Tag: book

I’m not sure what Indigara is or quite what I just read

I’m not sure what Indigara is or quite what I just read

★★★☆☆

(3 ‘huh?!’ stars)

You might assume by my bewilderment, the title, and the star rating this is a particularly surreal book. It isn’t. It’s not the weirdest thing I’ve read by a long shot. It’s just… inexplicable in the wrong ways. The sort of boring ways.

Indigara is… something. What brings me to my head-scratching rating is that I can’t quite parse the end of it- the ending offers no ‘wrap up’ to anything in the story. It’s unclear if there is a message or thesis to the tale, despite having an otherwise simple plot arc. This is a middle grade book and a portal fantasy, ultimately, yet the ending is confusingly downtrodden. I can’t figure what the point of this book is.

Yes, you can argue many books do not have a ‘point’ or ‘thesis’ or whatever nonsense I’m rambling about, but there’s usually more of an end to them, a sort of conclusion. Hell knows what this book is saying. If you don’t take your robot dog for routine maintenance it will dream of adventure? It’s not creepy for 16 year olds to date 50 year olds? Your life will be full of disappointment and missed opportunities, deal with it?

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Queen of Nothing review: I must sadly rescind my blood oath to murder Carden Greenbriar

Queen of Nothing review: I must sadly rescind my blood oath to murder Carden Greenbriar

★★★☆☆

(3.5 stars)

Call me the Queen of Fools, because I no longer despise Carden. After book one making me wish strangulation on the whole cast, and book two setting me in stone against the fae fool, I am ready to put on garish makeup and admit my wrongs.

Yes, you are hearing me correct: Carden is no longer a completely miserable excuse of garbage in the package of a generic YA love interest, and I liked him in this book, and I liked his relationship with Jude in a romantic sense. This admission weighs heavy on my soul after my many memes and posts on the matter, but rejoice! This change of tides can only mean a miracle is on its way. (And that miracle is that I will no longer be on the warpath to seek and personally destroy Carden Greenbriar).

giphy (1)

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To be honest, Holly Black’s Tithe wants what The Iron Fey has

To be honest, Holly Black’s Tithe wants what The Iron Fey has

★★★★☆

(4.5 stars)

There’s only a mild chance this high rating is influenced by how many bad books I’d read before it.

I know I make outstanding threats against Carden Greenbriar and this is a provocative headline, but I am overall a Holly Black ‘fan’. However, reading The Iron King (book one of the Iron Fey series) was like a good punch of breath air. Specifically, it’s worth comparing this book to Tithe, Holly Black’s YA paranormal romance from the same era. Yes, The Iron King is very much a ‘regular girl turns out to be special and fey, finds feyroyal love interest, uses trickery and special-ness to avoid finale murder by someone supposedly invincible’ story. So is Tithe.

While I think there’s plenty of fun (and merit) in dissing YA tropes and cliches, it is also true those things became common for a reason. Where many other YA books from this era fail on the same ideas and plot beats, The Iron King succeeds smoothly: The love interest(s) are not toxic, the MC has a personality, the world-building is unique and original, and the writing is solid. I really enjoyed reading The Iron King, and I expect I’ll be reading the rest of the series. It’s fun, perfectly middle-ground YA with a lot of neat faeries and characters. The world needs more all powerful sarcastic cats.

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There’s a non-zero chance Evermore is not bad YA, but masterful satire

There’s a non-zero chance Evermore is not bad YA, but masterful satire

☆☆☆☆☆

(.5 stars)

Evermore is about as generic as paranormal romance can get. It’s pretty much identical to the other genre books from the same time frame- Evermore, Hush Hush, and Fallen all were published in 2009, though bizarrely in that order. I was rather shocked to learn Evermore actually came before the other, more notable YA paranormal books at the time- it feels at times so strange and parodist that I figured it must have been a cash-in rip off.

Yet Evermore stands, strangely, in the early days of the paranormal romance bubble. I’m no expert, but the zenith was 2009, and Evermore is from February. We can proudly stand Evermore as early and (non) notable in the genre.

The reason I’m so fixated on when Evermore came out is simple: This book feels exactly, literally exactly, like satire of the para-ro genre. At first I dismissed the book as I read it, but then I sat on it for a day. I realized it was almost the same as how I’d write a parody book- the generic plot of the ‘not beautiful’ beautiful blonde main character, the mysterious bad boy new kid, the unexplained powers, the sheer number of powers, the I Love You exchange early on, the bizarre goth friend, the ridiculous names, the mean girl stereotypes, the stupid richness of the main characters, the fated/reincarnation storyline… All of it is so perfectly predictable and at points slightly more absurd than normal that I can safely conclude there is a non zero chance this book is a satire.

Beyond the fact it came first.

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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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The Kingdom: A fantastical, dystopic, nightmare

The Kingdom: A fantastical, dystopic, nightmare

★★★★★

(5 stars)

I very rarely buy physical copies of books. New, at least- one reason for my spurges of bad YA recently has been because those are the easiest books to find thrift. Good books, especially new good books, rarely show up in charity shops. However, I went ahead and paid full price for The Kingdom without reading any reviews, and I’m glad I did.

I knew I would like this, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t pleasantly surprised how much I did. My favorite movie is Ex Machina, and one of my favorite books is Only Ever Yours, and this book is a perfect blend of both, but also set in a theme park. And books set in theme parks are the best books.

Plainly, I would recommend this book to anyone (and already have). It’s a good length suspense about the meaning of being alive, AI, morality, and advanced technologies, and the only major downside to me was the ending, which seems to set up more for a possible sequel rather than embrace a clean, tidy ending.

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Abandon represents a fun- yet troubling- genre mix-up

Abandon represents a fun- yet troubling- genre mix-up

★★★☆☆

(3 stars)

The author of the book is for once very important to this review: Meg Cabot! I’ve never read anything by her, but I know the name, and realizing she’d written this generic-looking para-ro book gave me pause. She wrote the Princess Diaries, a series which became a movie which I have seen heaps of nostalgia for and love. Without ever touching any of her contemporary teen-tween girl books I knew she was known for humor, lightness, fun, and quirky narration.

So what was she doing writing Abandon? This book screams para-ro boom of the early 2010s, from design to title to plot, yet is met in the middle by Cabot’s signature style. In the mix of an ugly love interest and his fairly abusive actions is genuinely funny dialogue. Despite the insta-love romance, there are bits of satisfying, true emotional moments regarding coming of age and being a teen girl. Even with the confusing, cartoon-ish bits, there’s real wit and good writing shining through.

Like, maybe I just liked this because I’d just finished a particularly bad quartet, but the writing is so good I found myself not caring as much as I should have about how bad the romance was. I liked the voice too much. Plus, it’s a short and snappy read.

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