Monday, 31 December 2012

Review - JUSTICE (The Ferryman and The Flame, Book 2), Rhiannon Paille

It's taken me forever to finish this book, what with Christmas and family stuff I haven't had a spare minute so I've been reading it in dribs and drabs over the last couple weeks. I'm not sure how that bodes in terms of reviewing as I probably haven't gotten the full effect of the story with reading being so disjointed, but hey ho.

Firstly, a huge thank you Rhiannon Paille for giving me an ARC of this, it's not out until May 7th 2013 so I'm very grateful for getting first dibs! She's got some kick ass artwork in the works for the book so make sure you check out her website and Facebook for some sneak peaks... But I digress, here goes the review.

Honestly, (and it pains me to say it) I didn't love this book anywhere near as much as I loved Surrender (Book 1). I'm a sucker for a romance and Surrender offered that in bucket loads through Krishani and Kaleil, but I really felt the lack of her presence in Justice. With her gone, however, you do get a really strong idea of Krishani's grief which only solidifies some of the decisions he makes and the journey he takes.

I can't say that it made me love him any more though. I did find that towards the end of the book, and without Kaleil, I got a bit tired of Krishani's lack of self preservation - but Paille does well with the introduction of various other characters to take the limelight off of him in the right places so his suicidal-ness doesn't become too irritating.

On the upside, Paille's writing style, as always, is fantastic. She keeps the pace going by taking us out of Avristar and in to The Lands of Men which offers up a whole new world of descriptive genius. We hear a lot more about the Valtanyana and get more of a feel for their freakishness which I think was needed.

I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that the addition of a few more Flames was interesting, too. They're not what you expect, certainly nothing like Kaleil, so for me, that gave them a whole new dimension and definitely explains the weapon/destruction side to them.

Character-wise, you see a different side to Pux and also a lot more of the 3 witch sisters which surprised me (in a good way). I'm still not sure I quite know what their intentions are so I'm hoping we see more of them in the next book (there better be a next book).

Overall I think the storyline holds itself well, there are plenty of mini stories from the different characters that add some context of what exactly is going on in Avristar/Lands of Men world and Krishani's journey and battle with his parable as the Ferryman definitely keeps you wanting to see how he ends up.

Like I say, I did miss Kaleil but if you've read Surrender (which you should) then you'll need to read Justice to get the answers to some pretty big questions! I'm gonna give it a 3.5/5, not as strong as Surrender but definitely worth a read, if for no other reason than to experience the amazing world that Paille is a pro at creating.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Review - Incendiary (Premonition Series, Book 4), Amy A. Bartol

Looking back at my GoodReads it's telling me that I read the last book in this series in September - It feels like forever ago and for the life of me I couldn't remember most of the story so I said to myself that I'd re-read the rest before I started on Incendiary.

But alas, temptation overruled and I started reading it anyway at about 6pm last night. And I am SO glad that I did. Within a few pages I was thrown straight back into the storyline and the characters all came flooding back. I can't remember why I gave the last book (Indebted, book 3) only 3 stars, it was before I started reviewing, but whatever disappointments I had from were were well and truly blown out of the water with Incendiary.

So 8 hours later, at 2.30am this morning I finally finished it and had fatigue not completely demolished me by then I would have reviewed it on the spot. I can't tell you the last time I stayed up stupidly late because I had to finish the book, not being able to physically put it down.

The thing that makes Bartol such an exceptional writer is her panache for dialogue. I've read a lot of books when I thought the descriptions of scenery were great, their twists were unexpected, or the storyline was original, but rarely to I find a book that not only has all of the above, but also has untouchable dialogue, too.

The characters are hilarious and each has their own personality. No one character feels like they were just placed their for convenience and they each have their own subtle storylines, relationships, powers etc. Reed, Evie and Russell are really strong protagonists and I love that Evie isn't the traditional 'woe-is-me- heroin (I've mentioned this a lot before, it pisses me off). Reed's dedication to his role as a Power is unwavering, as is his love for Evie, and Russell's development into a kick-ass angel brings even more humour and witty one liners.

The storyline was fantastic and the introduction of a handful of new characters really sped it along. Xavier, Tau and Anya, again, all have their own purpose, although some of that petered out towards the end of the novel as other things were going on so I'm really looking forward to more of them all in Iniquity.

The action, as always, was fantastic and, of course, the love triangle (well, triangleS - multiple now!) were heart stopping! Oh and speaking of heart stopping, to anyone who's read it - THE END OF CHAPTER 21. OH MY GOD. I nearly died.

