Tag: paranormal

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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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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Fallen is a puzzling, prime example of poor YA

Fallen is a puzzling, prime example of poor YA

★☆☆☆☆

(.5 stars)

If you’re new to this blog, or need a reminder, I’m drawn to the following in books:

  1. Angels/Demons
  2. YA from around the early 2010s at the height of the paranormal boom
  3. Bad YA (from around that era, quite often)

I’d actually, however, avoided picking up Fallen for a long time. It’s really, really easy to find in thrift shops and even libraries, and ticks all of the above boxes. However, I never grabbed it because… well, I’d already read it back in 2012. I hit it down as ‘DNF’ because it was boring. I think I got 100 pages in, but on reading the full thing here, I couldn’t tell you where I last stopped- the first 100 pages of this book is exactly the same as the next 350 pages, and it all blends together in a cacophony of bad.

I read it this time in two sittings while at work because I’m an adult now, but this is an extremely frustrating book to contend with. The supernatural revelation takes place 77% through the book, and even then the reader gets very few answers on anything that happened. This is a thick book of absolutely nothing but school life, and I wouldn’t even be able to parse some of the ‘lore’ and ‘story’ if not for the really bad movie made from this which somehow does a far better job delivering exposition.

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Sweet Peril is not sweet and has no peril

Sweet Peril is not sweet and has no peril

☆☆☆☆☆ (0 stars)

Look, middle book trilogy stump is a thing, and it was especially defined as a thing thanks to the trilogy era of YA, first seen in the paranormal romance boom. Book one, they meet… book three is the final battle… What is book two?

Well, this book two is sort of like a short story collection with an overlapping cast. There’s no plot arc or drive to this book at all, which is frankly astonishing. There’s at least eight chapters (a large chunk of the book) which are loosely connected time jumps where our main character, Anna, goes to another country/state for a purpose, achieves it, and leaves.

We’re operating on levels of sheer non-plot structure that would blow anyone’s mind.

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Sweet Evil is a chaotic, inexplicable mess

Sweet Evil is a chaotic, inexplicable mess

☆☆☆☆☆ (0 stars)

Ooowee!!! You have to imagine me making that sound as I think about this. I just finished this book, and this is all coming in hot. There’s a lot to say about this- the increasingly and incredibly Christian themes, the insane hypocritical nature of the horniness in this story, the sexism, the premise, whatever Kopano was, Kaiden’s participation in crimes against humanity….

Oh yeah. You thought this was a generic para-ro about a good girl falling for a bad boy and they’re both half-fallen-angels? You’re right! And then the next 60% of the book happen, because pacing and story structure is off the rails here. There ARE no rails on the coaster of Sweet Evil.

Let me be your conductor.

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An Enchantment of Ravens enchanted me

An Enchantment of Ravens enchanted me

★★★★★

(5 stars)

First, collectively, we’re going to look at that cover. And sigh. It is so beautiful, and having it hardcover with gloss makes it even better. I adore illustrated book covers wholeheartedly, and this one is perfect. Gorgeous. Lovely. I want it on my wall.

Anyhow, fae are ‘in’ right now big-time, and this is a fae book. I’m becoming more sold on fae lore (playing an Eladrin in D&D is the main reason), but I still feel like a lot of YA books with fae in them really miss the mark- I’m thinking of throne of glass, a court of thorns and roses, and shadowhunters right now. Fae lore is wonderful, and most certainly they are more than pallid, too-pretty beings who wear nice clothes (and they certainly don’t have ‘mates’ and ‘mate bonds’. Sarah J. Maas, I will defeat you for writing that in two books).

This book gets it. The rituals, the rules, the bargains, trades, and oddness that fae lore deserves- with the beauty and glam. Even if a lot of that glam is just glamour (haha fairy jokes please clap). It also subverts a lot of tropes I hate in para-ro (the main girl being okay with being immortal and leaving her friends and family behind for a boy, for example). Oh, and it’s funny, and lush, and has a wonderful romance, and a tight plot too.

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Unearthly could use a few more angels

Unearthly could use a few more angels

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

Oh, you know me by now: I love angels, and I read books about angels, and they pretty much always let me down in one way or another. That way being, primarily, a real lack of luster angels. Unearthly is an honest step above a lot of the angel genre, especially for an early 2010s para-ro piece, but like a lot of that era (and the YA genre), it spends too much time on teen problems, not angels. And I’m here for the angels.

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