a 'purity' and 'cleansing' of its people. A lot of metaphors can be drawn here, but I really don't feel like it's driven by some need to make a statement about things going on in the real fabric of our lives.
It's basically a painfully eye-opening experience for the main character, Hollis. After years of what she believes is a society free of these genetic anomalies, on Testing Day, she discovers she's carrying the anomaly herself.
Thrust into the middle of the conflict between the government, who seems to only want her and her kind dead, and others like herself that are in hiding.. she doesn't know who to trust. Everyone seems to have their own agenda and no one seems to want to be completely honest about what they know, but as far as she can tell.. they're trying to help her anyway. Even if it's just so they can help themselves.
As the story goes, it may not be spectacular, but it's decent. Aside from the fact, any really pertinent information moment by moment has a convenient way of falling into the lap of both Hollis and the reader, it really doesn't suffer from any major pitfalls.
I felt a bit too much time was devoted strictly to Hollis learning how to manage her powers. I get that it was her story and the author felt her development was important, but it felt unnecessary and was the only part I got a bit restless reading.
Possibly the most interesting aspect of the story though, isn't the abilities any of The Diseased Ones carry, or the bit of intrigue regarding which side is actually the good.. and which is the bad. It's a pair of twins. They appear late in the story and really should have been given more page time.
Their story is actually the most moving, and the knowledge gained about them is impactful. It's a shame we only see them briefly.. but perhaps in the future.. in another part of the series.
All in all, I did read it all in one sitting and it was a bit of a page-turner. So, if you're looking for a quick read with some likeable characters (Jonah, Keith, Tiffany) and a bit of high stakes action, this is probably worth picking up.
The Diseased Ones
"Luther is the most beautiful of my captors. Still I hate him more than the others. I hate him so much that the darkness inside me comes alive."
If you're like me, there's plenty of steamy conflict in the synopsis of Mila Young's 'To Seduce a Fae,' to grab your attention. Ironically, though this is listed as the first title in the 'Winter's Thorn' series, the e-book still arrived with an attached download link for a prequel called, 'To Catch a Fae.' Go figure.
I did, of course, go download it right away. The covers are both gorgeous and the story sounded like it was going to be a pretty fun fantasy novel with a lot of beautiful fae heat to roll around in. Though, even as I was just beginning this book, I was pretty certain I'd never read that first one.
Young is one of those author's who.. and I'm seeing a lot of them lately.. write stories more like they're in a role-playing chatroom than putting down words for a novel. I don't know when that became the thing. I honestly feel like they don't know any better.. like this is just how their brains process storytelling.. but it annoys the hell out of me.
Instead of 'she laughs,' we get 'she's laughing'.. which makes me feel like I'm sitting beside the narrator.. but they think I don't understand what's happening. The rest of that sentence becomes, "She's laughing, then refocuses on me." Not, "She laughs, then refocuses on me." Using two different approaches in the same sentence always sends me into a silent reader rage. I can't even explain it.
I know it sounds like I'm nit-picking, but try saying that to someone in conversation and see how it feels. Now, try spending all day only speaking that way. I rest my case.
Of course, the first gorgeous fae she runs across.. Deimos, has to think up a false name to give her.. I don't know why. Neither name means anything to her at this point, but he stammers and gives the name 'Doohickey.' So, 7% of the way in, I found myself already cringing.. and it doesn't stop. It gets worse and worse.
The main character, Guen, is one of those brilliant author designs. You know the ones.. she's so plain and unattractive that she thinks she'd look terrible in the things her best friend wears and no one would be interested in her, but of course.. everyone is. All the men are mesmerized by how beautiful she is. Whether friends or enemies, would-be killers or saviors, ultimately they still want to try her on for size. It's ridiculous.
She's melodramatic and annoying in all the most basic ways.
"These men were standing really close, saying weird things." I feel stupid in this moment as I hear my words and what I'm freaking out about."
I constantly wanted someone to shut her up or the chance to do it myself. And the author's descriptions are beyond.. belief. Sometimes I don't even know what she's trying to say, let alone why she chooses to say it the way she does.
"Someone grabs my arm, and I swing around with my stomach in my skin pricking with dread."
Pardon? That one left me blinking for a minute. Actually, after staring at the screen, perplexed by the writer's interesting command of language, I just shut the Kindle down and shook my head. I needed a few minutes to get over exactly how bad it was in the moment.
Ultimately, the story is just incredibly average. I did go back. A couple of hours later. But it continued to devolve from a creative standpoint in my opinion. The author loves to info dump periodically, instead of unveiling things with care.. a little word vomit in the car.. another bit of it in the motel.. a bit of it when they pause in running.. a bit more at the inn almost to the castle.. leaving exactly the kind of mess you'd expect.
"His fingers squeeze harder, and I'm suffocating, my lungs strangling themselves for air."
Deimos, as it turns out, has two hot brothers.. Luther and Ahren. They have dangerous enemies in one of the neighboring Courts, a curse to try to cure, violent abuse in a childhood backstory, and they're racking up debts just trying to deal with that, which may be the death of at least one of them. But none of that can save this title, as it's never really drawn out into a proper story. Mostly it's just briefly touched on here and there throughout the MC's whining and complaining and the attempt by the author to handle multiple-POV storytelling, when even one POV is on shaky ground.
Honestly, even the 'steamy scenes' are duds. The girl has a one-button insta-arousal kit and a nearly instant release potential without any serious contact. While there are signs the boys can smolder and Luther especially sounds lovely, it's a whole lot of 'not enough' in a novel full of 'I don't even care anymore.'
I just can't convey how disappointing this book was for me. I could probably pull all of the integral parts of the story from it and fit them onto a few pages, but you know what? It still wouldn't be worth reading.
'House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1),' the first of a brand new adult series by Sarah J. Maas is only a little less than a month away and I can't wait..
Yesterday, I got a glimpse of the entirely new world she's created around main character, Bryce Quinlan through the first five chapters of the novel. I must say, as a freshman Maas reader, I did not know exactly what I was getting into.. but that's good!
I like to go in as blindly as possible when I start a read. Even though I obviously read the synopsis when I first take interest in a book, I like to let as much of that fall away as I can before picking it up. I like to give the author fresh eyes.
In this case, I also didn't have any sort of predetermined idea as to her style or the types of things she might throw at the reader. So, as I immediately grew attached to certain characters in the opening chapters, even though what happened was put out there right in the blurb, I was crushed when that pivotal moment came. And to think, that scene is such a small thing as to begin the journey..
Clearly, this is going to be a rough road to travel and I'm all in. If you can break my heart with a setup you've told me is coming.. I want to see what more you have to offer.
The Crescent City world is huge. All manner of magical and non-magical beings existing in one place.. seven quarters in the city.. an Imperial Council (we all know how well that went for the people of the Star Wars universe).. and what appears to be a couple of very nasty players in the game. Both above and below the divisional class lines.
March 3rd can't get here fast enough!