Review for The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson

The Girl Of Fire And Thorns by Rae Carson

TITLE: The Girl Of Fire And Thorns
SERIES: Fire & Thorns #1
AUTHOR: Rae Carson
PUBLICATION DATE: September 20, 2011
PUBLISHER: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 423 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 2 stars


Elisa has known her entire life that she was chosen for greatness. On the day of her naming ceremony, God’s light shined on her and she was blessed with the Godstone in her navel. She thinks Mr Almighty has made a grave error because she doesn’t see any qualities in herself that would help fulfill such an important destiny. Then she is married off to a Prince of a country far away in secret and from there, her journey just gets more complicated and we’ll see if she can rise to the challenge of fulfilling her destiny.

I have so many issues with this, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with Elisa herself. I went back and forth on whether not I despised her. First she was fat, lazy, and annoying. The fat bit I kind of liked. It was great to finally have a heroine who wasn’t a fucking stick figure despite eating her body weight in junk food, but she spends so much time complaining about it and never trying to do anything about it, always drowning her sorrows in yet another pastry. Which is, once again, understandable. Who hasn’t had a really bad day and went home to use food to make it better? But it is different when it happens on every single fucking page. What makes it worse is that instead of using this chubby heroine to send out the message to teens that everyone’s body type is different and you should learn to love yourself just as you are instead of conforming to the media’s bullshit image of what a woman should look like, it’s just another whiny YA heroine who loses the weight in order to feel better about herself. And I don’t mean she starts a regiment to get healthy, I mean she is kidnapped and made to walk across a desert so naturally a good bit of the weight falls off and only then does she start to feel better about herself. It was more than a little infuriating. None of the other characters angered me nearly as much. I actually really liked Cosme and Humberto and most of the rebels. And Rosario. I loved him! So petulant and whiny and absolutely adorable in the end.

Another big issue was the healthy dose of religion you get in this. At no point in any of the descriptions or summeries is religion mentioned, but the whole reason Elisa is special is because God chose her and she bears the Godstone. For the first 100 or so pages, you don’t get through a single page without that word being mentioned. After that it slows down a bit, but it is still there. Leaving my views on religion completely out of the picture, it still would have been nice to get a bit of a warning on that. Plus, I don’t like my religion and literature to mix. Call me crazy, but religion is a touchy subject for most people and I prefer my reading material to be as far from that controversy as possible.

Then there is the main big issue, the one that even if I could overlook the previous problems would make it impossible for me to love this novel. ALL THE MOTHERFUCKING DEATH! Now, before I get yelled at, I realize that this is high fantasy and they are in the middle of a war and a certain amount of doom needs to be portrayed. I can deal with that. But what I can’t deal with is the main love interests throat being slashed. Poor Humberto dies right in front of Elisa and I almost stopped reading right on the spot. That made me so fucking mad. There are some other deaths that upset me minimally, but that one had me seeing red. I like happily ever afters goddammit and now, unless they pull some kind of necromancy, that shit isn’t going to happen.

It does get two stars because after you get about midway through, it is impossible to put down. The writing and storyline draws you in until you are desperate to finish it. I do plan on reading the sequel, but I’m more than a little wary of it. Let’s hope it improves some, shall we?

Review for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

TITLE: The Night Circus
AUTHOR: Erin Morgenstern
PUBLISHER: Anchor Books, a division of Random House, inc
PAGES: 516 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Goodreads First Reads
RATING: 5 stars

I had thought that after reading this novel a second time, it would be easier to review but fuck was I wrong. Reading it again put me in even more awe of it because I noticed things the second time around that I missed the first. I find that reviewing it now is even more daunting because my words are insufficient to adequately describe the….um…see I’m already failing to come up with an adjective worthy of this novel. Amazing? Awesome? Astounding? Why do they all start with “a”? Regardless of my lack of vocabulary, this is a novel that will illicit more emotions than you thought possible while confusing you and making you wonder why they heck you keep reading.

It’s a bit difficult to summarize this story because it encompasses so much. The most basic description I can give is that it follows two characters, a girl named Celia and a boy named Marco, for a very long period of time, almost thirty years in fact. Both have only been told that they are a participate in a game but their respective teachers refuse to give them any more description than that. How do you win the game? Who is my opponent? How do we compete? What is the purpose? They are never told. But both strive to succeed to attain the respect of their teachers. The only thing that becomes clear is that the venue for the competition is Le Cirque des Reves. This tale follows the pair throughout the duration of the challenge.