What I love about this series is that Bartol is unashamedly happy to admit that there will be more to come. Some authors like to leave one of those cliffhangers where the book technically could be finished, but is also open to a sequel. Not with Bartol. She leaves you believing (hoping) that there is no freaking way this story is over and I am completely convinced that the next book (more Xavier, please!) will have me just as hooked!

Without a doubt my favourite in the series, 5 out of 5. Go and buy it now (well, after you've bought the first 3).

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Review - SURRENDER (The Ferryman and The Flame), Rhiannon Paille

Okay so I finished this book in about 6 hours. It helped that my internet and email was down at work for about 3 of those hours, but 6 hours none the less.

After 16% I was gushing about this book (via GoodReads), really loved it. Another few chapters and I was totally on board, riding the sweet waves of excitement that this book created. By 62% I was a full blown waterfall of shameless, over-exuberant praise, tumbling down around the pedestal on which this book sits. And oh my god, an alternate ending, too? A double whammy of final chapter glory.

The main thing that everyone needs to appreciate about this book is the writing style and how that alone can throw you straight into the world in which SURRENDER is set (think LOTR meets Sabriel - but the YA version).

Paille's descriptions are fantastic and she's so rigid with the tone of the book that its just faultless. I often find when authors try and write in a certain style that's not natural to them they tend to slip occasionally but Paille is completely consistent.

The main characters, Krishani and Kaleil, were both interesting enough to hold the story and it doesnt take very long to establish their personalities and how they fit together.

The story line is original, as is the world, the characters, the names, and to an extent, even the powers each race has. The Ferryman and the Flame are both really unique ideas and they don't take the typical 'magical powers' route.
The best part of the book for me was actually ending, both of them. You can't read SURRENDER and not need to read the rest of the series. It's not giving away any spoilers by saying that there is a huge cliffhanger at the end that'll leave you wondering how the hell Krishani and Kaleil are getting out of that one. And the alternate ending is even more exciting. (If you've read it - what the hell?!)

I have no idea how Paille is going to angle the next book, I'm still not entirely sure I know what happened at the end of this one, but I know I'll definitely be reading whatever she comes out with next. A solid 4.5/5 stars.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Review - Julie Kagawa, The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)

I've read so many amazing reviews about this book, and I'm such a big fan of Kagawa's Iron Fey series, that I thought I was going to be in for a real treat with The Immortal Rules.

I wouldn't say I was disappointed, that's far too strong a word, but I think I was slightly mislead by everything I'd previously read about the book and how awesome it supposedly was. I'd probably say that for the first half of the book I was right up there with the gushing masses but then Zeke and the gang came into it and it lost me.

If you've read the book you'll obviously know what I'm talking about so for those of you who haven't, let me start from the beginning. Allison/Allie is a 'street rat' living on the outskirts of a city run by vampires that offer humans a relatively peaceful life in exchange for a blood donation every now and then. (They really, really hate vampires). Out on a food run one night Allie and her gang are attacked and killed by Rabids (wild vampire type creatures). Allie is on the verge of death when a good vamp steps in and offers her immortality, she accepts on the basis that she's been a fighter all of her life and refuses to give up now.

Now, that's the very basic premise, and is also where my issue with the story begins. Allie hates vampires, and I mean, she really hates them, and as such chooses to live a life of poverty and squalor as to avoid having to give a blood donation every month. However, despite being in a situation where all of her friends are dead and she has nothing but starvation to return to, she quickly decides she'd rather be a bloodsucker than take the quick death on offer. Alright...

But I got over that when we started learning more about Kanin and also started the 'how to be a vampire 101' classes with Allie. I began thinking "Alright, this is going to be an old-school, kick-ass vampires type thing" and I was happy. The best part of the book for me was the relationship with Allie and Kanin. Kanin is very much the dark and brooding character who has little patience for Allies reluctance to sever ties with her human life. Kagawa presented a real sense of detachment between the two that you'd expect from people with Allie and Kanin's withdrawn characteristics, but at the same time you could still feel a connection there that made you wonder where the story would take them.

Then we started learning a lot more about who Kanin really was (won't give away any spoilers) and his past and I got even happier, thinking this was going to be an epic vampire free-for-all with some great battle scenes (because we know Kagawa is a pro at those), maybe a bit of romance, who knows?

But instead, Kanin was quickly removed from the story and replaced with Zeke, Jebbadiah, and the rest of the human gang who did nothing but irritate me for the rest of the book. Allie began irritating me too at this point, which I was pretty upset about because I love a no-nonsense heroin, and up until this point, she'd been pretty kick-ass.

