Tag: fantasy

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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Crescendo built to nothing but my own hatred of this series

Crescendo built to nothing but my own hatred of this series

☆☆☆☆☆

(0 stars)

When I accidentally began my paranormal romance binge focused on angel books focused on about 2010 era, I did not know how much pain I would be walking into. There were laughs in Sweet Evil, stupidly bad as that was. There were highs in Fallen, which had a couple good ideas. And then there’s Hush, Hush, a series so mindbogglingly bad it does nothing but frustrate and taunt me. There’s barely even humor to be found in the poor writing and horrendous world-building, plot, and characters. It’s just a slop you have to wade through for over 400 pages.

This book features pointless breakups, never seen new antagonists, more confusing angel lore, the world’s longest series of semi-breakups and reunions over the course of non stop, short lived teen parties, even worse girl-hate, slut shaming, and so much more.

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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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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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Torment offers a glimpse of a far better series

Torment offers a glimpse of a far better series

★★★☆☆

(3 stars)

Even I’m scratching my head at this rating, folks. The second Fallen book is actually kind of decent. I enjoyed it. It made me want to keep reading the series, when I was sure I only picked it up to get lore missing from book one and put the story down forever. But no, I anticipate I’ll be reading the rest of the quartet now.

What did it? Well, this book took the good elements of the first book (few and far between, but: good friends, supernatural elements) and added a couple things really up my alley. For one, it takes place at a small school for nephilhim, who have only weak magical powers but still get weird lessons on biblical history and controlling shadows, all in preparation for the ‘end of days’. To avoid favoritism, the school is taught from a neutral point of view, with the two teachers being an awesome married couple of an angel/demon who never the less plan to fight to the death in the apocalypse. This is a really fun concept. It’s also nearly the exact set up of a book I wrote, Good Angel, so you know… it’s a concept I’m into.

Also, there’s a lot of deeper introspection from Luce, who starts to think about her relationship with Daniel and all the Unfortunate Implications that go with it. Especially that, since she’s reborn and dies every 17 years, she has a series of relatives and parents who are left grieving her. Daniel is essentially the world’s most specialized serial killer, and it’d good how she comes to resent and grow angry at the bad power structure they have.

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Tridea’s Children is surely some attempt at psychological warfare

Tridea’s Children is surely some attempt at psychological warfare

☆☆☆☆☆

(0 stars)

This is the worst book I’ve ever read.

This book is psychological warfare. The abyss is empty, except a book club where you read this book daily and can only talk about this book. This book was made via a psychic vision of the pure pain it is to read it. This book exists purely to haunt me. This book’s existence is a puzzle personal to me. The largest moral quandary of life is how I now own a copy but cannot in good faith pass this to any charity shop. To do so would be a war crime.

Let’s take a step back.

Yes, I walked into this book knowing it would be pretty bad, and I wouldn’t like it. I also have a vague relationship with the author, though the implies we truly knew each other: rather, we were in the same year of university and shared a few classes, including a recent group project where I found him unhelpful and at one point he slagged me off in the group chat. Since this is such an indie, self published book I suspect he’ll read this at some point, so I want to apologize for any feeling of animosity here, I in no way mean this review as some attack. Yes, I saw he had a book and bought it to be a bit petty after the group project went horribly, but instead I ended up flabbergasted at the book I held in my hands.

This is the worst writing I’ve ever seen, and I’m flummoxed by any reviewer who somehow left a good comment. The writing is terrifyingly bad. The plot, character, dialogue, world, editing, ideas, and concept are equally contemptuous. There’s blatant theft of ideas from various pop culture things and somehow, zero plot narrative at all, all put together with horrible grammar and spelling mistakes abound.

There’s a lot to dissect, and there’s a reason it took me over a week to get through this tiny (190 page) book.

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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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