The above description does not even begin to do justice to the sheer loveliness of this story. But, before I start fangirling, I’ll state what will annoy the daylights out of you, at least on your first read. The main source of the confusion is the way the story jumps around. Though the tale is “mainly” about Celia and Marco, it has many, many (many, many, many, many, many) more characters and it jumps around from different perspectives and even time periods. One moment you are reading about Celia being trained at a young age, then you jump ten years in the future to the perspective of a boy named Bailey who has nothing to do with anything beyond the fact that the circus arrives in his town and he falls in love with it. Then you jump to a clockmaker in Germany who is commissioned to make a special clock for the circus. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. For the first half of this novel, you can’t make any fucking sense out of it. I remember thinking during my first read how I wished it would just stay with Celia or Marco because I found the pair so interesting, but alas, my wish wasn’t granted. Though now, I’m glad that it wasn’t because I appreciated the many perspectives so much more during the second go. It jumps to completely unrelated sequences in the most haphazard fashion imaginable. Where the fuck is Erin taking this story?!?! How the hell are all the people’s perspectives going to line up in a way that makes sense? Why the fuck am I still reading this infuriating thing?!?!?

If you stick through the first half, well you are in for a treat. In the second half, everything starts coming together. Celia and Marco meet and fall in love like we all knew they would and everything actually does wrap up rather nicely. All the random people start to become connected with the story in ways you weren’t expecting and it made me wonder how the author managed to write something so stunning that I was in speechless. The first comment I want to make is that the writing is gorgeous. Erin Morgenstern writes in this brilliant way that describes every setting perfectly, but not in that overly dull, I’m wasting your time writing five pages describing this utterly plain England countryside way that some authors insist on doing (::coughs:: JRR Tolkien ::coughs::). It just completely enchants you to the point that even though it’s irritating the fuck out of you, you keep reading, if only to see the elegant way the story is portrayed. You grow to love all the characters, even the ones that you have no idea how they relate to the story.

This novel is that perfect fairy tale for adults that we’ve all been craving. It has that indefinable magical quality that hooks into you and leaves you seeing stars. It is the type of book that demands a second read, possibly immediately after the first because you see things through a different light. I’m hesitant to make this comparison because these two novels are nothing alike, but it demands a reread the same way Fight Club does because after everything is revealed in the end, you see so many things more clearly and completely differently than the first time. It’s utterly fantastic and I recommend it to every single individual on this planet with access to it and the ability to comprehend it.

****Thank you to Vintage Books/Anchor Books for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Fateful by Claudia Gray

Fateful by Claudia Gray

TITLE: Fateful
AUTHOR: Claudia Gray
PUBLICATION DATE: September 13, 2011
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PAGES: 328 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 5 stars

I was a little weary going into this novel. One of my main points of a good novel is a happy ending and knowing this takes place upon the Titanic obviously scares me a little. For all those like me who demand a happy ending, fear not! This book has one. I was also weary because I’m not the biggest Evernight fan. I thought it was one of those series that could have been better. And again, those with my same concerns, fear not! This novel is much better than the Evernight series.

One thing I loved was seeing both the “good” werewolf and the “bad” one. I also really liked Alec’s wolf form and how in that state he was highly protective of Tess. This novel read much like a historical romance novel would, but without the descriptive sex scene or british cursing. In fact, my only issue with this novel was how Ms Gray seemed to talk down to the audience a bit, explaining the older english terms. Now, maybe I’ve read one too many historical romance novels, but I think it’s fairly easily to infer from context that when a female character says “I am ruined” she means she has had sex outside of marriage. Beyond that small complaint, this novel was perfect.

Review for Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

TITLE: Anna Dressed In Blood
SERIES: Anna #1
AUTHOR: Kendare Blake
PUBLICATION DATE: August 30, 2011
PAGES: 320 pages
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 4 stars

Yet another book that was bumped from 5 stars due to a cliffhanger ending. But, beyond that, this was an AMAZING book.

Follows a ghost hunter named Cas. It is written in first person, which I love and it is very well written. It was blessedly absent of a love triangle and had some great gory scenes (a guy literally gets ripped in half). It had twists that I wasn’t expecting. Overall, great book that I highly recommend.

Review for Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

Daughter Of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

TITLE: Daughter Of Smoke & Bone
SERIES: Daughter Of Smoke & Bone #1
AUTHOR: Laini Taylor
PUBLICATION DATE: September 27, 2011
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group USA
PAGES: 418 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 4 stars

This book was amazing. I flat out loved it, all of it. I loved the world, the main heroine (which is unusual for me, I usually find them to be TSTL), the hero, the minor characters, the writing, etc. Seriously, the more I read, the more I wanted to read. I was ecstatically happy at the absence of the ever-present in YA love triangle. ::does happy dance:: Then why the sigh, you ask? I’ll tell you why, because it is yet another book with a stupid fucking cliffhanger ending. See this face? It’s not a happy gnome face.

Seriously YA authors, why all the cliffhangers? It seems like every damn YA book I pick up these days has a cliffhanger and a year or more wait for a sequel. Is it really necessary to torture you’re readers like that? Why use that craptastic technique to ensure that people will want to buy your next book? Can’t you just trust that you have written a good story and that the people who enjoyed it will happily buy the next one to see what happens next? Take a page out of Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series and leave out the cliffhangers, PLEASE!