Tag: Books

Disastrously boring and disgracefully designed and positively pulsing with preachy pus

Disastrously boring and disgracefully designed and positively pulsing with preachy pus

☆☆☆☆☆

(0 stars)

Honestly, the experience of reading this book was so hair-pulling I needed to make something about it fun, and that’s how we ended up with this title. Halo is an angel para-ro book from 2010 that I’ve been avoiding for probably 10 years by now. It sounded boring, like it didn’t have a plot beyond a bland romance. And then I read it and it was boring, like it didn’t have a plot beyond a bland romance. There’s still some things worth discussing though- like the extremely conservative viewpoints being preached on every page (yes, it’s a Real Christian book), the sheer codependent controlling behavior of the boyfriend, and how bad Beth is at being an angel.

This is a book where the evil love interest takes over 200 pages to show up, acts not at all as a friend or temptation, plans to rape the main character, and then is sent to Hell. It’s a 500 page long book where that is the only conflict. It’s a very anti-goth story (I’m offended) with a character who goes through the same pages long internal crises every chapter. I hate this book.

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Angel: Why you should never judge a book by its cover- or blurb, or title, or concept, or…

Angel: Why you should never judge a book by its cover- or blurb, or title, or concept, or…

★★★★☆

(4.5 stars)

I thrift-shop trawl at least once a week, usually on my way to work in the morning, and to my surprise I found two new angel books two days in a row- Angel and Halo (next to read). After pretending I didn’t have literally 15+ physical books in my to-read pile, I bought them and promptly joked with my friends. I have two new bad angel books to read, I said. Ha, won’t these chunky monstrosities hurt me? What sort of fun, silly reviews can I concoct? You know, the normal things.

Problem: I loved this book. Quite early on I realized this book is not what it looks like- or, uh, feels like? What at base glance seems like every other YA para-ro where the girl has secret powers and the guy is so gorgeous is actually one of the best angel books I’ve ever read. This book inspired me. I thought about this book. I think I can’t wait to pick up the rest of the trilogy. I’m serious- the bar might be low, but Angel inexplicably sores.

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The Iron Daughter warrants a cold reception

The Iron Daughter warrants a cold reception

★★★☆☆

(3 stars)

After highly praising The Iron King, I knew I was setting myself up for a big comeuppance. After all, the Iron Fey IS a series from 2010-2011 (yes, the whole quartet came out within two years), and WAS quite cliche despite all the things I loved about book one. The ‘sequel series’, books five to seven, span 2013-2015, and the next book is due 2021. It’ll be interesting to see if/how the author evolves during the years and trends in YA, but the initial series of books is very dated to 2010. The Iron Daughter especially.

That’s not to say I hated this book at any point. It’s still notably engaging and of a better quality than the vast majority of books from this era, or really just books I’ve read. The side characters are fantastic and the world is a wild mish-mash of faerie mythos and lore that is extremely entertaining. Still, this books has to lose a bunch of points for the plot, and especially the romance. A lot less gets done in this book, and a lot more time is spent angsting over forbidden love and love triangles. It’s dumb and exhausting and takes up so much time.

While the book scurries over the normal ‘second book syndrome’, the useless romance, angst, lesser plot, and idiocy of the main character is exhausting enough on its own. At least Grimalkin is still perfect.

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The Fandom Rising completes an excellent duology you’ve been missing out on

The Fandom Rising completes an excellent duology you’ve been missing out on

★★★★☆

(4.5 stars)

Back when I read The Fandom in February, I was genuinely surprised how engaging it was: a dark thriller based on fandom meta and dystopias. I was also intrigued to learn there would be a sequel at all. It feels very much like a one-off story- three friends who are brought into the world of a popular dystopian YA series which has become ‘real’ by the collective belief of the fandom around it, and how they must escape from the cruel reality of this once fictitious world.

At the end of The Fandom, Violet, Alice, and Katie awake from the week long coma they entered while they were transported to the world of The Gallows Dance, though Violet’s brother died in that world, trapping him in a coma. Violet and Alice have collaborated to write a sequel to The Gallows Dance- The Gallows Song- which was published by the publicity of their comic-con coma incident and Alice’s huge online following with her fanfic. Though none of the girls remember what actually happened while they were in their comas, they felt obliged to end the cycle of misery the world of the Gallows Dance was trapped in, writing a sequel full of hope and change- as well as writing Nate in as a new character.

However, trouble is coming to the living world of the Gallows Dance, allowing Violet to regain her memories. She also realizes that as Nate exists as a book character, he lives in the other world- and traveling back there might be her only chance to wake her brother from his year long coma. Especially now that their parents plan to turn off his life support in just a week.

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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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What? Am I supposed to seriously find a way to review House of Leaves?

What? Am I supposed to seriously find a way to review House of Leaves?

★★★☆☆

(3 stars)

Okay. What. What do you think I can do, explain myself? Explain this?

NO! Of course not!

This gets 3 stars because 3 stars means nothing, and this book is not good or bad. It’s a favorite and I despise it. No, I did not finish it.

I’ve been trying to read house of leaves for a long time now. Since middle school- so we’re getting close to ten years of me trying to read this book. I have never once finished it. This time I got the further I ever had, which is still less than half.

This is the giant huge book (in size and page length) that haunts my nightmares and reality. It is a story about a dude who finds a scattered manuscript in the house of a dead man, and this manuscript is an academic collection about a documentary that doesn’t exist, and the documentary is about an endless empty labyrinth which appears in a suburban home one day. Everyone goes insane, there are many footnotes, and the formatting starts to include giant blocks of black ink, empty spaces, upside-down text, boxes in boxes, and more.

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