Allie had spent the majority of her life detaching herself from her emotions to help her survive psychologically but as soon as she's a vamp, she meets a human boy and a few kids and her life principles suddenly change? I just don't understand it. When Stick rejected her she was heartbroken for all of 5 minutes but something about Zeke is enough to change her mind? I don't buy it.

The actual build up of their relationship wasn't enough for me either. There's an attempt to describe Zeke's uncertainty about his feelings for a vampire, and the same with Allie and her feelings for a human, but there's no depth to it. It was all very Twilight - I shouldn't like him, but maybe I do like him, and now it's been 2 weeks and I'm irrevocably in love with him and want to risk my life trying to help him? Not for me. (Don't get me wrong, I love Twilight, vampires AND werewolves? Score. But the instantaneous love is a downer for me.)

I really, really wanted to love The Immortal Rules, and for the first half I did, but as soon as Zeke came into it and that switch got flipped, it just went downhill really quickly. The whole 'lets find Eden' thing got annoying (28 Days Later, anyone?), Zeke's unquestioning following of Jeb got boring, and characters like Ruth always just piss me off.

For the sake of Kanin and kick-ass Allie I'm going to give it a 3/5. I'll probably read the rest of the series because I think the storyline has strong potential to be something pretty good, and also to make sure Kanin comes back in to it and Zeke stays out of it. Oh, and also because Kagawa's writing style is awesome and no-one can touch her descriptive narratives.

So yeah, overall, it was an interesting book up until the 50% mark, then it turned into a typical YA/vampire type thing. There's gonna have to be something more to book 2 to turn this around for me.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Review - The Vincent Boys/Brothers, Abbi Glines

I've just read both of these books over the last couple days so I thought it would be good to review the two of them at once and give a bit of a comparison (because one is definitely better than the other).

I don't tend to stray too far from paranormal reads because, frankly, I find most other stuff quite boring, but I loved Abbi Glines' Existence Trilogy and I've heard a lot about The Vincent Boys series so I figured, why not.

The Vincent Boys, the first book in the series, I actually really liked. I found the characters really captivating and I loved the romance between Ashton and Beau from the get go. Its a very typical 'girl loves the bad boy and bad boy loves the girl, and really isn't much of a bad boy' storyline, which is fine (and a reason I tend not to read this kind of book), but predictable, too.

I usually find the main female characters kind of sappy but Ash wasn't like this at all. There wasn't too much of the whole ' Oh my gosh, I'm such a bad person, what shall I do' blah blah. Ash doesn't want to hurt Sawyer, obviously, but that doesn't stop her running to Beau anyway which was somewhat refreshing. I got slightly irritated with all the talk of the 'good girl and bad girl' sides of Ash and how she needed to let her 'bad girl' free but her actions definitely justified it, so I'll let that go.

Overall, The Vincent Boys was quite an exciting read, Beau was a sexy character, Sawyer's sappiness more than helped aid Ash's affair, and Ash was a pretty cool chick in general.

However, the second book of the series, The Vincent Brothers, didn't do it for me at all. I was expecting more of Ash and Beau but when Lana popped up in the narrative I was immediately dubious. Lana and Sawyer are boring characters, it's as simple as that. The storyline was a bit droning too, an extended string of frustrating miscommunications and over exaggerated teen angst.

The only reason I found myself powering through this book is because I was waiting for Ash or Beau to reappear. The first book left a lot of questions unanswered about Sawyer and Beau's father and I felt this should have been much more of Beau's story than Sawyers.

Lana was such a dreary character and everything I just mentioned that I don't like in a heroin. Whiny, self concious, desperate, and just a bit pathetic all round. And all the shit she forgives Sawyer for? She's the kind of person you want to shake and scream 'snap out of it, woman!' at. Sawyers personality and actions changed far too much from the first book, to the point where he could have been a completely new character, and not a particularly likeable one.

I'm trying not to talk too much about the storylines and I don't want to give any spoilers away but I'm guessing that from the end of The Vincent Brothers there's not going to be a third book? (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong). If this is the case then the whole 'father' issue seems irrelevant to me. No questions were answered, it didn't help Sawyer and Beau's relationship and it certainly didn't aid the storyline.

Overall I'd give The Vincent Boys a 3.5/5 and The Vincent Brothers a 2.5/5, purely because Sawyer and Lana bored the hell out of me. I went into this duo with an open mind purely because I think Abbi Glines is fantastic, but unless there's more Dank Walker-esq characters, I won't be reading any more of the romance stuff.