Tag: book reviews

Ironside is, at last, the kind of fae book we need more of

Ironside is, at last, the kind of fae book we need more of

★★★★★

(4.5 stars)

There’s one thing to note before I shimmy down into this: The Modern Faerie Tales is a very bizarre trio of books. Yes, it goes Tithe, Valiant, then Ironside, but you do not need to read Valiant at all, and Tithe/Ironside are far more of a duology. At this point I don’t know if I’ll read Valient or not, hence me skipping it.

I suppose I should also note the irony of me declaring this a ‘good fae book’ when I read my first fae book in 2017 and… actually, all but one of the books I’ve read HAVE been by Holly Black. I’m no expert in the genre technically, but I have been doing reading and research since I am writing a book with fae in it, plus DND has exposed me to it… as well as my hatred for SJM’s fae. So I’m not well read, but I know what a good faerie portrayel should contain, and Ironside has finally hit that mark.

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I desperately miss books like Max on Earth

I desperately miss books like Max on Earth

★★★★★

(5 stars)

My girlfriend picked this up for me. I think I’ve allured her into the world of buying random pulp books, though I’m the one who ends up eventually reading them. This one was picked up for the cover- delightful, as you can see, even though no good HD versions appear to exist online.

OUT OF THIS WORLD #1: Max on Earth is the tiny, short book from about 1980 when YA fiction was… well, like this I guess. An alien named Max shows up and befriends Randi, a normal teen girl, and that’s it. I honestly used to read a lot of books about this length and style when I was younger, since the library would have them. I think admittedly I was more 12 at that point, but 12 year olds do count as YA, and kids that age and younger read modern YA as well. I can’t quite recall the names, but I remember books about like an alien who interrupted baseball, a mirror that turned a kid invisible, a teacher who was secretly an alien, and a girl who was secretly an alien princess. I guess I read a lot of books on aliens, looking back. These were all MG/YA that I generally read when I was younger, being a Super Advanced Reader in elementary school and all. They rocked.

Ahem. Is this book good? No, not really. Have I given it five stars? Yes. What are you going to do about it?

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Tithe is just the beta version of the rest of Holly Black’s novels

Tithe is just the beta version of the rest of Holly Black’s novels

★★★★☆

(4 stars)

I’ve enjoyed Holly Black to pick up Tithe blind, and I have to say, it was puzzling at first. People swoon over Cruel Prince and Darkest Part, but Tithe and the other Modern Faerie Tales are the awkward teenager stage between those and her beginnings in children’s fiction. Tithe often feels like it was written by a teen who just realized they could do anything they wanted in a book- there’s a lot of swearing, smoking/drinking, and sexual content right off the bat. Still, there’s a lot of likable things in this book, and a lot of the time the grime felt authentic rather than needlessly dark.

What stood out to me most by the end, however, was that this book is pretty much the same book as Darkest Part Of The Forest, which Black published 13 years later. I read and reviewed Darkest a while ago, and found it fine but not too compelling. I liked Tithe more, and there’s enough differences I couldn’t call it self-plagiarism, but the many story elements and plot points are present in both.

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A strong start can’t shake the letdown that is Crown of Coral and Pearl

A strong start can’t shake the letdown that is Crown of Coral and Pearl

(2.5 stars)

I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Even the tagline of this book is at war with it’s concept: Steal the crown, save the kingdom. Dramatic, bold, and entirely unrelated to both the pitch and actual plot.

This was a book I asked for and was semi-surprised I’d received. It sounded interesting and the cover was gorgeous, but I didn’t know what I was stepping into. The pitch is fantastic, and at first I thought I was getting into a solid 5, or 4.5, star book: the first 100 pages are slow moving, but also have fantastic writing, emotional beats, and story elements. Then the rest of the book happens.

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In a past life, maybe Rapture was an okay standalone novel

In a past life, maybe Rapture was an okay standalone novel

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

Rapture actually has a lot of things going for it: lovely descriptions, vivid images of international locations, interesting angel lore, neat magical concepts, and a few raised and slightly discussed deeper themes. The problem is that all of these positives are beaten over the head with the fact this is book four, and the final book in a quartet, of an extremely uneven series.

The Fallen quartet is perhaps the most diverse series I’ve read in that every book is decidedly a different genre and story-type to the next, as if the author had a checklist of things she wanted to try and decided to use the same paper thin characters to act each one out.

So, while I enjoyed some aspects of this too-long book, it was always hampered down by the fact it was the last book, and thus needed to provide a conclusion and tie-in to the ones before it. The treasure hunt for ancient angelic relics to solve a mystery about the fall is a fine idea and easily could have been the plot of a different, better novel, which didn’t also have to weave in a whole ton of characters, revelations, and confusing reincarnation gimmicks in as well.

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Can we go back in time and ensure Passion is never written?

Can we go back in time and ensure Passion is never written?

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

Frankly, it’s unclear why this book exists.

The Fallen series is a quartet, slightly unusual for an era of para-ro trilogies. Typically this genre of book from the early 2010s has a very formulaic pattern: in book one they meet, fall in love, and learn the supernatural elements. In book two not much happens (this is the worst book of the series). Book three is some apocalyptic showdown event.

Maybe it’s good Fallen drove to break ties to that, offering seemingly an entirely different subgenre for each book: book 1 was incredibly boring romance, book 2 was fun adventure, book 3 is time travel, and book 4 is a fetch quest. Still, narrative wise, Passion does not need to exist. This is a book about time travel. Exclusively about time travel.

Ultimately, I can’t fault much concrete grit: the writing is fine, the settings are diverse and have been researched, there’s some degree of character and world building… but from a story arc point of view, this book could have easily been a chapter or two. It did not need to be over three hundred pages of, broader story speaking, nothing.

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YA literature can do worse than The Beholder… so at least there’s that

YA literature can do worse than The Beholder… so at least there’s that

★★★☆☆

(3 stars)

This (The Beholder, Anna Bright) is not a book I would have ever picked up, but I got it in a book crate and felt I ought to give it a go. It’s…. well, it’s not very exciting, and there isn’t a ton to talk about. I don’t hate it or have much to dislike, and generally enjoyed reading it, but it’s also not very engaging (or plot focused). The world building is a wonderful idea, but the execution is at times head scratching.

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